Monday, September 22, 2014

A Look Inside My Intervention Binder!

Happy Monday!  Tonight I would l-o-v-e to take you on a tour inside my new No Prep Intervention Binder: ELA Edition for Beginning Readers! You have all been AH-MAZINGLY supportive of it so far and I'm so, so thankful!  

I've been using it with my first graders during our RTI time and it has been so effective, fast, and powerful for my little kiddos! The pages are all in sheet protectors, so all of the intervention tools are write on/wipe off -  making it easy to erase and work with the next kiddo!  Here we go - let's look inside!

Here is the Table of Contents page.  This first ELA edition covers the following skills:
 There are no long vowels included in this edition.  This edition only covers short vowels and was designed for kindergarten, first grade, struggling second graders, and special education students.  (Maybe long vowels, vowel teams, etc. will be available in a second ELA edition...hint, hint. ;) Please note that the following pictures do not show all of the activities included.  I just want to give you an idea of what you can expect to find inside! :)

This section is great for your kids who are still working on identifying the letters of the alphabet.  The students find and circle all ten focus letters on each page.  The letters are hidden in various fonts to expose your kids to various font types when they read. 

 There are various practice pages for letter naming - again in a variety of fonts to help your little ones with font exposure.  I think that is so important today, when fancy fonts are frequently used and Times New Roman is still a common font for many of our kids' books. In the "real world," not every book is printed in a lovely ABC font.  Average and high level kids can make that transfer, but we never know when or if our struggling,at-risk kids have a hard time with the transition of letters looking a different way.  Therefore, exposure is key!

 Additional short vowel pages are included in the Letter Sound section.

 The Phoneme Segmentation has many pieces to it and you can use this section in MANY different ways.  In the picture below, students say the name of the picture and can touch the boxes or put counters in the boxes as they segment the sounds.  OR,  you can go back and use this section to help students WRITE the sounds that match the CVC words. 
 There are TONS of word lists included throughout the binder.  Lists of words to use with your phoneme segmentation intervention lesson are provided.  In the picture below, I said the word "hut" to the student.  The student touched the boxes and said the sounds.  Then, I had the student go back and write the sounds for this word.  I know that writing the sounds for the word is more of a spelling intervention, but it never hurts to do double-duty, right?! :)

 The teacher says the word and can mark and/or monitor the student's oral response.

This part is my favorite! Students touch the dots as they sound out the word. Then, the student circles the picture that matches the word.  I created this because I had word cards with the picture and the letters on the same card.  Well, my students would simply look at the picture and say the word OR guess at the word because they were only using the picture. I needed them to sound out the word and THEN put it together to figure out the meaning of the word.  This did the trick! 

 Here is a visual and a tactile way for your students to SEE the blend and drag their finger across the blend as they sound out the word.  Again, they have to put the sounds together, produce the word, and circle the picture that matches the word. No more guessing allowed!

Several digraph and blend lists are included to help your students fluently practice their digraph sounds and blends in an isolated manner. These are even great to use as warm-ups for small groups or to send home to practice. 

The Nonsense Word section has several activities.  In this picture above, the child is reading the word to practice sounds. Then, she circles the words that are REAL and crosses out the words that are NONSENSE words.  (We also used a dollar store wand to spice this up even more!) :)
 This activity is similar to the Word Hunt, except we've again provided visual touch points as the child sounds out each letter.  The child circles R for real and N for nonsense.  Sheet protectors make this easy to wipe off and reuse! 
 Ahhh...fluency! If you know me at all, you know it's my favorite part of reading to make activities for!   Many of my struggling readers are having trouble pointing to each word as they read the sentences in a book.  They want to drag their fingers, or place their fingers on TOP of the word, or just stare at it like it might start reading it to them.
 The fluency section has two parts. In the picture below, the student reads the sentences on the page and touches each dot as he or she reads each word. 
 Those SAME sentences are placed in a passage format next.  Since the child has already decoded the words with the Point and Read page, we are now ready to put it together for fluency.  It can be eye-opening how a child who can read the sentences on the first page seem to struggle when it is placed in a passage format.  However, passages are key to fluency assessments, so again, we must provide our kids with lots of exposure to these!
The child reads the passage three times, using his/her dry erase marker to check off a box each time he or she reads. Since it is write on/wipe off, you can see how I did a little instructional teaching time as we reviewed and went over the short e sound and pointed out the blend and digraph in the word "black."  

