Follow KinderGals on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


Math Mats are a great way to teach ALL of the number standards using the SAME game! Just by changing the cards, you create a new game specifically designed for each individual student.  After making the game boards, all you need is a collection of counters. There are so many cheap things that we can use as counters! We found these cute little valentine owl erasers at Target. We also found these valentine hearts at the Dollar Tree.
Here are the ways that we can use the SAME game board!
Invite the children to look at the dot configuration on one of the cards. Then, they count sets to match the dots. Repeat on each game board.
Invite the children to look at the numeral on the first card. Count  a set to match the numeral. Repeat for each game board.
Determine the number combinations for each child. For example, some kids may be working on combinations for 4 while others are on 6, etc. After deciding which number you want them to work on, give them cards with that number. Invite them to put the numeral on each game board. Now, show a different combination on each card. 
Addition can also be taught with the math mats. Give the child a collection of number sentences. Invite them to place a sentence on each game board. Use the pieces to solve the equation.
Finally...Subtraction. Just like addition, give the child a collection of subtraction sentences. Invite them to use the counters to solve the equation.
You can grab the Valentine game board at bottom of this blog post as a FREE download.
The dots, numerals, and fact sentences are part of the Math Attack Units. These units have the game boards, pieces, numeral cards, and a nifty record keeping system. There are two bundles of games.
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
I like February for so many reasons.  It's the time of year that you really start to see the fruits of your labor--not just academically but also socially. The kids have developed deeper relationships with each other, they have learned to depend on each other, and developed a few friendships that will take them into adulthood. (It's also the time when you are tired of cold weather, flu, and being inside, but trying to stay positive! haha)
Here are some of the fun activities we do during February to celebrate Valentines Day!
Heart Measurement
This is a fun craftivity for teaching measurement! After making the paper doll, the children use various items to measure "how much I  love you."
Want to use fewer pieces? Just make the arms shorter or make the measuring items larger. Instead of using pennies, just quarters!
Segmenting CVC Words
This is a fun activity to bridge from phonemic awareness to phonics. First, I gathered a small group of kids at the table. I gave them each one of the cards with the 3 heart animals and 3 hearts.  To play, I show them a picture. The children segment the phonemes and push one of the hearts onto the game board to represent each phoneme. To move the idea to phonics, give the children a little book. Invite them to glue a picture into the book. As they segment the sounds, the write the letters to represent each sound.
Making CVC Words
This is another fun way to build cvc words. Give the children 3 circles, a dice, the game board, and a recording sheet. Invite the children to roll the dice. Take one of the circles and move it up the first column of letters that many spaces.  Repeat for all three columns. Now, write the 3 letters on the recording sheet. Read the word.
Sorting Stamps
To play this game, I found this fun stamp clip art. You could also use real stamps. Give each child around 15 stamps. Invite them to think of different ways they can sort the stamps.  It is better to give them fewer stamps and encourage them to think of many ways to sort.
Comparing Names
To play this activity, give each child a booklet like the one above. Invite the kids to write their name in the first row of boxes.
Now, they ask another child to write their name in the second row of boxes.  Circle whether the name is longer, shorter, or the same length as your name. They loved being able to walk around the room!
Racing Hearts
To play this game, the kids need 3 heart game pieces, a game board, and a dice. Each child needs their own game, it is not a partner game.  The child rolls the dice. Now, they move the hearts that many squares. They can move one heart all of the moves, or they can split the moves between the hearts.
Nonfiction Guided Reading
We love our Nonfiction Guided Readers! The kids are killing it! Notice how we printed in black and white! Photographs are beautiful either way! You can read how to print them as a booklet for easy assembly in this blog post.
Various Levels of Text
To make the book, I created text at 3 different levels.  Each level has the same photographs and uses the same nonfiction features. We use these books for strategy lessons.  This means, we aren't working on decoding, etc. I'm not concerned about a perfect fit. I just don't want it to be too hard! We are teaching our kids how readers use nonfiction features to gain information!
Nonfiction Features
After reading the book, the kids have an opportunity to apply the new nonfiction feature. In this case, the kids are learning how to use a table of contents. They cut the pages to make a little book. Staple. Then, they number the pages and create a table of contents.
Word Work
We also use content from the books to practice some form of word work. Here the kids are taking the letters in valentines to build different word family words. First, they find the letters to make the chunk. Then, they use the remaining letters to see if they make a new word by placing it in front of the chunk.
We also use writing as a way to practice the nonfiction features. Here the kids are writing text using questions!
Guided Reading Text
Each of our Monthly Guided Reading Units has 5 titles. The February Guided Reading Unit has three books to use around Valentines, a President's Day Book, and a Groundhogs Book.
