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So far Jolene Mathew has created 3 blog entries.
19 04, 2017

Strategy Share: Fun Ways for Previewing Texts & a Freebie

By | April 19th, 2017|Guided Reading, Reading Strategies, Strategy Share|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Welcome to Strategy Share! This is a series I just recently started that focuses on teaching strategies for reading and writing. You can learn more about strategies in general here. Today, I want to share some reading strategies for previewing texts. These strategies are geared for guided reading, but you could use it during a read aloud too. Below, I will also include a free resource to help you apply these strategies in your classroom.

Reading Strategies for Previewing Texts

First off, guided reading time is limited, so previewing a text should be very brief. If you find you are super crunched for time, just spend a minute or two tops on this part of the guided reading lesson. It is still a very important part of the guided reading lesson, but a big chunk of time is not needed for it to be effective. You can also find more tips on teaching a guided reading lesson here.

For these strategies, choose just one to use. You could make a rotating schedule with the strategies for previewing texts if you like.

 

Strategy #1

Book Explorer Reading Strategy

Be a Book Explorer: Since I have a trunk full of animal themed reading strategies in my guided reading units, I like to stick with this theme. With this strategy, students are jungle explorers. Students “explore” or walk through the text. This particular strategy is not narrowed down to just looking at pictures or looking at words, but rather, students freely explore the pages in the text and make their own discoveries.

 

Strategy #2

Put on your binoculars during guided reading

Put on Your Binoculars: Keeping with the jungle explorer theme, students put on their “binoculars” to explore the pictures in the book. Now, if you want to get all fancy and you got a few extra minutes, you could actually have students use binoculars. If not, let students make binoculars with their hands to explore and make discoveries with the pictures. You can extend this by having each student point out something they notice, but that is not necessary if you need to keep the time down. You can get through this in a minute by using a sand timer if needed, so students know they got just that time to breeze through the pages.

 

Strategy #3

Make Word Discoveries: Have those explorers “discover” words. You can either put a focus here on new vocabulary or familiar sight words. When focusing on familiar sight words, you can say something like, “Let’s discover words we know in the book. Jungle explorers, look for words you know.” To extend, each student can point out a word to you. If you are using books that are printed for each student, they could also highlight the words in the book if time allows. If you need to save time, just let students preview the words and each day have one or two students point out a sight word. You can also use the sand timer to give them their exploring time if needed.

If you will be focusing on new vocabulary, you can say, “Let’s explore for new words. Do you see any words you do not know?” Have students point out the new words. If it is a word that they should know, but just are not familiar with reading the word, you could have them use the picture clues to figure out the word. If it is a new word they may not be familiar with, but it has good context clues, you could lead students to figure out the meaning with the context clues if time allows. If not, you can just briefly explain what it means. If time is really short, you could lead students to the page with the new vocabulary word. Then ask, “Let’s explore for new words on this page. Do you see any words that you do not recognize?” Then give students the definition. I recommend pulling any language from the text to help explain the meaning, so it is more in a contextual way. This will help build stronger understanding.

Strategy #4

Explore Predictions: To explore predictions, you could say, “Explorers, what do you think this text is about? Let’s explore some predictions.” Then have some students make a prediction. To monitor the time, you can use a sand timer. If calling on multiple students, you may want to use a 2 or 3 minute sand timer. If you need to limit the time, you can rotate having students make a prediction and just call on one student. Another way is to say, “In seven words or less, what is your prediction?”

Strategy #5

Discover the Characters: With this strategy, students look through the pages and identify the characters that are evident through the pictures. After students look through the pictures you can either put the spotlight on them to talk about the characters or you can introduce the character.  If you want students to explain their findings, you can ask, “What did you discover about the characters through the pictures?” If you will be introducing the character, just give a brief description of the character.

Strategy #6

Discover the Setting: This strategy is similar to the discover the characters strategy, only the focus is on the setting. Instead of asking students to describe their discoveries about the character, they describe their discoveries about the setting.

Strategy #7

Explore What You Know: This strategy is geared for non-fiction texts. When introducing a non-fiction book, students discuss what they know about the text. You could say, “Let’s explore what we know about this topic. Tell me something you know about __________.”

