Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Next Step: Chapter 5 Transitional Guided Reading & Freebie!

Okay finally time to sit down and think about chapter 5.  This chapter was huge for me!  I didn't read it last year until it was too late.  I didn't realize so many of my students would get to this point and by the time I sat down and read it a couple times I feel I didn't have time to do it justice.  I'm excited to to a better job with my transitional readers this year!  I'm going to go ahead do the share 2 approach again.  

2 Things I learned- once again more than 2
  1. Strategy focus for transitional readers fall under 5 areas, self-monitoring, decoding, fluency, vocabulary or retell.  
  2. Kindergartners and first graders who are reading at or above a level I are transitional readers.  
  3. To improve fluency the text should be fiction and contain interesting dialogue.  
  4. Retelling strategies should be taught through fiction first.  
2 Questions I have:
  1. Jan says not all transitional readers require word study, how come?  
  2. I understand why Jan suggests not using novels during GR but can they be used if you are only reading a chapter per session? 
  3. Why does she focus so much on retelling in this stage?
Books I found at this level:
  1. Okay this was very surprising but... many Clifford books come up as J level in Scholastic's Bookwizard?
  2. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (J)
  3. Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant (J)
  4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (J)
In this chapter Jan suggests using a Word Study Inventory which I have found to be very helpful!  I do Words Their Way Primary Spelling Inventory at the beginning of the school year (as well as every quarter after) and find it to extremely helpful in planning my lessons.  I also wanted to share that I do a lot of readers theaters with my transitional readers.  I think it helps them build fluency and work on their intonation.  I use and really like the ones from Pioneer Valley Books and Reading A-Z.  

I don't know about you but Jan Richardson's book is my bible during my guided reading lessons!  The book sits at my table during school and comes home with me several times a week.  As you can see though its seen better days it is very loved. 

In an effort to use it a bit less and also to give myself more room to write I created my own lesson templates.  I plan to use these this year and wanted to share them with you in case you also needed more room to write or more guidance during your lessons.  You can find them for free in my TPT shop.  
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Grace-Lovelace  I just ask that if you download them you please give them a rating.  

Don't forget to check out Jodi from Fun in First (love her spelling and fluency packets) and Reagan from Tunstall's Teaching Tid Bits (I use almost all of Reagan's reading units in my class, can't recommend her enough!!) to learn tons more about transitional readers.  They also have some great freebies for you!
I plan to read chapter 6 again in the next few days but I am not sure I will post about it.  Since I seldom work with fluent readers I'm not sure I will have much to offer.  So we'll see.  I do plan to be back this week with some updated classroom pics and more on my spelling lists.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord 4

It's time for Michelle's Sunday Smorgasbord

This post is long enough for you to grab your favorite mug, brew your favorite tea and kick back for a long read.
This week was packed with family fun stuff!  Let's get started shall we?

1.  As you may remember my little AJ ran away to Atlanta for the weeked with her grandma last week.  I needed something to take my mind off her long drive home on (I have severe paranoia when my kids drive with others) on Monday so my friend and I took Ellie and Kohen to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  It was an adventure to say the least!  Let's just say when we were leaving my 5 year old said "and that's why we don't got to DC". The kids had fun, in the gift shop :/, that is. Oh and at the fountain. 

2.  Tuesday Gish got tickets to see the Nationals play the Pirates.  It was the kids first baseball game and the older two loved it. Ellie was more interested in the snacks then the game. 

3.  Besides Wednesday we hung out at the play fountains and went to the library. I realized the best way to get Ellie to get her hair fully wet is to take her to splash in the fountains. So if you see a tiny naked girl at RTSq don't pay no attention it's probably just my Ellie taking a bath. 

4. On my quest to give up Coke and rekindled my love of bubble tea.  I love my some vanilla milk tea!  This week I introduced my gang to the bubbly goodness.  

They liked it but it was wasn't their fave, which I'm sure will save me some $.  If you've never had bubble tea you're missing out. Though its served hot and cold the cold version is more popular. It comes in tons of varieties/ flavors but has tapioca pearls at the bottom. YUM

5.  We're continuing our quest for 2 orange belts. This means karate practice 3-4 afternoons a week. I'm hopeful AJ and Ko will move up in August. As much as I hate speeding an hour and a half at the dojo with a spunky 3 year old, I do love watching them do their thing. 

