3 Ideas Inspired by "New Old Shoes"

If you want a book perfect for sharing the idea of reusing items, this is the book for you.  This mentor text can help readers of all ages understand why reusing items is important and exciting.
I found this INCREDIBLE book at a thrift store for 99¢.

You know from previous posts I love teaching writing to emergent learners, cvc words, and mentor texts.  What you may not know is I also love thrift stores.  I'm a cheapie at heart.  I'm always checking out the local thrift stores for 3 things:  binders (they are so much cheaper), word cards (aka topic cards) and books.  Last week I found the book "New Old Shoes" by Charlotte Blessing.  I had never heard this story, but trust me it's amazing. I'm sure you can understand how the red sneakers caught me eye.  The book was a discard from the public library, I don't understand why.  It's in great shape...no tears, no markings, and it's hardback.  It was just 99¢!

What's so great about this book?

An Intervention for Struggling Writers: Stoplight Writing

Even struggling students can become independent writers the an easy routine of Stoplight Writing.
Teaching emergent readers to write can be far more complicated than you think. Writing words involves, at a minimum, knowing letter names, knowing letter sounds, understanding letter/sound associations, knowing letter formations AND being able to hold the pencil and make the letters. WOW. That being said, practice makes permanent. Practice with letter identification. Practice with letter sounds. Practice with letter/sound associations. Practice with letter formations AND practice writing.  Even with all that practice, there are students who need more.  Don’t be afraid:  it’s all about routine…and practice.  Obviously some students need more help than others and this would be small group or Tier 2 intervention for struggling writers.  This intervention is called "Stoplight Writing."

What do you need:

1.  Letter/Sound Chart.
Even struggling students can become independent writers the an easy routine of Stoplight Writing.

Using a great letter/sound chart and using it often can help students jump over the first three hurdles.  I use the Fountas and Pinnell Sound Chart – for everything!  We start our day with the sound chart and a letter sound chant.  My students always say, ”A /a/ apple.  B /b/ bear.”  My friend’s class says, “A is for apple, /a/ /a/ /a/.  B is for bear, /b/ /b/ /b/.”  Regardless of the process…the routine is crucial.  At the beginning of the year, the students echo my chant…one letter at a time.  By November, the students and I chorally chant the sound chart.  Friday can be backwards day.  We chant the sound chart starting at Z and ending at A.  By December, we pick a column on the sound chart and chant the sound chart down one column.  We refer to the sound chart when we write EVERYTHING as a class with modeled, shared, and interactive writing.

Let's Summarize with Polar Bears Past Bedtime

Summarizing can be an easy task for early learners when they use a step-by-step routine and an interesting book. SWBSA is just that routine and Polar Bears Past Bedtime is just that book.
I am in coastal Virginia and we don't do snow often, but as the weather gods would have it we got 9 inches of snow dumped on us Wednesday night. Needless to say, we've been out of school since then. Even though today is Saturday, I don't have much hope for going to school Monday. The weather should be freezing until Monday afternoon and we don't have access to the proper equipment to plow secondary or neighborhood roads. Ironically, it should be in the fifties from Tuesday on. We often try and tell students what snow is all about, but this year they'll get to experience it.

One of my favorite books for the winter is Polar Bear Past Bedtime, #12 in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. As a matter of fact, we always read Magic Tree House books, but there are rules.

Rules

In my opinion, Magic Tree House books are the best series to read to students. Students get to travel the world, learn about cultures old and new, and dig deep into the Jack and Annie characters. All in the last 10 minutes of the school day. As a matter of fact, they have to be packed up and ready to go before I can start reading. (This tends to get them to pack up quickly.)

  1. Each book takes 12 days. One day at the beginning for introduction and vocabulary, one day
    Summarizing can be an easy task for early learners when they use a step-by-step routine and an interesting book. SWBSA is just that routine and Polar Bears Past Bedtime is just that book.
    per chapter, then one day for a book wrap-up and extension activity.
  2. Read the first four Magic Tree House books IN ORDER. This sets up the characters and the series.
  3. By then, it's November. Read #27 Thanksgiving on Thursday. It's perfect for the season and get ready for squeals when Jack and Annie have to use their toes digging for clams and find eels.
  4. Then go back to the correct sequence. Until we hit the middle of winter. Make sure Polar Bears Past Bedtime in the winter. 

