Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm back...

Wow!  Life has been very busy this school year.  We are already done with one quarter, and our fall break is coming to an end.  I overheard a mom talking to her friends while I was watching my girls at gymnastics the other day.  She said, "I think two and a half weeks for Fall Break is too long.  One week is more than enough."  Obviously, she is not a teacher.

I've been trying a bunch of new things in my classroom this year.  I have read a bunch of PD books, and I am integrating some of those ideas into our curriculum.  I am SO happy that I changed it up, because I feel my students are better readers and writers even this early in the year.  I'll be sharing out some of those ideas within the next few weeks because I am in the process of taking pictures.

Last year, I did the Karate Sight Word program with my students.  I had an aide for the first 30 minutes of the day, so she tested the kids.  It was a dream.  Well, this year, they added another kindergarten class and our class sizes went down, so we don't have an aide.  I still have the same number of students; however, one of the kinder classes is down to 20, so there's no hope for an aide.  Bummer.  So, I had to get creative with my time.

This year, I am having the sixth grade buddies test the kinders.  We practice during the week, and then the kinders read the phrases to their sixth grade buddies.  I modeled what fluent reading sounds like to the sixth grade buddies, and they let me know how their kinder buddy did while reading the phrases.  Since we are a direct instruction school, we don't have centers for reading, so I had to get creative.  So far, it has worked really well.  

Another thing that I have been doing differently is incorporating Fry's phrases into our day instead of just the words.  I read a few books by Timothy Rasinski (I LOVE his books), and he talked me into changing my paradigm.  I am talking like I'm his BFF or something.  If I ever met him, I swear I would kiss him on the lips because he has made me such a better teacher.  Plus, he's at Kent state, which is like 30 minutes from my childhood home.  

Anyway, in the book The Fluent Reader, Rasinski talks about how it's important to teach the kids sight words in their phrases.  Recent studies on reading indicate that word reading practice have a beneficial effect on students' word recognition skills. We all know the importance of kids being able to read high frequency words so they don't have to spend valuable brain power decoding these words.

Reading words in isolation may cause some kids to believe that reading "... is simply about identifying individual words," leading to word-by-word reading in some children (Rasinski, 2010). Some researchers believe that "...phrase is the key component in gaining meaning through written text." Timothy Rasinski's research has shown that "...helping students learn to read in phrases will improve their reading fluency and overall reading achievement" (Rasinski, 2010).

Finding a way for the kids to practice their Fry's phrases independently has been my major project over the past several weeks.  I am really happy with the way everything came together.  I made six different sets of the Fry's phrases.

The first set includes pages that have students write the focus word, cut and paste it in a sentence (that includes the Fry's phrase), write it in the same sentence, write their own sentence using the word, and draw a picture of the sentence they just wrote.  Since my school uses Spalding, I made a version that uses Spalding phonograms, and I made a version that just uses letters.

All of the six sets include flashcards that I have formatted to be cut in half, with one half being sent home and one half being kept at school.

All six sets also include a way for the kids to practice reading sentences that include the Fry's phrases.  The first set includes five phrases (written in two different sentences per page), and the other sets include ten phrases.  The first set includes only the smiley paper that focuses on fluency.

The other five sets include the smiley paper that focuses on fluency, and another option that focuses on the number of times the sentence was read.  The kids tally in the speech bubble.

 Sets two through six contain the "Finish the Phrase" sheets instead of the cut and paste sheets.  The kids will fill in the blank for five sentences, and then write three sentences using the focus words in the box.

Have I mentioned how excited I am to be using these?!?!  With a little bit of training, the kids will be completely independent when using them.  What valuable bellwork or filler for the kids!

If you are interested in checking them out, click the links below:

I also bundled them together to give you the most bang for your buck.

And, if you hurry, you can save even more, because everything in my store is 20% off!

Click on the picture, or click here.

I'll be sharing some more of my new things over the next few weeks.  Have a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Reading in phrases cannot be over emphasized. Smiles and stop by anytime!