The Reading Strategies Book Study: Goal 1

Goal 1 is all about working with those Emergent and Early Readers, and there are 20 really great strategies to investigate and explore with our youngest readers.  Join Kit over at My Crazy Teaching Ideas to see some of Kit’s favorite strategies that can even be modified to work with our more advanced readers.
Kit definitely doesn’t disappoint!  
Stay tuned for Goal 2 links on Tuesday.
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The Reading Strategies Book Book Study Getting Started

Yeah!  The Reading Strategies Book Study has begun!  Join Tina over at Croft’s Classroom to jump right into the study.  Don’t forget to share these posts with others who are also diving into this important work…after all, sharing is caring!

Book Study Announcement: The Reading Strategies Book!

Wow!  Has it really been over two years since I last posted here?  Time flies when you change positions and buildings.

I’ve been lovin’ on Jennifer Serravallo’s AMAZING teacher resource since it was released:  The Reading Strategies Book.  If you haven’t joined up with the fabulous group of educators from around the world on Facebook, what the heck are you waiting for?  Click here to mosey on over and join in the fun!

The great thing about Jen is that she is a part of this community as well…and she really does listen to educators!  In fact, she loves us all so much that she wrote a second, and equally AMAZING teacher resource:  The Writing Strategies Book!  It is yet another resource that is chock full o’ writing strategies…over 300 easy-to-integrate strategies for on-the-spot mini-lessons, student conferring supports and much, much more!

The wonderful Tina Crofts has given teacher bloggers an opportunity to join in the fun by sharing components of The Reading Strategies Book in a Book Study every two days.

I’m looking forward to joining in the great learning AND…I can’t wait to share my thoughts on GOAL 6 on March 22nd right here!

Tina starts the ball rolling tomorrow (March 10) at her blog.  Click here to begin the journey with all of us!

Man…it’s been way to long!  I can’t wait to join all of you in this AWESOME learning opportunity!

Must Read (Super Fantastic Bubble Plastic) Mentor Text!

If you are using the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop model like me, you know that mentor texts are the absolute heart-and-soul of the program.
My Sweet Thirdies and I have been writin’ our little hearts out on everything from small moments narratives to informational/expert texts.
And then…cue the ominous music…we ran headfirst into…opinion essays!  
It’s that bad.  ‘Nuff said.
The most frustrating part is that there just aren’t that many really great mentor texts that are written in the “full-on, in your face” opinion essay style. 
And then the heavens opened up and a beam of light burst forth from the clouds…bearing…
A real opinion essay in an engaging book form!
Oh my stars!  A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea is such a remarkable book in that is written in ACTUAL OPINION WRITING FORMAT!  It’s true!  My kiddos could pick out everything from the thesis to the supporting details PLUS the author uses a generous sprinkling of great transitional words (which we have been having a heckuva time with!).  A strong grabbing lead and a terrific wrap-up closure make this book just that much more appealing!
It’s about time.  That’s all I’m sayin’.
The author of this remarkable specimen is none other than this guy…Michael Ian Black.  (You might recognize him from shows like “Ed.”)  He’s a pretty funny guy and this book is just great!
Anywho…Those Collaboration Cuties, Amanda and Stacia, have put out this great linky partay and I’ve decided to join in on the fun.  Go ahead…you know you want to go over there and get a little crazy!  Get ready to start pulling more books into your Amazon.com wish list!  It could get expensive!  
Happy Reading!
Nikki

Monday Made It…January 2014 Edition

Wow!  I wasn’t sure that I would be able to join in the fun at Tara’s Monday Made It, but a cold Arctic blast has basically closed every school in the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota, so, I felt like I could splurge a bit and take a few moments to expand on my “Word Snow Globe” idea that I put together before the holidays hit like a ton of bricks!
In my last post, I shared some super cute and really fun snow globes that I made for word work in my holiday spelling unit.  I thought about trying these little honeys out with colored rice instead of water, and so this is what I came up with:

Have I told you how much I.  LOVE.  THESE.  Honestly…why haven’t I made these sooner?
I started with these great little 6-packs of storage containers from Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree also carries an 8-pack of these containers, but they are just a “skooosh” smaller than the 6-pack and I’m not convinced these would work quite as nice as their larger cousins.  The number on the back of these is 3927777607.  One thing that I’m not in love with about Dollar Tree is that not every locale carries the same product, so I thought I’d include the SKU number for you…just in case.

I substituted out the water for colored rice and added a couple little pony beads to help move things around a bit in the little containers.  (If you are ever wondering “why the pony beads?”, put some of these together and see how much better stuff moves around with some heavier junk in the container!)

Each container includes one of this week’s spelling words, spelled out in individual letter beads.  Your students search for all of the letters in the container, write them on my Snow Globe Sheet, and then unscramble their letters to arrive at one of this week’s spelling words.  It’s really pretty simple.

