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Prove It To Me!

Using text evidence to prove answers

We've been reading folktales and learning how to prove our answers.  Since it is spring I decided to use Easter eggs to teach this skill.  

Using text evidence to prove answers

My students just love these stories!  There is something about them that appeals to kids over the years.  

Using text evidence to prove answers

After having read our folktales, it was time to pass around the egg basket.  I had typed up some events from the stories and placed them inside each each egg.

Using text evidence to prove answers

After deciding on the character trait for Goldilocks, each student chose and egg and decided if the event from the story proved the character trait or not.  

Using text evidence to prove answers


 Another group did the same thing only with the third pig from The Three Little Pigs.  Students read their strip of paper and if it proved the character trait, the paper was added to the anchor chart.  If it didn't prove it, the paper was tossed.
Folk Tale Anchor Chart

This is another anchor chart students can use to help them prove if a story is a folktale or not.

Using text evidence to prove answers

After practicing together to prove character traits, students can then prove whether a story is a folktale or not.

Using text evidence to prove answers

We try to use what we call Dollar Words on our anchor charts- words that are more descriptive and interesting.

STEM Little Pig House

After reading the Three Little Pigs, a fun STEM project is to try to build a strong house for the pigs that the wolf cannot easily blow over.  You can use a blow dryer or wave a thick piece of paper to test how the houses can withstand the wind.  

Using text evidence to prove answers

This Prove It To Me is a fun way to practice providing evidence from the text to prove your answers.  Click on the picture to check it out!

Folk Tales Resource

This folktale resource can be seen by clicking on the picture above.  



Game Night for Family Literacy

Family Literacy Game Night

Candy Land Game Night!  This was the theme of our recent Family Literacy Night.  I think Game Night has been one of my favorite themes that we have done!  The Candy Land colors were great for spring time and our families had a lot of fun.

Family Literacy Game Night

There was a lot of prepping to do before that night.  We like to give away a book to every student who comes to our Family Nights.  Scholastic was having their $1 sale so I ordered a lot of books at that time to save some money.  Love when new books come in!

Family Literacy Game Night

We get bags and fill them with goodies for the students.  This year we put in a book, 1 colorful pencil, a piece of candy, and a game of course to go along with our theme!  One of the game stations was dominoes (for math) and one was Boggle (for literacy).  I found these cute little packs of miniature dominoes and Boggle games at Oriental Trading that went right along with our game stations. We also ordered paddle balls.  As families walked into the gym, they signed in and received their bags of goodies!  Families are going to have so much fun with these games at home that they also played with at school!

Family Literacy Game Night

This was our entrance to our Candy Land Game Night.  So festive and spring looking!

Family Literacy Game Night

We also have a table to display the items we are giving away to parents and students.  We purchase books from the Scholastic Book Fair to giveaway.  Our superintendent also purchased some Kindle Fires, a couple of drones and a couple of scooters.  This is a popular table!

Family Literacy Game Night

We tried to have a mix of games for both younger and older students.  Tables or stations were set up in different areas with plenty of chairs around them to accommodate the players.  

Family Literacy Game Night

Besides Candy Land and Hedbanz, we had Uno, Boggle, a Minute to Win It game, dominoes, number Bingo, and games on the iPads too.  There was so much laughing and playing going on that night!  I enjoyed seeing the families come and just enjoy being with each other!

Scavenger Hunts are another fun thing to do on a Family Literacy Night!  Families can come and go and complete the Hunt as they wish.  

Family Literacy Night Scavenger Hunt

This Scavenger Hunt has a reading quote and students find letters hidden around the school to complete the quote.

Family Literacy Night Scavenger Hunt

This fun, pirate themed scavenger hunt has a pirate quote for students to solve after finding all the missing letters.

Family Literacy Night Scavenger Hunt

Students love to find the hidden letters while they solve the mystery quote!

Family Literacy Game Night Scavenger Hunt

The Pirate Scavenger Hunt also includes a banner!  You can click here and here to see the hunts or you can click the pictures.  





Book Tasting

How to set up a Book Tasting Party

Have you been to or hosted a book tasting party?  They are a lot of fun and a great way to build up enthusiasm and engagement with all kinds of different books!

How to set up a Book Tasting Party

My second graders were starting informational books, so I used non-fiction books for this Book Tasting party.  But you can use all different genres of books.  Most do use a variety of books after having introduced the different genres with students.

How to set up a Book Tasting Party

Set the Scene!
Change up your room and decorate!  Not only were my second grade students excited when they peeked in my door that day, all the other students wanted to know what was going on in there!  It didn't cost much to do it.  
  • Plastic tablecloths that can be used again. 
  • Placemats to designate spots for students to "taste" the books
  • Flowers and flameless candles to set the atmosphere
  • Snacks to munch as the students look through books


How to set up a Book Tasting Party

At each placemat, I set a different informational book.  I used books of different levels that might appeal to my different readers.  Each place also got a colored pencil for recording their thoughts and opinions.  Each "taster" had a book menu and their own bag of snacks.  I chose a snack that wouldn't be too messy and wouldn't ruin books (no chocolate or candy coatings that would melt).  My students know this is special as usually we do not have food around our books at all.  I wrote their names on the bags so there wouldn't be any mix ups!

