Friday, 3 July 2015

Reading Groups

I was asked this week, about procedures for reading groups. 

This is a format you can use to help encourage your students to be engaged in quality, needs-based activities while you guide a focus group (guided reading). 

I have used this basic structure for many years, as early as my university practicum days and I have managed it even with Kindergarten - with fabulous results. The key is to gently and gradually guide them into the structure and routine. Use your knowledge of your own classroom and school community to gauge how best this can be done. 

For example, with a challenging class you may need to start out with just a 10 minute session, and have very easy basic activities for each step. Don't take a focus group initially, instead - be a facilitator and walk the room, helping the students to be engaged. As the groups get more used to the routine, you will be able to extend the time, create more challenging activities and leave the students to work independently. Small steps. Consistency works. I promise. 

Your students need to work through 4 activities. 

The first is reading. Select a text that is familiar to the students as you want them to be independent. The text that they read with you the previous week, for guided reading is perfect. They read this as a group, or in partners, or independently. Choose one that works for your students. 

After reading they do a 'word game'. 

This is intended to be short, sharp and fun! Select words that they need to work on for fluency. My '30 Word Games' resource has 6 standard game formats that you can use with any set of word cards. Teach these 6 formats ready to use for the whole school year. They will become student favourites. 

Once they know these games you will have created an easy way for students to quickly engage in a focused meaningful activity efficiently and without fuss. You may have your own word games that you prefer. 

A game is next. This is where you can motivate your students with a fun, hands-on activity to encourage any area that the group needs to work on. You may use the text or a seasonal theme as a basis. This is great opportunity to work on phonics skills.

Provide a worksheet for independent revision or recording. 
This will help you keep your students engaged so that you can make sure you finish working with your focus-group. Select one from your own collection, or the publishing company that made your student readers may have a worksheet that will help students focus on the parts of the story. My 'Wonder Worksheets' work well for this component also, as you can use them too accompany any book. 

I make a tray for each group that contains everything they will need for the session - no waster time wandering around and interrupting to ask for equipment. 

Label all the tubs, trays and book bins with classroom labels. I have this set in my TpT store that can be used for a variety of purposes. 

Find a poster to help your students remember the structure to their reading groups session HERE in my TpT store!

Thanks so much for stopping by today friends!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Two for Tuesday

Hi friends!

I am linking up with Cyndie from Chalk One Up for the Teacher. She has a '2 for Tuesday' linky party and to join in the fun, I have reduced the price of two of my favourite resource packets by 50% for today only. 

"Show Me the Alphabet" has printable pages to make 26 interactive learning books for when you are first introducing letter and sounds of the alphabet to your students. 

It is a steal at just $4.95 today!

There are 5 interactive activities for each letter, in my original 'one page a day' format! 

My editable 'Owl Classroom Templates' is also on sale. You can create your own classroom decor, posters, signs and creative resources with these easy-to-use templates. 

Less than $3 for today only! 

There are a bunch of different sizes, and you classroom will come alive with the fresh bright colours and crazy owls! 

Head over to Cyndie's blog to find more 2 for Tuesday savings!

Have a great day friends!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Five for Friday - June 26th 2015

Hello Friday! And, hello friends! It is time for 5 for Friday!

1. Sticky Note Organizer

I have found a new way to get more organized. I know, I know, I know. Another way.

Let's just agree that I like organising my organisation more than actually being organized.  

I made a pretty little page to get my top six projects displayed easily and scrappily.  

Last week I thought I was pretty proud of myself for finding a way to use the enormous clipboard I found at Officeworks. This will make a perfect board for all my random ideas, thoughts, reminders and notes - I thought. 

Until it became a mess, and I was bogged down in a sticky-note mayhem. 

Now, each morning I pick 6 of my notes and prioritise them on my organiser and it keeps me more focused. I am not ashamed to admit that I quite like the feeling of ripping them off and trashing them when I have completed each task, as well.  

I made a colour and blackline version for you to print out if you would like to try this system as well. I am still using my planner and other tracking systems, but this is a good way to prioritise the nitty gritty. 

