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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Teaching Reading in the Content Areas using Summarizing

Blue Book_Front Cover

I've been going back to school to earn my Reading Teacher license.  The class I am currently taking is Teaching Reading in the Content Areas.  This class has been full of great techniques that can be used for many grade levels.  I of course adapted them to fit my first grade class.

We are using 2 wonderful books.  I especially recommend: Strategies to Engage the Mind of the Learner by Rachel Billmeyer.

Strategic Reading in the Content Areas also by Rachel Billmeyer.

The skill and technique I'm going to share with you is summarizing!

Summarizing: to put the author's words and ideas into your own words and to hit upon the key points of the text in a shorter form.

Many students want to re-list everything they wrote about step by step and do not always focus on what the key details were.  This requires higher levels of thinking.

I chose to use our Scholastic News magazine to work on the strategy of Window Pane or Window Notes.  I used the March Issue on Spring Weather along with the digital version that includes videos. Adding questions to the form below helped the class to organize their thoughts about the article and look for key points.
Click on the Spring Singers for a sample of the Scholastic News.  You could try this strategy as a whole group.  Then move onto partners and then independently.  This is how I started out to get them to be able to complete this strategy independently.

Rules for Summarizing:
1) Include only the important information.
2) Combine ideas when writing the summary.  This was very challenging for the firsties.
3) Add connective words (and, but, or)
4) Use a category term instead of a list of words (Animals instead of birds, bugs, squirrels)

Summaries Do Not Include:
1) Your opinion.
2) Text copied directly.
3) What you think or feel the author should have said.

After they wrote their notes they were able to use it to write their full summary.  The class did a great job for using summarizing for the first time independently.  I wish I remembered to take pictures of their summaries!  You would have been impressed!

1) Add the categories to the boxes rather than the student coming up with it.
2) Let the student add drawings to the boxes.
3) Use a larger sheet of paper divided into 4 boxes.
4) Use this as an assessment tool.

Click below to get your own blank Window Notes and Summary Paper to try it out with your class.  Let me know how it goes,  

Our class is asking us to share this with fellow teachers and get their feedback!  If you would be willing to fill out the form below and email it to me at lorimoldenhauer@gmail.com I would greatly appreciate it.

You might also like these graphic organizers from Scholastic.

For fiction I used a main idea sheet that I found on Teachers pay Teachers.  This is a free download from Where the Wild Things Are.  Thank you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Strike Double Digit Addition or Subtraction Game

This is a really quick to make game that you're students will love!  My class wanted to play over and over!!  I adapted this from an old Mailbox Magazine.  

Get yours for free by clicking on the game sheet!

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Persuasive Writing with Australian Animals and Freebies

Australian animals are so fun to learn about!  The students get so excited about how different they are.

The kids made these Aboriginal Dot Art paintings in art class.  
I love when we can integrate topics.

This is a form of the emu craft floating around on Pinterest.  
Gluing pipecleaners is not easy.  I think I would change that for next time.
We edged the paper with an ethnic roller that I found through School Specialty.

Now onto our persuasive writing.  Students had to think about which Australian animal they would like for a pet!  Yes a pet!  For my example I am choosing the dingo!

We are writing letters to our parents, using the O.R.E.O. mnemonic device to help write our letters.
Check out Our Cool School blog to get this poster and response sheet.

I am breaking down this assignment to work on all week.

Mentor Text: I Wanna Iguana  by Karen Kaufman Orloff
You can click the book cover to go to a youtube link.  It's not a professional video but it could be an option for you if you do not have the book.

During Reading:  Pause and discuss what makes Alex's letters so persuasive.

Day 1:  Opinion
Discuss how we want to hook the reader!
We could start with a question, make a bold statement or paint a picture.

My Examples:
I would really like to get a dingo for a pet.
Have you ever had a pet when you were a kid?
Can't you just see the whole family loving a pet dingo?
Can you imagine how cute I will look snuggled up with my new pet dingo?

In my classroom we are using Whole Brain Teaching so each student will share their opening sentence with their partner and then we will share the sentence with oral writing. Then they will each write down their opening sentence.  All this practice makes for some great sentences!

Video for whole brain teaching oral writing
This is my favorite video on oral writing.  I have watched it many times.
Click to view.

Day 2:  Reasons
Some phrases to support the opinion could be:
For example, For instance, One reason, Another reason, Finally

One reason, we should get a dingo is because we all love dogs and dingos are a lot like dogs.
Another reason, is we have been wanting to get a pet for awhile now.

