Whew- this has been quite the week of weather in Chicago- it started off great with a very sunny and warm Sunday, but slowly has become a very rainy week. Hoping the weekend will be nice with lots of sunshine & hope the weather by you has been better!
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday party & Teaching Maddeness for her Friday Flashback, so here we go...
1. Let's begin with a little excitement- we are officially in the 20's for our countdown till summer- only 29 more days for us- woohoo!
2. My kindergartners and 1st graders did a whole lot of writing this week! Although I'm very excited for our 29 day countdown, this time of year always makes me super happy and super anxious- I am so proud of all the progress my little friends have made and how well they have developed their skills as readers and writers, but I am also so anxious about how little time we have left in the year and just how much more I feel like they need to learn. All that being said, I just love how even my kindergartners are now able to create a story with a beginning/middle/end and details that include a problem and solution. I generally start each of our writing activities with graphic organizers to get all their ideas on paper and then we move on to writing a full story and illustrating. I was SO happy with the results from all my kindergartners and 1st graders! Now, keep in mind, I work with struggling readers and writers so the whole writing-a-story-with-details thing is a major accomplishment! I just love the problem/solutions they come up with for their stories- too funny. :)
|A story about karate.|
|A story about playing different games.|
|My brother plays with me. I felt good. I fell down. Jonathan helped me up.|
|First I went to the zoo. Next my sister hit me. Last I put on a band aid.|
*You can check out these graphic organizers (and many more) in my Narrative Writing Pack and Spring Literacy Centers Bundle Pack.
3. Funny story of the week-- we were doing a phonemic awareness activity identifying the number of sounds in each word and the word was ship. One of my little kindergartners was excited and wanted to share that she knows 'ship' rhymes with 'pip.' So of course I was super excited that she made that connection on her own without any prompting from me, but then another kindergartner wanted to take it a step further. He said oh yeah and it rhymes with 'pimp' like 'pimpin' and then he looked at me with a big sneaky smile and said, "Mrs. Claahsen, what's a pimp?" And judging by his sweet little sneaky smile I'm pretty sure he already knew that this was clearly not something we'd be discussing together in class...but it definitely cracked me up!
4. A little about me- I turn the big 3-0 today! Woohoo- that means 'winner winner sushi dinner' with my hubby tonight which will be a great start to the weekend! I have to say my 20's were pretty fabulous, but I'm excited to see what the next decade will bring me. :)
5. Freebie Time! In guided reading I'm always looking for new ways to get my students to understand and practice similar literacy concepts. Lori over at Conversations in Literacy (you have to check out her blog if you haven't already- she is an amazing resource in all things literacy!) posted a few weeks ago about a scavenger hunt that she does with her small groups to get them to identify specific types of words. I loved this idea so of course I had to try it the next day after I read her idea and then I created my own version to use with my specific students based on what they still need some help with in regard to specific word patterns. We started out looking for special words with our magnifying glasses and writing them down on our iPads, but then as soon as I knew this would be something I want to incorporate each week, I decided to make a doc that my little friends can fill out each time- we call it "wonderful words."
I use this as a little different take on word work during our guided reading time. I have my little friends read their story one time through and then on the second round they go back and look for their 'wonderful words.' I do not have them complete this activity each day- just once or twice a week, but it has been an eye-opener to me in regard to who is applying their knowledge of digraphs, long vowels, etc. and who still isn't quite able to figure those words out when reading stories. Of course my little friends love the chance to use their magnifying glasses on the second round of reading- so any little thing to get the motivated for a second read is a good thing in my book!
The other days I focus more on reading response, but I also include time to do reading response questions one-on-one while all my little friends are working on their 'wonderful words.' This has also helped A LOT with my little friends who finish reading faster than another little friend- they now know to get busy right away with their wonderful words. My first graders are adding words with digraphs, long vowel sounds, endings and words that have little words within them. I have a slightly simpler version for my kindergartners since their text is so very basic- they are just looking for specific short vowel words and sight words.
I will say it took them a few tries to really get used to this and I do still have some that say, "I can't find any," but then I go back and model again how to find some and emphasize that there are definitely plenty of those 'wonderful words' in their story. I have my little friends complete this on their computers/iPads, but if I didn't have those around, I would keep extra copies of these "wonderful words" pages in individual Reading Folders so they have easy access to them each time. In this freebie I also included two blank version so you can tailor the focus for your wonderful words based on the skill of the week or student need- you can grab this freebie here or by clicking the pic below. (They are all available in color and b/w.) Thanks so much for the great idea, Lori!