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Feeling Groovy on Family Literacy Night!

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

We were Feeling Groovy for our Family Literacy and Math Night!  Our Family Night is the same night as Scholastic book fair so we used the same theme they were using for our school literacy night- Feeling Groovy!

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

One of the really great things about our Family Night is our prize drawing table.  We had scooters, Kindles, a Chromebook, 2 drones, gas gift cards and of course books to give away!  

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

We set the scooters up ahead of time so the students could see them and get excited about coming that night to enter the drawing.

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

We had a drawing bucket set up for the student drawings and one set up for the parents.  There was a lot of buzz around this table!

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

I did the Bingo For Books for my activity again this year.  This is a student and parent favorite!

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

I like to have all the cards and Bingo chips already out at the tables so families and just sit down and start playing, even in the middle of an existing game.  If they had to wait for cards and chips they might not be as eager to just jump right in.  Families come and go from this table all night.

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

We didn't clear our cards between Bingos.  I let them just keep playing.  This night was all about getting books in to families hands to take home.

Family Literacy and Math Night Ideas

There was a groovy van for our photo booth and groovy table decorations too!

We also had math games and activities going this night too.  It is so much fun to see our families come out for this night.  They get a free meal for the whole family, get to play Bingo where everyone can win a book to take home, play math games and visit the book fair!  

activities for beginning sounds

Back in the classroom, students are working had on those sounds and being able to link them to the correct letter.  Sounds Task Cards really come in handy for RTI, literacy centers, small group times, etc...  I use sound boxes for scaffolding all the time with my students and these are on the cards too.  You can use beginning sound task cards.

activities for end sounds

activities for hearing middle sounds

activities for hearing blends and digraphs

And blends/digraphs.  They are also available in a bundle for less!

Sight Word Games for Active Learners

My sight word activities this year have included a lot more movement for my active learners.   Learning our sight words has been a bit more of a challenge for some of my kindergartners.  A few are struggling to learn and keep those sight words learned.  This group is also a very active and mobile bunch so I have switched things up to accommodate their learning style.  They are loving it!

One of their favorite sight word games to play and that they ask for is Pass the Plates.  I write the sight words they are working to learn onto paper plates.  The newest word or the word they are struggling with the most to learn gets a sticker.    The students stand in a circle with the plates face down, one plate per student (or you can do less if you like).  Play some music or set a timer for a few seconds.  The students pass the plates in a circle.  When the timer goes off, they turn over their plate and read their word.  The child that has the plate with the sticker is out.  Continue playing until you have one winner, taking out plates as you lose students.  You can have several small circles going at once if desired.  The kids really do like this game and they get to read their words over and over.

My friend, Tammy at Forever in First, gave me this idea of sight words on labels.  You can stick them on the students heads or backs so they can't see their word. 

They have a list of their friends' names.  Then they walk around reading and writing the sight words from their friends beside the correct name.  I have everyone read their list so they can figure out which word is on their own back or head.  

This idea came from another bloggy friend, Barb at Grade ONEderful.  I write sight words on the board.  The kids walk or dance around to the music.  When I stop the music, I call out a sight word from the board.  They write it on their clipboards and then it all starts up again. 

After we have all the words called out, I call out the words and the students check them off of their clipboard list.  I'm sure you know just getting to use clipboards raises the engagement level right there!

Another fun one is Sight Word Races.  Two students stand with their backs to the easel where I have written sight words.  I call out a word and the students turn to see who can find the word  and get it erased first.   You can have a student call out words so more students are involved at a time.

One last active sight word game is our Sight Word Walk.  All I did was write the sight words on bright index cards and scatter them around the room in a circle.  I added fun cards like move ahead two, switch with a friend, go back one, etc...  

I rolled big dice and everyone moved that many cards forward and read the word they landed on for that number.  Roll again, count and move forward and read again.  

These sight word games have all been a lot of fun and get the students up, moving and learning!

Strategies for Improving Fluency

using phrases to improve fluency

We do a lot of work during RTI to strengthen and improve reading fluency in our students.  For students who struggle with reading, fluency can be a major block for them.  I have made it a goal to work on improving fluency in both RTI groups and my guided reading groups.  

One way to help this problem is working with phrases.  You can find fluency phrases or you can make your own.  One of the best ways is to take passages from your students' reading and use phrases right from there!  No hunting in other places needed- you've already got what you need- so just use that!

