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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

FREE Balanced Literacy Scope and Sequence Part 1 Reader's Workshop

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 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.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Building Number Sense with February Math Mats

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.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie

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.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Activities for Apples and Pumpkins

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.
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