Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricanes and the Common Core

It seems that we just had one extreme condition that got the kids talking,  (See Turning an Earthquake into Learning.) when another extreme condition comes along!  Yes, Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm) is heading our way!

This storm is unique in a couple of ways:
  1. It is a HUGE slow moving storm.  According to the local news, the storm winds extend 500 miles from the eye of the storm. Yes, that's 1,000 miles in diameter!  The fact that it's moving so slowly means that the wind and rain will last longer.
  2. It's a full moon tomorrow.  To those of us near the coast, that means the tides will be higher than normal, plus the storm surge pushes that water up even higher.  
We're bracing for coastal damage, flooding, and power failures.

Of course, when you're 7, your biggest concern is trick or treating. The next concern is their electrical games, ipods, ipads, and videos.  I'm thinking this a great opportunity for finding some of those old fashioned ways to have fun!  (Of course, I'll be lost without my laptop, which pretty much has a non-functional battery!)

I was looking for some Informational books on Hurricanes, and found these on Amazon:

I've already ordered the Gail Gibbons book!  Her books are great informational text for second graders, they're written with enough information to keep them interesting, yet they're on the child's level so they can understand them.

I turned the earthquake into a writing project on narratives.  I thought I'd turn the hurricane into a writing project on opinion writing!

I'll work on this Common Core Standards:  

2.W.1:  Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g. because, and also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

Click image to download freebie.
I made up this graphic organizer, along with a couple of samples.  I thought they could choose from a few hurricane related topics:  favorite kind of weather, favorite "non-electric" activity, favorite book, etc.  I always believe that children need to talk before they write, so I'd share my samples, and enhance each time to make the story more interesting.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fluency and a Freebie

These are the Common Core Standards for fluency in second grade:

Click image to download freebie.
2.RFS.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
2.RFS.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
2.RFS.4b Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression.
2.RFS.4c Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.

As I look through the fluency standards for all the grades, they are almost word for word the same as above.

The experts tell us that fluency is directly related to comprehension.  Naturally, if a child is struggling to figure out the words in a text, it's going to be tough for them to get the meaning.  If the words flow smoothly, comprehension is more likely.

The experts define fluency with 4 phrases:
  1. automaticity in word recognition
  2. accurate word recognition
  3. prosody, or expression
  4. sufficient to permit comprehension
So, how do we build fluency?
  • Practice both phonetic patterns as well as sight words. 
  • Practice reading phrases and sentences a few words at a time. (Phrasing)
  • Practice reading simple paragraphs with expression.  
  • Oral Reading with a partner.  (using text of appropriate difficulty... "just right" text! 95 - 100% accuracy) 
  • Click image for Third Grade Dolch phrases.
  • Monitored Independent Reading
Personally, I love having my kids read phrases with funny voices or with certain character traits.  We always manage to have some fun building our skills.

The above freebie is for the pre-primer Dolch level. HERE's a set for Primer Level.  HERE's the First Grade Set.  HERE is the Second Grade Set.  Click HERE for the Third Grade set.  Click HERE for the combination set of all phrases.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Exemplar Texts for the Common Core - Stories

Did you realize there are several Appendixes to the Common Core State Standards?  The English-Language Arts areas have 3 Appendixes!  Appendix A contains Research and a Glossary.  Appendix B contains Exemplar Texts and Sample Performance Tasks.  Appendix C contains samples of student writing.  The one Math Appendix contains information about high school math courses.

I've been focused on Appendix B and the Exemplar texts.

A few weeks ago I did a post about Exemplar Read Aloud Texts for the Common Core.

I thought I'd do a post about the other Exemplar texts... the ones that are recommended for the children to read on their own.

The Common Core breaks Literature into Three Categories:  Stories, Poems, and Informational Texts.  Here are the recommended Exemplar Texts for grades 2 and 3.  Click on the image to read more about each book at Amazon.


Come on over to Elementary Matters to see the rest of the Exemplar texts for grades 2 and 3.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Identifying Story Structure and Answering Questions

We have just finished discussing plot in our classroom and how narrative stories are organized.  I tied this into story elements and finding the beginning, middle and end of a literary piece of text.  To make the connection between the story elements and structure we created this chart together after we read several short stories from the Poppleton books.

