Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Keep it Quick: The Easy Art of Summarizing

SOMEBODY...



Another Reading Comprehension strategy that can be used in all primary classrooms is Summarizing.  Too often students think summarizing is retelling.  In order to get a quick summary use the SOMEBODY…WANTED…BUT…SO…AND technique.  I would be happy to credit to the one who thought of this technique…because it is genius!  The problem with credit is I’ve seen it in so many places, I’m not sure who came up with this originally.  That being said, it’s a keeper!

WANTED...


I first used this technique with my kindergarten class.  We were addicted to Magic Tree House Books (that’s another post for another day) and we started practicing our summarizing after each chapter.  I made a poster with the 5 words on it as a reminder.  We did not write down the summaries…we only practiced the summaries orally.

BUT...


This year, I taught my first and second grade students to summarize using this technique.  We made a poster as an anchor chart using their words.  We started with a whole group S...W...B...S...A.

SO...


We practiced this with all the stories we read.  It is perfect for the shorter guided reading books that have a plotline…usually starting with Level D.  It has become an option in their Reading Response Journals.

AND...


We also talked about how we could use it for our longer books.  Today, we read “The Magic Bike” from Reading A-Z and we wrote a longer summary.  We started with an introduction sentence.  Then, wrote the beginning of the summary using Somebody…Wanted…But…So…And.  Realizing this didn’t quite tell the story, we had to add another But…So…And to finish the story summary. 

For a FREEBIE Summarizing Poster Set, CLICK HERE

If you are interested in the complete Reading Comprehension Set on Teachers Pay Teachers, CLICK HERE

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Visualizing Ideas...Can you see it?

Helping students understand how valuable visualizing can be when fully comprehending a story is essential. These activities can make visualizing a useful tool for emergent readers.
I have 2 groups of first graders coming to me for extra reading help.  They have come so far this year.  Adding visualizing to their comprehension toolkit is an easy lesson.  We talked about visualizing all week.

First, make it make sense.

Most first graders have never heard of “visualizing,” but they may have heard of a “vision” test at the doctor.  Remind them the vision test at the doctor tests their eyes and how well they see.  Then make the connection for them…”vision, visual, visualizing means to see.”  However, visualizing is when we put a picture in our head.

Second, practice mental pictures.

Once they know you are putting “a picture in their head,” let them practice this.  Ask them to put a picture of recess in their head.  What do you see in your head?  Ask them for specifics.  Who is on the swings?  Where is the teacher standing?  Throw them a curve ball to challenge their vision…do you see a giraffe at recess?

Third , connect it to their story.

For an introduction to their story, In The Mountains from Reading A-Z, I asked students to visualize an animal that has stripes.  “What do you see in your head?”  “A zebra.”  “A tiger.”  “A skunk.”  Make sure you are thinking of an animal that would be in the mountains. We discussed each adjective in book by visualizing which animals could be in our book.  Once we have visualized the animals, I provide the book to the students to match their visualized animals with the animals in the book. The striped animal is really a chipmunk...not a zebra.
Helping students understand how valuable visualizing can be when fully comprehending a story is essential. These activities can make visualizing a useful tool for emergent readers.

Make an anchor chart.

I believe in anchor charts.  It’s important to have students participate in making charts for the classroom.  They will be more invested in the charts and will be more inclined to refer to a chart they have helped make.  I provided the students with a clip art representation of visualizing.  As a group we decided on the definition.  We added the first sentence, first orally, then on paper, one student writing at a time.  Then we added the second sentence, using the same routine.
Helping students understand how valuable visualizing can be when fully comprehending a story is essential. These activities can make visualizing a useful tool for emergent readers.

Visualizing Retell

Get the students to write about visualizing in their own words.  It's a great activity to do at the small group table.  It can also be an assignment as they leave the table.  They can write the definition in their reading response journal and then, write about how they visualize a character or setting in the story.
Helping students understand how valuable visualizing can be when fully comprehending a story is essential. These activities can make visualizing a useful tool for emergent readers.

Practice putting mental pictures on to paper or the dry erase board.

