Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let It Snow! Winter Activities

Winter Activities and Snowman Crafts for the classroom

Let It Snow!  Is that what you are saying now that Christmas is over?  Winter activities in the classroom are engaging for the students and is a nice change after all the holidays!

Some of the links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a very small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Snowmen at Night Craft and Sequencing Activities

A fun activity after reading snowmen books is to make snowmen!  These colorful snowmen were made from wallpaper sample books.  They make such cute snow people!  If you glue them on black construction paper, you can use spray snow on top to make a winter scene. 

Winter Activities and Snowman Crafts for the classroom

This is another fun snowman craft students can make!

Winter Activities and Snowman Craft for the classroom

These are some of the activities in It's Snow Fun!  Students can do writing activities like How To and Informational Writing.  Along with these writing units, students can sort and learn winter vocabulary.  Click here to see these activities. 

Winter Activities and Letter Recognition Centers

Students like themed literacy center activities too.  They don't even realize they are learning!  Click here to see the letter & sound matching, cvc words or blends and digraphs.

reading and writing activities for Snowmen at Night

Snowmen at Night is one of my all time favorite winter books and with this unit you can cover reading comprehension and writing all at the same time!  Click here to check it out!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tools for Improving Fluency

Tools for Improving Student Reading Fluency

As I begin to think about heading back to school (just how does summer go so fast?), I am planning for fluency activities.  Fluency activities and the tools I will need to help students improve their reading.

You don't need lots and lots of items to teach fluency.  But whatever you use, make it engaging!  Also, be sure that students understand that building their fluency isn't all about reading as fast as they can.  Building fluency leads to better comprehension!

The links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Tools for Improving Student Reading Fluency

When modeling fluency, make an anchor chart with students and demonstrate what each part would look and sound like.  You can find the chart paper at Staples.

Tools for Improving Student Reading Fluency

Use markers, my students LOVE Mr. Sketch, to model how to scoop the words into phrases.  Students can use pointers to help them read from the charts.  Learning to read in phrases can be the key for some students to make great improvements with fluency.

Fluency Intervention Binder Activities for Improving Fluency

One easy key to improving fluency is strengthening sight words!  Sight Words need to be read quickly and automatically.  So add some dice and play a quick game!

Fluency Activities with Fluency Intervention Binders

As students work in reading groups, start small and practice phrases.  Add a pointer and a whisper phone so students can hear themselves.  

Fluency Activities and Fluency Intervention Binders

Students can play games with a partner or just themselves to make practicing phrases more engaging.

Fluency Activities and Fluency Intervention Binders for Improving Fluency

 You may have students that need the scaffolding of sentences already in phrases.  This is a good way for them to hear how it sounds.

Fluency Activities and Fluency Intervention Binders for Improving Fluency

Another tip is to have students record themselves reading on the iPad.  Then have them listen to see if they are keeping to the anchor chart points (second picture from the top of the post).  Students love listening to themselves read!

Fluency Activities and Fluency Intervention Binders for Improving Reading Fluency

A fun way for students to practice getting in expression is to read sentences in different ways.  Spin a paperclip and read the sentence with that expression!  They can use the iPad to record themselves doing this too.

Fluency Activities and Fluency Intervention Binders for Improving Fluency

Finally, check to see that comprehension is improving as you are building fluency.  

Fluency Activities and Fluency Intervention Binders for Improving Fluency

You can find these No Prep- Print and Go Fluency Intervention Binders in Sets A thru E individually or as a bundle.  

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and get access to our free resource library!  Once you sign up, be sure to confirm your subscription.  


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chunk It Up!

In my class, we do a lot of chunking.  Both when reading and when writing.  I know we've made progress when we can see words in chunks and not individual letters.  When students use Chunky Monkey, they record the word on Post It notes to show visually how they have used and applied this strategy.  