Let's face it. Your time is PRECIOUS.  Cutting out tons and tons of word cards at night should not be your priority. Your priority is to get your kids tools and activities to make progress.  After wondering when the carpal tunnel was going to hit me as I continued to cut out a ton of intervention word cards, I knew I needed something that was NO PREP and time-saving.  I truly hope this Intervention Binder helps you as much as it helped me!  I grab my binder during RTI time and I have more time to focus on skills and strategies with my kids.  :)  And, they think it's super FUN because as you know - dry erase markers rock, right?!

All of the above can be found in my latest pack. Find it by clicking below or on the picture:
No Prep ELA Intervention Binder for Beginning Readers 

Thank you SO much for joining me on this tour of my latest pack.  I will be creating a version for long vowels, vowel teams, etc. as well as a math edition in the near future. :) 
As always -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday September 17th - Evaluations & Observations

Next week, I have my first formal observation of the school year. This Friday, all of my pre-conference forms are due. In Ohio, this means pages and pages of evidence and explanations of my teaching skills.  I've been working on my forms for the past three nights and will still be working on them tonight and tomorrow. #nooooo

So my question for the week is:

Does your district or state's evaluation system seem time consuming to you? If so, do you believe that the benefits of the evaluation/observation system outweigh the cons?
Share your thoughts with me below -
Let's chat! :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Glance Into My Guided Reading Binder!

Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope you all had a fabulous week.  This summer, I led a two day workshop called Success with Small Groups and it was SO much fun! During my workshop, I shared my Guided Reading binder with my class.  I thought I would do a blog post for you with a glimpse into what my Guided Reading binder looks like inside.   Here we go! :)

Welcome to my Guided Reading binder!  I used my sweet friend, Haley O'Connor's Colorful Editable Teacher Planner pack to make my cover. Let's open it up!

When you open it up, my weekly guided reading plans are the first thing you will see.  I keep my plans short and sweet. I'm big on having a FOCUS for each small group but I'm careful not to plan too much on purpose.  I want my reading groups to guide themselves based on my students' reading actions and our discussions.  I write down the new book I will introduce, any vocabulary words I want to preview to set them up for success when they whisper read, and a main focus.  

A FAQ I receive is: "Do you see every group every day?"
Truthfully, I USED to for the past few years that I've had the inclusion room. I was blessed to have an intervention specialist in my room during my Daily 5 time, so between the two of us, we saw every child every day - often more than once a day.  It was the definition of Teacher Heaven.

But this year I am taking a break from having the inclusion room, which means I am now back to this place the rest of you probably call "reality."  I do not see every group every day but I do see my lowest two groups every day.  I see my other top 2 groups three times a week and once a week during our intervention time. (So essentially, they still get four reading groups a week. #iloveinterventiontime)  I also have two little friends this year reading WAY above everyone else. They join my top group but the three of us always meet separately on Fridays and additionally during our intervention time throughout the week in individual conferences.

When I start my guided reading groups, my students reread familiar books from previous days out of our Fluency Basket.  While they are "warming up their brains" as I say, I take a running record on a focus child from the group.  I flip to my Focus Child Checklist page, and choose a child from the group. I check them off and take my running record.  This gives me a simple, easy glance at who I have done a running record on, and who still needs one.  Once my class has all been given one running record, I move on to column #2 and start again. This just keeps me focused and ensures I am reaching every child within the class. (You can see that my list is not very complete yet. I took this picture last week and we have only been in school for 4 weeks.) :)

Above is an example of a running record I took on a child last week. When I study the errors he made, it was clear he was using his visual and syntactic cuing systems when he read. His errors all started with the same letter as the word and they made sense within the structure of the sentences. However, he was not activating his semantic cuing system because his errors did not have any meaning to the text.  After reading with him for just a few minutes, I jotted down a note at the bottom that the strategy "Check for Understanding" and summarizing each page is the direction I want to go with for this little one.  (I often don't take the running record on the whole book - I want enough to get a quick snapshot of his current reading skills.) The rest of his group was making errors in sight words and decodable text.  This little guy was reading too high for this group, so my running record helped me know that I needed to change his small group to a higher leveled group. 

