Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Next Steps in Guided Reading: Chapter 3 Part One

Hey Hey Friends!!!! Welcome to Chapter Three Part One....yes I said it...Part One. I started reading this chapter and thought, good gravy, it is LONG. This post will focus on Pre-A students and the part two I will post Friday will focus on Emergent students.

How are you guys liking the book? I love all of the suggestions and I am happy that most of the things that I am doing are in this book. It helps reassure me that I am doing something right!

Pre-A students are kids that are usually in Kindergarten and some in first grade. It can also be Non-English speakers, slow learners, or students with special needs. 

Who is ready for Pre-A guided reading?
* These students know fewer than 40 upper and lower case letters.
* Hear very few sounds.

Tara from Little Minds at Work, shares her letter identification freebie on this blog post. It would be a great resource for your Guided Reading Binder!


Richardson shares so many ideas for Pre-A students. These are the basics of a guided reading lesson for Pre-A Students.

There are TONS of ways to practice letter matching! Richardson suggests Pre-A students to work on an alphabet tracing book each day along with guiding reading groups. I was watching a periscope that Jen Jones from Hello Literacy was doing and had a complete light-bulb moment. (To be honest, that happens often when I watch Jen! She is SO smart!) She had made a letter book with her child when she was little. It had the letter on it and then they put pictures of words that she knew on the pages. For example: D would be a picture of her Dad. This would be a GREAT lesson for students to complete at home OR in class. I created a freebie, using Jen Jones fonts of course, that you can download here. If you put them into page protectors, the kids could even trace the letters! I made an example for myself on the letter D.

Pre-A Guided Reading Lesson
This is the framework for how you would conduct a Pre-A Guided Reading Lesson

Working with Letters and Names
Letter Sticker matching (Target has tons right now!)
Magnet letters
Wiki Sticks
Tracing games
Letter Tile Matching
Clip Cards

Working with Sounds
Clapping Syllables
Working with Rhymes
Picture Sorts- Smal Whiteboards and Expo Markers are great to use to match letters to pictures

Working with Books
Teach concepts of print.
Read the Book with the students.
Let the students point out words.

Interactive Writing
Dictate a simple sentence
Students help you write the sentence.

Below are some Freebies that you can download. Click here or on the picture and download the image. When you click on the pictures on the slide, it will direct you to the freebie on TPT.

I'll be on Facebook Live on Monday to chat about each Pre-A, Emergent, and Early Guided Reading.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Next Steps in Guided Reading: Chapter 1

Hello Friends and welcome to our book study! Mandy and I are so happy that you are joining us. We are looking forward to sharing our thoughts and ideas with you and we also can't wait to hear your ideas as well! Tonight I will be going live on my Facebook Page to chat with you all about your ideas and tips. You can check it out here at 9:00 est Wednesday June 22nd, 2016!

This chapter is all about preparing for Guided Reading and the first six weeks of Guided Reading. It is LONG chapter with a lot of information so what better way to learn than with visuals!

Step 1: Balanced Reading Approaches

Introduce your students to different reading approaches before you introduce Guided Reading. This will foster a love of reading and capture the interest of your students. This is really important in the younger grades, because many kindergartners haven't seen these reading approaches yet.

Step 2: Plan Guided Reading Framework

Plan within the time that you have. The best thing about this book, is that you can use it to fit your needs or what is being asked by your district.

Step 3: Teaching Routines and Procedures

This is where the book and Jan Richardson's website comes in handy. There are tables for each week if you teach K-1. It breaks it down how each rotation should look and the progression of the groups. I personally think that it would work with certain second and third grade classes as well, depending on your group.

Step 4: Plan Your Literacy Workstations

There are TONS of activities on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers for these activities. You probably already have a bunch laminated and ready to go!

Primary Grade Workstations

* Book Boxes
* Buddy Reading
*Reader's Theater
*Poems and Songs
* ABC/Word Study
* Word Wall
*Read the Room
*Oral Retelling
* Listening
* Computer or iPad
*Big Books

Click on the image or this link. Once you download the PDF, you can click on the pictures and it will lead you to the TPT freebie!

