Digging Into - My Literacy Block

 I hope you are all out for summer vacations by now and are relaxing into your summer routines.  I know that I am!  I am just getting back from a weekend at my parent's beach house!  Which is AMAZING, however, it does not have wifi!  Hence why this post is coming to you a little late!  There is only so much time I can spend at Dunkin's on a Saturday morning! ;)

This week we will be talking about literacy block organization.  I have lots to say about my literacy block - mostly good.  My district is pretty strict with the organization of the literacy block for grades 1 and 2, so as far as timing goes I have VERY little flexibility, but as far as content goes I have MUCH more leeway!  We don't include our writing block in the literacy block.  That comes in the afternoon - a separate 45+ minute chunk.  The literacy block I will chat about today is a 90 minute chunk in the morning - including Guided Reading, phonics, focus lessons, word work, reader's response, listening center, poetry, and independent and partner reading.

 In our 90 minute block, we begin with 15 minutes of whole class phonics instruction.  We use the FUNdations program.  While I don't love the whole class piece of the program, I do like the scope and sequence.  I have made TONS of games and practice packs to go along with the first grade curriculum and am working on the Kinder and 2nd packs this summer!  I use individual white boards to make the lesson more interesting and interactive.  

The second 15 minutes is a focus lesson. This is where the strategy/skill is introduce through an interactive read-aloud and discussion.  This lesson sets kids up for the reader's response work that they will be doing next.

The next chunk is slightly more confusing.  For the following 60 minutes, I take reading groups and kids are working independently.  There are 3 20 minute stations to rotate through.  I have 5/6 reading groups depending on the needs and levels of my kids.  Here's where you may start to hate me...Our district provides an AWESOME literacy aide to each of our classrooms for 40 minutes!  That means 5 groups can been seen each day!  When I have 6 groups, that means that my highest readers are seen less, but they are more able to respond deeply to books, so they use 2 stations a week for that.  

While kids are with me we are doing the usual guided reading work.  However, some of my neediest learners need more than 1 20 minute session with me.  They may get a second guided reading session focused on phonics/sight words/fluency/comprehension/etc.  Usually this group is my most needy or maybe the 2 most needy groups. If I have an especially needy group of beginning readers or if I have an ELL room (which I usually do), I also can get support during reading group time from an ELL teacher or aide.  They often give the second dose of reading instruction.  

So, what is the rest of the class doing?  Here is the board they follow...

Stations here may include independent reading, partner reading, listening center, reader's response, poetry, and word work.  All of these stations can be differentiated based on the group's needs and skills they are working on. 

 Honestly, I wouldn't change much.  If you read my post last week though you would know that I do really want to make sure that kids are learning to use the strategies and skills we are working on whole class and in guided reading when they are reading to themselves or with a partner.  I would like to find a way to squeeze that in there, but I am still without any LIGHTBULBS...feel free to chime in in the comments with your suggestions!

For once, I have some GREAT products that you could use in your literacy block!  If you use FUNdations for Grade 1, I have practice packs, games packs, and spelling lists/practice that go with the program.  Even if you don't use the program, the games packs and spelling lists/practice work on HAVE TO KNOWS for grade 1, so they will be TOTALLY appropriate! Check them out in my store - HERE!  Also, I have JUST uploaded my MEGA games pack - 14 grade 1 games packs - That's over 80 games!  Get it 50% until Monday 6/30 at 6pm!  Find the set HERE!

Make sure you click through the rest of these amazing literacy ideas - More to think about for next year!! :)

See you next week when we talk about The Beginning of the Year!

Keep 'Em Buzzy Blog Hop - Crafty Learning With the Kiddos

Happy summer!!  

I am excited to again be participating with the amazing Teacher Tam in her monthly blog hop. This month we are focused on fun at home craft learning. 

You may be a homeschooling momma (or daddy) or maybe you are home with the little ones for the summer. Either way, I wanted to share a FUN way for your kiddos to pray ice almost any skill. 

WARNING:  This can get a bit messy. You wil notice I took the mess outside on the lawn to limit cleaning!!

To begin you will need to get foaming shaving cream, washable paints ( we chose blue and yellow but you can choose as many ad you plan to use), q-tips, a cookie sheet, ( this one is old and not used for cooking anymore.  I forgot spoons  and bowls but you need those too!

I sprayed the shaving cream into two bowls. One for each color. 

Pour in paint and mix!

Spread a thinish later on a cookie sheet. 

Using either fingers or qtips draw letters, numbers, words, math equations - whatever you want!!

 Of course save some time at the end for playing!!

Keep hopping along - Next on the hop is Teacher Tam.  Don't click on the picture though for some reason it will send you back here!  EEK - HTML and I are clearly fighting!!
 Click HERE to get to her post!

Guided Math - Chapter 5 - Week #5 :)

Welcome back!  Are you LOVING this math book as much as I am??  This chapter was not an awakening for me, but rather a reminder of what should be happening everyday.  I start off in September doing ALL small group teaching after a short mini-lesson, but somewhere around December, things always start to fall apart.  My lowest learners need more from me.  I start to forget my highest students need my time too.  Needless to say - This year I am committed to staying with my small group learning centers throughout the year (Though I will admit I am not totally sure how my stations will work and how often my kids will be seen, but more on that later...)

I was just talking about this with a parent (not from my district) today.  She was upset with the district she lived in for taking away the "advanced" math class (and no we are not talking about high school here!).  I tried to explain to her that when teachers use a guided math model all students get their needs met whether they need remediation or enrichment.  I have to admit I did not win her over (she went on to complain about teachers and when I talked to her about teacher training and administration support, she wasn't ready to hear it).  However, it got me thinking...if we teach kids at their pace and focus on EXACTLY what they need to know, how AMAZING will kids feel about themselves!  Teachers can teach different strategies to different groups of kids based on their learning styles and learning needs!  REVOLUTIONARY!! ;) 

I mentioned I was excited and committed to teaching in small groups this year and I am.  I have one concern...We use Everyday Math which is a spiraling curriculum (meaning we teach coins for 2 days, then a day of clocks, 2 days of fact practice, etc- eventually coming back to coins and starting over.) Knowing that we only spend 1 to 2 days on a concept at a time, I am worried about getting to meet with everyone.  In the model that Laney Sammonds uses, she uses a week-long plan based on a similar concept all week.  Don't worry, I am not expecting an answer from you all - I am more thinking aloud.  I think the answer is going to come from trial and error - more doing and less conjecturing!

If you remember back to my first week's post, I wrote about how my team and I created ESSENTIAL LEARNINGS or HAVE TO KNOWs for each unit.

Based on those we created pre-assessments that CLEARLY match the ESSENTIAL LEARNINGS or HAVE TO KNOWs. 

We then collect that data into our table and use this info to make groups. 

 This year I used 3 groups (but they were BIG 7-8 kids per group).  Next year I have a student teacher in the fall (hopefully through the spring too) and I am hoping we can split the groups and make them 3-4 kids per group! How much MORE will we accomplish with those mini groups!

Don't forget to enter our AMAZING giveaway this week - You will be sorry if you don't!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dying to hear what other teachers are thinking after reading?  Click on the links below to check em out! 

An InLinkz Link-up

Let me know what you are thinking about in the comments!!