This is my favorite part of my binder!  I laminated a page that coordinates with the colors of my guided reading groups. (If you use animals or shapes for your groups, you could put those on the page.) I stick every child's name on a Post-It Note sticky tab when I arrange my students into their initial reading groups.  This makes it EASY for me to quickly move my students based on their running records and weekly needs.  Groups are flexible and never stay the same for very long. 

Remember my little guy who needed to move to a higher group? You can see that while I was taking his running record, it was easy for me to move his name to the next group because the page was right there with me in my binder.  I don't want to risk forgetting to move his name at the end of the day and the idea that I can just re-stick a tab is perfect for helping me keep the mentality that data and my groups are ever-changing. 

At the end of the day, or often the end of the week, I file all of the running records I took. Each child has a tab in my binder with his or her number on it. This helps me keep a collection of each child's running records throughout the year so I can refer to them and track progress/lack of progress.  By the end of the year, these forms become a "diary" of each child's reading instruction throughout their first grade learning year. 

Does it take me some extra time? Yes. But we have ONE year to make as much reading progress as we can with our students.  It's important to me that I make every small group experience count. 

So there it is - a look into my guided reading binder!  I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps it even gave you a few ideas to take back to your small group binder! :) 

Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the teaching world!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday September 9: Learning Happiness & Giveaway Winners

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Before I get this party started and share my picture of the week with you, I want to announce the winner of the $50 Kaplan Gift Card!
Congratulations, Sara D! 
My picture this week makes me oh-so-happy! It shows a recent science experiment and some close ups of small groups.

I looked around my room today and realized we had officially arrived to first grade. Kids were scattered all over the room reading, writing, stamping their words, and listening to books on the computer and tablets.  They were sooooo quiet and I could hear little whispers of pictures being read and words being sounded out. 

Learning happiness at it's finest. 

My Wordless Wednesday question of the week:
How often do you do science experiments in your classroom?
(because I'm nosy and curious)

Share your answer with me below and/or link up your picture for Wordless Wednesday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Writing Wheels for Work on Writing! {Fall Edition}

Happy Monday teacher friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent the weekend painting and shopping for a new kitchen light fixture.  My life is oh-so-exciting, isn't it?! ;)  I did find this adorable little treasure while we were light-fixture-shopping that I had to invite home to live on my front porch. :)

Now let's talk "school." We are officially in our FOURTH week for first grade!  I can't believe it!  My 25 little friends are doing so well and have really started to settle in and embrace our classroom routine.  With routines, comes Daily 5 of course!  Do you use Daily 5 in your classroom?  If you do, you know how exciting it is when you start to launch Work on Writing.  I launch Work on Writing LAST because I want to make sure my kiddos can write a complete sentence before I set them loose. 

The last couple weeks, we've been celebrating because...they CAN write a complete sentence! :) In fact, since we've been using my Think, Talk, Teach pack and working on the conjunction "and," they can write a compound sentence right now - yay! 
I created this really FUN writing pack for my beginning writers and they l-o-v-e it!  Work on Writing time is a time in my classroom that students can write about whatever they want.  However, sometimes I have little ones who have a really difficult time figuring out WHAT to write about when left on their own.  These Writing Wheels solve that problem! 

Students will have a blast using a paperclip to spin the spinner and write about the picture they land on! There are 12 different themed printables, but since each printable has 4 writing choices, there are SO many options and opportunities for writing fun with this pack!

Each fall "theme" comes with three different differentiated templates that you can use in your classroom, according to your students' needs.  Choose the printable and writing template that works best for your kiddos!

You can also choose to simply cut and laminate the spinners without the writing template.  These would be great to place in a writing center and let students choose, spin, and write! The "I don't know what to write about" syndrome is officially over! :)
 The following TWO writing templates and spinners are available for FREE by downloading the Preview Download for this pack in my TpT shop! 

 Click HERE to head over to download and try it out in your classroom! :)

Before you go, have you entered my giveaway for a $50 Kaplan Early Learning Gift Card?! Click HERE to enter - it ends tomorrow night!  :)

Thanks for stopping by -
Happy Writing!