Where the Magic Happens: March 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Growing Readers Mentor Text Linky

Good morning everyone!
I am joining my friend Carla from Comprehension Connection today for her mentor text linky this month!




I know that St. Patty's was yesterday and I am late to the leprechaun parade. However, I have a great lesson that I developed using the book "The Luckiest Leprechaun" by Justine Korman. This tale is a great story of trust, loyalty, and friendship.





Teaching the lesson or central message of a story, is usually a challenging strategy for firsties to master  for many reasons:

  • They need to identify the key details in the story that lead to the central message.
  • In most cases, the lesson or central message  of a story is not stated in the story and our students have to infer it.
  • Some stories may have more than one central message, and in my own experience, our students may be confused by this. Therefore, we have to teach them the art of interpretation.
So let's get started!

The Gradual Release Model

Let me show you how I teach this strategy (it is actually standard RL.1.2) within the gradual release of responsibility model.



For the "I do" stage, I usually develop an anchor chart. In some cases,  I do it myself, and in other cases, I do it with my students... in which case I call it an "interactive chart."   I love anchor charts and they are a perfect way to do "first time learning." In most cases (actually is more like 80% of the time) I introduce and new reading strategy by using a Thinking Map as well. 
I believe that the walls belong to my students and this is the reason why I have a love-hate relationship with the fire marshal. If you want to learn more about anchor charts, you MUST check the Chart Chums Blog. I have purchased both of their resources and they are totally fab!

But let's get back to business.


As you can see, I have used half of a multi-flow map to do this mini-lesson. Each mini-lesson doesn't last more than 10-12 minutes and an anchor chart is done over several days. After we are done completing the anchor chart, I hang it on the wall. The most important thing to remember about the "I do" stage is that a whole group lesson is something that everyone needs.  We refer to it quite a bit while building proficiency during individual and guided reading conferences.

Which brings me too...
The "we do it" stage.

During guided reading groups I  use this matrix to see who needs what, for how long, how often, etc.
I usually create a small group matrix of reading and writing behaviors to notice and support for each standard. With the years I have learned that each standard is made up of many different reading and writing strategies.  Hello formative assessment! You can get a copy of this matrix by clicking HERE!!


During our small groups I use these comprehension sticks. They spark the intentional conversations that lead to writing about lessons in stories.



After we have practiced, and practiced, and then practiced some more, I release the comprehension sticks for my students to talk and write as partners during literacy stations. Which is the "you do it together" stage. You can get these  FREE comprehension sticks from my TPT store. CLICK HERE!

For the last stage or "You do it alone" stage, I meet with my students individually to discuss key details in the story that lead to the central message or lesson. I also use my written comprehension check ups to assess and I look for consistency of mastery.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post and you find it informative and useful! The lats word on my post in lawnmower.
To collect the other last words on my bloggy friends posts, follow the link up and record the last word on their posts  in this sheet:


Download by clicking on the picture!
Thank you again and don't forget to enter the rafflecopter to win some great TPT gift cards!!


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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Written Comprehension for Standard RL.1.2 (and a FREEBIE)

Hello again guys!
Look at me blogging again this week. I am glad to say that things in my life are back to a little normal after the crazy move of 2016.

Thanks for asking.
Anyways, it has been a while since I have watched a whole season of The Bachelor. So this morning, I am blogging about the complexity of standard RL.1.2 while enjoying "the women tell all" episode on DVR.
Hey don't judge me here! At some point time in my week I need some pointless, mindless T.V.

Last weekend I finally finished my second pack of written comprehension for 1st grade.  While building this product, I really reflected about what it takes to truly understand the complexity of this standard... or any standard for that matter.
Do any of you have a standard in your teacher evaluation that goes like this?
"Teachers know the content they teach."
If you do, then you might want to know and understand the complexity of any standard.

Every time I am tackling a new standard with my students, I keep these things in mind:

  • Understand the wording of the standard
  • Consider the depth of knowledge (DOK) behind
  • What type of products do I need my students to produce in order to show understanding and proficiency
  • The reading strategies that build up the standard
  • The steps that I need to take to approach the standard within the gradual release of responsibility model
  • The set of reading and writing behaviors that I need to observe and support during individual and guided reading conferences
  • Ways to scaffold, differentiate, and learning styles
  •  Formal and informal - Formative assessment
Among other things.

Let'me show you about understanding the wording of standard RL.1.2. Analyzing the wording allows me to see  the DOK and  corresponding activities.




Now look at the reading and writing behaviors that I need to observe and support when teaching standard RL.1.2.




You can get a free copy of the reading and writing behavior for this standard by clicking HERE!

If you want to learn more about comprehension through writing  for this standard, you may be interested in my newest pack. These are some images of this product in action!





Essential Questions and Learning Targets.







Short passages and graphic organizers that support the development and mastery of standard RL.1.2.


These passages can be used in so many ways.  Formative assessment, if you have a projector you can use them as anchors to do a whole group lesson, the graphic organizers and writing sticks can be used with other texts too!





Writing sticks with questions for any resource, book, or passage! Inferring the central message or lesson of a story is commonly, in my experience, a challenging a skill and our students need a ton of scaffold and practice to be successful.



Let me finish this post by sharing this great website from Read Tennessee. Best, most useful, and one point site about the what, how, and why of each standard. Enjoy!