/Tag:Teaching Strategies
20 07, 2017

Strategy Share: Teaching Story Elements

By | July 20th, 2017|Guided Reading, Reading, Reading Strategies, Strategy Share, Teaching Strategies|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to share some teaching strategies for teaching story elements. These ideas are meant to pair with fiction read alouds. Although, I will offer some ideas for guided reading too. I also will include a freebie to help implement these ideas.

Teaching Strategies

First, let’s go over the basic story elements that you would teach in a kindergarten or a first grade classroom. These elements are the characters, setting, and plot. The plot can be easily taught with a simple summary of the beginning, middle, and end or B-M-E. You may be familiar with the five finger retell that includes character, setting, and three details from the story or B-M-E. If not, now you are 😉 Now, let’s jump right in!

Strategy #1: Main Character vs. Other Characters

It is important that students are able to identify the main character in a story. One way to make this concept visual is by illustrating the main character as huge and the other characters as small. It’s a visual that will help young learners because they are very concrete with their thinking. Then when they are reading, they can try to picture who is the big character in the story. This will help them to understand the roles the characters play in a story.

Strategy #2: Character Feelings Sticky Map

This pairs well with a story where the character’s feelings change in the story. On a board or chart, divide up three significant events from a story. Ask students, “How do you think the character felt when _______ happened?” Have students draw up the character’s face on a sticky note and add it to that section. You would do this for each event in the story. You can then draw out the discussion more by asking why they think the character felt that way. Lead them to site clues from the book and to make inferences from their own experiences such as “I would be sad if my friend moved away.”

Strategy #3: Thought Bubbles

Example of a thought bubble for teaching story elements

Have students pretend they are a character in a story. Ask the students, “What would you think if you were the character?” Have students either illustrate or write their thoughts on a thought bubble. For fun, you could take a picture of the student, cut it out, and place it on a bulletin board with the thought bubble.

Strategy #4: Make a Sticky Map

Section off areas for the characters, setting, and B-M-E on a board or chart with arrows between each section to connect them. Then lead students to draw up the characters. Place some of them on the chart (all if you have room). The other students can put the sticky on their shirt for fun. Lead students to discuss the characters as you create the sticky map. Do the same for the other story elements.

Strategy #5: Create a B-M-E Mural

Divide the class into teams B-M-E. Each team focuses on drawing up that part of the story with the characters, setting, and event taking place. If you have a rather large class, you might want to do more than one mural. Once done, have each team present their part of the story. If you want to organize it more, you can assign students each a roll for each team such as character illustrator, setting drafter, story teller, and so on.

Strategy #6: Puppet Retell

Example of retelling puppets for teaching story elements

Yes, this is something that has been around for years, but I also think it is something that has been well forgotten in the last decade or just not used very often! Puppets are a fun way for students to retell the plot of a story, identify the characters, and recreate the setting. With this, have students make the character puppets. They can simply draw them up and attach to a popsicle stick. Then have students illustrate the setting. Students can work in pairs if you like with this project or even in a small group. Then let students retell away using the five finger retell strategy. (Note: I found these awesome popsicle sticks with a sticker that make it easy to have instant puppets. I bought the colorful ones locally in a craft section of a store near me. I could only find the plain ones on Amazon. You can find those here: Jumbo Craft Popsicle Sticks with Self-Adhesive Tips Please note, this is an affiliate link that is of no additional cost to you and that pays me a very small commission that goes toward the monthly costs to host this blog.

Strategy #7: Graphic Organizers

Picture of graphic organizers for teaching story elements

Okay, totally very common, I get it. However, these are very important, so I had to include it. Plus, I include a graphic organizer in the free download for you, so if I included it there, I had to cover it here. 🙂 Now graphic organizers can vary. Some can just focus on the character. Some can just focus on B-M-E. Some can incorporate all of those. When you are first introducing story elements, it is good to just zoom in on the characters. Who is the main character? Who are the other characters? Then branch out to the setting. Where did the story take place? When did the story take place? After that, you can branch out to B-M-E and start to dig deeper into character traits.

Here is the free story elements resource. I hope you enjoy it! Just fill out this form to grab it. If you are already a subscriber, simply fill it out again to have it sent to your email too.

Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class!

Jolene 🙂

 

 

 

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5 06, 2017

Strategy Share: Teaching Strategies to use During Guided Reading & Freebies

By | June 5th, 2017|Guided Reading, Teaching Strategies|0 Comments

Hi everyone! What are some practical strategies you can use during guided reading to help streamline your lessons and keep students moving forward? Today, I want to share some practical teaching strategies with you that answer that question.  I also have included a few freebies, so you can apply these strategies right away.

Find some teaching strategies to use during guided reading in this strategy share post.