Once students have been taught to read and spell in chunks, they need some practice at it.  Students color the picture, glue in the chunks and write the word as a whole part.  That is important that they move across the continuum from individual sounds to chunks, to whole words.  Then they apply this knowledge by reading a sentence and highlighting the chunks. Last,  students demonstrate comprehension by doing a quick sketch of the sentence.

These word family Chunk Its are no prep- just print and go to make it an easy go-to resource!

When students write the words, teach them to write it in the chunks- beginning sounds and chunks and not looking at each individual letter.  Struggling readers/writers need lots of encouragement and modeling to do this automatically.

There is a Chunk Its CVCe Long Vowels too!  


One area that so many students really need to build and strengthen is multisyllabic words.  This Chunk Its does that with short vowel 2 syllable words.  They get practice with compound words, double consonants, and breaking 2 syllable words where at least one of the syllables has a short vowel sound.   I have also bundled all 4 of the Chunk It resources into one bundle to help save you some money.  You can click any of the pictures to be taken to see these resources and how they can help your students practice moving out of individual sounds and into chunks of sound!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to gain access 

Conversations in Literacy

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Amazon Wish List

Has anyone else wondered what you did before Amazon?  I live WAY out in the country with a toddler and a VERY busy husband.  I rarely have the time to run around town running errands for my classroom or my home.  The time I do have I want to spend with my friends and family, not driving 40 minutes into town to get toilet paper. :)   Amazon has saved my sanity.  Diapers--Check!  Formula--Check, Check!  Book for next week's lesson--Check!  It is SO EASY!  ALMOST too easy! :)  

This year I started an Amazon wish list for my classroom.  If it is convenient for me, I'm sure it is also very convenient for the families in my class.  It is simple and easy.  I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to do this?!

I am going to show you just HOW easy it is in pictures!

This is the BEST can share the link with the parents in your class.  It is the easiest way for parents to get what they would like to donate.  Impulse buys don't hurt either! :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cooperative Learning with Placemat Consensus

Using the right tools to help with small group work is extremely important to the success and learning of the group.  Have you ever learned about or used a placemat consensus?  This is an amazing and easy tool to use in any subject area!  Come read about it over at my newest post!  Read it HERE!  There's a wonderful freebie included!!  Thanks for stopping by :)

~Ciera Harris, Adventures of Room 129

Friday, February 5, 2016

Consonant Blends

Hi everyone! Happy almost weekend. :) Sarah here, from Sarah's Snippets. Today I thought I'd talk about how I teach consonant blends. Consonant blends are always a challenge for my struggling readers. We usually spend a lot of time on them! Since I started working as the reading resource teacher at my school, I have been making more and more resources to allow for more practice for my students.

Step 1:Building consonant blends and words using letter tiles
When I introduce consonant blends, I usually start with the letter tiles. I build several different consonant blends and model how to read them. I compare them to digraphs by showing them how consonant blends have the two blue tiles, each making a different sound while the digraphs are just one tile because they are two letters that make one sound.  

Next I build words. I model how to "chunk" the word to accurately sound it out. I read, they read.  After several words, I pull back and let them read the words first. After reading several words, they get their own boards with tiles and I say a word for them to build. We practice listening for the blend first to make sure we don't miss a sound. If you don't want to hastle with all those letter tiles, Whizzimo is a great app to use. 

You don't have to be fancy though! You can use regular notecards as letter tiles. :)

Step 2: Printable Intervention Books
After a few days of reading, building, and manipulating words with blends, we are ready to move on to our blend books. My students love getting these books! They each get their own during small group instruction. I love it for planning purposes. It's all ready to go to use with multiple groups. 

Step 3: Building and reading sentences
For sentence fluency, my students love using this Sentence Spin. Sometimes it makes silly sentences and sometimes it makes real sentences. Either way, they are reading words with consonant blends. I also use it as a mini-comprehension activity. Beginning and struggling readers often end up sounding out words but not thinking about what is being read. When using this activity, I always ask, "Who is the sentence about? What is the character doing?" Sometimes I ask them to describe what they are visualizing. 