Find it in Google Drive HERE

2. Home Office is Taking Shape.

My wonderful Dad is building me shelves in my new home office and today I finally got to house ALL my sketch books in one place. Eek!

3. Some things are meant to be

I was going through a ton of folders and papers to get my office organized and found all my reports from when I was a prac student. This one gave me a few goosebumps! My internship supervisor (in 2000) noted that one of my main strengths was preparing tacking resources and that she thought they were of a commercial quality! I can't remember reading that at the time, but it is fun to look back at and realise that perhaps my journey to where I am now was on the cards all along. I can say, that preparing resources in the year 2000 was very different to now. I vividly remember driving a half hour to use the only colour photocopier in my town.

4. Inspiration

I love reading motivational quotes. I am always trying to find the most perfect one that succinctly explains how I feel about the world. Although I have not found that one quite yet, I love finding ones that challenge me to think wider and encourage me to be a better person. Here is one I found this week that I thought was great! 

5. While you are here

Please enter my TpT gift voucher giveaway - you will be in with a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!

Hop on over to Kacey's blog for more Five for Friday fun!

- Mel x

Monday, 22 June 2015

Giveaways, Freebies and Random Stuff Like That!

I apologise that this post is a hodgepodge of craziness and may not be entirely coherent. It is the last week of our second school term here in Australia. We are half way through the school year and in need of a few sleep-ins. Four days till winter break..... and counting. 

I shared a photo of an anchor chart I made on Instagram for helping students to understand the concept of a pronoun. 

With help from TeacherspayTeachers - it received a little bit of l-o-v-e! I received some requests for a printable poster, and I am pleased to say you can download it from TpT HERE for FREE!

I hope your students like it. I have started a little packet of printables that would be useful to accompany this and hope to have it finished next week. 

One of my most favourite people in-the-whole-wide-world is having a fabulous followers giveaway. Tania is another Australian teacher blogger and I love her to bits. Tania is always supportive, honest and never ever laughs at me or rolls her eyes when I whinge and complain about stupid stuff. She is a friend who I know will always be there for me and I hope she knows how much she means to me!  Head over to Tania's blog as she is giving away 2 TpT gift vouchers to celebrate her follower milestones. 

I made these '100 days posters' a few weeks ago and wanted to let you know they are on sale! Your students can add a sticker to them each day and count down to 100 days of school. 

It can't hurt to be too prepared for 

(insert very quiet whispery voice here) 

... back to school - 

can it? 

If you follow my clipart blog, you will know that it is time for the June Super Giveaway. If you don't follow it, you know now, because I just told you. 

4 days to go - I told you that, right?

If you follow my blog here, you will know that you can enter to win another TpT gift voucher! Just go to this page HERE, Maybe cross your fingers too. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today friends! 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Vowel Sound Alternatives

My Sound Pals printable resource packet will help you teach the main long vowel sound and vowel digraph alternatives to your students.

Having a visual when you are teaching early-learners is so important. 

You will find that your students can understand concepts so much more efficiently when you can explain it with a visual accompaniment. As a result, the actual content you want to cover is made a LOT more accessible. They feel comfortable with it and can work with it more readily as they understand where it has come from and where it is sitting in the world. 

I just made that up - but from years of teaching K-2 with visuals as my main teaching strategy, I can say with confidence that it is true :)

In the photo above, you will see a poster with three kids standing close together, each with a sound on their shirt. From this, you can explain to the students that these children are all making the same sound. They all look different, but make the same sound. This is a concept that the students may need time to understand. They may even need you to explain it in many different ways over a whole teaching year. The content that you can teach - which is the identification of the actual letter-sound correspondences and words that feature these sounds is much easier for students with this background understanding. 

IN my packet I have included some worksheets for students to cut, sort and paste after they have done a hands-on sort with the posters and word cards. 

You can find Sound Pals in my TpT store for purchase! 

Thank you so much for stopping by friends - have a great day!