6.  Shar and I placed our really good stuff order Friday. Can't wait to get all my book baskets, bins and whiteboard answer paddles!  
I feel like I'm really at a stand still with my room until they come in. 
I've pretty much resisted Target because I knew I would be doing so much damage with RGS. So for now I'm just waiting for my bins and deciding how I want to group my tables. At the moment I have groups 4 of 5-6 desk but I'm considering 3 groups of 7. How many desks to most of you put together?

7. The highlight of my week have been date night with this guy... 

I got to enjoy some QT with my Gish and some super yummy crabs legs!    We went to see The To Do List, it was pretty funny but I think I loved the the most.  

The highlight of the kids week may have been watching Teen Beach Movie and "learning" all the moves. 

So that's most of my rumblings for this Sunday. Be sure to link up with Michelle and while you're there consider donating to her help a hero fund. The files are amazing and worth way more than what you donate. 

I'll be back later this week to discuss chapter 5 of The Next Step and also post about my  guided reading lesson plan templates. Oh and be sure to grab yourself some bubble tea as soon as you get a chance!  


Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Next Step Chapter 4: Early Guided Reading

This is where I am most comfortable!!!  I feel most of the kids I work with are at this level till around February / March.  Since I didn't see any questions for this chapter I will once again use the Share 2 Approach.  

2 Things I learned (okay more than two):
  • The importance of self-monitoring, how it lays the foundation for comprehension.  
  • That teaching children to think about the story, check the picture and make sure what they are reading makes sense will lead them to comprehension in a natural way.
  • The importance of teaching children to read and write the sight words.  
2 Questions I still have:
  • When previewing the book in a picture walk I have difficulty having my readers focus on the pictures and not the words.  They automatically start trying to read the story.  How can I help them with is?  Is it even really an issue?
  • When selecting examples from the story for teaching points do we use ones specific students have made or one we have found and planned beforehand? 
2 Books:
I am actually going to have more than two because I had a hard time picking just 2.  I know we often feel like we don't know what books to use during our lessons and sometimes find the provided leveled readers to be boring.  Well there is an easy solution to that... Scholastic Book Wizard. You can type in the title of any book you have or search by desired level.  I thought I would look up some picture books I have multiple copies of just to see what level they are at...   
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, Level I since I read this the first week of school I was happy to see it is a level I.  
  • David Goes to School by David Shannon Level  F
  • Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann Level D
  • It Looked Like Split Milk by Charles E Shaw Level E 
My favorite word study activity has to be the sound boxes.  I feel like it really helps learn how to stretch their words and they can apply this to all their writing.  It also helps me see what sounds they are hearing. 

Some of the resources I use for these lessons come from: 

  • Lesson Plan SOS Becoming a Guided Reading Guru

  • Reagan Tunstall's 

  • For my guided writing or guided reading journals I use Amy Lemons  

Next up Chapter 5 and I'll be caught up for about a day :/

Don't forget to read what others posted on Maria's blog the linky is close but you can still read how other run their early guided reading groups.   


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Next Step Chapter 3: Pre-A & Emergent Guided Reading

This chapter deals with the youngest readers, since I teach first I don't have any experience with Pre-A readers.  There were no questions for this chapter so I looked on Jan's site and decided to use her Share 2 approach.  Most of my answers will deal with my experience with Emergent Readers.  

2 Things I learned:  
I learned The important early strategies emergent readers use:1:1 matching. checks picture, GMR and cross-checking. I also learned why it is important to have repetitive texts at Levels A and B. Working with Kohen this summer I can say that he has learned the word then simply because its in so many of the books we've used.  We have also been using Michelle Griffo's Pre-Primer Pack.  