Who Has More
This is a fun game to use during math centers.  To play, make a deck of cards and a game board. The game board needs a more and less spinner, and a square for more and a square for less. To play, each child turns over a card. They compare for more and less and place the card on the game board.  The child with "less" spins the spinner. If it lands on more, the child with more gets both cards. If it lands on less, the child with less gets both cards.
Measure Me
The kids love playing this game. One child lays down. The other child uses the mail trucks to measure the length of his body.  On the recording page, they record how many it took. Then, they trade places!
Roll Count Compare
The kids love this game! To play you need a game board, unifix cubes, a dice, and a board with a more and less spinner, and boxes for more and less.  The first child rolls the dice and counts out that many unifix cubes (all one color). Then he places the cubes on any squares on the game board.  The second child rolls the dice and counts out that many unifix cubes (a different color than his partner). Put them on the game board. The children continue taking turns until the game board is full. Now they can each collect their own cubes and compare for more and less. Spin to see who wins!
These ideas are from the Valentine's Math Game Pack
You can grab this fun Roll, Say Keep game as a freebee below! To play, make a game board with 6 squares. Put a dice face in each square.  Make a set of cards. I made 3 sets--numerals, letters, and sight words.  Select a set of cards and place them on the left side of the game board.  Put 6 of the cards on the game board.  Invite the children to roll the dice.  Look at the game board and find the dice face that matches the dice.  The child "reads" the card in the square. If they can read the card, they remove it from the game board and place it on the right side of the board.  Add another card into the blank space. Continue until all of the cards are moved to the right side of the game board. 
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Ever wonder how people can keep a mini lesson to last only 10 minutes? Do you struggle with keeping the standard clear and evident? Do you hate writing plans? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this blog post it just what you need! 
I finally did it! While I love the creative side of teaching, paper work has never been a friend of mine.  I loathe doing lesson plans, scripting lessons, and keeping records. I put it off. BUT, these activities are essential for effective teaching.  So, what did I finally do? I finally took our bundled units for readers workshop, writers workshop and literacy centers and created a monthly scope and sequence to show how the three series work together to grow literate children.  In this blog post, I am going to explain the reader's workshop scope and sequence. Read all the way to the bottom. The scope and sequence is a FREE download!
Brainstorming the Unit
 Each month, when Michele and I were writing these units, we would meet for dinner at Panera! After dinner, we would spend hours sitting in the booth unpacking the standards and deciding what the children would be able to do if they had indeed mastered the standards.  We then decided on our daily focus for each of the 20 days and what the resources would look like that we would be using. Then, we went home! We each had our assignments--Michele would script the lessons we had agreed upon and I would make all of the anchor charts, teaching pieces and plan our monthly celebration.  It works! Michele gets to do what she is a genius at--scripting, and I get to do what I enjoy--creating resources.
This picture shows our spreadsheet for the 5th month. Each of our units include this type of spreadsheet. This enables us to quickly see which resources are needed and to identify the big idea for each lesson.
Scripting the Lesson
For each of the 20 days, Michele wrote DETAILED lessons where she scripted our thinking and what we are going to say in order to get the responses we are seeking. Don't worry that you can't read it, I'm going to show you a close up of each component of the lesson.
Lesson Components: Part 1: Connect
The mini lesson occurs with the kids gathered around you in your meeting area.  They observe and listen as you connect and TEACH the new learning.
In the connect part of the lesson, the objective it to remind the kids what we did yesterday.  This gets everyone ready and in the same place.
Part 2: Teach
The new learning is introduced during the "teach" portion of the mini lesson.  In this lesson, we are teaching the children how to "switch up" their thinking when they are reading by looking at the picture and then identifying the beginning sound.
Using these cards, I show the children the picture with the letter "t", I identify the picture as a toad. But, when I open the card, I see the "fr" and so I "switch up" my thinking to see that it is a frog. After modeling with a few cards, sharing my thinking each time, it is their turn.
Active Engagement
Active Engagement is when the children practice the new learning.  We listen in as the children answer and demonstrate their understanding. 
The children sit beside their elbow partner as we show the remaining cards. They are responding to their partners as they "switch it up".  In this particular mini lesson, the children do not need any materials to practice their new learning. But sometimes, the children do need resources.

For example, in this lesson, during the Active Engagement portion of the lesson, the children are retelling Little Red Riding Hood. Each partnership needed a set of the retelling pieces to demonstrate their mastery. 
During the Link portion of the lesson, we are reminding the children what they just learned. 
This is a great time to model using the academic vocabulary and to equip children to use this vocabulary during their discussions with other children and with us.
