Sunday, April 28, 2013

Prefixes, Suffixes, and a FREEBIE!

Over the last few weeks we have been doing a LOT of work with prefixes and suffixes!  My kids are recognizing them in their reading and writing (don't you just love when that happens!?!?).

We watched the Brainpop Jr on prefixes.  I love Brainpop Jr and am very lucky our school provides a membership.  It is FANTASTIC and we use it to introduce EVERYTHING!

I also found these two really cute Between the Lions videos focusing on the prefixes un- and re-.  Beware- they are from YouTube.  I know some schools block it :(

We brainstormed together as a class and made these anchor charts.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Persuasive Writing and the Common Core - 6th. grade

Persuasive writing, TCRWP and the NJ ASK test

So, here we go...the NJ ASK is three weeks away and we have (at last)  begun to prepare.  This year, I am linking the ASK prep to Common Core State Standards in every area of our Language Arts test, and using the standards to build charts and strategies.
Here's what the Common Core has to say writing standards for sixth grade:

Test prep can be so dry and boring...unless, of course, you are the good people at the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project, who have done amazing work to make teaching everything a rich and interesting experience. Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the TC February Institute, where many workshops focused on persuasive writing.  One of the innovative things I learned about was the use of videos in Reading and Writing Workshop - and especially how to use videos to lay the groundwork for persuasive writing.  Enter the Great Chocolate Milk debate!
I learned that we could use news clips and dairy industry videos to introduce claims and counter claims about  serving  chocolate milk with  school lunches: good thing? bad thing?   Well...listen to both sides, decide and then use the evidence to  write to persuade.  Brilliant! What better way to get my kids to sit up and pay attention to persuasive writing mini lessons than to serve it up with chocolate milk?!
I took lots of notes during my workshop at TC, but Lucy and her team are so generous with their work - it is also available online for teachers everywhere to delve in and give it a try.  I took a little bit from here, a little more from there and here's how it all went down in my classroom today:
We began by brainstorming about what persuasion is all about in the first place, and charted or thinking.  I found this little clip to reinforce those basic ideas before we moved on (my kids loved it):

Then we charted the bare bones of a persuasive essay in our Writer's Notebooks:

Next, we reviewed how we would use  "boxes and bullets" to sketch out a plan of  action:

Finally, we got to the part my kids were waiting for: The Great Chocolate Debate....we used our notebooks to note information on both sides of the issue (Yes, serve chocolate milk at lunch! No, do not serve chocolate milk at lunch!), and then we watched the videos very closely:

That's all we had time for...but tomorrow is another day, and we hope to write our first drafts using our notes from today.  My kids were psyched not to have to write another persuasive essay on homework or school uniforms...and although I'm pretty sure I can already guess the stance they will take tomorrow (chocolate milk all the way!), I am also pretty sure that will enjoy the writing process all the more because...hey, who doesn't like chocolate milk?! 

FYI: This is a link to work that Mary Ehrenworth has done on persuasive writing using the chocolate milk theme.  This is also on the TC site - which, as I have already said, is amazing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sight Word Ice Cream Scoops

It's Michelle Griffo from Apples and ABC's!  I wanted to share with you how I organize and test kids on their sight words.  In Kindergarten, the students have to read common sight words (ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3).  There are so many different ways to test the kids and get them to memorize the words.  I want to show you the strategy that I use (which I learned at my first year from my mentor teacher).  

At the beginning of the year, I organize the sight words in order, by the words that I want them to know first.  I usually start with the color words, and then move on to "I, see, a..."  Once I have the words organized, then I put them into different "color groups."  I have the kids memorize the words by the different groups.  Once they have the color set memorized, they can move to a different level.  

The way I motivate them to move along the color lists is by giving them a construction paper ice cream scoop for each level they pass.  They get really excited when they get their ice cream scoop, and it is a great way to share their progress with them.  I keep each student's chart in a bound book, so they aren't hanging on the walls.  

We use our word wall, by placing each set of words on the wall as I introduce them.  I give the parents and students a monthly reminder of what color they should be focusing on.  Some are below that goal and some are way above.  

The students get tested on their words weekly, and I send home a progress sheet so the parents know what words they missed.  

Thanks for letting me share!  Come on over and visit me anytime at Apples and ABC's!
~Michelle Griffo

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Sounds" Fun!

 K-1 phonemic awareness activities

Spring has finally sprung and students are finally on their way with their learning!  It is amazing how in the spring what you have been teaching just seems to start coming together and the students are getting stronger in their skills.

For kindergarten, and even my first graders that had been struggling, they are getting so much better at hearing sounds in words.  Yay!  So now is the time to put all those skills into practice and get them good and solid!  For my first graders that are in RtI interventions, now is the time to be sure they have got it and can show it!

phonemic awareness and phonics activities

My students just love working with these type of activities.  I am sure yours do too.  There are 6 different center activities in all to give your students extra practice to show they know their stuff!  

Phonemic and Phonics Activities

This pack of literacy centers will help you cover these common core standards:

K.RFS.1 b- Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print- recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters
K.RFS.2 b, d- Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds- count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words, isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds in 3 phoneme words
K.RFS.3 a, b- Know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis in decoding words- demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant, associate the long and short vowel sounds with the common spellings for the five major vowels
First Grade:
1.RFS.2 a, c, d-  Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds- distinguish long from short vowel sounds in spoken single syllable words, isolate and pronounce initial, medial vowel, and final sounds in spoken single-syllable words, segment spoken single-syllable words into their complete sequence of individual sounds
1.RFS.3 c, e  - Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words- know final-e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds, decode 2 syllable words following basic patterns by breaking the words into syllables

The centers included are short vowel scrambler, long vowel (using silent e) scrambler, beginning sounds, middle sounds, ending sounds and syllable counting and graphing.  They are great to use as centers or small groups.  Or like I mentioned above, I love using these types of activities with my RtI intervention groups. 

I hope these can help you and your students out!  It is amazing how fast the year has gone and how quickly we will be sending them on to the next grade.  I am feeling the pressure to be sure everyone is ready and their learning solid. I always feel that I need more time!  How about you??

Click any of the above pictures  or here to be taken to my store if these center activities will help you out.  Thanks for letting me come visit with you again!  Drop by sometime and see me! 

Conversations in Literacy