Strategy #1 Teach Memorable Strategies

I find it important to teach a strategy first, so students have a possible opportunity to apply it as they read. I’ve seen some suggestions to do this after reading, but let’s be real. Kids will forget if they do not get to apply it right away. I probably will forget too, haha! By teaching the strategy before the lesson, students are more likely to remember it and internalize it into their bank of strategies in their mind. You can teach the strategy either by modeling the behavior yourself, or sometimes you can guide students to apply the strategy as shown below. The words in parenthesis below are the actions and the other words are the scripted language. This is from my Chunky Monkey lesson B plan. (Link to free resource with his lesson plan posted below!)

Let’s take a walk through the words in the book. (Find a spot in the book that has a word that would have a familiar chunk in it like –at in the word mat.) Let’s stop at this word. (Point to the word.) Do you see any familiar chunks or parts in the word? (Students respond.) Very good! Now, what’s the sound of the first letter? (Students respond.) Blend them together. (Students blend the word.) Very good! You just used the Chunky Monkey strategy. (Show the anchor chart/poster and discuss it.) When we come to a word we do not know, we can look for chunks we know to help us read the word. (Have students practice the strategy with a few other words in the book.)

Another way to make the strategy memorable is by using a fun character theme. Many of us are familiar with Lips the Fish and Eagle Eyes, but I realized there were other skills to be teaching students that did not have a memorable character or lacked an action-oriented strategy to develop that skill all together. I got creative, and came up with some strategies with fun names. For example, students need to learn to read left-to-right, so now there is the Left-to-right Gecko…and my son helped me name that one, hehe! Love my sweet boy! Matching Moose is another one. This one is simply to teach voice-to-print, so students are matching the words on the page with what they are reading.

Strategy #2 Guide with Prompts

When it comes to teaching students to read, it is important to guide the students to apply a strategy instead of just telling them a word. Have questions handy to prompt students to apply the strategies as they read. It is important to keep what you say to the student very brief, so you don’t interrupt their connection within the text. It’s like you want to be that little voice in their head, so just a simple short question or statement is perfect. Then let them read on.

Strategy #3 Reinforce with Precise Praise

When a student is first learning a strategy and they apply it, it is important to reinforce with some precise praise. Don’t be vague and say, “Good job!” Instead, let’s say you just taught students the Eagle Eye reading strategy. Students were taught to use picture clues to help decode a word. You notice a student just used a picture clue to figure out the word zebra on the page. Instead of offering a simple compliment, be exact. Here are some examples:

“You just used your eagle eyes.”

“You used a picture clue.”

“You used a picture clue to figure out that word.”

If you notice, it does not really say anything about being awesome or doing a good job. The action the student took was what was summed up. This reinforces the student’s behavior. This will help them to acknowledge the action they took, so they can remember to use it for next time. Once a student shows proficiency with a strategy, reinforcement will not be needed. There will be other strategies the student will be newly learning. so those are the ones to focus on with reinforcement.

Strategy #4 Observe and Assess

There is no need to interrupt guided reading constantly with constant formal assessments. (Unless you are just required to do that, which is unfortunately the case way too much.) Performance assessment are your BFF when it comes to guided reading. You are able to keep the guided reading lesson flowing, and glean the information you need on each student. I absolutely have always loved using checklists during guided reading. Honestly, this helped me to focus more on the student’s too! If I just sit there, I will day dream accidentally. I am seriously ADD, so to focus, I need something in my hands. I can’t be the only ADD teacher out there, haha! But with all seriousness, you can get constant information about your students through performance assessments that will help you to group your students, match texts to them better, and know what you need to be reteaching students. Running records are another performance assessment you can use during guided reading too.

Strategy #5 Focus on Targets

Free sheet to use during guided reading to help focus on targets.

From your observations, you can make some notes on what to focus on next time. Did they apply that new strategy you just taught adequately? Maybe you need to reteach it.  Did you notice a reading behavior that is a struggle for them? Use that information to select the next strategy you teach them. Does one student in the group seem to be struggling with a strategy that the others are not struggling with at all? Make a note to focus in on prompts for that strategy as that student is reading. Now sticky notes are great for jotting down these ideas, but they can end up being a hot mess pile in no time. I have included some sticky note pages for you to jot down your focuses for your groups and students to keep them organized.

Simply opt-in for email to receive your free sticky note page. If you are already an email subscriber, just enter the information again, and you will also get access to the pages too! Check your email for them. 🙂

Now as promised, I have a freebie for you I mentioned earlier with the Chunky Monkey level B lesson plan. You can find that in my Candy Class store over on TPT here as a free download.

Guided Reading Level B Sampler

Just click here to grab it.

Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class! I have more Strategy Share posts geared for teaching reading and writing planned, so make sure to check your email if you signed up.

Jolene 🙂

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