Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be a Guided Reading Master!

Hi everyone! We've officially been on break for a week, and it. Is. Glorious. I've had the opportunity to spend tons of time with my own kiddos at the Field Museum and the zoo, READ for myself (currently The Goldfinch... I'm liking it, but I quickly realized why it was taking FOREVER to move along on my Kindle... The book is nearly 800 pages!), and to fall asleep while putting my kids to sleep - and not feel guilty.

One thing I do want to make a concerted effort to do is to prep for next year way in advance so my to do list at the end of August isn't a mile long. Well, it probably will be anyways, but I'll make a dent while I'm much less stressed!

Anyways, one thing that was on my to do list ALL YEAR that is DONE is my leveled guided reading lesson plans!

Guided reading is hands-down my favorite part of the day. FAVORITE. It's such a great way to really interact with each student, to help them in a very specific way, and to see results from all our hard work.

One thing that kinda revolutionized my prep for guided reading was preparing lessons for each book, rather than for the group of students. It sounds kind of odd. We teach students, not the book, right? But in my personal and school library of guided reading books, I can think of very specific skills that align perfectly with certain books. For example, when my beginning of the year firsties need to work on predictions supported with information from the text, I pull out "Where's the Baby?" (in the AlphaKids series by Sundance... The best guided reading book ever. And it's a level D people!) When I know the book well, and have planned for that book well, I'm better at making quick instructional decisions with the students in front of me.

I feel like, especially as my students reach more challenging reading levels, I'm not always sure what skills are level-appropriate for my students. I want to make sure I'm using challenging teaching and questioning skills to really build up my students' abilities as readers and thinkers.

So, that's where these lesson plans come into play.

I've broken down skills in the following areas for each guided reading level from A through M:
  • Word work - I do this right before the lesson, and link it to words they'll find in the text
  • Vocab preview
  • Before reading - Activating prior knowledge, noticing text features, etc.
  • During reading - These are especially focused on accuracy, fluency, and self-monitoring for comprehension
  • After reading - With questions/skills that are more literal as well as higher-level
For an early kindergartener...

And for an early second grader...

Just add guided reading books and you'll be ready to go!

This pack can be found {HERE}, but I'll also give away a free copy to the first person to comment with their email address.

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I've Always Loved the Idea of SUMMER... And SUN... And All Things HOT!!!

Phew! I can't believe today is finally here. It was my LAST day of school yesterday. We actually had the last day with students on Friday, but we had PD days until yesterday. There were times this year when I really wondered if I was going to make it to today!

Now, I've had a doctor's appointment (boo) and a pedi (yay!) and I'm feeling a bit refreshed already.

So, is it crazy to start working on a to-do list on the first day of summer? If so, I am nuts. :)

As a grade level, we decided we are going to try something new this school year. We have an Open House before school starts, where students and their families come in and find out who their teacher is. I usually put something kinda generic on the bulletin board (this year I'm thinking I might go with an Elephant and Piggie theme) where I post my students' names. But then, a week or two passes and I realize - OOPS! I need something else up on the bulletin board. So one of the girls on my team suggested maybe giving students "homework" at Open House and posting them on the board outside our rooms as they come back in. Genius!

So, I'm working on this:

(It's still a work in process, and I'm trying to find some good fonts with Spanish characters to use for my bilingual coworkers.)

Other things on my list?

Continue working on my notebook and folder labels to put on TPT. I have the ones I'm using for my class done, but I want to add some that I don't need but other TPTers might. (If you have any ideas, let me know!)

Make a book cover banner. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one from Kinder-Craze!

Make new curtains for my shelves. Seeing all the junk on them drives me nuts, so I want to get them covered up! However, I don't sew, so we'll figure that out.

And I want to READ! I'm planning on reading:


And, of course, spends lots and LOTS of QT with my cuties! (My son turned 2 a couple weeks ago and my daughter turns 4 in August... It's crazy how quick time flies!)

Have a great rest of the week!
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