During the Link portion of the lesson, we are also building our anchor chart. I premade the chart. Then, we cover it up with a piece of bulletin board paper. Each day, we reveal the next part of the anchor chart to show the new learning.
Scope and Sequence
See what we did there? Michele and I did all the prep work. We unpacked the standards, brainstormed the big ideas, scripted the lessons, and made the resources.  Here's what's cool about that...now you can shift your focus to the delivery.  That is the most important part!
Here's what we just finished. I made a spreadsheet for each month. This enables you to see what you are doing during reader's workshop, writer's workshop and at literacy centers. You can grab the 9 month spreadsheet at the bottom of the blog post.
Both the Reader's Workshop units and the Literacy Center units have scripted lesson plans for the mini lesson! That makes it super easy. Be sure and grab these discounted bundles (it might just make your life a little easier).
For the Writer's Workshop, I did NOT script the lessons. These units have the monthly spreadsheet of the resources and the big idea, but no scripted lessons.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
A few months ago I shared some fall themed math mats for developing number sense! This post shares some of our favorite February themed mats (groundhog's day, valentines, and postal workers) for developing number sense!
Getting Started
  • To make ONE math mat game, place 6-8 boards and about 100 counting pieces into a ziploc baggie.
  • I use math mats as one of my centers. I can have 4-6 kids in that area. 
  • Since each child will select one of the baggies, I want to have at least 7-8 math mat baggies in order for each child to have choice. 
  • Each child also has a library pocket that contains cards. The cards determine what each child will do with their mats and counting pieces.
One to One Correspondence
If a child has cards with dots in their library pocket, he is learning to touch each object and to assign a number word to that object.  He may, or may not, recognize any numerals at this point. In this example, the child counts the dots on the card. Then, he puts that many suns or clouds on the groundhog. Repeat this on each of the game boards. These children are also developing cardinality, conservation, and subitizing.
Numeral Recognition
If a child has cards with numerals, they are counting the correct number of pieces onto the game boards  to match each numeral. When we say "number" we are referring to that set of objects. When we say "numeral" we are referring to a symbol that represents that number!  The child places one numeral card on each game board and counts a set of objects to match the numeral. In this example, the child is counting hearts and keys clip art pictures onto the game boards.
In order to save ink I have a few choices. I made each game board and page of counting pieces in both color and black and white.  In this game, I printed the hears on pink and red paper to save color ink!
I found these cute counting pieces at the Dollar Tree. I bought 2 packages of each color to be sure and have enough. I can use these instead of the paper counting pieces.
Number Combinations
I also found these fun Valentine cups at the Dollar Tree. I picked up some straws to use for the counting pieces. If a child is working on number combinations, all of the cards in their pocket will have the same numeral. For example, if the child is working on combinations for 6, then you will put enough "6" cards for them to use on all of the math mats. 
***Important thing to think about:
Once the children get to this step, you will want them to have the opportunity to divide their counting pieces into two groups. In this example, there are two different colors of straws. They can put 1 pink and 5 purple to make 6. But, if I only had pink straws, they could put 1 straw on the ground and 5 straws in the cup. This means that you want ALL of your games to have the ability to do this! That way, regardless as to where the children are working, they can all use the same math mats.
I hit the jackpot at the Dollar Tree. I also found these fun little mailboxes. I had to think about this one as each mailbox was $1. In the end, as you can see, I got them. I just know the kids will love them! Sticking with the same games, we can also teach addition.  Here the kids are putting packages and letters into the mailboxes to match the equations.  Before beginning this step, you will want to call kids into a small group that are ready for addition. Give each child one game board. As you tell story problems, invite the children to manipulate the pieces to solve the equation. Once they understand this concept (it could take 4-5 small group times), introduce the equations. Tell a story problem that matches the equation.  After you have modeled several times, invite the children to tell story problems. Once this is mastered, give each child their own math mats with a variety of equations. Invite them to spread out the mats and solve each equation. Once they have finished, the children select one of the cards to tell you an addition story.
When I saw these roses at the Dollar Tree, I looked for some plastic vases. All I could find were glass ones. Then, I saw these glasses. I guess from the picture you put dessert in them? To use the game boards for subtraction, use the same steps as addition just this time use subtraction!

 Here's what's cool.
  • When the children go to the Math Mats center, they select their pocket folder out of a file box.
  • Next to the file box is a container with the games in baggies.
  • Each baggie contains ONE game (6-8 mats and about 100 counting pieces).
  • They can pick ANY baggie!
  • All of the games can be used regardless of where the children are working in their number development. 
  • In order to determine where the kids need to begin, you can go back to your formative assessment. I love to use the ESGI platform!
