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Read and Write 180-Day 48

Tuesday, October 19, 2011

Phonics has been long forgotten. 🙂 It was difficult for my morning class to figure out what I wanted them to do with their word study words. With some of the words we are focusing on spelling, the rest of them we are focusing on meaning. So what I wanted them to do with the spelling words (all 4 of them) 🙂 was to generate 2 more words that fit the same spelling/sound pattern. Our 4 words this week are:

disturb, ignore, artistic, nervous

“ur”-“or”-“ar”-“er” These are the 4 patterns. FINALLY, they understood what to do! Whew!

We finished reading 6th Grade Can Really Kill You. I think everyone was sad to finish this book-they can’t BELIEVE that the author did NOT write a sequel to it! 🙂 I’m still not sure which book we will start reading next week-here are the 3 that I plan to read to them this year:

Walk Two Moons

Out of My Mind

The Watsons Go To Birmingham

We finished reading our basal story-Old Yeller. And boy did we analyze some characters today. They had to write a paragraph analyzing the character of Little Arliss. I’m trying to teach them that when they use an adjective (character trait) to describe a character they need to explain why they think it best describes the character. Proof from the text. We worked on this one and then another one on Travis, Little Arliss’ brother. I had them swap their paragraphs with a partner and underline the character traits that their partner used. I think they were getting the hang of it by the 2nd one. This should REALLY help them when they write their reading response letters.

More individual conferences today-YEA! The only drawback that I have seen is when I call a student back to my table and they can’t find the CAFE reading menu or the reading goals sheet. That makes Mrs. Shannon NOT a happy camper! 🙂

I am having DAILY requests from students to “meet with me”. 🙂 Gotta love that!



Read and Write 180-Day 39

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Fun with action verbs today! First we did what we always do-labeled a sentence. They’re getting pretty good. 🙂 Then I had them work with partners to identify and highlight 29 action verbs on a page that I had typed from a book-The First Day of School…Forever. I chose this certain page because of the good action verbs on it. Here is the page that I typed up:


Then I read the page out loud and emphasized the verbs so they could check themselves. THEN, I assigned different paragraphs to different rows of students and they had to act out the part that I read. Too funny! With my 2nd class we actually went outside after we did this and the WHOLE class acted out the WHOLE page. I was laughing so hard-I told them I felt like I was in the “Thriller” video!! 🙂 You’ll understand after you read the page! Hopefully, I engaged most of their senses to help them remember what an “action verb” is!

We did our interactive read aloud-they are becoming great predictors. This is one of my favorite times of our day!

I attempted to teach them how to identify the main idea of a text, and then explained to them that a summary includes the main idea with a few details to support the main idea. I just want them to understand that a summary is NOT retelling the story! I’ll really show them tomorrow how to write a good short summary. Here is a picture of the main idea graphic organizer that we will use to remember how to identify the main idea.

I wrapped up my review of how to write our reading response letters-from now on I will just work one on one with each child if they are still struggling to write a good one! I think their eyes were beginning to glaze over! 🙂

CAFE mini-lesson #1-The main idea lesson

Round#1-Small group#1 and #2-Finished up our little story from Monday/Tuesday. I tried to combine 2 groups to see how that worked which would leave me more time for small group/individual conferences. Well, 9-10 students in a small group make it NOT A SMALL GROUP anymore! 🙂 Didn’t like it. Too many mixed abilities-too many kids. I think I have it figured out-will tell you about it at the end of this post.

CAFE mini-lesson#2-I read a picture book to them, Big Smelly Bear, but didn’t show them the pictures. They had to try and create images in their mind while I read. Then they chose a part at the end of the book, had to write about their visualization, and 1 person shared. First I shared mine. Both students that shared had written good visualizations-can it be that they are catching on???? 🙂

Round#2-I conferenced with 1 student about a behavior plan.

OK-this is my solution for small group time thanks to a 5th grade teacher that I talked to after school. I am ONLY going to work with my most struggling readers in small groups each week, the rest of my time will be spent individually conferring with ALL students. That is the only way that I am going to have time to do individual conferences each week, and I think these will benefit my students even more than small group instruction. Make sense??  Gonna try it and see-will post about it over the next week!

