Blog Archives

Catch my new blog

For those of you who might have just found this blog here is the link to my new blog that I created last year.

I Run Read Teach

I no longer update or post anything to this 6th Grade Scott Foresman Reading Street Resources blog.

Come visit me to read all about my teaching, reading, and running!

Beginning in August 2013 I will be teaching 6th grade ALL SUBJECTS!! YIPPEE and YIKES all at the same time!! 🙂



Finally, small group instruction!

I am finally maybe an eighth of the way to figuring out small group instruction in reading for my 6th graders. First of all, let me give you a brief scenario of why it is SO hard to fit this into our day:

1. State mandated curriculum takes A LOT of time to cover

2. Some students work at a slower pace than others, so things in class take time to complete

3. Since we are required to “give” at least 10 grades per subject per 6 weeks, it seems that 1 day each week is essentially devoted to testing

4. Because of the complexity of the 6th grade curriculum, there is a need to add lots of repetition into our schedule to hopefully ensure that ALL students eventually master each thing

5. Our beloved (insert sarcasm here) required reading program is-TIME CONSUMING, DIFFICULT, OFTEN BORING, AND NEVER ENDING   which means that A LOT of our time needs to be devoted to covering it. I will leave it at that!

6. We can’t forget about our many daily interruptions-intercom announcements, student check-outs/check-ins, behavior problems, etc. One day my students and I tallied our interruptions and by the end of the day we had 18 total!!

I’m probably not even listing all the reasons why it’s hard to fit in small group instruction, but you see where I’m coming from with the 6 I listed above.

Oh, yeah-I have approximately 2 hours 15 minutes (?) with each of my 2 classes.

Obviously, I can’t implement small group instruction like the earlier grades are able to. So here’s my plan (and I have actually followed it for 3 days this week!).

I will allow a 20-30 minute time slot in our day (each class) for small group help Monday-Thursday. Each day a different area will be covered. Phonics/Vocabulary/Fluency/Comprehension. Of course, the 1st three are the building blocks to comprehension anyway! The students themselves will decide if they want help. If they do, they will sign their name on a clipboard and meet me at the table.

The other students will Read to Self. I’ll report back to you soon and give you the some statistics like number of students requesting help, etc. Today I had 7 in each class that came for help. I really thought I would have had more, but we’ll see how it goes!

In my ideal classroom world, my instruction would probably look something like this:

20%-Whole Class Instruction

20%-Small Group Instruction

60%-Individual Instruction

In reality, it has been looking like this:

90%-Whole Class Instruction

10%-Small Group Instruction (Hit and Miss)

I at least hope to reach this:

70%-Whole Class Instruction

30%-Small Group Instruction

Now that I have rambled enough about all of this, I will let your brain rest. 🙂 Will post more later!

And for you teachers out there that have messaged me about some reading resources I am working on them as quickly as I can!!! Sorry I’ve been so busy! 🙂


Read and Write 180-Day 50

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How can this be? I graded the english tests from my morning class and it’s like a lot of them forgot what adjectives are. and prepositions. and everything else! How could the grades be soooo good last week and not that good this week? How can somebody label each word in a sentence and not label ANY of the words as a verb? In the 6th grade? Breathe in. Breathe out. Chill. 🙂 I am not going to get upset. 🙂

On to word study. 4 of our words this week will help us with phonics patterns and 8 of them are vocabulary. They worked in groups to come up with more words that fit the patterns for this week. This has actually been a little bit of  a challenge for them. Well, not a challenge, but they kept coming up with words that had the spelling pattern but not the sound pattern. Maybe that is why some of their spelling could be improved. 🙂 Here is what it looked like after they shared the words they came up with.

I read aloud a couple of more spooky stories today. I think I’ve decided to begin The Watsons Go To Birmingham next week.

We had a scavenger hunt today with our story “Old Yeller”. It was just something I thought of last night trying to figure out how we could review for our test, be actively involved with the review, locate “proof” in the text, and just have fun. It was so simple, and yet I think they LOVED it. Here’s what I did. I looked at the test questions to see what I could have them “hunt” for. So I would say something like this- “Find the place in the text where the author let us know what Travis and Little Arliss had in common”. They had to find that part of the story. When they found it they had to stand up. I tried to let the majority of the students find it before I called on someone. When I called on someone they had to read that part of the text and try to explain it. They did such a GREAT job! 🙂 DEFINITELY going to do this more often. Now let’s pray that it will help them on the text tomorrow! 🙂 We’re going to try and take it in the computer lab.

We gave a party for our 6th graders from last year because they scored so well on the ARMT last spring. We had a hotdog party for them-boy do 6th graders change A LOT when they get into 7th grade!!!!!!!! That’s all I’m gonna say!!!

 Here’s a picture of them.