Write some of the phrases you find naturally in the passages on to sentence strips.  Then draw an arrow underneath each phrase.  Have student practice reading as they slide their finger across the arrow to remind them to keep reading without pausing until they get to the end.  Students can practice this way (instead of word by word reading) until they are ready to remove the finger sweeping across and replace that with just their eyes sweeping across the strip. Read it without stopping.  

using phrases to improve reading fluency

Another effective way to improve fluency is highlighting the phrases inside the passages.  I have found that some students can almost naturally find where they need to pause for a phrase.  It also teaches them to pay attention to the punctuation.  But for some students, they just don't hear where to naturally pause.  So we highlight together for a while.  Then I turn the highlighters over to them and with guidance they highlight the phrases themselves.  Always trying to work towards not needing the highlighting because ultimately they will not have the highlighting on tests.  They must work towards independence.

Fluency Strategies and Activities

I refer to this speech bubble all the time in my class when we talk about fluency- Reading sounds like talking!

no prep just print cvc intervention binder for RTI

When you practice fluency at lower levels, add in some colorful pointers to up the engagement!

RTI Lesson Plans and Resources

We've got a short week this week for RTI due to having this Friday off.  We will be working on our fluency strategies along with these other activities too.  Just click the links to see the resources:

Bridging the Way Back Into RTI Tier I

bridging the way back into Tier I in RTI

On this RTI journey, we have learned a lot of things.  We meet as a committee after each cycle to decide whether students have made enough progress to move back into the classroom for Tier I instruction.  Sometimes that decision is clear and an easy one to make...sometimes not so much.  

If the student has made good progress in Tier II, scored well on the our reading assessment (DRA 2), and is performing in the classroom we want them to go back into Tier I.  But sometimes our committee has difficulty removing RTI supports from students because they do not want them to slide back into needing more help.  

This year, we have begun a program I call Bridge Kids.  Bridge Kids provides a "bridge" back into the classroom, but still continuing some of the supports of RTI.  A few times a week during RTI, the classroom teacher provides instruction for the bridge kids in the areas they are working to improve.  For example fluency.  Then once a month, instead of the Tier II and III once a week, I provide an assessment for the Bridge Kids to take to monitor their progress.  I try to provide as much as I can to lessen the load of the classroom teacher, but still provide the student with SOME support.  As Bridge Kids improve, they will be moved on to the next skill.  If they are not improving, I will meet with the teacher to decide what we need to make adjustments in...different teaching methods, change the intervention, increase the time, etc...  This is going to really help our students that were on the bubble of being able to handle having less support!

How to organize and graph RTI data

fun sight word activity

We've been having fun with our sight words!  You may remember seeing this game in the past with hiding a monster.  This month we played Where Are the Hearts?  Hearts or whatever monthly picture you want to use are hidden behind sight word cards.  Students choose a word they can read & lift the card to see if the hidden heart is behind it.  They love this game!

RTI Reading Intervention Lesson Plans and Resources

Both of my RTI groups are off to a good start.  We are a week into it and showing progress.  Here are the resources pictured above.  Click on the pictures to be taken to the resources.

CVC word work intervention binder for RTI

blends and digraphs activities

open syllable multisyllabic word activities

Infer & CVC Interventions

Using an inference anchor chart to teach inferring

Infer...isn't this skill hard for some of our students?  I know some of mine struggle with it.  So we created an anchor chart with visuals to help us understand what the author sometimes doesn't tell us but wants us to be able to figure it out.

How to teach inferences

There are a lot of books that can be used to teach students how to infer.  I really like both of these books, plus the stories are engaging for the students.  My students always get so upset with the way the farmer treats Duck in Farmer Duck!  I love their hearts when they feel so badly for him!  

After practicing with read alouds, students are then ready to begin applying this skill in small group reading with their guided reading books.  

Another skill some of my students are working on is the cvc pattern.  RTI has started again for the second cycle and this resource can be very helpful for that.

It is a No Prep- Print & Go!  Print the charts and place them into binders.  Students use the linking charts to build sound knowledge of the short vowels.  Then they move from individual sounds to scooping chunks.  I like for students to get past individual sounds into being able to see and read chunks as soon as they can.

There are a lot of different activities for them to practice with to build automaticity and fluency.  Just add in some fun pointers!

With this resource, students move into applying their skills to sentences and using punctuation to boost comprehension to paragraph reading and comprehension.  Isolation of skills needs to be moved into application to be sure students really have it!  You can click here or on any of the pictures to check out this CVC Intervention Binder!