ESGI is a great way to keep up with your assessments! The assessments are right on your computer or ipad. I just walk around the room and ask the kids while they are working! It then gives you a score for that assessment. 

I love that ESGI allows you to print out a parent letter with the information for everything you have tested!
It will also print out flash cards so that parents can help at home. You can check out ESGI for free! Just go to this link and sign up for your free trial!
Here are the units the contain the game boards, pages of counting pieces, and the cards for the pocket folders. The game boards and the counting pieces are in color and black and white.

Math Attack Bundle 1 contains math mats that I use from August through January.
And Math Attack Bundle 2 contains the math mats I use from February to July.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Do you have a list of "must have" picture books? If so, get your pen ready, because here is one that you need to add to your list!  My favorite Thanksgiving book is "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie." Here is our fun retelling activity. Be sure and read to the bottom to grab your FREE Thanksgiving activity!
Here is the book you NEED to get! I just did a search on Amazon, and it is still in print!
To begin the lesson, we talked about what our families eat for Thanksgiving.  Here's what we did.
  • I placed these food picture cards into a bag.
  • I pulled each item from the bag as we added it to our chart. 
  • Then, we pulled the word cards from the bag.
  • I asked the children to look at pictures one more time. Then, I told them to look at the beginning letter on the label to help them think about which of the food pictures might begin with that letter.
  • I try to always think, "What strategy am I teaching?" This is a perfect time to remind children that good readers use pictures and look at the first letter to help them think about the word.
You can grab the picture cards and the labels in the FREE file at the bottom of this blog post.
To get started with the story portion of the lesson, I made this fun apron of the old lady. I cut the pieces from fabric and used "wonderunder" to adhere them to the apron. You can grab that at any craft store.  I cut out her mouth and made a pocket in the back to hold the pieces.
Before reading, I told the children that our story today was about a lady who ate ALL of the Thanksgiving food. We talked about what we thought would happen to someone who ate too much Thanksgiving food. Now, as I read the story, I fed the pieces into her mouth.  (I find it helpful to number the pieces. I turn them facedown and sequence them by number before I begin.  This makes it really easy to find the next piece as you are reading.) 
There is no benefit in "passing out" the pieces to the children and inviting them to bring the pieces up as you read the story. In fact, that can be a distraction.  They become more interested in who has what piece, and who doesn't have a piece, than the story. Comprehension goes out the window! YOU maintain control of the pieces! As you are telling/reading the story, the pieces provide a visual interest to keep the children's attention on the events occurring in the text.
You can also use this simpler version. Just use clip art of an "old lady" head's, cut out the mouth, and glue to the front of a paper bag.  As you read the story, slip the cards inside her mouth.
After reading, it is time to check for comprehension! An easy way to do that is through retelling! Here are a few things that I think about during this part of the lesson:
  • It is always strategy over story! This means that I am not teaching the book, I am teaching how to comprehend a story..."Good readers sequence events, characters, or settings to help them retell." THAT is my teaching point!
  • Good readers go back to the book.  I need to teach the children to go back and use the text and pictures to help them sequence the clip art pictures.
  • Invite groups of children to come up and hold the food cards to represent the events in the story. Using the text, sequence the pictures.
  • As the children feed the pictures into the bag or apron, retell the story!
  • Repeat multiple times, inviting various groups of children to help. Each time go back to the text to sequence the pictures.
  • Another teaching point, "good readers reread text many times", can also be addressed.  After retelling several times, invite a group of children to sequence the pictures without going back to the text. Once they are in the order they select, invite the children to go back to the text to check for accuracy.  ALWAYS go back to the text to show evidence of your answer!
  • See all of this "big kid stuff" we are learning!!!!
Now, it's their turn. Provide the children with a copy of the clip art in the story to color.
Next, cut out the pictures.
Then, using the text, invite the children to sequence the pictures to show the order of the events in the story. Keep reminding them that good readers sequence events, characters, and settings to help them retell the story. We made a fun pie bag to hold the pieces. Simply cut the top off of a paper bag and make a pie crust top out of paper.
Finally, as the children retell the story, they place the pieces inside of the paper bag pie. OR, use an old lady face similar to the one on the bag you made. Glue the face to the front of a paper lunch bag. As the children are retelling, they feed the pieces into the mouth.
Instead of putting the work in their cubbies, consider inviting them to place the retelling activity in their "bag of books" used during independent reading time.  They can retell the story over and over again!
All of the pieces for this activity (except for the Old Lady Apron), are from this Retelling unit that I wrote with Kim Jordano.