When we read the last short story (sorry- the titles were cut off the far left side!) I used white tape to cover the black lines that separated the characters and setting, the problem and events, and then the last box was solution.  I explained that often the characters and setting were found in the beginning of the story, the problem and events in the middle, and the solution is at the end.  It is not  a fool proof method, but at least gives students some guidance!

After we practiced this  SEVERAL times I had students create Plot Wallets to see if they could describe the beginning, middle, and end.  

To read how we created these and get a free copy of the cover and labels click here!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Text Features Chart

We are working on non-fiction text and graphic features so I made a chart for students to use during their independent reading. 

Each day, we will look at two text or graphic features on the promethean board and then while they read their books, they will fill in the corresonponding sections we worked on with the title of the book and page number they found an example of each feature on. They will also write how it helped them while they were reading.

Just click on the image to download your copy!

Head over to my blog for more ideas by clicking my button below!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Peer Editing - Nothing Like a Little Help From a Friend!

Hi, all!  Did you know that Saturday, October 20th, is NCTE's National Day on Writing?  Lots of activities with a focus on writing are taking place all over the country this week and next (since the 20th falls on a weekend this year) to recognize the day.  Click {HERE} to find the NCTE website and learn more about it.

This week in Middle School Matters Blog, I have a post about writing - specifically peer editing - and included a freebie to go along with it.  Addressing the CCSS (W.7.5 and W.8.5 as they would be for my classes), students are expect to, "with some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed."  Using my Peer Editing Sheet helps to guide students through the process of analyzing someone else's writing while accepting feedback on the quality of their own.

Click on the image above to see how I use this tool in a writing workshop setting and get a FREE copy for yourself.   Of course, you can also simply click {HERE} to get your FREE copy and run with it!  Either way, I hope my Peer Editing Sheet is a useful resource for you and your students.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Roll and Cover Games (FREE)

No matter what grade I have taught, my kids have always LOVED playing Roll and Cover games!  These games are great for number recognition, and fact fluency.

Here is my latest set of Roll and Cover games, centered around the I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie book.  There are 3 different versions available to meet the needs of your classroom.

Click {HERE} or on the image to grab your copy!
Roll and Cover

If you like games like this one, make sure to click {HERE} to download some other free Roll and Cover games that I created.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Speaking and Listening with a Game

Speaking and listening, how do we really assess these or better yet how do we practice?  Technically, our students practice this every day during classroom discussions, cooperative learning, following directions, you name it.  Quite a few years ago, I started using the game I have…Who has with my students.  First, they L-O-V-E the game.  Whether we are playing content related games or games for fun, these games grab their attention, keep it, and become competitive in nature.  By competitive, I mean the class competes against themselves.  They try to beat their previous time in completing the game.  It becomes intrinsic.  If you haven’t played this game with your class, I highly recommend it!  It is quite amazing to see how intense this game becomes, no matter what grade they are in.

I have a few sets of these games available as freebies centered on seasonal topics.   If you haven’t tried I have…Who has… this is a perfect way to try them out.  Not only will your students have fun playing they will also be practicing on their speaking and listening skills.  Great for Common Core!

You can find it here.

Golfing for Tens

Sometimes I amaze myself by how I keep thinking of school, even when they have a day off!  I took a day on Thursday because I had 3 medical appointments.  (I'm fine, just scheduled them all on the same day for convenience!)

I had some time to kill between doctor's appointments and so I stopped by the local Dollar Store.  My students need to start adding more than just single digits, so I thought I'd find a fun way for them to work on adding tens. Come on over to Elementary Matters to find out more about how my "Golfing for Tens" freebie came to be!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Common and Proper Nouns Freebie

We have been studying different kinds of nouns in our classroom, including common and proper nouns.  I wanted to do a formative assessment to see if students really got understood the concept.  I created a scavenger hunt for students to complete in partners.  I really wanted it to be a partner activity because I wanted to watch students discuss each item.

To prepare the scavenger hunt I printed,laminated, and cut the cards out.  Then I I taped the cards all over the room in RANDOM order.  Students were then to walk around, match the number on their recording sheet to their card and circle common or proper.  

Click here to read more about the scavenger hunt and get your FREE copy!