Procedure

Of course, I have a procedure for reading these chapter books.
  1. Before you start reading each day, review the day before quickly and review the predictions for the chapter at hand.
  2. Read the chapter using interactive read aloud techniques, checking for understanding, but allowing for excitement.
  3. At the end of the chapter each day, ask for a summary. Using the SWBSA, technique we practice making summaries daily. At first, I give the key words and they fill in the summary. Eventually, they do it on their own with a SWBSA visual or bookmark. 
  4. Then, read the title fo the chapter for tomorrow. Students should give you a prediction about tomorrow's chapter using the title as a hint. They must use the phrasing, "I predict...because..."

Summarize


Summarizing can be an easy task for early learners when they use a step-by-step routine and an interesting book. SWBSA is just that routine and Polar Bears Past Bedtime is just that book.
For today's blog, let's focus on the summary comprehension strategy. My favorite was of the teaching summary to K-1 readers is SWBSA. The Somebody, Wanted, But, So, And is an easy format for making a summary. I don't have kindergartners write the summary. They can say so much more than they can write at this point. It can get exciting when students tell you two different summaries from the same chapter, depending on the "Somebody" at the beginning of the summary. Let's look at Chapter 4.  The title is "Snow House,' so students had predicted Jack and Annie would see an igloo because an igloo is a snow house. After reading the chapter a student might say: 
"Jack and Annie wanted to learn about igloos and 
polar bears but Annie had to help the seal hunter 
feed the dogs so she went outside and Jack stayed 
inside and he heard the dogs growl.

Summary Mountain

Summarizing can be an easy task for early learners when they use a step-by-step routine and an interesting book. SWBSA is just that routine and Polar Bears Past Bedtime is just that book.
Another summary technique is a summary mountain. This fun with especially with "Polar Bear Past Bedtime." This technique can discuss story elements: introduction, problem, climax, solution, and conclusion. Thankfully, this can be married with SWBSA, but the A changes to T (then). If you google summarizing techniques you'll see SWBSA, SWBST, SWBSAT and many other variations.
Look at Chapter 4 again, using the summary mountain, students might say:
Jack and Annie went into the igloo with the 
seal hunter and learned about the importance
of polar animals to the native people. Annie went
outside to help feed the dogs while Jack stayed
inside looking at the masks. All of the sudden, Jack
heard the dog's growl. He ran to the door of the
igloo with the masks still in his hand.
FREEBIE
I hope you enjoy the summary ideas, but I especially hope you enjoy sharing Magic Tree House books with your students. If you would like a FREEBIE for Polar Bears Past Bedtime, click the picture below or the link.
I also have a Polar Bear Past Bedtime full-set on TPT. It contains vocabulary words, 
Predict-o-Gram Polar Bears Before Bedtime, ABCs of Polar Bears Before Bedtime, ABC Order using Vocabulary Cards, Syllables using Vocabulary Cards, 3 Writing Papers, 1 Vocabulary Gradient Poster, 1 card, Compound Word Puzzles, -ub Word Family Cards (2 different formats), 
Master Librarian Collection Book, and a Master Librarian Card. The 31 page set is $3.00.


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Summarizing can be an easy task for early learners when they use a step-by-step routine and an interesting book. SWBSA is just that routine and Polar Bears Past Bedtime is just that book.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading Us Now and Always

Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.
A year ago a participated in a blog about teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr to early learners.  (Click here for my original blog post about Dr. Martin Luther King.)  A delicate balance between celebrating Dr. King's legacy and teaching early learners to "see color" remains. 