You could also make your own using sentence strips. :)

Last step: Increase fluency with short stories. 

There are tons of resources out there to choose from. For the first year I ended up writing short stories on the fly. I'd write them on chart paper so we could practice them together as a shared reading experience. 

I still do that, but now I also use these story cards that I laminate. My students love to use dry erase pens to interact with the story. I also have a printable version to send home as homework. 

To see more pictures and get links to all of these resources, come visit my blog. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

3 Great Tips for Organizing Guided Reading

Tips for Organizing Guided Reading

It's the New Year and almost time to head back to the classroom!  It's also a great time to get organized in the classroom.  I am typically an organized person...I like things to have a place and to be in their place.  I find it helps me to have everything organized in my classroom from materials all the way to my planning materials.  It just makes me more efficient and able to be more purposeful in my teaching.  But it can be a challenge to keep it all straight in our classrooms! 

Here are 3 tips that will hopefully help you stay organized and efficient this year!

1.  Keep Anecdotal Records for Purposeful Planning

Keeping Anecdotal Records Organized and Using them for Purposeful Planning

Keeping anecdotal records is a MUST for guided reading!  This notebook is my FAVORITE way of keeping track of all that information.  Information can sometimes just be overwhelming.  But by keeping track of each student and what they can do, I can do a better job of moving them forward in their skills.  It is also great for when parents want to see exactly what students can do.

Anecdotal Records for Organizing and Purposeful Planning

I get a LOT of good information from doing running records on my students.  I love using this sheet to keep track of all that good stuff.  Then I can use the notes to help me plan the next lesson.  Saves time and I am not being haphazard when I plan.  I know exactly what the student needs to go forward.

Organized and Purposeful Planning Using Anecdotal Records

I can keep track of phonemic awareness skills, phonics, sight words, letter sounds, etc... I sit at my table when my students are in my group.  I just keep the notebook with me and jot notes or tallies as I listen.  If I keep the notebook right there, it is super easy to do!!

Organized and Purposeful Planning Using Anecdotal Records

We all know we should be doing it.  The biggest part is getting your notebook ready and then just making sure you use it!  All. The. Time.  

2.  Keep Small Group Materials in One Place- Grab & Go

Tips for Organizing Guided Reading

I like to keep all of the materials that students will be using in small baskets.  They each get their own basket.  This eliminates wasting time by passing out materials or students fussing over picking the pencil or marker they want.  

Paint strips for sound boxes

Inside the baskets, I keep pencils, erasers, reading strategy bookmarks, markers, etc...  I also like to keep laminated paint strips for the students to use as sound boxes.  No digging around looking for those and passing them out.  Grab it and go!

Magnetic Letter organization in plastic boxes

I also LOVE these little boxes from the Dollar Store for keeping letters in them. This eliminates digging around for letters.  They can fit right in the baskets.  Grab the box and let's make words!

3.  Keep Everything in a Drawer

Guided Reading Drawer Cart

So many of us have these drawers!  I don't know what I did without them.  I keep everything I can for guided reading in each group's drawer.  Then all I have to do is pull the drawer to take with me to the table as the group comes to guided reading.  Student books, sight word pockets, pages to pass out, Post It notes, etc... Everything handy and no time wasted.  

Sight Word Pockets

I mentioned sight word pockets.  These little handy folders are a great way to organize so many things.  I use them for sight words the students have learned and will be learning.  All the words are right there for when I want to add to what the student needs to learn.  The student doesn't have to wait for me to make copies and get things ready.  I just move the words from the baggy on the right to the one on the left and the student just keeps learning!

I hope your time off has been a time of relaxing and recharging and that you are now ready to head back to your classroom!  Hopefully these 3 quick organizational tips will make your room even more efficient and purposeful too!

Come visit me at Conversations in Literacy!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to gain access
to our Exclusive Freebies by clicking here!