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Hey Guys! I recently  updated my Apples and Pumpkins Math and Literacy Unit.  Here are the few of those ideas. You can see a video of more activities in the product preview on teachers pay teachers.
Here's a fun way to teach the Life Cycle of the Pumpkin. To make the flow map, I used 12 x 18 construction paper and cut 7 pumpkins. We sequenced the pictures of the life cycle. Then, on each pumpkin we used interactive writing to write each stage.
The kids then made their own pumpkin life cycle accordion fold book.
After reading about the parts of the pumpkin, we made a brace map.  The children each made their own paper plate pumpkin to show the parts. (The Pumpkins book is from our November Guided Reading Unit. It is not in the Apples and Pumpkins Unit.) Our unit also has a brace map for the parts of an apple.
What a fun cooking activity for our Fun Fridays. The children made pumpkin pizzas using an English muffin. After baking our pumpkins, we made a pumpkin book to sequence the steps. The children cut apart the scrambled sentences for each step.
On our apples Fun Friday, the kids made pattern apple kabobs using the different colors of apples. We tasted each color to decide which was our favorite. Then we made a "pie" graph to show our data.
We also had some fun apples and pumpkin activities in our centers.
At my small group table, we segmented phonemes as we pushed the pumpkin seeds onto the pumpkins in the wagon.
Then, the kids made their own pumpkin cvc books. They selected clip art to glue on their wagons. Then, they stretched the word and wrote the letters to represent the sounds.
This pumpkin seed dice game was a huge hit at my small group table during math. The children roll a dice and put that many seeds on their pumpkin. Then, they roll again. They ask themselves, "What do I need to do with the seeds on my pumpkins so I have the number of seeds as the dots on the dice?" They must decided it they need to take some off (subtract) or put some on (add). The children can record their number sentences on the recording page. (We have this for apples in our unit as well.)
If you already own the Apples and Pumpkins unit, be sure and go to your "my purchases" section on tpt to download the latest version. If you don't have it, you can grab it here.
Want to see more? Check out the product preview.
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Are your geoboards collecting dust in the cabinet? Are you a new teacher and have been wondering what are those boards with rows of nails?  In this post I am going to share some of our favorite ways to use geoboards to teach EVERY math standard!
Counting: Make and Count
To play Make and Count:
  • Invite the children to select a pattern card.
  • Using linking cubes, copy and extend the pattern on the geoboards. 
  • Color the pattern on the recording sheet.
  • Once the pattern is complete, sort the cubes by their color.
  • Count how many of each color and record the numeral on the recording page.
When I am introducing this activity to my class here are the steps I follow:
  1. Introduce the game during a large group setting. Model and allow time for the children to practice making the pattern, sorting and counting.
  2. Next, play the game in small groups. Group your children based on your observations during the large group instruction. Introduce the recording page.
  3. After a few weeks, move the activity to a center. If it is going to be a "have to" activity, included the recording sheet. But, if it is a "can do" activity for early finishers, I do not use a recording page.
Data: Stretch and Graph
Stretch and Graph is a fun activity to teach analysis of data. Here is how you play:
  • Invite the children to select a numeral card.
  • Stretch a rubber band on the first column to cover that many nails.
  • Return the numeral card to the stack.
  • Select a second card and stretch a rubber band on the second column that many spaces.
  • Repeat for all 5 columns.
  • Invite the children to write an analysis of their data.
Geometry: Build a Shape
Build a Shape is a great activity to introduce the concept of how many sides are on a shape. Here's how to play:
  • Invite the children to spin the spinner.
  • Count rubber bands to match the numeral on the spinner.
  • Select a shape card with that many sides.
  • Use the rubber bands to build the shape.
  • Record the shape on the recording page.
Measurement: Make and Outline
Make and Outline is a fun way to teach children to measure a shape.  Here's how to play:
  • Invite the children to select a "make a shape" card.
  • Using rubber bands, make the shape on the geoboard.
  • Place a linking cube on each of the nails along the outline of the shape.
  • On the recording page, draw the shape and the cubes along the outline.
  • Count the cubes and record the numeral on the recording page.
Addition/Subtraction: Build It
Build It is a fun way to teach the concepts of combining sets (addition). Here's how to play:
  • Invite the children to spin the spinner and count out bands to match the numeral where the paper clip lands. (Use all one color of bands.)
  • Spin again. Count bands to match the numeral using a different color of bands.
  • Using the bands, create something.
  • Draw the design on the recording page. Write the addition sentence to match the bands.
Composing/Decomposing Number: How Many More
Here is a fun activity for teaching children to decompose a number.
  • Invite the children to put 10 cubes on the geoboard.
  • Turn over a card. (Cards have numerals 11-19.)
