Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How do we teach a child to be a lifelong passionate reader?

We let them read...
Plain and simple, just read!!  As teachers we spend a lot of time teaching young readers all of the reading strategies and skills they will need to be independent readers but sometimes we overlook the most obvious thing, reading should be enjoyed.  Imagine you are in the depths of your favorite page turning novel and you hear, "When you get to page 10 stop and write down a prediction.  Summarize in one paragraph what you've read so far. Don't forget to go back and confirm your prediction. Oh and don't forget to use text evidence to support your answers."  Although I can see that this takes all of the passion out of reading and turns it into a chore,  I am one hundred percent guilty of doing this in my classroom.  It's my job to teach the students these metacognitive skills and by the end of the year they will know them (fingers crossed). So how do I do that while keeping them passionate about reading?

I let them read.  Uninterrupted, anywhere they want, next to whomever they would like (or alone) for some time of every day.

Our Classroom Library...I need to point out that this took endless hours of organization madness-     Worth all the time it took!!

My library is organized by genre, category, guided reading level, and some of my bins are by author.  We are on a Dan Gutman, "My Weird School" craze right now :) I have over a thousand books but the students can easily find what they are looking for by the labeled bins.

I have a complete set of polka dot themed book bin labels in my TpT store.  

Using the library: 

Part of the fun in reading is choosing your own books, however as teachers we know this can present a larger problem.  Reading is only fun if you are understanding what you read and choosing the right books for you.  At the start of the school year I do several lessons about how to choose a "Just Right" book.  Here is one of my little ones doing the "Five Finger Test."  

Another problem that I had is the students wanted to spend a good portion of their Independent Reading time browsing through the library. They would choose a book, sit with it for 2 minutes and be back in the library browsing again.  Having a set time in the morning for choosing books seems to have solved that problem.  

The students keep two books at all times in their book bins.  I love that I can easily check through and see what they are reading. I encourage them to read a variety of genres. 
Also in their book bins is their reading folder.  This is the folder they also bring to Guided Reading Group but it's a place for them to keep all "reading things" together in one place. 

I do ask the kids to keep a log of the books they have read each month.  It's simple and painless and the kids don't seem to mind doing it at all.  

I have to say that letting kids read (just read) makes me feel like I am doing my part in teaching my students to be lifelong passionate readers. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Math Workshop- On your mark, get set, go...

Tonight I am celebrating because my Math Workshop is off and running like a well oiled machine.

Let me break it down for you...

 I have 80 uninterrupted minutes to teach math and it is first thing in the morning when the kids are bright eyed and bushy tailed.  My 19 students fall into 4 leveled groups. I really thought 3 groups would be best (time wise) but it's not realistic for me to have 6 or more students in a group.

We start our morning with a Math Journal entry.  This is where the kids practice writing about math and "explaining" their answers.  It takes about ten minutes.  I found that it really cuts back on time to have the students glue the question right into their math journal so they don't waste any time copying from the board. Some days (the ones I am less organized) I just post it and they respond with the answer only.

Next the students gather on the rug where I teach my 15 minute whole group lesson.  We practice daily review skills as a class and partner share with our fellow "mathematicians." 

Next, Math Workshop begins!!! This is truly my favorite part of teaching math. The kids love it because they are moving around, and I feel like this is where I can truly assess their math skills.  

I have this posted on my anchor chart wall where it will probably stay for a good part of the year.  

Here is our map of who goes where.  You can find these Center Cards for Math or Reading Workshop in my TpT store. I use the same chart for Literacy Centers (I just switch out the group cards on the left from Math Groups to Guided Reading Groups.)  
Keep it simple...

The numbers just tell the kids where to go and everything they need for their math station is in the numbered bin. (In another area of the room I have their Reading Workshop bins labeled)

I meet with each group for 10 minutes.  We focus in on the skill of that day on the level they can be challenged at.   

This was our at Math Station 1 this week.  We are working on Numbers and Base Ten.  This is a freebie that you can get from "Teaching First." 


Math Station 2 is Base Ten Block Memory. It is one of my freebies that you can download from my TpT Store.

Math Station 3 is iPads.  So far, I have introduced the kids to "Splash Math" and "Operation Math."  Those are two really great Apps for focusing on second grade math skills.  Operation Math is perfect for the fact drills and Splash Math really covers it all. I'm always looking for more apps, so if you have any must haves please share them with me. 

We close up Math Workshop with a 5 minute Leveled Problem Solving which the students solve quickly on white boards at their desk.  This is a quick wrap up or Exit Ticket to tie all the wonderful math we learned into a bow.