Monday, May 1, 2017

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Fishbowl Discussions

 My kids BEG to do fishbowl discussions! Who knew? We have used them with poetry, fables, short stories, and novels. We have even used them to discuss hot topics like the presidential election! Head on over to hear more! 

When I set up the fishbowl:
· Half the class sits on the floor in a circle and the other half sits in a chair on the outside of the circle.
· Sometimes I pick the kids randomly, but usually I choose a mix of outgoing and reserved students.
· I ask an open-ended question with room for interpretation to the students in the inner circle.
To ensure successful discussions, there are guidelines we follow. The inside circle must:
· State supported ideas
· Agree or disagree with a speaker and provide supporting or refuting information. PROVE IT!
· Make connections to the conversation.
· Do not interrupt a speaker.
· Do not speak a second time until everyone has had a chance.
The outside circle listens quietly while jotting notes or thoughts they may want to contribute later.
The students may be a little self-conscious at the beginning of the discussion, but usually warm up once the conversation gets going. I tell the kids they are talking to the group, not me. My job is to sit and listen to the discussion and not intervene for about 8-10 minutes. Although, I do sometimes need to redirect the conversation when they get off topic or start repeating the same thing, in different ways.
This page helps me stay organized. I just write the kids’ names in the boxes according to where they sit in the circle. During the discussion, I make a check mark for people who have spoken and keep notes so I can follow up after time expires.

If you would like to organize your discussions, just check it out by clicking the pic!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mastering Short Vowels

Short Vowel Activities

Mastering vowel sounds is an important step to reading and short vowels can be especially tricky for some readers.  

I like to use lots of different activities that allow my readers to practice short vowels and cvc patterns.  

Short Vowel Activities Roll On set and rimes

One fun way to practice short vowels is with these cubes!  I don't know what it is but kids LOVE to roll these cubes!

Short Vowel Activities Rolling CVC words

I like to have students practice on-set and rimes and blending individual sounds.  

Tips for using linking charts activities to learn cvc words

Do you use Linking Charts?  I have found that reading linking charts make a huge difference, especially for struggling readers.  We read the forwards, backwards, top to bottom, bottom to top, etc...  Some have picture clues and others do not.  It is all about getting students fluent with the sounds they are working on.  

Short vowel cvc chunk it activities

As students gain confidence and letter sound skills, I also want them moving toward chunking words together.  Seeing words as whole pieces or in chunks rather than individual sounds.  While working on reading, we are also working on comprehension!

Short Vowel Fluency Strips

A fun and quick way to practice short vowels is to do a quick run through on fluency strips.  Students can grab a ring in the mornings or during word work stations and go read!

Short Vowel Fluency Strips

Doesn't take but a few minutes a day and they can be read in pairs too!

cvc intervention phonics binder for RTI, guided reading and word work stations

Try adding fun pointers to your word work!  Funny how just adding something different can up the engagement for students!

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Come and visit me for more literacy ideas!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

CVC Intervention Binder

cvc word work intervention binder

Our RTI has just begun for the second cycle of the year.  I know many of you have students needing more work with CVC words.  I also  know you need resources that aren't going to require a lot of time or colored ink to set up.  This CVC Word Work Intervention Binder is just the thing!  It is No Prep- Print & Go!

cvc word work intervention binder

cvc word work intervention activities for RTI

Add fun pointers and have students read the linking charts that are included.  It is so important that they get these short vowel sounds.  I find that my struggling readers find short vowels so difficult sometimes.  There are a lot of ways to read these charts- forwards, backwards, sideways, speed read, what comes before, after...Say a word with one of the chunks and they mark it with a colored Bingo chip.  Many ways to help them become fluent with these short vowel sounds.

cvc word work intervention binder

A lot students start out with sound by sound reading.  Then we want to move them to chunking as soon as they are ready.   

cvc word work intervention binder

Fun glasses or pointers help keep the engagement up as they read to make these sounds more automatic.  Also, included in the pack is scooping the chunks together to help students read in chunks instead of sound by sound.

                                                  cvc word work intervention binder

Games can be played too to make it fun!!

cvc word work intervention binder

All this practice is to help students apply the skills to actual reading of sentences.  If they can only read the words in isolation, that is not going to help them much in the real world.  Paying attention to the punctuation helps with comprehending the sentences too.

cvc word work intervention binder

Then, of course, can they read and comprehend these cvc word patterns in paragraphs?  It's all about moving the students from where they are towards application of the skills for better fluency and comprehension!

