Thursday, April 24, 2014

GoNoodle: Vocabulary and Movement Collide!

Just got introduced to the absolutely coolest site this week!
It's called GoNoodle!
My class adored it! They practically begged for it all day long. What I loved about it was all of the different options. I love for my students to have fun, but I am such a stickler for tying it into learning. For my class, playing the Word Jam Brain Break was the best of both worlds!

It actually combined vocabulary with movement! We learned a meaning and a motion, then rocked out!

 There are so many amazing options on this site, you've got to check out! Signing up is easy and free!
We even had a cool down break for after recess that was perfect!
Those are definitely kids that are relaxed and ready to start math centers!
What are you waiting for? Sign up right now!

Sign up for free right now! 
Click on the GoNoodle Icon!

Primary Chalkboard
Clike the picture above to head over to the Primary Chalkboard Blog for your chance to win a paid subscription to GoNoodle to use with your classroom! It's a $99 value! Join our giveaway for your chance to win! Good luck!
Mrs. O'Brien

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Guided Reading and Close Reading Made Easy! (Freebie Included)

When I first started teaching 2nd grade, coming up with meaningful, engaging, effective activities for my small group time was always tricky for me. I found my self frantically searching for a book or an activity to do with my students, only to settle with something that I didn't feel was quite effective enough. That's when I decided to just make something myself! I know what my kids need, I know what I need, so why not?

Presenting: Guided Reading and Close Reading Made Easy


 I created a few of these packs and have fallen in love with how easy they have made my life. My kids are learning, I'm seeing growth, and it is super easy to do!
Here's how you can use this with your kids! I'll even include a free sample for you to try out for a week to see if this format is a good fit for your class. 

 Day 1
 I read the story to my students while they whisper read to follow along. I model great fluency and expression. Before reading, we make predictions based on the title and picture shown. Scan for any tricky words, or vocabulary words and discuss strategies for figuring them out.

Then, I give the students some time to complete the next sheets.

While they are filling these sheets out, I am reminding them of strategies to use only when they need it.
I tell them, "You shouldn't be looking up saying 'Hmmmm, I wonder what the answer is?' You should be looking back in the story saying, 'Aha! There's the right answer!'"
Then, we review our answers. Everyone is required to share. Other students are expected to encourage their friends, add on to their answers, and nicely disagree if they hear something different from their thinking. I keep their packets for use the next day.

Day 2
I have the students read the passage on their own and then fill out the summary sheet.
This is also a great day for a first read fluency check!
 I pull my students aside, one at a time while the others are still working, and listen to them read one on one. I always ask them how they think they sounded, point out some areas of growth, and places where they did awesome.
I give them a Post-it note with their CWPM (correct words per minute) to show their parents.
We discuss the summaries and show and explain our pictures.

Day 3
 Day 3 is when my students have a lot of fun. They absolutely love going back into the passage for evidence. This is their 3rd time reading the same passage, and having this activity accompany it, makes it fun for them.
Students are required to answer text specific questions and mark where they found their answer. This is the day where I have to step in a lot. Some students give up so quickly and often need reminders on how to persevere.  
I usually tell them to put a star next to something tricky and come back to it. I remind them that they can always reread the passage. I tell them to scan for key words from the question and look for similar words in the passage.

Day 4 
 Because this is now their 4th time being exposed to the same text, most of my students boast that this is "soooo eeasssyyy"
This is when I like to point out that the reason it's so easy is because they have read the same thing four times and really understand it!
I love these pages because they review 6 different reading comprehension skills. 

I usually do the 2nd fluency check on this day. I use the same passage to show them how they have improved from repeated readings.

Day 5
 Day 5 is another one my students love because they get to write about their opinions and thoughts, then share them with the table. The questions are semi-related to the story and the students always have fun making connections to their real life.
I do the  last fluency check on this day. They love seeing their improvement throughout the week!
I send home the entire packet on Friday and remind them to show their parents. I encourage them to use the empty spots on the fluency check pages at home with their parents.
This format has been a life-saver for me in a pinch. I can print them out and have my entire small group set for a week!
 Hope you found this useful!
Check out my winter freebie that follows the same format and try it out in your class for a week! There are links to my full packets in the freebie. Each packet has 5 stories each and can give you up to 5 weeks of guided reading activities for your small groups!!
Mrs. O'Brien