I hope these strategies for previewing texts help you up your game with guided reading! I am including a free resource for previewing texts to help you apply the strategies here. I think you are going to find it handy! 🙂

Simply subscribe to email to claim the free resource above. If you are currently a subscriber, simply just enter your email again to get the resource.

Also, make sure to check out this free guided reading sampler of level B here. This links to the resource in my Candy Class store on TPT.

Guided Reading Level B Sampler

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my blog! I will be sporadically posting more Strategy Share posts.

Jolene 🙂

 

 

23 02, 2017

Seven Tips for Teaching Guided Reading with Confidence

By | February 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

 

Image for tips for teaching guided reading

When I use to ask students about their favorite part of school, what do you think the overwhelming response was from them? Recess? Nope. Lunch. Guess again. Guided reading? YES!!!! Actually, they would not say guided reading. They would tell me things like spending time at the table with you reading. Gush! My heart would absolutely melt! Spending time reading with the teacher was their favorite part of school!

Now honestly, I can say, I sincerely lacked confidence in teaching guided reading when I first taught kindergarten many years back. Pretty much, I was thrown into a classroom that was formerly a storage room a week after school started because the enrollment was high. I was told to teach guided reading with only access to a room full of leveled readers. Thankfully, I had that! I discovered that I LOVED teaching children to read, even though I was not the best at it initially. For sure, I was a work in progress for a while. I can’t say I was an instant pro at it my first year. Hopefully, I did not scar those students from my first year of teaching kindergarten for life haha! I know I can’t be the only one to think that about their first year of teaching! It was not until my third year of teaching kindergarten that I finally felt confident at teaching children how to read.

To save you some trial and error, I want to share some of my teaching strategies with you that will hopefully help you to teach guided reading more confidently. 

Guided Reading Level Mastery Checklist

1. Regroup Frequently- Evaluate where students are frequently, and regroup based on those evaluations. Now I am not talking about giving them 100+ formal assessments. Teach, of course! Performance assessments are your guide and work seamlessly during guided reading as you teach. Checklists and running records are both great performance assessments to give you the feedback you need to adjust your reading groups as needed. That way, students are always being challenged at the appropriate level. Having a list of clear guidelines on when students should move up to another reading level helps a bunch too. You will still have to evaluate things like beginning sounds if they have not mastered those, but many things can be assessed through performance during a reading lesson to help you make decisions on regrouping.

Guided Reading Name and Alphabet ActivitiesAlphabet Activity

2. Build Up- It would not make sense to teach a student on paragraph writing if they did not know how to write words, nor would it make sense to teach a student how to read level C readers if they don’t have a firm foundation with the alphabet. Teaching effectively means finding out where the student is and guiding that student from there. If they know most of their alphabet letters and sounds and have a firm foundation with print concepts, give them level A. If they only know a handful of letters and sounds, that preschool level AA is going to help that sweetie a bunch! The child is going to build confidence, even if you have one or two children that have to spend the whole year on that level. I tell you, you will see growth when you continue to build from where they are. In my professional opinion, building up from where a student is with their reading development is by far the most effective strategy you can utilize when it comes to teaching reading. If you are doing that, students are going to flourish in reading.

Spend most time reading

3. Let them read. -Don’t fluff it full with other junk. From the research I read, they should be reading. Sure, you will need to include some things that support the learning of reading such as sight words and word work, but make sure the bulk of the time is spent on actually reading. Keep those other activities short and sweet.

Examples of Word Work ActivitiesExample of a Word Work Activity

4. Support Your Readers- Having that small group time to focus on word work activities to build up phonics skills, teach sight words, stretch comprehension, and to build and write sentences is very valuable to supporting the learning of reading.  Keep these activities short and sweet, of course. For example, one day, you may have students identify the missing letters out of three words. Another day, you may have the students mix and fix them. During word work, students may sort words that end with the b & d sound. Another day, they may build some CVC words. Since these activities are only focused on a small bit, they can be completed within a few minutes each. The goal is to support the reading, not take over the reading lesson.

Example of technology being used during guided reading

5. Keep it engaging- When completing sight word and work work activities, keep it hands-on and visual to keep your students engaged. Technology is also another engaging method to use. If you actually have enough tablets or iPads, I actually have a resource that includes digital formats. (It also includes everything printable too, so a teacher can be hybrid with it.)

