Sunday, November 16, 2014

Got Fluent Readers?

Do your students struggle with fluency?

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

This seems like a big battle every year.  You have a few students who really suffer with being fluent readers.  You tell them to practice reading like they talk, but still every time they read they...  You read to them so they can hear great fluency, but still no progress.

This year I have done tons of oral writing to help my kiddos with their fluency.  

The biggest connection I have found is if a child talks slowly, they are probably going to be a slow reader.  

We use Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom, so using Teach! Ok! is perfect for helping my students with their fluency.

Another way I am helping my students with their fluency is by using Reader's Theaters.  

Have you heard of these?

They are WONDERFUL for helping with fluency.

This past week my students got their first taste of Reader's Theaters.  I explained it to them as if they were going to be actors or actresses performing in a show.  They thought that was so cool.  I explained and showed them how to highlight their parts.  This was confusing for some of them.   They wanted to say the name and what they said.  I had to clarify for them that the name was who's part is was.  In a show you watch you don't hear the actor say Bob: I am going to the store.  You just hear Bob say, "I am going to the store."  This seems to help them visualize it better.  Next I put them in their groups for their story.

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I gave the students about 10 minutes to read through the story.  
I walked around and listened and offered advice.  I found that I had to remind the students to pay attention while everyone was reading.  They needed to be ready to go when it was their turn. 

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I think this Reader's Theater needed up being a challenge because a lot of the words were difficult.  Plus, for their first one the groups were too big.

The next day we started our next Reader's Theater.  This story only had three parts. 
Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

We started out again highlighting our parts and then I placed them in groups.  The students really seemed to get this part better so we were off to a great start.

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

Once the groups were made and placed around the room I gave them some time to practice.  This time watching the kiddos, I could tell that they were understanding what to do and having a much better time with it.
Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

Once time was up for practicing, I had each group perform their story.  Wow!!!  What a difference a day made.  I could tell how beneficial using Reader's Theaters in my class were going to be.  

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

The students seemed to really enjoy reading the story the second day.  They were reading with expression and most of them sounded great!

Photo fo Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I would like to use more Reader's Theaters in my classroom.  I am going to make a goal of every other week if not every single week. I think it would make a great Friday activity that will help the students and motivate to become flueut readers.

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I plan on taping my groups the next time we do one of these kinds of stories.  I think I will tape them throughout the year because it will be a great way to show parents how their child's fluency has improved throughout the year. 

Photo of Veteran's Day Wolfelicious

We also learned about Veteran's Day this week.  We wanted to THANK all the Veterans!

I hope you have a great week!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Have a Wolfelicious day!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recess, Thank You, Halloween, Addition, Soil, and More!

One of the many things I love about my school is that we still have recess!  

Here are my kiddos enjoying their recess time.
Photo of recess wolfelcious
My students get recess everyday for about 10 to 15 minutes.  I really feel my students need this because they are busy working ALL day long.  They need this break to run and get their energy out.

Veteran's Day is tomorrow and I wanted to do something to thank the Veteran's.  We are going to learn about Veterans the rest of the week and then complete a writing about Veterans.  I thought a heart painted as a flag and then a child holding a thank you sign would be perfect to add to our Veteran letters. 
Photo of Thank You Wolfelicious
Photo of Thank You Wolfelicious
Aren't they adorable??

At my school we always have a big Halloween parade and a costume contest amongst the teachers.  This year my team decided to dress up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I loved this idea since my own child loves the TMNT and he is the same age as our students.  I figured the kiddos would just love seeing this.  Here is how our costumes turned out.
Photo of Halloween Wolfelicious
During the parade we would stop randomly and do a little dance and cheer.  Go ninja, Go ninja, Go! (Vanilla Ice sang this song.  We used the chorus of it)  We had a blast!

Last week my kiddos worked on addition.  We had to make 10 to add.  I thought the easiest way to get the students to understand it was to print off ten-frames for the students to use and use manipulatives.  I also came up with a little tune to help my students get the concept.  They would put one number at the top ten-frames and then the other number on the bottom ten-frames. 

