Welcome to the Helping Readers Bloom Spring Link-up.
The Reading Crew is a group of primary through middle school reading specialists. About three to four times a year, we share materials and ideas through a blog link up. Enjoy reading through our posts and collecting free materials to use in your classroom this spring. Links to all the posts are found at the end of this post. Before you leave, enter the rafflecopter also found at end of this post. The raffle will be open from 4/6/18 (6:00 AM EST) to 4/11/18 at (6:00 AM EST). We are giving away over $600.00 in prizes including an Apple iPad mini WiFi + gift cards for a total of 8 winners. Have a great time exploring our blog posts, and I wish you luck in the raffle! Continue reading
The Reading Crew is a group of primary through middle school reading specialists. About three to four times a year, we share materials and ideas through a link up. This time we are sharing mentor texts. Enjoy collecting a lot of great teaching ideas and free printables. Before you leave, be sure to enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post. We are giving away copies of each mentor book from the posts. Have a great time exploring our blog posts, and I hope you have the best school year ever!
Number the Stars Activity #1
Number the Stars is a phenomenal story of courage. This makes it a great book for students to use as a writing prompt.
In Number the Stars, Annemarie is going alone on a dangerous mission through the woods to take an important package to her uncle. The mission reminds Annemarie of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Annemarie tells herself Riding Hood’s story as she travels through the woods where German soldiers lurk as a way to remain calm. Author Lois Lowry does a beautiful job interweaving Annemarie’s and Riding Hood’s stories together.
In the first activity, students complete a chart to compare the parallel events taking place to Annemarie and Little Red Riding Hood.
The Wizard of Oz Activity #2
After completing a chart of comparisons, students will try writing in this style using an excerpt from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the story of “The Engine that Could.”
I can’t imagine beginning the new school year in the situation the teachers in Houston are in. Your students must have a million questions especially with Irma on her way. Here are a few links to check out:
Dawn’s Go Fund [This is a great place to donate money that will go directly to the teachers in Houston.]
When thinking about a winter related book to use as a mentor text, I immediately thought of Where the Red Fern Grows. In the novel, Billy has to battle the winter weather in life and death situations twice.
In Chapter 10, Little Ann falls into the mostly ice covered river. Billy must save her as she hangs onto the ice shelf. The second catastrophe occurs in Chapters 17-18 when a blizzard blows in during the big coon hunt. First, Grandpa falls on the ice and injuries his ankle. Soon afterwards, Little Ann and Old Dan become lost in whiteout conditions only to be found the next morning nearly frozen solid with thick coats of ice covering their bodies.
Even if you do not have time for your class to read the full novel, you can use this activity as the events from Chapter 10 tell a complete mini-story. Because of this, I have placed a three page excerpt from the book on my website for those who do not have a set of novels. The excerpt can also be used for students to highlight.
Activity 1 ~ Foldable Organizers Going over Summarizing Methods
Students complete two foldable graphic organizers. The first organizer includes four basic steps for summarizing. The second briefly explains two methods for summarizing (Somebody Wanted But So and Who What Where When Why and How). Use these organizers to explain the basics of summarizing before having students tackle the project.
Activity 2 – Graphic Organizer for Summarizing
Students read the excerpt, highlight details, and complete a timeline organizer. Student then use the details from the timeline organizer to write a summary in paragraph form.
Activity 3 – Craftivity for Summaries
After students proofread their summaries, they rewrite them on the printables provided. Covers for the summaries (pictured) are provided. These make a cute bulletin board.
The Reading Crew is a group of primary through middle school reading specialists. About three to four times a year, we share materials and ideas through a blog hop or link up. This time we are sharing organizational tips for literacy. Enjoy collecting checklists, guided reading tool lists, organizational tools, and printables that you will use daily. Before you leave, be sure to enter the rafflecopter at end of this post. We are giving away a TPT gift card. Have a great time exploring our blog posts, and I hope you have the best school year ever!
Tracking Student Fluency Rates Tip #1
Most school districts assign “Fluency Standards Tables” for teachers to use as guides. I’ve included links to four popular choices. Print them out for the students to see.
One of the best ways to improve speed and accuracy is by having students perform daily fluency checks. This can become monotonous for students and time consuming for teachers. I like to change the routine between one-on-one checks with the teacher, students read silently for one minute (I only use this method when class time is slipping away.), and small group checks.
Here’s how small group fluency checks work in my classroom. I divide students into small groups of four students; partners will also work when you are really crunched for time. Each student in the group has a job. The job roles rotate when different students read. I place a timer stopwatch on the SmartBoard. [Here’s a link to some fun timers.] Have students read the assigned passage to the group. Assigning group roles, really helps keep students on track and honest. The person sitting to the left of the reader is the word counter. The person sitting to the left of the word counter is the mistake counter. The person sitting to the left of the mistake counter is the time keeper. The jobs and the reader rotate clockwise after each reader finishes the passage. This way each student gets a turn doing all four roles. Students catch onto this routine very quickly.
Tracking Student Fluency Rates Tip #3
Praise, praise, and more praise. Students want to compare themselves to their peers. I spend a lot of time encouraging students to beat personal fluency records, not those of their friends. One way to do this is with a fluency calendar. Some years I’ve simply printed calendar pages and glued them into interactive notebooks. This year, I’ve created a fluency booklet.
In this fluency booklet, each month has a calendar on the left side of the page for students to record fluency scores. The calendar boxes are large enough to make a subtraction problem. (Words read in one minute minus the number of mistakes.) On the right side of the page, a chart for setting goals and a bar graph for tracking goals are provided. Students write a goal at the beginning of the month. After each timed test, students complete one column of the bar graph using red for “hot” reads and blue for “cold” reads. At the end of the month, scores are averaged to determine just how much progress the student made. The page provides a clear “easy-to-read” running record of the student’s progress.
Sarah, Plain and Tall is a short historical novel by Patrica MacLachlan. It is set in the prairie states during the nineteenth century. Sarah answers an ad from Jacob who is looking for a mother for his children after his wife passes away while giving birth to his youngest child Caleb. Sarah leaves her Maine home to travel to Jacob’s farm. She brings music, fun, laughter, and love to this family who grow to love Sarah in return.
Homophone and Homograph Games
The games practice homophones or homographs using sentences from Sarah, Plain and Tall.To play the games, students roll a die and move around the game board. They read the homophone or homograph [depending on the game] they land on, then cover a sentence from the book in the center of the board with the same meaning. My students love playing these games and really learned a lot. Download the games here.
Book Unit Samples
If you would like to try out the Sarah, Plain and Tall Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:
Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1
Comprehension Questions for Chapter 1
Constructive Response Question
Chapter 1 Activities
Sarah, Plain and Tall Book Unitcontains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included.