Cupcakes and Fairness

Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.We want our children and students to know a world where everyone is treated equally.  To show the ridiculousness of excluding people based on appearance or background, I involve my students in an exclusion activity.  I tell the students a friend of the class sent in cupcakes for students in this class.  Just when everyone is excited, I tell them there is a note with the cupcakes..."Please share these cupcakes with students who have blue eyes ONLY.  I ask the students to look at their friends and help me figure out who has blue eyes.  Those students are asked to come to my table for a cupcake.  When the students start to complain, I agree it isn't fair and send the blue-eyed children back to the carpet.  I throw that note away and "discover" a second note, "Please share these cupcakes with students who have black hair."  Once again, I ask the students to help me discover the students who get cupcakes.  Inevitably, the students will complain again, I'll agree, throw THAT note away, and discover a third note.  "Please share these cupcakes with all the students in your class."  

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.Before passing out cupcakes, we read our first story about Martin Luther King.  We link their feelings over the treat with the feelings Martin felt growing up in a segregated America.  I know using cupcakes to make the connection for segregation is at it's simplest level, but it is just a beginning point for our lessons.  Students will learn about Martin's life, struggles, successes, and legacy as our unit progresses.  They will learn about events and symbols along the way.  We will read about it...write about it...make it.

How Will I Know?

When I am planning to teach about Martin Luther King, I often wonder how I will know if they have learned the lessons I want them to learn?  Sometimes you know when you listen to their conversations.  Sometimes you know when they are involved in conversations on the carpet.  Sometimes you know when a parent mentions conversations from home.  But sometimes, you know when the lessons are over and they include that knowledge in a way you never expected.  That is the case with Jordan's squiggle from February 8.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.
(If you don't know about Squiggles, you are missing out...CLICK HERE...to read all about this great writing activity.)  During our literacy centers, squiggles in an independent drawing and writing centers.  Students are given a "squiggle" or a "scribble" on a paper and they need to make something and write about it.  Jordan was given the dark lined figure in the middle of the page.  Do you think she understood Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, facing the Washington Monument and gave an important speech to people of all colors.  I think she did.

Making an Impact

I love it when students are appalled by the thought of segregation.  We need to make sure Dr. King's legacy for all people is a legacy of Love, Peace, and Fairness.

Click here for a sample set of activities for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.


If you would like some activities Martin Luther King, Jr, consider clicking the pictures below to visit my TPT store.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. Leading us now and always. Activities for sharing his legacy with kindergartners.

January CVC...Important Practice for Early Readers

Let’s start 2020 off with a bang.  What else could be more of a bang than making sure our earliest readers and writers are using what they know and what they hear to write cvc words correctly.  I typically teach students to write cvc words using a stoplight.  For a complete explanation of Stoplight Writing, CLICK HERE!  It is imperative that students are using these skills consistently and correctly.

As a Whole Group Lesson

This update includes the whole group set of each independent center. Students can gather by the easel with a pocket chart. There can be whole group direct instruction on building cvc words with pictures and letter tiles. The teacher can use the Stoplight Writing method to help students stretch and spell the five words. This can also be used in a pocket chart center with cooperative groups.

As a Center

This January CVC center is perfect for an ABC Center or a Writing Center.  I originally created the center to be used as a center that was printed in color and laminated.  Students get a board and the letters appropriate for that board.  Each student gets a different board to ensure students are doing their own work.  Each student uses the cards to spell the words and a dry erase marker to write the words.  The students work is checked before they clean up the center.  This center can be used for 5 weeks, as each week the students choose a different board. 

If dry erase markers and reusable letter tiles aren’t for you, you can use this center as a cut and glue.  Each week the sheets are copied and put in the center for students to complete and turn in for checking. If you would like the January CVC Lesson FREEBIE, click the link or the picture below.

As an Assessment

If you need an assessment for report card data, using this as a cut and glue assessment is an easy way for the students to demonstrate understanding.

Enjoy!

If you would like to purchase the January CVC Lesson, click the picture or the link.

If you would like to look at the full Spotlight Writing Set on Teachers Pay Teachers, CLICK HERE!




There is also a CVC Lesson BUNDLE on TPT. It is on sale for $27.50 until 6 am Monday, January 13.

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