You can click any of these pictures or click here to be taken to see this resource!


Blends and Digraphs RTI Intervention Binder

Blends and Digraphs RTI Intervention Binder

Blends and Digraphs RTI Intervention Binder

Update:  Long Vowel Silent e Intervention Binder is now available!  Click here or on the pictures above.  All the binders in this set are now available!  

Come see me sometime at Conversations in Literacy!



Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's All About Those Chunks

It's all about them chunks!  Or at least for some of my reading groups it is!  One important step in reading strategies is being able to see words in chunks and not individual sounds.  So we have a LOT of Chunky Monkey going on!

Chunky Monkey is one of our reading strategy posters that hang in my room to remind students of what they can do to help themselves in a tricky or confusing part when they are reading.

I also have reading strategy bookmarks in each of our small group materials baskets.  These bookmarks come out and sit beside the students when they read to remind them to help themselves.

We've also used Post It notes to record the words we used the Chunky Monkey strategy.  This activity really helps students apply what they have learned and visually show it.

Once students have been taught to read and spell in chunks, they need some practice at it.  This is a picture of Chunk Its Short Vowels.  Students color the picture, glue in the chunks and write the word as a whole part.  That is important that they move across the continuum from individual sounds to chunks, to whole words.  Then they apply this knowledge by reading a sentence and highlighting the chunks.  Students show comprehension by doing a quick sketch of the sentence.

This Chunk Its the short vowel resource in a set of 4 Chunk Its.

Then they are ready to move on to consonant blends and digraphs.  Which is the next set of Chunk Its.

There is a Chunk Its CVCe Long Vowels too!  


One area that students really need to take time to build and strengthen is multisyllabic words.  This Chunk Its does that with short vowel 2 syllable words.  They get practice with compound words, double consonants, and breaking 2 syllable words where at least one of the syllables has a short vowel sound.   I have also bundled all 4 of the Chunk It resources into one bundle to help save you some money.  You can click any of the pictures to be taken to see these resources and how they can help your students practice moving out of individual sounds and into chunks of sound!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Everyone's Got An Opinion!

Making Writing about Opinions Fun!

Everyone has an opinion on just about everything.  Is that not right?  Kids have strong opinions about all kinds of things from storms to lemons to what time to go to bed at night.  And they LOVE telling you their opinions!  So why not take that enthusiasm and apply it to their writing?

Topics for Opinion Writing

These are from my Take It or Leave It pack.  It is an easy, No Prep- Print & Use pack where kids can take their opinions and back them up with reasons.  They choose whether they would Take It or Leave It for the subject at the top, write a couple phrases why, and then write a quick paragraph about it.  These make great morning work, writing center ideas, RTI writing intervention work, and a whole lot of others ways you could use them.  They just make writing fun because they get kids to thinking and give them practice backing up their opinions with reasons why.  And I know my students need all the practice with this skill that they can get!

Topics for Opinion Writing- What's Your Preference?

These are my What's Your Preference? task cards.  They also get kids practicing writing about their opinions while take them through the writing process.  You can place these in a center or use them as a whole group for teaching opinion writing as you teach students during Writer's Workshop.  Either you or the students choose a task card and decide, What's Your Preference?

Topics for Opinion Writing- What's Your Preference?

There are several writing pages included in this pack to help guide students through the writing process.  2 planning guides, a rough draft page and a final copy page are included.  The 2 planning guides give you the choice of differentiating how much scaffolding your students may need to plan out what they will write.

You can click here to find the Take It or Leave It pack and click here to find the What's Your Preference Opinion Writing pack.  Or you can just click on any of the pictures to be taken to them.  

New update!!

Several new packets have been added to this line:

Take It or Leave It Fall Edition
Take It or Leave It Opinion Writing with Evidence

Take It or Leave It Opinion Writing with Evidence

Take It or Leave It November Edition

Take It or Leave It Opinion Writing with Evidence

Take It or Leave It Opinion Writing with Evidence

Take It or Leave it December Edition

Take It or Leave It Opinion Writing with Evidence

Take It or Leave It Opinion Writing with Evidence

using evidence to support your opinions

Using Evidence to support your opinion writing

Let's make writing FUN!!