2 Questions I have:
How do you encourage tracking and pointing in Levels A & B but then tell students to drop their finger in Level C? I feel like I tell them to track and point because they want to make sure they are reading every word. This makes them feeling pointing is important. I find most of my students take what I say to heart and are then thrown for a loop when I tell them to drop their finger when they get to level C. How can all the components of the lesson be done in 20 minutes?  I don't know about you all but I always plan for my emergent lessons to be 25 minutes in length and I still feel like I run over. 
2 Books:Have You Seen My Duckling by Nancy Tafuri Level A
Noodles I Can Help! by Hans Wilhelm Level B  
I was surprised to see how most books have a higher level then I anticipated.  

I also want to share somethings I use with my emergent readers during our lesson.  
  • I don't now how much buying power you have but my favorite books to use during our lessons are from The Bella and Rosie series from Pioneer Valley Books.  My students love them so much when I was just able to buy them for my iPad one of my students got a new puppy and named her Rosie.  He told his parents so much about Bella and Rosie they bought me the WHOLE SET!!  
  • Going along with my whole one to one matching / print tracking question from above are my Laser Reading Fingers.  My kids love them and they really help get them in the habit of tracking the print.  I think I found the suggestion for these from  DeeDee Wills who heard about them from Deanna Jump?
  • I insert Jan's sound box templates into these dry erase pockets.  I'm sure you could find them cheaper else where.  
  • To help my kiddo's learn their sight words we also read one of Maria's Interactive Sight Word Books.  I will typically have mine already put together and read it with the kids.  It will be facing them and I will point to the words and have them read the focus sight word.  At the end of our lesson I will give them their own book to make during word work.  They love it and it allows me to not use up GR time cutting and gluing.  

Now to catch up on chapter 4... 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord 3

Can't believe we reached another Sunday.  Seems like summer vacation is starting to FLY by (sadsville).  I'm once again linking up with Michelle for her Sunday Smorgasbord

This week was pretty chill for me until AJ my oldest left me for the weekend, but more on that later.  We had the usual swim lessons, book club, karate and on and on.  Sometimes I fee like our summers are busier than the school year.  Though the truth is summer is probably when I get to rejoin the living and have a life with my family and friends.  I get to focus on activities outside of school, well probably like most you that's not really true, I still focus on school.

Case and point, I've been revamping our spelling for the upcoming year.  I'm pretty sure at this point it's no secret I hate Treasures, and to be honest their spelling drives me crazy!! I hate that they jump around.  Short Vowel, blend, diagraph, short vowel, diagraph, blend, long vowel, diagraph, blend, long vowel and on and on.  ANNOYING!!!  As I've mentioned I'm taking some Words Their Way online training and am hoping to use something alone those lines. I'm not ready to give up spelling lists but I am looking for a better flow which will satisfy what I know about spelling. Yesterday I sat down with all my resources and came up with a plan for the order want to teach spelling in this year. 

 I factored in what I've learned in Reading Reflex and Words Their Way and came up with the following scope and sequence.  Since I am creating it how I want I am putting diagraphs before blends and all in one unit.  Reading Reflex (Phono-Graphix) suggests that children not be taught "blends" because they should be blending every word, while I get that I wasn't willing to write that part out.  What I was more than happy to do was put each CVCe pattern next to the corresponding CVVC pattern.

Next I began putting lists together.  So far I have the first two quarters completed-- WOOHOO!
I plan to have 8 words for the first unit and 10 after that. I'm hoping to have 3 groups for spelling, approaching grade level, on grade level and exceeding grade level. I'm thinking I will give my kids the Primary Spelling Inventory and see where they all belong. Then I group them and decide what list to begin each group with. So ideally I will follow the sequence as is  for my on level group, slow it down some for my approaching group, and speed it up some for my exceeding group.  Clearly I have a lot more lists to put together, stay tuned. The only other school related stuff I had going on was putting together my order list from these catalogs.  Do they make anyone else drool?  This year I'm limiting myself to $250 from Really Good Stuff, book baskets, answer boards and I think I've reached my limit

At some point in the week I decided I was a trained groomer and would save some money by grooming my pup. 

FAIL!! Let me just tell you grooming ain't easy!  He's off to the real groomers at some point this week!  Poor Max looks like a long haired rat. 