Read and Write 180-Day 38

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I’m really trying to concentrate on writing this post at 11:45 pm, but it sure is hard with Jimmy Fallon on television-he just makes me laugh because he gets so tickled!!! 🙂

ok-I’m REALLY trying! 🙂 I want whatever happy pills he must be taking!

Commercial…here it goes.

English-labeled sentence-Jack and Jill ran up the hill. How easy was that? They are getting pretty good! 🙂 Then they had to make up a sentence with an action verb (I asked for strong verbs)-here’s what I got.

ran(that was soooooo strong being able to copy it off the board!!!!)



can’t remember the rest

Read a whole chapter from 6th Grade Can Really Kill You (We’re near the end). They HATE it when I close that book each day! 🙂 I love having the POWER! I actually think they are becoming great little predictors (and getting into it). Now I hope they can just start doing a lot of predicting WHILE they read on their own. It makes reading so interesting.

We finished our reading passage today-“Field Day Champion”. We continued the reciprocal teaching like yesterday-whole class. The wonderful thing about reading short passages (1 or 2 pages) instead of 12-14 page reading stories from the textbook is that we have time to break it down, clarify things by looking back in the passage for evidence, discussing our thinking, etc. I love working with passages instead of looooong stories right now. I know that I still need to pull some long stories this year, but they will be few and far between. Their longer text they get is from their choice books they check out. 🙂

I showed them some more of the format of how to structure the reading response letters. I know they are bored with it (I am, too), but hey-it’s gotta be done!

Another great day of small group instruction!!

CAFE mini-lesson#1-Visualizing-I had a pre-made anchor chart with thinking stems on it. I want them to know to use all 5 of their sense when they visualize and write about it. I did a short lesson based on Tanny McGregor’s book Comprehension Connections (LOVE this reading strategy book) by using a seashell-a very big one! I held it up and had them focus in on it-we made pretend binoculars around our eyes to be able to focus on looking at it. Then I had them think about the “setting” of where this shell would probably be (ocean/beach). They had to think about what they might see, hear, taste, feel, smell. After that I shared my visualization with them-it was hard to bring myself back from that beach let me tell you! 🙂

Round#1-Group#3-Same as yesterday

CAFE mini-lesson#2-They wrote their visualization down in a quick write (1 1/2 minutes)-then they shared. There were some good ones-I really hope this is helping them understand that they can’t just write-“I can see the ocean”. They have to describe it vividly so that other people can visualize it.

Round#2-Group#4-Same as yesterday

Met with only 1 student individually(advanced one). We chose 2 goals for her to work on-Fluency-reading with expression and Expanding Vocabulary-voracious reading. We also talked about a plan on how she would meet these goals. We decided that for every chapter she reads in her choice book she will go back and read 1 page out loud to practice reading with expression. Then SHE decided to be able to read voraciously(she loves to read) she will ALWAYS keep 2 books with her so that she never runs out of books! LOL!

Now I’m thinking to myself just now that it would be VERY BENEFICIAL if everyday we could talk as a whole class about the individual conferences and goals that were set and plans that were made-then other students would hear what other students were doing and it might spark some thinking!!!!!!!!!! This is deep thinking on my part at 12:09 am! 🙂

Here are the pictures I took of my metacognition and visualizing anchor charts that are hanging in the classroom now.


Read and Write 180-Day 37

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pretty good Monday! Started with getting a lot done on my planning period this morning and ended with my daughter’s volleyball team winning tonight! 🙂

Here’s what went on in between.

We only spent about 15 minutes today on word study AND english! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are focusing on action verbs this week(trying to keep it simple again so as to not overwhelm their little brains).