Intermediate Grade Workstations

* Buddy Reading
*Word Study
* Readers Theater
* Research

Click on the image or this link. Once you download the PDF, you can click on the pictures and it will lead you to the TPT freebie!

Reading Notebook

Independent Reading Record- Record of books that they read.
Independent Reading Responses- Students write a one page response of the book they are reading in the form of a letter to the teacher.
Guided Reading Notes- Students write a response that relates to the comprehension strategy focus.
Notes-  Students take notes during whole group instruction.
New Word List- Words will vary according to the guided reading groups.

Step 5: Organize the Management of your Workstations

This is the time where you have to scour Pinterest and look for the best management of workstations that fits your school and teaching style. Team task board and individual task board are two that Richardson mentions in her book. I have seen clip charts for younger students and check off sheets for older students. You have to find what works best for you and your students!

This Reader's Workshop Board from Caitlin at The Teaching Shoppe is GORGEOUS!


Bonus Tips from Chapter One

* Use a timer to keep yourself and your students on track!
*Practice transitions, then practice them again!
* Develop a signal or sign that shows that students may not interrupt you. Wearing a hat or crown, using a special light, or even having a student be the "ask me" person before interrupting.
*Organize guided reading materials for students and yourself.I love this organization from Mel from Seusstastic!

How do you implement Guided Reading? What are your best tips? Don't forget to join us on Facebook Live to chat about Guided Reading!

Use this image to pin for later, and visit Mandy on Monday for Chapter two!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Next Step in Guided Reading

I am so excited about my next adventure!!  I am going to lead a book study with my good friend and the AMAZING, Mandy from Mandy's Tips for Teachers!  Mandy nor I have never actually led a book study, much less an ONLINE book study, but we are really excited and ready to share this one with you.

We will be reading and discussing the book The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.

Starting on June 22nd we will discuss a chapter every Monday and Wednesday. We will skip Monday, July 4th for the holiday.

Here is a schedule to prepare and join us. We really, really hope you guys will jump in on the discussion!

To celebrate, we are giving away TWO copies of the book!  The winners will also get a $15 gift card to either Amazon, Target, or Teachers Pay Teachers- winners choice! Two winners will be chosen on June 20th!

Enter below!  We hope to see you on Wednesday, June 22nd!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Flexible Seating: What I have Learned

 Hello Friends and Happy Thursday! Today I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how flexible seating worked in my classroom this year. I have had so many questions on how it works so I figured it was time to share my honest opinion. ;) 

First let me start by saying that I taught first grade last year. My kiddos moved A LOT so technically they were sitting and moving before the official transition to flexible seating, however I did get rid of all but 8 of my desks. I also noticed that many of my kids were standing and working at their desks often. On to the questions that I have been asked!

Question: What about whole group activities?
Answer: The students sit on their sit spots (See picture below) or they just find a space that works for them. I don't teach a ton of whole group activities, but when I do, they work at a work space that is comfortable for them.  When we have Writer's Workshop, lesson openings or closings, they were all on our sit spots. You can find those here! 

Side Note: These rocker chairs I found at Wal-Mart for four bucks. I bought six of them, I should have bought 15. They are awesome!


Question: Where do you meet with your students?
Answer: At my desk. My desk weirdly had a bar like top on it. (See Below) I bought these stools from Ikea and I could fit up to six kiddos around my desk. We meet here for math groups, guided reading, and writer's workshop conferences. I had a Paraprofessional help once a week and she had a desk. She would often pull kids to the small table in the back if she needed more space. You can find out how I made my crate seats here. 

Question: Did your district purchase items for your flexible seating?
Answer: No. I did a Donor's Choose project for the stability balls and purple seat cushions seen below. Other than those, I bought everything myself. (I donated a lot of the money for the donor's choose project as well. I don't mind starting my project off. It shows other people how much you really want it, and gets more donations in my opinion.)  It may seem like a lot, however I had so many of these items in my room already, I just rearranged them differently.  