Give each student a chalkboard and chalk, paper and pencil, or dry erase board and marker.  They will write a letter you describe orally.  Have the students close their eyes while you describe a particular letter.  Tell them to put a pencil in their head and write with it as they hear the directions.  “I’ll make a capital letter.  I am visualizing a straight stick down.  Jumping up tot he top and curving around to the middle, then curving around to the bottom.”  Repeat the directions once more and ask the students to make the letter on the dry erase board.  I’ll make the letter on my board and reveal it to them…then, they will reveal their letter.  Repeat this “game” with 4 or 5 letters.
Helping students understand how valuable visualizing can be when fully comprehending a story is essential. These activities can make visualizing a useful tool for emergent readers.

Practice matching mental images to words.

Students are given a short paragraph and 2 pictures.  After reading the short paragraph and visualizing the picture, look at the two picture choices and match the words to the text.   Making a 2-part visualizing exercise is easy.  Copy the paragraphs on colored paper (paper must be dark enough students can’t see images through the paper).  Copy the picture choices on white paper.  Staple the color copy to the top and cut the color paper on the lines.  Read the first paragraph to your students while they have their eyes closed.  Let them read the paragraph a second time.  After the second reading, students need to lift the flap with the paragraph and circle the correct picture.

Make them write about it.

Finally, as part of the reading comprehension test on Friday, I asked the students to write, "What is visualizing?"  For a moment, they were stunned.  I reassured them...write what visualizing is and why they would visualize when they read.  I told them to "visualize" our poster. Their written responses were great.
Helping students understand how valuable visualizing can be when fully comprehending a story is essential. These activities can make visualizing a useful tool for emergent readers.

As luck would have it...when we were at my brother's house for a family birthday party this visualizing activity was on the refrigerator.  My niece was asked to visualize what would happen on Halloween.  Very cute flip book!

I hope these visualizing tips help your students "see" the story more clearly.

CLICK HERE for the visualizing activity, or click the cover below.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Writing Persuasive Paragraphs with Emergent Writers: Can You Be Persuaded?

Kindergartners can write persuasive paragraphs, if you give them the right support. Letting them associate their choices with persuading an audience helps start the process.
Students in the elementary grades are tasked with writing persuasive paragraphs. Teachers are nervous about teaching it…and students think they can’t do it.  Everyone needs to breathe.

It’s no big deal.

Any student can tell you why they like one breakfast cereal over another. They can also tell you why they think one holiday is better than the other. AND, if their brother or sister wants to watch a certain television show, they can certainly argue about why their television show is better.  Use that to your advantage!  When introducing a persuasive paragraph, just tell them they need to convince someone they are right!
Kindergartners can write persuasive paragraphs, if you give them the right support. Letting them associate their choices with persuading an audience helps start the process.
CLICK HERE if you would like the Groundhog Day Pre-Write Planning Page..

The perfect persuasive paragraph revolves around Groundhog Day. Oops, I missed that one, didn’t I? (You’ll have to save this one for next year…sorry.) The week before Groundhog’s Day, the teacher would use her whole group writing lesson to ask for ideas for both winter staying or spring coming.

The week of Groundhog’s Day, passing out the Persuasive Pre-Writing Sheet.  Each student will write 3 reasons they want winter to remain AND 3 reasons they want spring to get here.  The whole group pre-write from the week before is on display for those students who need the help and assurance.  For those students who are able, they may choose some other ideas.  Regardless, everyone in my room is required to fill in both sides of the pre-write sheet before choosing which topic they will write to persuade the reader.

But, don't forget...

A pre-write is a PRE-write.

That is, the students aren't finished with the persuasive paragraph until the use the pre-write to form their argument.  They may decide which side they would like to persuade the reader.  Providing the writing paper with a place for a picture can help students add details from their arguments to support their side of the argument.

When students are done with the Groundhog's Day introduction, persuasive paragraphs can be a part of the WRITING CENTER.  Providing students with ideas for persuasive paragraphs is just the start they need to be off and running.

 Which do you like best?   

Put blank persuasive writing pre-write papers in the center along with choice boards.  They must plan their arguments BEFORE they write their paragraph.
Kindergartners can write persuasive paragraphs, if you give them the right support. Letting them associate their choices with persuading an audience helps start the process.

Adding an introduction sentence to beginning and a closing sentence at the end...to "hamburger" their arguments, the students can check the persuading paragraph off their list of "must do's."

If you'd like the entire unit for $3.00, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.