Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Guided Reading: How to get students excited about it!

Guided Reading is an important part of the day in a primary classroom and you want to make sure your students are excited to meet during small group. To keep your kids engaged and to make it a productive and successful guided reading time you need to be prepared.  Today I am sharing 4 things that that will get students excited about guided reading and participating in small group lessons. These tips will help keep your students motivated, excited and engaged during guide reading time.

1.  Reading Phones/Whisper Phones

Does this sound familiar?  When I work with my small group I hear these same things every.single.time - "he is being too loud!"  "I can't hear myself!" 

Enter the reading phones.  When you place them to your ear like a phone and use a talking voice you can hear your voice nice and loud.  If you use a loud voice then you hurt your own ears.  Well, the change was immediate!  Students immediately lowered their voices and used a whisper voice.  During our guided reading time now, everyone can sit at the same table and read to themselves without complaint.  Yay!  The only thing I need to say now is "Don't lick the phone" or "Don't put the reading phone in your mouth"  Ewwww! Thank goodness for Lysol wipes.

2.  Finger Lights

I LOVE finger lights for tracking text.  They are a 4 for a $1.00 at the Dollar Store and worth every penny.  When students are reading they slip on a finger light to track the text.  They can light up each word so they know exactly where they are on the page.  These lights have worked wonders for my students who are still struggling with word awareness.  They are also fantastic for activities where students are returning to the text to find something. Some examples might be to find a long vowel word and light it up or find the sentence that tells us the setting of the story.  Using finger lights has definitely increased the engagement during our small group time.  

3.  Whiteboards

If you have been to my blog before you will know about my fondness for whiteboards.  I use them all.the.time. During Guided Reading, I use them for pre and post reading activities. I love that they allow me to save paper.  There is way too much paper floating around the classroom as it is. I often snap a photo of a response I want to save and place it in their digital portfolio on Seesaw.

4. Browsing Books

If your class is anything like mine the first 5 minutes of your small group time is interrupted with a bazillion questions and problems.  I have tried various strategies to help kids learn to problem solve on their own but there are those times that I just have to stop what I am doing and go and deal with the problem.  This is where browsing books come in.  I got this little idea from Jen Jones from Hello Literacy.  At the beginning of our group time, I put a collection of books on the table that are slightly lower than my students current instructional reading level.  They know that when they come to my table they are to pick a book and start reading.  Since these books are not overly challenging they dive right in and are able to be independent.  This is a good use of their time and it allows me time to problem solve.

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Are you interested in learning more about how I teach Guided Reading and what my go-to teacher tools are?  Click below to find out.  

Monday, 3 April 2017

5 Fun Ways to use Plastic Eggs in Math

We all have them!  Those bags of plastic Easter eggs from the Dollar Store. 

Well, the time has come to get them out and use them in your classroom.  Today I am sharing 5 fun ways you can use these plastic eggs to practice math skills in your early primary classroom. Read on and get ready to have some fun! 

Addition Eggs

Get a collection of plastic eggs and separate them. On the piece that is slightly smaller write the answer to your question. On the larger side write a number of addition centers that add up to the answer you have given. This helps your students to see multiple addition sentences for one answer. Place the egg halves in a basket or other container and students will match up the answer half with the question half.

What Number Comes Next?

On the larger side of the egg write two numbers in a sequence. On the smaller side write the number that comes next in the sequence. Students will match up parts to complete the number sequence.  If you want to make the task more challenging write the matching sets on different coloured eggs so that students need to look at the numbers and not rely on the colours to match.

How much money in the egg?

Write a number on the outside of each egg so that students can complete the recording sheet. Inside of the egg place coins for students to count. Your students will open the egg and count the coins and record the amount beside the number on the recording sheet.

Graphing with Eggs

Number the eggs and then place a collection of objects in each egg. Some suggestions to fill the egg with are bingo chips of different colors, different mini erasers or jelly beans. Students open the egg and spill the contents out and then create a bar graph to show the contents of their egg.

Fact Family Eggs

Students will write addition and subtraction facts based on the contents of the egg. Place a number of counters in the egg (2 different colors). Students spill the contents of the egg and determine the addition and subtraction questions that can be created with the number of chips (or other small object).  You can also number the eggs if you wish but it is not necessary because your student will record all the info on the sheet so it is easy for you to check.

All of these activities can be done without the need for a recording sheet. However, if you need to hold your students accountable you can find these sheets by clicking on the image below. All of these recording sheets are included, as well as 4 more recording sheets for literacy activities. I often place my recording sheets in a page protector and my students use a dry erase marker to complete. Upon completion they take a picture and file it in their digital portfolio. I love being able to check their work online and being able to minimize the paper in my classroom. Click here to check out the collection of recording sheets.

Check out my post on using plastic eggs to teach literacy skills by clicking the image below. 

Don't forget to pin this post so that you can come back to it again next year.

Until next time,

Sunday, 2 April 2017

5 Ways to Use Plastic Eggs to Practice Literacy Skills

We all have them!  Those bags of plastic Easter eggs from the Dollar Store. We store them in our classroom closets waiting for the weeks leading up to Easter to break them out and use them.

Now is the time to start thinking about how to use them this year.  I am going to share 5 ways you can use your plastic eggs to practice literacy skills.  Click any of the images to take a look at the pack of recording sheets.

Sight Word Egg Hunt

This is an absolute favourite with my students.  I always save this activity for the day before Easter break.  To prep the activity I put a word wall word inside each of the eggs and hide them around the classroom when my students are out of the room.  When they come back in I make a big deal of the fact that we are having an egg hunt.  I also make sure that everyone understands that once they find an egg and they record it they put it back where they found it.  You can grab this FREE activity, complete with an editable word list and recording sheet by clicking this image.

Contraction Match 

Write the 2 words that make up a contraction on one-half of the egg and the contraction on the other half of the egg.  Place the egg halves in a basket and students have to match them up.  You can make the task more challenging by ensuring that the coloured halves don't necessarily match when the contraction and two words are matched up.  

Compound Words

This activity will yield lots of funny words but lots of real compound words too. Write each part of a compound word on a half of an egg. Students will then snap two halves together and see if it creates a compound word. You can make it more challenging by writing the parts of the compound word on different colours of eggs.  

Unscramble the Words

I place scrabble tiles (or any other letter tiles) in a plastic egg.  Students open the egg and dump out the letters and unscramble them to spell a word wall word.  

Spin and Read Word Families

Review your long and short vowel word families with this fun activity. Students choose an egg from the basket and spin the letters around so that they match up to spell a word family word. They read the words to a partner and then listen to their partner read the words on their eggs.

All of these activities will keep your students engaged. I use recording sheets for all of these activities for accountability. Often I slide the page into a page protector so that students are able to use dry erase markers instead and then they take a picture of their finished work.  If you are interested in these pages you can find then by clicking the image below.  It includes the pages for the last 4 activities shared here as well as pages for 5 math activities that I will be blogging about this week as well.

Are you looking for ideas to use these eggs in your Math time as well?  Head over to the next post where I share all about ways to use plastic Easter eggs to practice math skills.

Don't forget to pin it so you can come back to post each year at this time!

Until next time,