Kev and I have dubbed this summer "movies instead of vacation", because we've yet to go away but have seen almost every new kids movie that's been released. This week we went to see Turbo.
Please forgive my sweeties evil eyes.  
It was very cute and my kids loved it but I still liked Monsters U and Dispicable Me 2 better.  My favorite part of this movie was hear Snoop Dogg as a snail--- loved it!

Since it has been so hot here in MD the AJ and I made Mel's Brazilian Lemonade Friday. Can I just tell you it was amazing?!  Just like every other recipe of hers I have made.  This limeade was so yummy, so easy to make and such a crowd pleaser!

Sadly even the lemonade couldn't keep them cool and they weren't able to flash their smiles for my pics.  I keep finding them around a/c vents in the house not sure if they're trying to stay cool, hide from my camera or enjoying sibling time?  Whatever the reason I'll take it!   

For the upcoming week I'm looking forward...
  • to my sweet AJ returning from a weekend trip to Atlanta. Let me tell ya tomorrow evening can't come soon enough!!!  This momma is ready to see her baby! Even though I am in love with my iPhone and iPad more than before for allowing me FaceTime with her, it's not the same as being able to tuck her in to bed and know that she's safe.  

My separation anxiety is making me wonder if I'm going to be one of those moms.  You know the I Love You Forever type?!  I'm pretty sure AJ won't let me be, I was shocked she was even willing to consider leaving me and now that she's having such a great time I doubt she'll pass up another grandma road trip.

  • A trip to the Natural  History Museum,  my girlfriend Danielle and I are taking Koey and Ellie tomorrow. 

  • Tuesdays Nats game with the kids. Kev is so cute and extremely excited. He went and got us all Nats shirts in preparation for the game. 

  • And of course swim lessons, karate and book club, cause what is summer with out extra curricular activities?
Thanks for reading all my ramblings again this week, be sure to link of up with Michelle!  


Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's Talk Running Records

     What do you think when you hear running record?  A few years ago I would have said panic!  These days though I think "Yes!  Bring it!"  I love taking running records while my kids read.  They supply me with such wonderful information and allow me to really get to know them as readers.  I learn what cuing systems they're using and what they need the most help with.  They help me group my students into guided reading groups and also plan my lessons. I take running records of each student about every two to three weeks.  Since our program has a limited number of benchmark books I often use a leveled reader they haven't read before.  In my grad program at Marymount my amazing professor Dr. Daly highly recommended we get use to taking running records on text we did not have already typed up so we could practice doing them on the fly and not need the text written out.  At first it was very hard for me but I eventually learned and use the blank running record from she gave us, it has come in very handy when doing running records on leveled readers, really any book I chose.
     Since I began blogging and using TPT I've remade a lot of old forms to include cuter fonts and graphics, her original blank running record form being one of them.  I would like to share these with you as a freebie today.  The file has one front page, and two options for the back page. One version includes a running record coding system and a reading accuracy chart, the second has more lines and general comprehension questions but does not have the cheat charts.  The second sheet is probably for someone who has more practice taking running records or is doing a running record on a larger text.  I use these all the time in during my reading groups, I copy them front to back and I keep a blank stack in my guided binder.  The file also includes a "Running Record Cheat Sheet" I  made for some of my team makes.  I keep a copy of this in a sheet protector in the front part of my running record section.  

I hope its helpful to someone.  


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord 2

I'm back for another one of Michelle's Sunday Smorgasbord's.

This week went by pretty quickly for me and I wasn't able to blog much so here's a teaching and non-teaching recap:

For the last 3 summers one of my besties (Sharon) and I have hosted a summer book club for the students at HR.  We normally do it for students going into 4th grade but this year had such interest from the younger grades we are doing two.  I was once again am reminded that my heart is truly with younger kids. Our first book club is for 4th & 5th graders. We are reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (does anyone know if its a long e or long I in weiler?). The girls in the group couldn't be any sweeter and I love getting a chance to catch up with my old students but the energy and interaction is so much higher with our 2nd & 3rd graders, I love it!! In that group we are reading Stink and the Incredible Super Galactic Jawbreaker. The kids interrupt more often and have so much more to share. It made me realize that what normally drives me crazy during the school year, you know when  you're reading or telling a story and E-V-E-R-Y student has something similar to share, they're making text to self connections left and right, well anyway I realized I love it. Discussing books with the older girls is harder, they are less likely to put themselves out there and share. We'll definitely have to work on that this summer.  All and all though the opportunity to read kid books, snack on yummy treats, share my love of reading with former students is one I can't pass up. We're considering running Basement Bookworms year round we enjoy it so much!
Moving on...

