Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekend Warriors: Sight Words Edition!

Happy Weekend Friends!  The Weekend Warriors Crew is super-stoked to present you with our September Theme on SIGHT WORDS!
There are so many fabulous ideas out there for incorporating Sight Word Study into our classrooms.
Today, I will be sharing a mix of how I incorporate First Grade Sight Word instruction into my weekly schedule.  As I've mentioned before, organization is a must for me. This little planning system works perfect for me because everything is sorted in the envelopes for the entire year.  I just grab & go each week!
Our first grade district team is currently using a shared curriculum planner to scope out sight words(and phonics skills) for the year.
click on the image to download.
We have 6 sight words to focus on each week.
I laminated 30+ manilla envelopes with these weekly headers on the front. Click here to download my header pages!
These sight words I consider to be Tier 1 words.
Inside of the folder, I have my word wall cards ready to go for the focus wall, and a master copy of each daily sight word poem and warm-up activity.  I run the poem and fill-in activity front to back.  This is a daily morning warm up exercise, so kids will get this done for morning work and have it ready to go for fluency circles later in the morning. 
I also keep our PlayDoh mats in the envelopes-
Along with Sight Word Fluency Sentences that align with each of the 6 sight words for the week.  (These items will be added to our Daily 5 Word Work tubs.)
Our CAFE Critter, Lizard the Word Wizard is always excited to make an appearance every Monday to give clues to what our new 6 words are!
For more details on the Reading Strategy Posters, click here.

The Sight Words then go up on the focus wall for Word Work practice throughout the week.
We also use Miss Decarbo's Sight Word Passages in small groups and my kids absolutely LOVE this exercise!  Eagle Eye, another accuracy critter, always flies in to check and see if the kids are "looking closely" for new words of the week!

After Morning Meeting, we celebrate our "word of the day" and then I demonstrate what the Sight Word Poem should "sound like" We then break into two teams and get busy reading fluently.
 Sight Word Poetry Pages: 100 Fill-in-the-Blank Practice Pages That Help Kids Really Learn the Top High-Frequency Words
On this particular day, the odd students were meeting at the pond carpet to recite the poem, and then the even students met at the Library carpet to rehearse.

After several repeated readings, the team leader of each group will raise a hand to signal they are ready to "ROCK THEIR FLUENCY!"  I listen to both teams and the team with the BEST fluency gets a scratch and sniff sticker on their poem! 
These daily repeated readings of the poem is one of my favorite parts of the day.  To see students in social circles, working as teams, having discussions about their fluency....sure does make this dear teacher HAPPY!

Last year I created my WILD ABOUT SIGHT WORDS incentive program and all I can say is....WOW!  What a dramatic difference from last year.  The kids are so eager to master each level and move on to the next!  I decided to use FRY words (1-1000).
In August, we set up our incentive ribbons in the hallway-
Each student has a purple folder in the purple bin.  Each week, a parent helper comes in to assess each child.
The black tub has awards, word lists, and extra copies inside.  The orange binder on top is for the kids to hold and read their leveled lists of words.
Today, My little was so excited to sit out with Mr. Smith and read his Level 22 word list....He passed!!!
Each time a student passes a level, they earn a brag tag for their ribbon-
AND, a very special award is sent home to celebrate the success with mom and dad!

At the end of the year last May, our hallway was BEAMING with Brag Tags and the kiddos were so proud of their year-long accomplishments!

 The last week of school, we had a huge WILD ABOUT SIGHT WORDS celebration! Giving the students a chance to reflect and look back at where they started was definitely an eye-opener to say the least!  These kids were feeling very proud by the end of the day!
We packed up their purple folders to take home....

 Inside the folder you could find the student's growth chart,
 and the new levels to practice over the summer months.
 Students also get to take home the remaining brag tags.
 As they pass each new level, they can continue to add brag tags to their ribbon.
The kids  thought this was so exciting and couldn't wait to take their Sight Words Folders home to share with mom and dad!
For more details on the Wild About Sight Words Incentive Program, click here or on the image below.

Do you have some fabulous ideas for Sight Words?
The Weekend Warriors invites you to link up with us and share your great ideas!
Be sure to hop on over to these awesome friends to learn more on today's topic of Sight Words!
Happy Learning!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Study: Interactive Think-Aloud Lessons

Welcome friends!  Today's book study is a personal FAVORITE of mine because I have been stalking following this author for many years now.  Insert Lori Ozckus.
I know, right!  She is a doll.  But more than just good looks she has a magical presence that she brings to the classroom that I just can't get enough of.  From the very first conference I attended on her Reciprocal Teaching, I was HOOKED. 
After feeling that MAGIC, I created my special Critter Cafe using beanie babies as a tool for keeping strategy learning fun and engaging.  She definitely was part of that inspiration!
Beanie Baby Comprehension Strategies Poster Set
Last spring I read another LORI fave that helped me debunk and clarify many aspects of Close Reading in the Classroom.
And this month, I am again mystified by her "stage presence" 
with "Interactive Think-Aloud Lessons!"
This is book is OFF-THE-HOOK Awesome!  I have already cleared room off on my teaching counter because this baby will have special place there all-year-long!
Chapter 1 is rightfully titled, "Ready, Set, GO! Engaging your students with interactive think-alouds and lessons.  Current best practices in comprehension strategy instruction should include:
*Comprehension strategies that can be taught to improve reading comprehension.  
*Comprehension strategies include connecting, predicting/inferring, questioning, monitoring/clarifying, 
summarizing, synthesizing, and evaluating.
*Think-alouds are an effective teaching technique for making thinking public and improving comprehension.
*Students should work collaboratively to discuss texts.
*Genre matters.  Students need instruction in using comprehension strategies with both fiction and non-fiction texts.
*We need to teach comprehension to all grade-levels, including primary.
*Multiple strategy instruction is most effective since readers use more than one strategy at a time to comprehend a text.