  • The children decide how many more cubes they need to make that number.
  • Then, they count the cubes and add them to the geoboard.
  • Draw the cubes on the recording page.
  • Write the number sentence to show how to decompose the number.
You can grab the How Many More? lesson plan, I can Card, game pieces, and recording page below.  It's Free!  Michele has done a fabulous job writing a detailed lesson plan on the 3 components of the lesson: I do, We do, and You do. 
 She also adds suggestions for how to differentiate this lesson for all of your little learners.
These are just a few of the 19 activities included in the Geoboard Manipulative Unit. 
You can see a video with all of the activities in the product preview.
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Family Fun! This post shares some of our favorite math and literacy activities for celebrating Families!
What fun is this? The kids follow the recipe to make a shape house cookie. After making the cookie, we sequenced the sentences to show the steps. Then, the children drew a picture of the shape house cookie and labeled the shapes.
For this math center, the children glued 8 houses of different colors on a strip of paper. Once they were glued down, the children sequenced the ordinal number house cards. Then, they completed the recording page by labeling the ordinal position of each house. 
After teaching the children the nursery rhyme, The Old Lady who Lived in a Shoe, we played this math activity.  The children rolled a dice to add boys and girls to their shoes. Then, they decided how many children altogether. We played several times before the children glued them down.
We love the book, The Doorbell Rang.  After reading the story, we completed this math story problem.  We played several times before using the recording page.
We learned the Shel Silverstein poem, Tree House/Free House. Then, the children surveyed their friends to see if they want to live in a tree house or a "street house". They converted their data to a graph and wrote their analysis.
Love using things that are FREE! I have a stash of magazines. I made a step book for each child. On each page, I wrote a letter or a word that each child needed to practice. Then, the children look through the magazine to find that letter/word. They cut them out and glue them on the page.
This is a fun way to work on descriptive vocabulary.  The children selected a clip art picture that represented someone in their family. Then, invite theme to write or dictate a description of that person.
We used this chart and interactive writing to make a list of things in a baby bag.  I have a baby bag with these things inside.  As I pull them out, we wrote the word beside the correct picture.  Then, the children made a baby. We used a paper plate to make a diaper book. Inside of the book, the children glued the pictures and wrote the labels for each.
 Over the course of the week, we completed this tree map, doing one section each day.  Tree maps are a GREAT way to introduce nonfiction writing.  Once the tree map is completed, the children can use the sentences to make a family book.
If you want to see more fun family activities, watch the video in the "preview" on the Family Fun Unit.
Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Do you have some children in your room that know all of the numerals while others know some, but not all, and yet others know very few? This blog post shares our strategy to tackle just that!
Storage and Management
First, we purchased a hanging file folder box. We created a folder for each numeral by placing tabs at the top.
Then, we labeled a 2 pocket folder and a supply bag for each child. We placed both of them inside a 2 gallon Ziploc bag. Make one for each child.
We collected all of the supplies for each child. These are stored inside the supply bag.
Once we had collected all of the needed items, we assessed each of the children to determine which numerals/numbers needed an intervention.
Using that information, we collected the activities for each child and placed them inside of the 2 pocket folder. We labeled one side with a green dot and one with a red dot.  The children start with all of the activities on the green dot side. As they complete each activity, they move it to the red dot side.
Numeral/Number Activities

We made 10 different activities.  First we use the assessments to decide which numerals (usually 3-5 numerals at a time) we are going to put in the folder. Then, we select which of the 10 activities we are going to use.  We may use 3-4 for each numeral. Here are the 10 activities that we choose from.
Race It! is a favorite of all of your car enthusiasts. The children remove the car from the supply bag. They roll the car along the numeral as they name it.
What children don't like playdough?  For the Roll It! activity, the children roll the playdough into snakes as they form each numeral.
For Bend It! the children use pipe cleaners to  form each numeral. As they are forming the numeral, they repeat the number name.
Pom Pom It! uses the same numeral cards as Roll It! and Bend It!. The children use the pom poms to place on the numeral outline. For extra fun, add a pair of tweezers to manipulate the pom poms!
Find It! (Numerals) helps the children identify the numeral by visually discriminating it from the other numerals.  Invite the children to place a button, or other small object, on the numeral indicated in the large box.  As the children place the buttons on the card, invite them to say the numeral. If they can't remember the name of the numeral, they can count the dots in the tens frames.
If the child can identify the numeral, they may need to practice recognizing the number. Number refers to the quantity while numeral refers to the symbol that represents that quantity. To practice number, the children follow the same rules by placing a button on each number configuration.
Clip It! provides additional practice with number. The children clip the clothes pin on each configuration that matches the numeral on the card.  Clip It! 1 uses dominoes, dice, number bonds and fingers.