 Then we would sing...We're moving on up...moving on up... to the top tens-frame.  We have to move up to make teeeeeennn.  We're, we're moving on up!  

The kids LOVED the song and I really think it helped them understand this concept.  Here are some pics of my kiddos in action learning how to make 10 to add. 

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

My school uses the Wonders series.  I found this great supplemental work to help my students.  

Phonics Interactive Notebook -Wonders Supplemental from Tammy Wathen-The Resourceful Apple

If you use the Wonders series you need to check it out.

Also, I have been use this...

McGraw-Hill Wonders Writing: 1st grade Language Arts- Writing and Grammar Unit 2  from Having Fun in First

This product is very helpful for writing and grammar.  It gives the students brainstorming maps and papers to complete the students writings on.  Here are some pics of my students using some of the maps.

Photo of Writing Wolfelicious

My students are sharing their work with their partners. 

Photo of Writing Wolfelicious

This year I am uses the Daily 5 frame work.  Here are some of my students doing Read to Someone.  I can't believe how much my students love to read. 
Photo of Read to Someone Wolfelicious

Photo of Read to Someone Wolfelicious

Photo of Read to Someone Wolfelicious

Do your students have to learn about the Earth's surface?  Mine do!
Recognize that water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on Earth's surface
We spent a couple weeks covering the Earth's surface.  We 
used magnify glasses to look at our soil.
Investigate how magnifiers make things appear bigger and help people see things they could not see without them.
  The students were 
so excited to do this.  Here are some pics of them checking 
out the soil. 
Photo of Looking at soil

photo of Looking at soil

Photo of Looking at soil

Photo of Looking at soil

After we looked at the soil we separated its contents.  They were amazed by what all is in soil.

Photo of Looking at soil

Then we did some experiments showing how changes can occur to the Earth's surface.
Recognize that some things in the world around us happen fast and some happen slowly.

Our next experiment had a cup of moist soil and the other cup was dry soil.  We added water to each cup to see what would happen.

My kiddos have been learning SO much!  I am so proud of them. 

I hope you had a great week!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Have a Wolfelicious day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mommy vs. the Teacher

Did having a child change your teaching?  Did it help you become a better teacher?

I had my first child 6 years ago (gosh, I can't believe it has been that long).  I feel it changed my perspective on things and helped shape me into a better teacher.  
Photo of Wolfelicious
Then, this year my oldest son went to kindergarten.  The different experiences so far with having a son have been amazing.  No one ever told me how great it would be to have him at my school with me.  I love being able to see him throughout the day and I love seeing how he reacts to different things.  It is also nerve racking because I know what he is capable of and want him to be amazing all day, every day at school.

I wrote a blog post titled Are You a Parent back in July wondering if being a parent makes you a better teacher.  I don't know if it makes someone a better teacher, but I do think it changes your perspective on things.

For me, I have noticed...

handwriting needs to be taught more (not just in kindergarten, but in first grade too!)

does it really matter that a child can't sit still even if they are learning?

how important behavior and discipline are

how important constancy and routine are

I have always wanted to be a teacher.  It was my dream ever since I was little.  I used to teach my stuffed animals.  I feel after graduating college, getting my master's, getting my reading and ESOL endorsements, and getting National Board Certified, that I am a pretty good teacher.  I am always looking for new ideas and better ways to teach the material.  

after having a child go to school at the same school I am at has made me into an even better teacher!

This year I have my best class ever!  

I have changed in the way I handle different discipline issues.  I have realized that the color system doesn't always work because the same ones move their color, therefore the child and the parent give up.  I have not moved nearly as many colors as in past years.  Grant it, I have an excellent class, but I feel I have taught my kids my expectations better and I think about how sometimes kids are just trying to be kids.  If only the kids were allowed to be kids, right?!

I feel I have a better understanding and can related to the students more since I have a child about the same age.

Overall, it has been a great experience so far having a child at school with me.  In my experience, I feel that having a child and then especially when they go to school has made me into a better teacher. 

I hope you had a great week!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Have a Wolfelicious day!