Question: Where do the students store their supplies?
Answer: I had community supplies at every table. If the students were working on the floor, they had their own small bag or box of supplies in their book bins. They would bring those with them to the floor.

Side Note: Floor options included pillows, clip boards, scoop rocker chairs, or just sitting on the floor and leaning on something. (see below)

Question: How did you make your standing desks.
Answer: I didnt, I just raised four regular desks to their top height! This would work with most grades. It is also a cheap option. They do move a ton, so you might want to tie them together if that bothers you. The standing desks are great, they just weren't in my budget.

Question: How do you control the chaos?
Answer: I am not going to lie to you, we needed a TON of reminders. We started with an anchor chart with rules. I would do an anchor chart for each type of seating for the small ones. You could also do an alternative seating contract with the older ones. If the students were not following the directions, I had the right to move them to a seat of my choice. (Usually close to me or to one of the four desks that I had left.) After a few weeks, the newness of each type of seating wore off. The ONLY one that didn't was the green chair I had. (see below) I ended up giving the students a QR code in an Easter egg and it allowed them to sit in the green chair all day.  They each had a day in the green chair.

Things that I learned:

* Giving a test was difficult. We used our book bins to shield from others, but it was the hardest part of alternative seating.
* Students that need consistency had trouble with this concept. Often, that one (or two) student/s sat at my desk to work. If you have a student like this, having a place for them to sit every day is a good option. This prevented fits and they knew where they were sitting each day.
* Things get messy FAST. My room was a disaster each and every day. It was much more messy than when I had regular desks. It would be a great job to add to your job list for the students.
* It was hard to manage when other teachers came in to my room. Every teacher has a different teaching style, and we had specials teachers come in our room to teach sometimes. Setting good directions for them while you are out is essential. You have to remember that these teachers are moving in and out of several classrooms and they have a lot of behaviors to remember. Help your friends out!
* People will look at you like you are crazy. There was a mad scramble for my desks when they went out in the hallway. This seating arrangement isn't for everyone and that is OK!

This seating arrangement was tiring but so worth it. My kids loved coming to class each day. They were excited to work at a space that worked for them.  They really did work hard at each and every space. If you have any questions leave a comment below! I would love to answer and add it to the blog post.

For more ideas and activities find me on PinterestFacebookTeachers Pay Teachers, or Instagram!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Student Teacher Welcome Gifts

Hello Friends! Happy Summer! I am on couch rest because I just got my wisdom teeth out, so I am actually getting some blogging done today! 

Two years ago I was blessed with a great student teacher. Through having her, I realized that there were certain items that I wish I would have provided her before she started with me. This past year, I was given two methods teachers from my Alma Mater. Once I knew that they were coming to teach their first lessons with me, I knew that I needed to provide them with some items that would keep them organized and welcome them to our classroom!

I knew I was getting two methods ladies, so I went to Target and found these great clipboards/folders with notepads inside. They were $3.00 in the Target Dollar Spot. They are offered pretty regularly, so when I know that I might get a methods teacher or student teacher, I grab a few while I am there. 

The next thing that I did was create a welcome letter, school information sheet and class information sheet. The class information explained the students that are good helpers, students that need extra help, and a paragraph about other information that included learning and behavior issues. The school information sheet included the other first grade teachers on my team, the office staff, and the other specials teachers that they would be working with. I also included my monthly calendars that you can find here. 

I added a personalized welcome note on top with each teacher's name.

I grabbed them an awesome pen and some tulle, and wrapped it up for the girls' first day!

Such an easy and inexpensive gift that they need and they find useful! My teachers used this the entire semester. I am so thankful for them, so this is the least I can do to welcome them into my classroom!

For more ideas and activities find me on Pinterest, Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers, or Instagram!