Clip It 2! also provides practice with identifying number configurations. It has tens frames, tally marks, linking cubes and rekenreks.
For Trace It! The children use their finger or a pointer to trace the numeral. Repeated practice develops brain memory of the stroke.
One of the last strategies to use is Write It! After laminating the card, the children use the dry erase marker to trace the numeral and then to practice forming the numeral on the lines provided.
All of these activities can be found in our Numeral Intervention Unit.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
I had a really hard time deciding how to title this post. Is it guided reading? Yes! Is it about Non-fiction features? Yes! It is about a  HUGE free file? Yes! Too many choices! I ended up going with Guided Reading as the title, it is really the "meat" of the post!
Guided Reading is a BIG part of a successful Balanced Literacy Curriculum. In this post I am going to share 6 simple steps that I follow to make guided reading easy and successful! You will want to read all the way to the bottom of this post! That is where you will find the HUGE free file!
Getting Ready for Guided Reading
Guided Reading is conducted in a small group of kids, usually 4-6.  Most often, these groups are based on their reading level.
A running record is used to determine a child's reading level. They are used to determine which children should be in the same group. One thing, among many, that we can learn from a running record is the child's accuracy rate.  In order for a book to be a "good fit", the child should be able to read 90% of the words before the guided reading lesson begins. 
Here is a simple form that I made to use for running records.  If you aren't familiar with running records, you will want to go a search to learn more. We aren't going to go into detail about running records in this post.  I suggest going to youtube and searching there. Many teachers have loaded videos of them doing running records!
For right now, let's just look at accuracy rate. As the child reads a book, give them a check whenever they get a word right. Now, we are going to modify here....for each wrong word just give an "x" (until you learn how to code a running record). Last, determine the accuracy rate. They should miss 10% or less!  You can grab this free running record form at the bottom of this blog post.  It is an easy way to count the words as there are rows of 10 boxes! How do I fit in running records? Keep reading and I'll tell you!
 Now you are ready to form your groups. Group together any kids that are on the same level. This will be a guided reading group!
After making your groups, you will develop a plan! Here are the 6 steps we use to plan our guided reading groups. Be sure and scroll to the bottom to grab this free guided reading lesson plan form.
Step 1: Warm Up Read
It's time to get started with the lesson! Collect the children you need for your guided reading lesson.  Since these groups are constantly changing as their reading levels change, these groups are not named! The kids are usually unaware of who they went to reading with yesterday, as these groups may have been different last week!  Once you have the kids at your table, give them a copy of the book they read the LAST time they were at your table. Invite the children to read the book. This warms up the brain and gets it ready for the new learning. As the children are reading, I select one child from the group to do a running record. I give them a "cold read". This is a book they have not read before. I introduce the book to them, and then I invite them to read it to me. I take a running record.  If the other children in the group finish before I have finished my running record...they read their book again!  I usually meet with 2 groups a day. This means I am taking 10 running record a week.  This allows me to change my reading groups, based on running records,  about every 2 weeks!
Step 2: Word Work
It is important to preview your guided reading books. You will want to look for word patterns or sight words that will help the kids be successful. During the word work part of the lesson, you want to explore these selected words. Write these words on word cards. Show each word to the children. Discuss the word. For more information on introducing new words, you might want to read this book post on Six Easy Steps to Learn Any Word..
Once you have discussed the word, hide your word. Invite the children to make the word. They can use magnetic letters, dry erase board, magna doodles, etc.
Step 3: Picture Walk
After practicing the words, it is time to introduce the new book to the group. It is important for the children to have an idea of what the story is about BEFORE they begin reading. Ever wonder why authors put a summary of their book on the jacket?  Not only does it help you determine if you want to read that book, but it also helps you to start thinking about vocabulary and words you might see in the text.  It helps a reader get a feel for the story.
After discussing the pictures and talking about what might happen in this text, you can invite children to scan text to find the words they practiced during the word work portion of the lesson. OR, you might have children scan for words that they might find difficult.
Step 4: Independent Read
Now it is time for each child to read their book.  This is not round robin reading where children are taking turns. All children are reading at the same time! You might have noticed the white pvc pipe "phones" on an earlier picture. Each child has a phone. They read into their phone. This helps the children develop inner voice, but it also keeps it quiet!
DETOUR: So far we have been looking at grouping kids according to their reading level. HOWEVER,  sometimes we can group kids for strategy lessons. One time that this is particularly helpful is when I am teaching the nonfiction features.  While we do a BIG unit on Non-Fiction Features as part of our Reader's Workshop Units, I found that it wasn't enough! I decided to start in the fall and introduce a few nonfiction features during guided reading each month. Over the course of the year, I added more features while keeping the others in the text as well.