After school today I went straight home and cooked ham, mashed potatoes, peas, and rolls. Then Taylor and I took it to my brother-in-law who lives about an hour from us. He has pancreatic cancer and is living with his son and wife. This week we are all trying to help out with supper each night because Tammy(David’s son’s wife) has been staying with her mom in the hospital this week. We had a great time spending time with them this evening. Hope to do it again real soon! 🙂

Tomorrow is FRIDAY………………………………………… Wearing pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pep rally. Test Day. Means less thinking time for the teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

Read and Write 180-Day 47

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today was very nice for a Monday! 🙂

We are focusing on linking verbs this week in English so OF COURSE we are singing a song to help us with these! Here is a copy of one that I found on the internet:

Linking Verbs Song

I offered them another 100 point grade again if they can sing it to me by this Friday. I already had 3 students sing it to me TODAY! I just gave it out today!!! 🙂 I was totally amazed!

For our word study words this week I chose the pattern from one of our Scott Foresman spelling units on vowel sounds followed by r. We are only studying 4 words with this pattern: or, er, ur, ar-I am going to have them generate more words that follow this pattern for the rest of the week. The rest of our words are spicy adjectives.

We are ALMOST finished with our read aloud-6th Grade Can Really Kill You. I think I might actually cry tomorrow when we finish the last chapter! 🙂 I am REALLY loving this time of our day!!! I mean REALLY!!!!!! There is so much interaction and good discussion that is going on. However, they did not like it when I turned to the end of the book and “silently” read the end!!!!! One of my boys said that was not fair for me to be able to read it to myself and not share it with them today!! I then said, “Teachers have the power”! 🙂

We read another page in Old Yeller-out of our basal. LOTS of good discussion! Since I am taking the looooong approach to the basal by stretching the story out for 2 weeks we actually have time to “talk” to each other about the story, characters, actions, make predictions, etc.

I had them work in groups to list 3 character traits that would best describe Little Arliss. Then as a class we went back in the text to find the part that revealed that trait about him and wrote it down. This year I am really focusing on having them find things in the text to support and prove their thinking. I hope this helps improve their thinking.

Here is the website where I found the character trait form:

Let me tell you a question that was asked by one of my afternoon students about the wordbank at the bottom of this sheet.

“Can we cut out the wordbank and keep it in our notebook to help us when we are writing about our characters in our reading response letters to you?”

OMG! Can you imagine my answer?? YES.YES.YES.YES. 🙂

I conferenced with about 4-6 students in each class today. I’M LOVING IT. I’m even being bothered and annoyed by students wanting to know if their “appointment” with me is coming up next! And a couple of students that I have not conferred with yet asked today if they could meet with me! So exciting! I just hope that it pays off for them! 🙂


Read and Write 180-Day 45

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another good day! We took our English test today, and some of the students turned it in after 4 or 5 minutes! I hope that means they KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING!!!!

I’ve had about 16 students sing the Helping Verb song to me for a 100 point grade in English(this was optional)!!!! AND….3 students in my afternoon class asked if they could sing the Preposition song to me for a 100 point grade. Now this was offered to them SEVERAL weeks ago when we were focusing on prepositions, so I told them I would have to think about it. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to let them do it since the time frame that I had offered has passed. Well, at the end of class they asked me if I had decided so I asked them why they know the song NOW after all these weeks. They said……..we have been singing it it ourselves during our english tests so that we could label the prepositions correctly. Well, when they put it that way obviously I couldn’t deny them the chance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

We finished a chapter in our book-6th Grade Can Really Kill You. They ALWAYS want me to keep reading and not stop! 🙂 I am hearing some GREAT thinking going on during this read aloud time, and I hope that it carries over to their independent reading. We only have 2 more chapters to go-I think the kids are going to really miss Helen, the main character. I know that I am. But then again, I usually always want books to continue because I LOVE TO READ! 🙂

We read 2 more pages in Old Yeller-we acted out one scene to show what they could be visualizing. We talked about how it is easier to visualize something in a book when the author uses spicy and descriptive language. I think they are getting it! Hope so anyway.

I did more individual conferences today-everything went well but let me tell you about 1 student. Here’s how our conversation went:

Teacher-Tell me about yourself as a reader

Student-I can understand what I read, am a pretty good reader, but have a hard time pronouncing the words

T-You read fine for me. What do you think has made you a better reader?

S-My teacher last year changed my reading tests for me so that I just filled in the bubbles-she marked out some answers

T-So how does that make you a better reader?

S-I made better grades and passed.

T-So what do you do when you are reading that has made you become a better reader?

S-I made good grades last year…..

T-Well, I disagree with you. I think that was a good thing that your teacher did because she helped you make better grades, but we’ve got to figure out something you can do when you read to make you a better reader.

I honestly don’t think she ever understood what I was trying to tell her. AND THEN, I got a new student. Yep, right slap in the middle of this MUCH NEEDED conference!!!! 🙂 At 10:45 am in the morning! Why can’t new students come in at the beginning of the day???????

So we have 24 students in each class. And it seems like reading is what does not come easy for a lot of them. So wish us luck in our journey this year to create critical readers and thinkers. I am open to any suggestions! I actually have some students that I was told could not comprehend, but seem to be doing better than expected! Hurrah!!! 🙂 Hopefully, I will be able to take everyone further along with their reading.