Lori goes on to introduce THE SUPER SIX of comprehension strategies-
1. Connect (Making connections, thinking deeply, and enjoying reading more)
2. Predict/Infer (Making Sophisticated Guesses and Mastering the Strategy that separates the good and poor readers)

3. Questioning (Deepening comprehension and providing motivation to read)

4. Monitor/Clarify (Staying on track, Problem Solving, and Engaging with the Text)

5. Summarize/Synthesize (Determining Importance and Order of Ideas while strengthening responses to literature)

6.  Evaluate (Judging the Author, Text Ideas, and Our Own Reading Performance)

Lori teaches the SUPER SIX using a gradual release of responsibility model that makes her lessons extremely engaging.  Her interactive comprehension strategy lesson framework  looks like this:
A. Introduce the Strategy (Briefly tell what the strategy is, when to use it, and why the strategy is useful to readers.)
  1. Ask the students what they already know about the strategy. (It is important to tap into and build on students' prior knowledge about the strategy).
  2. Define and explain the strategy.
  3. Engage Students. (hand motion/gesture/music/drama)

B. Model the Strategy through Interactive Think-aloud 
  1. Teacher is reading and thinking aloud using strategy talk.
  2. Students are using hand motions and gestures to share their   

C. Support Interactive Guided Practice
  1. Teacher circulates, coaching 
  2. Students are doing THINK PAIR SHARE with partners or small groups on the same text or different text to locate and discuss new strategy.

D. Provide Independent Practice
  1. Students will practice using the strategy and may record their responses.

E. Wrap Up the Lesson
  1. Students will reflect on how the strategy helped them with their reading today.
  2. "The strategy......helped us......because..........

On page 38, Figure 1.3 is a rubric that Lori created for Evaluating strategy use.  Oh.My.Word.  I absolutely LOVE this rubric, so much so, that I created one to use with my first graders this year!

Chapter 2 begins with something really fun to try on the first week of school.  Lori calls it a "strategy dump."  Since our students use multiple cueing strategies to solve unknowns, This is the perfect opportunity to introduce each strategy, (and prop) to get kids thinking about which ones they already use when reading and which strategies might be new.  The trick is selecting just the right read aloud book that affords you the perfect venue for modeling these strategies together.
Lori provides TONS of read-alouds and matches them with each of the 8 strategies to take the guesswork out of the equation for us!

Chapter 3 is my favorite because this is where Lori weaves in the POWER of Metaphors!  When we use metaphors in our teaching, we help students learn by linking a new idea to a more familiar one.  Metaphors help anchor the abstract thinking that goes into reading. Metaphors help us make reading comprehension, an otherwise invisible process, more concrete for our students.(Insert the Props and critters!)  Lori provides a menu on page 56 of each comprehension strategy paired with a "character" and a "prop".
For example, Paula the Predictor, is a fortune teller that makes powerful predictions when she reads.  She has a crystal ball that she rubs when making predictions so the kids are making this gesture as they make predictions before reading.
Here's my Paula the Predictor anchor poster!
Lori has done the work for me and provided a lesson plan template to follow on pages 63-64 that help me introduce a new comprehension character for each of the 8 strategies.
Then she really went and outdid herself by creating a two-page "cheat-sheet" of all 8 characters/strategies/what to say/when to say it!  Needless to say, I already have this cheat sheet laminated and ready to go!

Chapter 4 moves into SHOW IT, SAY IT and using hand motions and strategy starters to scaffold the language of comprehension.
Lori shares her knowledge of how using gestures throughout lessons can build meta-cognition and independence.
Pages 74-78 contain detailed photos and demonstrations of how the kids "do" the gestures and hand motions for all 8 of the strategies.
Lori then created 8 AMAZING anchor charts for each strategy that have the "lingo" for students to use when discussing each strategy as their using their gestures.
My ALL TIME FAVORITE page in this book?
Page 82.
HELLO Comprehension Strategy Bookmarks!
These are the best bookmarks I have ever seen for teaching these comprehension strategies with thinking stems included!
My heart is fluttering!

Chapter 5 shouts out LIVE ACTION as students use drama and music to support the strategies!
Who knew learning could be so fun!
 This entire chapter is dedicated to helping teachers get dramatic results with drama and engaging students throughout comprehension lessons using drama.
On page 85, Lori gives a great example of how to incorporate drama throughout an interactive comprehension lesson.  Some of these dramatic props include funny faces, nifty noises, "bewitched scenes", Turn and interview, charades, lights-camera-action!, mannequin, puppet charade, and an overhead projector shadow show.  On top of that, Lori references Musical references for each of the comprehension strategies and uses them as "theme songs" during lessons!

PART II of this book is a Handy Reference Guide with AMAZING lesson plans to use for each of the 8 comprehension strategies.  These lessons are so incredible that I made this handy little reference page to keep as a reminder when I get ready to do my lesson plans this year.  
My Reflections:
Lori Oczkus is an exceptional teacher, author and mentor.
I feel like she is on "my page" and I am totally on "her page!"

This book is recommended with TWO THUMBS UP and your students will THANK YOU for it..... I promise!
If you really enjoyed this book study,
I have more comprehension goodness coming next week with this fabulous treasure-
Time for your feedback!  I would love to hear your comments on this book study and any fun tips or suggestions you may have for future readings!
Happy Learning!
Pin It button on image hover