To make this happen, here's what I needed...
  • I wanted to have books that were related to our science and social studies curriculum.
  • I wanted to have that same book at various levels of text.
  • And I wanted the various levels to all teach the same nonfiction feature!
Good luck finding that! Since that wasn't going to happen, I wrote my own. I'll talk about that more later.
Step 5: Checking for Understanding
As children are finishing reading the text, they reread while others are working through for the first time. When all children have finished the text, you will want to check for understanding. You are checking for comprehension. You might find it helpful to have a series of questions already prepared.
Step 6: After the Book
Non-Fiction Features
While this is the end of the official guided reading lesson, what happens now--what happens after the book. Here are some of the things that you could use as centers, morning work, or other times you are having children work independently. One thing we can do is to revisit the non-fiction feature included in the recent text. For example, in this book about Apples, we were learning about cut-a-ways. Now, the children are creating their own Apples Book by matching pictures and cut-a-ways.
Or in this example. We wee learning about diagrams. The children used their text to create a diagram to show the life cycle of a pumpkin. Be sure and have the text available during these follow up activities.
Writing and Graphic Organizer
Writing is always a great follow up activity.  In this photo, the child is using the cut-a-way book they made, to create text about apples. The writing activity provides an opportunity for the child to practice using the nonfiction feature in their own writing!
Skills Practice
Connecting skills practice to the text is another great way to explore phonetic features. After reading a book about Thanksgiving Food, this little guy is sorting pictures by long i (pie) and long e (peas).
Non-Fiction Guided Reading Units
As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't find the books that I wanted! Here's how I made my own..
  • I started off doing some research. While this book on pumpkins wasn't much of a challenge as far as me knowing the content, not all of the topics were that easy.
  • The next thing I did was to collect the photographs that I wanted to use.
  • Lastly, I created the text. I started with the most challenging text and simplified for the other 2 levels.
While these books are not going to be a PERFECT fit for their level, just be sure the child knows at least 90% of the words. The goal here is to teach the nonfiction features and how readers use them to gain information. It is a strategy lesson!
Here are the contents of the Guided Reading Units:
Word Work
Here is an easy way to manage the word work portion of the lesson. The children make the words with magnetic letters, letter tiles, foam letters, etc. Then, they write the word.
Skills Practice
I created a few different activities for the children to practice their phonemic understanding. I can easily assign the one that I think fits the child's needs the best.
Graphic Organizers and Writing
Tree Maps are great for helping children organize their thoughts for nonfiction writing. For each text, I created a tree map and a writing page. The writing page includes the opportunity for the children to include the nonfiction feature as a writer.
Non Fiction Feature
Each text also provides opportunity for the kids to practice the nonfiction feature. For example, this text about Fall Clothing included a page where I (or the author) have included a labeled photograph. Using the text, invite the children to label the reproducible.
Printing and Organizing
Since I have a unit (includes 5 different titles-each title at 3 levels) for every month, I love how my friend Kathleen organized her monthly binders. She make a pocket for each text with the lesson plans and all of the "after the book" pages.
Let's talk printing...all that color ink! It can get very expensive, but here's the good news--many nonfiction photos are now produced in black and white as the preferred way of printing. That means that these book can easily be printed on plain paper, black and white.  You might want to print the cover in color on cardstock and laminate it for durability. If you want to know how to print these books as "booklets" you can read that in this blog post on Printing Booklets
Smart Board
While the "Challenge" level may be above the reading level of any of your kids, it is a great teacher resource. You can use it to guide the discussion in the other two levels with limited text. The Challenge Level has the "meat" of the content. Also, consider projecting the Challenge Level text onto your smart board as a large group experience.
You did it! You read the whole post! I hope you found this information helpful. (Remember you can always leave comments if you have questions!) Your reward...a free file!
I created an Owls guided reading unit. It has a Nonfiction book about owls with a lesson plan to help guide your instruction. There are 3 different levels of the text. The "after the book" activities are also included.
Skills work, word work, graphic organizers and writing pages are also included.
If you want to snag the free forms mentioned in this post, you can find them here.
The Free Owl Unit is below.
The Guided Reading Mega Bundle contains 5 nonfiction titles for each month with lesson plans, each title at 3 levels, and all of the "after the book" pages. (This bundle does not include the Back to School Unit or the Earth Day Unit. They can be purchased separately.) The bundle is normally $117, but is on sale until Wednesday for $56. The Earth Day Unit is $3.00, and the Back to School Unit is normally $13, but is on sale for $6.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview