May 2, 2012


As we get ready for lots of testing in May, my kids are reading a lot. They are doing lots of comprehension papers and they have to read the passage and all questions by themselves. They have been doing one a day for a couple of weeks to help build up their stamina. For the most part, they are doing really well. Some of my lower readers don't know some of the words, but they have learned testing skills to try and sound out the word and then to skip if if he/she can't figure it out. Most of them have learned that they can figure out what a word means by the other words around it.
Anyway, I have them do the passage and questions all by themselves, then I talk with any who missed some questions and explain the skill they missed. This seems to be helping as they are missing fewer correct answers overall.
Friday, my class begins the FAIR test (Reading skills test in Florida) and next week they will take the GATES test and they have to read it all by themselves. I think they will do very well if they just try to do their best. I will try to keep things positive and help them believe they will do well. They are easily influenced at this age.
Concerning stamina, here is a picture of a Daily 5 bulletin board in my classroom.

We have worked on this all year to help build stamina in reading. For a while, we graphed how many minutes everyone in the class could focus on reading before someone got off task. Eventually, we got to over 25 minutes regularly. All of my kids have become wonderful readers! They are at different levels, but I am very proud of all of them. Today, on the way back from the library, I had 5 kids who kept opening their library books to read as they walked. I know they're not supposed to be opening the books as they walk, I just couldn't fuss at them for wanting to read.

May 1, 2012

Earth Day & Vocabulary Activity

We did several activities around Earth Day last week. Over the course of three days, we read The Lorax,
The Lorax Helps the Earth, and Fancy Nancy Earth Day (I think this is the title. The book is at school.)
Before we read any of them, I had the children fill out post-it notes about their Earth Day Schema. Here is a picture of the Earth chart we made.

On the bottom of the chart is where the children wrote about what they learned about Earth Day.
Here is a web one of the groups made about Earth Day.

Today we did  a fun vocabulary activity. This is an idea I got from my friend Kelly, who teaches next door to me. I gave each group (5 groups total) a set of picture cards and word cards in a bowl. I told them to mix them up and dump them on the table. (They loved that part!) We had a contest to see which group could match up the words and pictures. They were so engaged in the activity! They higher level readers helped the lower level readers and some of the lower level readers actually have a better vocabulary than the higher level readers and were able to help their group with the names of the pictures. This worked so well- especially right now when they are already antsy for summer. I plan to do this each week with different words. Here are pictures of a couple of the tables working.