Since I was at school two afternoons this week for book club I got a chance to peek in to my class room, well what to my wondering eyes should appear on Thursday but WAXED floors!!!  Here's my sweet AJ (she's in the Stink book club) sharing in my excitement, poor child doesn't realize this means mama's going to be getting to work on this room earlier. 
Last year I was left for last my room wasn't ready till about the 2nd week in August and we go back the 3rd. Some teachers might not care, they can walk in teacher prep week and have their rooms ready for sneak-a-peek Thursday, not this ADHD teacher, no sir!! It takes me F-O-R-E-V-E-R and a day. I move my furniture every possible which way before settling on a layout. Then I move it again mid year. I had to go back Friday to help out on two interviews and used the rest of the day to move stuff back in. I may have done most of the maintenance crews job when I moved all the following back in.
Sharon and I couldn't move my teacher desk in so we left a note saying where I want it to go. I'm hoping to put it flush against the wall and use it as a check in center, the kids a can turn in homework and nightly folders here. That way no matter who's in correcting work that day knows what needs to be corrected and what needs to be filed and returned.

I'm currently searching for the perfect 8x10 rug. I want it to be bright, cute and not expensive. I can't believe how much classroom rugs cost, ain't nobody got money for that. So I'm hoping to find one that's $100 or less. 

This table will flip up and hold all my writing center materials. 

All that's missing here is my kidney table. It has a missing screw so I couldn't put it in place. Besides my library this is my favorite spot. I love guided reading and the time we spend in small groups.  In the tall book shelf I hope to put all my leveled readers. The top shelf of the small bookshelf will hold group bins, readers, materials, the bottom my teacher manuals and resources.

Not sure I'll need the mail sorter if I use the checkin center I mentioned. I love the antique desk and may move it to the letter sorter spot?  I don't know I may just not have room for it. I'm a hoarder who's trying to change her ways. In these shelves I will keep the math manipulatives, word work bins, and indoor recess games.

I mentioned above that I helped out with interviews on Friday.  My old partner is moving to middle school math and we interviewed for the 2nd first grade teacher. I really liked both final candidates and am so happy with who we picked. I am also happy I'm not the principal that calls the person who doesn't get the position, because it that girl was so sweet and also would have been a good fit. In the end I have a new first grade teammate and couldn't be more excited. She's responsive classroom trained and I am so hopeful she'll teach me what she knows. 

About a year ago while almost dying on a run, I asked The Lord to help me make it home, I was that tired y'all... Well I swear that I heard him respond to stop drinking Red Bull then (random I'm sure but when God speaks to you, you don't question the message).  I haven't had a Red Bull since that day last May. For a girl who had moved on to a 12 oz can once a day it was a huge change. This summer I decide to give up coke too, well at least during the week.  Can I just tell you I love water as much as the next girl but it can get boring so for when I have one of those I just can't drink another bottle moments I found this...
I love all things lemony or lime (hello margarita) and this is just delicious. 

Finally for the me the best part of summer is spending time with my kiddos, specifically this girl
My older two get to go to school with me and are my carpool buddies the hour or so each way, so I feel like I don't get as much time with my sweet, cheeky, fun littlest. Ellie is my most intense child. She's always all in, I feel like her motto in life whatever your going to do, do it 100%. Whether that's giving hugs, playing, being naughty and sassy or sweet and loving, this kid does nothing halfway. Her current obsession is Sophia the First, so now Sophia joins us in bed for morning tv time. 

Did anyone make it this far? I'm wondering if I should have left my room layout pics for another post?!  May be I'll do the update that way. Any-hoo, be sure to link up with Michelle and share your randomness!  
If anyone knows how do embed links through the blogger app please share with me.