How to set up a Book Tasting Party

Students wrote the name of the book and genre.  They then read a page to determine if the book was a good fit for them or not.  Then they decided if this was a book they would like to read or not.  Students had to explain why they thought they would like the book or what made them think they would not.  Last, they rated the book by coloring in stars.  This student really wanted to read Weird Sea Creatures- they colored in all four stars and then added another one just to be sure I knew this is one they liked!  They explained that they enjoyed reading about crazy things.  I would say Weird Sea Creatures are definitely crazy things!

How to set up a Book Tasting Party

This student obviously did not find Weird Sea Creatures as fascinating as the other student.  She only gave it two stars and said the pictures scared her!  That's a valid reason for not wanting to read a book.  No need to give anyone nightmares!

Students moved from place to place until all 6 books had been tasted.  I set a timer for each time and set some fun music to play for a festive mood.  After all the books had been reviewed, I went through to find their favorite book for them to read that week.  Students learned new vocabulary and wrote summaries using key words.  It was a lot of fun!

If you would like a copy of a book tasting menu be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking the envelope below.  Those of you who have already signed up will get this freebie in a newsletter coming out this week!



Do The Chunky Monkey Chop!

Using Reading Strategies to Break Words Chunky Monkey

We've been doing the Chunky Monkey Chop a lot recently during guided reading.  It's catchy and easy for the kids to remember!  This reading strategy helps my little readers break apart words as they are reading.

Using Reading Strategies to Break Words Chunky Monkey Anchor Chart

We started with a blank chart and students gave me different ways they would  use Chunky Monkey to break a word.  Name the strategy and give an example of it on your chart.

We've used the strategy Chunky Monkey for quite awhile.  They know to break apart the words and not stretch them if they are longer words.  Now my students are working on using this strategy quickly and efficiently.  

Using Reading Strategies to Break Words Chunky Monkey Anchor Chart


I want them to be able to break the word and also to be able to link it to which specific Chunky Monkey Chop helped them.  Being able to link to the specific chop helps strengthen the skill for the students.  They love to write their words on Post Its and place them on the chart.  If you use Post Its, you can use the same chart again on different days or for different groups.  

If your students need help with breaking words, let them do The Chunky Monkey Chop!

Breaking Words Apart Activities

Build your own Chunky Monkey Chart

Breaking Words Apart Activities

Students sort words that are already "chopped" to provide scaffolding when learning to break words apart.

Activities for Breaking Words Apart

Words that are not "chopped" can be used in literacy centers with recording sheets.

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Brain Warm Ups and Key Word Summaries

Brain Warm Ups for Guided Reading

It's time for guided reading groups.  The students come to the table, find their seats and get ready to begin.  It's time for a warm up.  A brain warm up!

Brain Warm Ups for Guided Reading

We get settled in and warm up our brains to get ourselves ready to read.  A quick review helps get us focused and is a great way to review a few skills.

Brain Warm Up Cards for Guided Reading

My youngest students might use read an ABC chart or other linking chart.   One of my first grade groups is working hard to nail down those short vowel sounds.  Those vowels can be tricky for us sometimes!  

Brain Warm Up Cards for Guided Reading


 Another way to we do brain warm ups besides linking charts is chunks and word parts.  You can print them on colored paper and put them on a ring.  Then run threw the word parts quickly with your group.


Short Vowel Phonics Posters
I also keep a notebook with posters in it for the students to read to warm up before reading.  These are especially good for RTI groups too.

Long Vowel Phonics Posters

Whichever way you choose to do a warm up, be sure it is quick.  One to two minutes.  You just want to get them ready for the work they are about to do.  Warm ups can be a good way to cycle back over different phonics skills to be sure they haven't been forgotten also.  Then on to the guided reading lesson!


Using Key Words to Write a Summary

Second grade has been learning how to write summaries using key words from the text.  This was a bit hard at first for my readers but we are quickly getting good at this!

Using Key Words to Write a Summary

First we practiced during guided reading by completing the beginning and middle of the story together.  

Using Key Words to Write a Summary

Then the students finished reading the story and completed summarizing the end in their Reader's Notebooks.  They wrote their key words on the side as they read and then wrote their paragraphs.


Using Key Words to Write a Summary

Another second grade group practiced summarizing a non-fiction book- Ants.  We took it section by section as natural breaking parts to the text.  We did this part together during a read aloud.


Using Key Words to Write a Summary

Seahorses was another book we read and summarized.  This time students jotted down key words on their marker boards and then used the key words to write summaries on pieces of colored chart paper.  Chart paper is very exciting to use!

Learning to pick out the important words helps students to summarize, learn important vocabulary, and then write about the text in their own words rather than copying out of the book.  This is one of the easiest ways for students to practice this important but difficult skill in an easy and fun way.

This week, students are going to choose their own non-fiction book to read and summarize.  I am going to do a Book Tasting event with them to help them choose a book!  They are going to love it!  They've each been promised their own chart paper to use and then display the summaries.  It is fun to see their excitement about our next project!




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