Fun Guided Reading Strategy Posters

Click here to learn more about the guided reading bundle

6. Teach Reading Strategies with Memorable Characters- Children love characters. We know that a popular world renown cartoonist has proven that! I like to include the popular Lips the Fish and Eagle Eye reading strategies, and I also have created some more characters for the other reading strategies students use for decoding the text. One character, my son helped me come up with the name, is Left-to-Right Gecko. This is simply teaching children the print concept of reading left-to-right.

7. Have fun! Young students love spending time with their teacher. (Remember my story at the beginning?) Just be authentic. Enjoy that time with your students. Laugh, be goofy, and make it a fun place to be. You will make a big impact just by being engaged with them as they read.

I hope these teaching strategies help you to soar with your guided reading instruction. Make sure to sign-up for email on the right, so you can receive more posts like this from me. Also, I have a guided reading sample of level B freebie.

Guided Reading Level B Sampler

Click here to get it

Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class!

Jolene  🙂

23 07, 2016

Assessing Students’ Technology Work

By | July 23rd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Assessing Students' Technology Work

Hi everyone! Today, I want to talk tech. Specifically, I want to talk about assessing students’ technology work.

I know many years ago when the technology was not as advanced as it was today, I was told by administration that I needed to incorporate more technology use in the classroom. How many of you have been there and been like with what software? I am sure I can’t be the only one! Here was me. A teacher told to do that and only given special software for students with IEP’s, in ESL classes, and one other software that was only good for whole instruction with a projector. What was I suppose to do for the rest of the students when it was time for them to use the computer? I was clueless and not as talented with creating digital anythings back then, and they did not offer us much more guidance than throw equipment at us with those limited software I just mentioned and preach to use the equipment. I was happy for the tools in my classroom. Oh yeah! I wanted to make the most of them. For sure! I did use a few free games at the time, but finding resources that offered a way for me to truly assess a student’s work on that computer was not there. My technology use in the class became a center for reinforcing skills, which was still good. I am no way complaining about that because my first year teaching had one of those green screen things, lol! Also, we don’t have to grade everything, and students do tend to stay more engaged on the computer. However, for something so engaging for student learning, it just would make sense to have a way to pop in and actually be able to assess their work on the computer to know they are spending quality time learning on the computer. (If anything, to make sure they are staying where I told them to go on the computer while I was busy with a reading group, lol!)

AND I think that is what I really like about using Google Apps for learning in the classroom. Their work is saved automatically, so you can pop up every now and then to make sure they are on track and having quality learning moments on the computer or tablet. Sure there are a lot of apps out there, but you can’t really go back on many of them to actually see the student’s work. That to me is a big drawback with lots of them. I mean, they do have their perks too. Students often are given automatic feedback on their work with many of those apps. They need that too. I would not say abandon ship on using apps with no assessment features. They have a place too. I just think there needs to be a balance struck there. We need to be viewing students work regularly to keep up with where they are and where they need to go. Sure, we got those big state tests, lol! 😉 Maybe the software actually gives you a vague teaching report too. However, us true teacher breeds know it is that day-to-day performance assessment that should be at the heart of how we drive instruction for the next week to come. I don’t know about you, but my best assessment comes from viewing authentic student work, not some vague report. This really gives me the best insight on what a student needs from me, so I can give them the best instruction possible. With students utilizing more and more technology in the classroom, Google Apps used in conjunction with Google Classroom, is really a great tool for performance assessments. After all, students don’t even have to save their work. It is saved for your viewing automatically.

Imagine students doing quality word work with digital magnetic letters, and you being able to go back and view how they did! Like so cool, you can’t even do that with real magnetic letters and dry/erase cards usually. All possible with Google Apps! See this video to see this in action. I am then able to go back and see student work on there!

Here is the link to my this resource and other resources created for Google Classroom use

Imagine students working with grammar and vocabulary digital cards, and you are able to go back and see their progress! Totally possible now! There really is so much students can now do digitally with you being able to assess their work, and Google Apps is a great resource for that! It’s going to help you be a better teacher because you are providing engaging work that can also be assessment driven!

What tools are you using to assess student work on the computer/tablet? How many of you are going 1:1 this year? I would love to have a conversation below in the comments! 🙂

I have joined in with a link up.



new logo 2-01

Jolene 🙂