We followed the same procedure with telling our sentence to our buddy with oral writing and then writing it down.

Day 3: Examples
Some ways to start these sentences could be:
Also, Furthermore, Likewise, In addition, On top of that, Specifically

My Examples:
Also, I will take care of the dingo.
On top of that, you have said I am a responsible kid.

Buddy Oral Writing

Day 4: Opinion
Ways to start a sentence:
Again, In fact, In conclusion, Indeed, Let's remember

My Examples:
Again, I would really like to get a pet dingo for the whole family.
Let's remember, that a pet dingo would make a great pet.

Buddy Oral Writing

After making any final edits they will rewrite it on this paper with a little drawing space to showcase their animal.

Pick up your own writing paper for free.  There are two different sized lines.  I made one bigger for a few of my kiddos who have fine motor difficulties.

Here are some finished persuasive letters.  They did a great job!!

Check out my other Australian blogpost!

Promethean Flipchart

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Making Quick and Easy Flashcards

This is a free site to make flashcards.

If you want a front and back you can do that by adding a word and definition.  But what I like to do is make sight word cards.  They are nothing fancy but they get the job done.

Click on the PDF button when you are done adding in your words.

You can modify the settings to how you would like them to print out.  Then view PDF in a new window and Wah Lah - flashcards

The font size adjusts to fit the word.  

This would be great for students to use.  
They can make their own definition cards or addition and subtraction cards.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato

Do you need a quick lesson for reading intervention?
Are you looking for ideas on a specific comprehension skill?

Check out:

This fantastic site is free for signing up.  They send you periodic emails with updates on stories but they are not overwhelming!

Today I used the story: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
My library had a copy.

This lesson was using background knowledge to draw a reasonable conclusion about the story.
I added a pre-reading question to help build the background.  I asked them what food would they never not ever eat!  Oh, what a response I got!!  They love talking about themselves!

It was fun listening to them agree or disagree with each other about what was being said. 

I then read the story stopping at specific pages that is referenced in the lesson page to ask questions.  I wrote these questions on sticky notes and put them on the page to remind me.  

When I got to the end of the book the students were given an independent practice worksheet on answering a question to see if they could draw a conclusion about the ending of the book.  We then read these aloud and did thumbs up/thumbs down if they felt their answer drew a correct conclusion.  We also discussed opinions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine Card with the suffix -est

You're the Best!

As a class we brainstormed adjectives that ended with -est!


They made animals out of hearts and glued them to a paper.  I wish I could rotate the pictures. Students added the words to the card. They turned out so cute!!  


Friday, January 9, 2015

Three States of Matter

I just love teaching science and I really love teaching matter.  The kids really get into it!

This last week I used the theme of snowmen which was a great way to integrate the three states of matter.  At first I wasn't sure if we would even have snow this week and we ended up with an abundance plus some extremely frigid weather.


The Sneezy Snowman by Maureen Wright
Sneezy doesn't like being so cold so he tries to get warmer. Of course he melts!  Then they build him again!  This was a great way to integrate the solid and liquid!

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
A great classic.  Peter spends time outside and decides to bring a snowball in the house and keep it in his pocket.  He soons learns that snowballs - melt!

There was an Old Lady who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro
Now this story doesn't have any melting but building of a snowman!  After we read the story we brought in some of our wonderful cold snow!


Wow - this snow is cold!

We got some gloves and tried to build the base.  The snow wasn't packing snow.  So we added some water from a water bottle and it helped a bit.
Earlier this week we discussed and wrote the process on How to build a snowman. 
 Next we built the middle of the snowman.

Our head is looking a bit sad but it's there.

We added in some buttons, scarf and arms.  We discussed what state of matter it is and what properties made it a solid.  The snowman had a shape.  This is a soft solid.
We then discussed what would be the next state of matter if the snowman melted and what do we need to make a change in the matter.
We needed a heat source.  I turned on the skillet to 400 degrees.

It started melting right away and then started boiling 
 Kids starting saying,"Poor Snowman!"

He now was a liquid!  The water took the shape of the container.

 Can you see the steam?  The kids caught on to this right away and told me it was a gas!  Wow I have a smart class!

Good bye Mr. Snowman! It only took about 15 minutes and he was all gone!  What happened to him?  Let's build him again!

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