We moved right along to our read aloud-spent about 15 minutes on this. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moved right along to our whole group reading. We practiced our reciprocal teaching (sort of) with our  passage. We did this in whole group. So I read a section of our passage out loud (while they followed along). We all did the job roles at the same time. So before we read we made predictions-wrote them on our sheet-shared. I read. We summarized-wrote them down-shared. We generated questions before continuing to read-wrote them down-shared. I read the next section. We connected and/or clarified-wrote it down-shared. We will do this tomorrow with the rest of the passage. I think last week I sort of threw them to the wolves by having them work in small groups before modeling it a BUNCH!!! I tend to forget sometimes that I can’t just “tell” them how to do something even though they are in the 6th grade-I still need to “show” them. 🙂

Moved right along to our writing time. This week I’m going back over how to write their reading response letters on their choice books. Maybe next week we can do some kind of jazzy writing-I’m tired of procedural writing (if that’s even what it’s called?). I want to do some FUN kind of writing!!!!! BUT-the majority of them still need to see what good writing looks like on these response letters so they can improve!


1. CAFE mini-lesson#1-I talked to them again about metacognition -thinking about your thinking. This was short.

2. Small group#1-We read 2 pages of a short story in a “Spotlight on Literary Elements” book that I bought from Really Good Stuff. We REALLY talked about our thinking as we read it. It’s so funny because it’s not even a story that I thought they would be interested in, but they couldn’t stand the fact that we had to stop and not find out what was going to happen next. If only I can get them thinking about their own books and wondering and prediction and being interested! 🙂

3. Mini-lesson#2-I read the 1st 2 pages of a chapter book-My Life as a Book-I modeled my thinking out loud for them. Maybe this “thinking while you’re reading” thing will catch on eventually! 🙂

4. Small group #2-Same thing as group#1

I only conferenced with 1 individual student in my homeroom class-none in my 2nd class. The only way I’m going to be able to fit this in is to just pull one small group per day. Yesterday, I worked on dividing my classes into small groups. I had really wanted them to be “small” groups so I made a total of 5 groups with plans to pull 4 of the groups twice each week and the 5th group(advanced) each Friday (if I have time). I thoroughly enjoyed working with my 2 small groups in each class today-BUT I still believe that the individual conferences will have the GREATEST benefit.

So, do I combine the groups so that I only have 3 small groups with 1 being the advanced and only pull them once a week? If I do that I will have about 9 students in each group.

Here are the negatives for that:

***It becomes not so much a small group

***We will have to sit on the floor because there won’t be enough room at my table.

Here are the positives:

***I will have time to individually conference with each child EACH week-setting goals, checking progress, individualizing their reading plans, etc.

I might try to combine them next week and see. What do you think? How do you work your small groups in an upper grade???

Read and Write 180-Day 30

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whew!! Almost Friday! First of all, let me tell you that I just read a REALLY good book this week! The 6th Grade Nickname Game by Gordon Korman. Of course, I loved it because it deals with 6th graders reading, AND it’s funny! It will be on my “recommend” list tomorrow!! 🙂

We took a practice word study test today (had LOTS of 100s!). I told them if they didn’t miss any today that they don’t have to take the test tomorrow (they can do Read to Self). 🙂

We reviewed some english and took the english test-I can’t wait to see the results (if I can lift my head from all the other grading I have got to finish TONIGHT!). Here is the english test that we took today:

English Test9-22-11

I read part of the next chapter in our read aloud and stopped before finishing the chapter or finding out what Helen was doing with the alarm clock. You should have heard the groaning!

We shared some of our homework thinking-there’s some GOOD thinking/writing going on. Then I showed them how to complete the last box on the comprehension thinking sheet-there shouldn’t be any questions anymore on how to fill this out each week. Hopefully. 🙂

My first class worked in groups on their compare/contrast essay (we didn’t have time in the 2nd class because we had a kickoff for our fall school fundraiser).

We did 2 rounds of “Fab Five” (about 20 minutes the 1st round and 10 minutes the 2nd round). I conferred with 2 students in my 1st class and 2 in my 2nd class. LOVE working with individual students!!! I wish I could do this for 1/2 of the class period (about 1 hour 10 minutes). 🙂

With my 1st class I gave them a copy of a good reading response letter that one of my students had written and we talked about why it was good. I want them to see what a good one looks like because I’m seeing the SAME mistakes and no effort in the letters each week!

OK-going to grade papers!