A simple number sticker or a reference number written in Sharpie marker makes for quick identification and corrections by the teacher or as a self-correct by your kiddos.  (I always love it when I can reach into my scrapbook stash and use up some of those number stickers that I NEVER use!)

My thirdies love this activity, but they did find it a bit challenging, so this is a really great Word Work station of intermediate grades (3-5).  I can’t wait to try these out this week!

Remember, “sharing is caring,” so why not make a second set for your partner-in-crime?  If you aren’t feeling that lovey dovey, at least share my post with a colleague, a new teacher, or your grade level buddies…I’d love to have you stop by my blog sometime!
Stay warm!
Nikki

Last Post of 2013…Snow Globes Word Work!

I ran into my friend Kelly over the holidays and she told me that she wished like crazy that I would post again since it has really been ages since I’ve posted anything of substance on this blog.

She’s right, of course.

The start of the school year really kicked my behind…new grade level, new partner, lots of changes at my school and in the district…I’m still not sure about my bearings, but I was able to pull myself together at least enough to fool the masses into believing that my head was screwed on straight.

So here’s to 2013…and here’s to Word Work and what you can do with your Word Work in 2014!

Enter…Snow Globes Word Work Stations!

These were super fun to make and share with my kiddos…and they turned out to be much tougher to work with than I thought.  (For the students that is.  For me, not so much!)

Finally, a Word Work station that can challenge your intermediates!  (Seriously, my kids had a great time with this, but they did find it challenging and it does require a medium-level attention span, so this would be a great station for your 3rd-5th graders.)

Dollar Tree had some of these great “craft organizers” hanging at the end of the craft aisle.  The larger containers have 6 in a package and the smaller ones have 8.  I purchased a gob of the 6-packs because I figured I might do something with these.  (After filling these up, I think that the smaller containers might not work well if you go the snow globe route…if you don’t fill these with water, who knows?)

Anywho…I filled the containers with small letter beads that spelled out each word (i.e. r-e-i-n-d-e-e-r) and added some Dollar Tree Glitter and some holiday confetti that I picked up at Michaels.  Then I added water.  I numbered the top of the container so that I knew which word I had put in the Snow Globe so that I could create an answer key for the activity.

Storing the Snow Globes is really easy.  I picked up a small container (also at Dollar Tree) and was able to fit 12 Snow Globes in quite nicely.  (A little over $3.00 per kit.  Not a bad investment!)

I can totally see “pimping” these babies out to match your theme…winter…summer…spring…fall…holidays…ANY days!  There’s always great metallic confetti, tons of different colors of glitter…lots of flotsam and jetsam…

I can also see possibilities for doing these with colored rice instead of water.  You’ll just have to play with how much space you’ll need in order to move the beads around in such tiny containers.

Baby food jars would also work, but I’m always a bit nervous when glass is handled by my kiddos.  Steve Spangler has these great little plastic test tubes (Baby Soda Bottles) that are a bit more spendy, but would also work well.  You can check these out on Steve’s site by clicking here.  (Note:  I have a major “teacher crush” on Steve, so for me to even share him is, well, a little tough!  Be good to him…buy his stuff!)

I’m also including the Snow Globe Word Work sheet here.  Run copies for your kiddos and make sure to have them available at the station.  The kids can write the letters they find in the small snow globes on the page and then unscramble them to find the correct words.  (I use spelling words for this station.  You could use vocabulary from something you are reading, science words, math words, etc.)

I made two sets of the Snow Globes, one for me and one for my new partner, the Marvelous Megan.  Remember, sharing is caring, so why not make a set for you and one to share with your teaching partner, a new teacher, or someone who just needs a lift?  If you aren’t feeling that lovey dovey, than why not send a link to this entry on to a colleague or friend and inspire them?  (I’d totally love you forever if you did that!)

Have fun playing in the “snow” with your kiddos and let me know how you plan to use these!  I love hearing from you!

Happy New Year to Kelly in Sheboygan and to all!

Nikki

Favorite Winter Mentor Text Link Up

Oh…those Collaboration Cuties Amanda and Stacia don’t disappoint, even over the holidays!  They are having a linky partay where everyone shares their favorite “winter book.”

From the onset of my Readers Workshop, I share a book entitled Tracks in the Snow, by Wong Herbert Yee.  While this book isn’t phenomenally engaging for my thirdies, it does serve as the foundation for my students to leave their own “tracks in the snow” while reading.

I teach my students how to question the text, make notes on unfamiliar words, and take general notes using sticky notes and placing these notes inside the text.  These “tracks” allow students to return back to important places in their reading and get the answers they need to make sense of the text.

We also use the “tracks in the snow” strategy with our Anchor Texts.  Each child receives a book that they can mark up by leaving their own tracks directly inside the text.  The “snow” is actually the white spaces on the pages.  We are currently reading Frindle by Andrew Clements and the kids are lovin’ how many tracks they’ve made so far!

Why not check this book out and make your own “tracks?”

Nikki
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