CVC Intervention Binder for RTI

Easiest Parent Communication Ever!

Parent Communication with Seesaw app

I like to communicate with the parents of my students.  I think it is important to the students' success.  But I have a lot of students.  Parents are busy.  Notes don't always make their way home.  Then I discovered Seesaw!  Game changer!

Parent Communication with Seesaw app

Because of the number of students that I have, I need something that is easy and not time consuming.  If it takes lots of time to set up or use, I won't use it.  But Seesaw is unbelievably easy and quick to use!  I am  not kidding.  I downloaded the free app and set up my class lists.  Then I was ready to start uploading student work and pictures to share with parents.

Parent Communication with Seesaw app

Not only can I quickly share student work and pictures, but I can share notes.  No more standing at the copier making copies.  No more hoping the notes make it home.  I created a welcome note to introduce Seesaw to the parents, saved it and uploaded it for all my students.  Done!  A welcome note to start off, along with some pictures of students in action and student work is a great way to start using this app.

After you have everything set up and items in each student's journal, copy the parent note to send home.  The note explains Seesaw to parent, how to download the free parent app, and includes a qr code for the parent to scan with their phone so they can have access to their child's work.  

Parent Communication with Seesaw app

I keep most of my students' work in their Reader's Notebooks at school so snapping a picture is a great way to share their hard work and progress with parents and still keep the work at school.

Parent Communication with Seesaw app

I LOVE this feature!!  You just click on the green checkmark and you have these options for sharing.  

Parent Communication with Seesaw app

It took me no time at all to record my students today practicing their fluency by choosing video.  I recorded each student and immediately loaded it to their journal.  Parents can then see and hear the items you have placed in the journal.  You can choose who sees the items.  For the welcome note, I chose everyone can view.  Group pictures can be placed in journals for the students included in the shot.  Individual pictures, videos, and work go into individual journals to be seen only by parents or those approved by you. 

Another great feature of this app is the like and comment section.  Kind of like on Facebook, parents can like the items and they can leave comments for their child or the teacher.  Great ways to build up the students and to communicate back and forth!!  A parent told me today that she was so glad that I found this app because she loves it!

What's In The Bag??

Questioning the Text activity

Questions, questions, questions!  Aren't our student just full of them all of the time?  I know mine are, but they sometimes need to be taught what kind of questions to ask and to how to ask questions that lead them to the important information.  

This past week, my class got to do a questioning activity to help them hone this skill.  As students walked into class I had this pretty gift bag sitting out for them to see.  Immediately, the questions start flying!

Questioning the Text activity and anchor chart

What is that?  Who is that for?  Where did that come from?  As the students were firing questions at me, I started writing down the question words to make an anchor chart.  As we went along, I answered the questions (except for what is it, of course).  The students got better at their questions and we learned to start using the information form our answers to guide our next questions.

Questioning the Text activity

Some of the students even guessed what was in the bag- A Crown from when one of my sons was a homecoming king in high school.  The students were engaged and motivated to be learning- just what I want from all students and just what I really desire from my strugglers!

Questioning the Text activity and interactive read aloud

That quick little engaging activity led into the next one- my read aloud.  Students were given white boards and markers and when they saw the text- SPIDER- they immediately had LOTS of questions.  But they need a bit of scaffolding still at this point to ask questions, not tell me something.  So I required them to write a question word from our anchor chart on their board that they would be using to ask their question.  Without that little piece, we would have gone off the questioning into stories and statements.  Students were given the choice of sketching their question or writing their question.  Then we shared our thoughts.  This one is "where do spiders make their webs". I had several stopping places in my book for the students to sketch or jot down their questions.

Questioning the Text activity

The next day, one of my groups was introduced to the book, Sea Horses.  I couldn't hardly get the materials out to them fast enough because questions were being though of so quickly!  The students had a miniature anchor chart for their Interactive Reader's Notebook to scaffold them on how to begin their questions.  They also received Post It notes on which to write the questions they had about sea horses.  These were placed on our Readers Ask Questions graphic organizer.

Questioning the Text activity

By now, my students couldn't wait to dive in to their books!  I just love their enthusiasm for reading!!  

Questioning the Text activity

As students were reading, if they found the answer to one of their questions, they could lift the Post It note up and jot the answer to the question right under it.  

If you could use this miniature anchor chart and Readers Ask Questions graphic organizer, you can grab it here.