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Summer Reading

As each summer approaches I begin to worry about that ever increasing issue of the “summer reading slide”. I am sure this is a big concern for many teachers, especially with the Common Core Standard’s increased rigor in the area of reading. I researched some summer reading programs that teachers might be interested in introducing to their students. Also, I have included some articles about the issue of summer reading loss. I will add to this list as I come across more ideas and articles.  Feel free to respond to add to this list.

Summer Reading Program Links:

SC-LOGO-plainRocket - Paws to Readhttp://img1.imagesbn.com/pImages/kids/summerreading/2014/32901_Summer-Reading_Hero_PUB3.jpg

Scholastic
http://www.scholastic.com/summer/
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/05/avoid-summer-slide-these-fun-summer-reading-ideas



iREAD Reading Programs
http://ireadprogram.org/


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Barns and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/summer-reading/379003570/



Collaborative Summer Library Program
http://www.cslpreads.org/

 Summer Reading Challenge


Sylvan
http://www.bookadventure.com/Home.aspx



Pottery Barn Kids
http://www.potterybarnkids.com/design-studio/articles/summer-reading-challenge.html

Summer Reading Program Information:
California Library Association
http://www.cla-net.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=64
http://www.cla-net.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=66
American Library Association
http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet17
Institute of Reading Development
http://readingprograms.org/summer-reading-programs/
Scholastic
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2010/05/summer-reading

Summer Reading Programs by State/City:
To find reading programs at your public library simply Google your state/city: 
Example: 
2014 summer public library reading program State/City

Teachers, consider taking ELA 925 from Fresno Pacific University to learn more about teaching reading.

Teaching Research

Watch this short Animoto about how my first grade class researched frogs to produce a 4 paragraph research paper. 

Some examples of their writings (click the image to take a closer look).

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Some examples of the Tagxedo’s they created from their writings (click the image to take a closer look):

Tagxedo Navea FrogTagxedo Aniaya Frog

Consider signing up to take ELA 925 Reading and the Common Core from Fresno Pacific University. Click here to find out more.

Common Core and Social Studies

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Infographic from: http://blog.herffjonesnystrom.com/the-importance-of-social-studies-in-the-common-core-in-an-infographic/

Find out more about my social studies courses for teachers at Teacher’s Learning Connection or at Fresno Pacific University CPD

10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom

Some great ideas from We are Teachers on 10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom.


Flipped Classroom

In my effort to try something new I have flipped my classroom to give students more power over their learning. In my first grade class I have no homework, no desks, and few teacher led lessons. I do have many opportunities for group work, small group instruction at tables, and provide instruction at differentiated learning levels. When walking into my classroom it is not quiet. You can find student are sitting around tables, on the floor, in our small library, and I am usually with a small group. 

Using this method of learning, I have noticed a huge increase in student understanding of math concepts. During our math time students work together in pairs. They use manipulatives and help each other. I provide assistance as a facilitator. 

During ELA time I provided small group instruction as explained in this previous blog: http://teacherslearningconnection.com/blog/center-rotation-schedule.html

Some resources I found helpful are:

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Response to Literature

My 1st grade student spent a couple of weeks listening to Pete the Cat stories, viewing videos, and discussing and comparing the stories. They wrote their own version to Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. I recorded their readings of the page they wrote for their version of the book. To make this an authentic activity we invited our Superintendent, Principal, Program Manager, Librarian, a Board Member, and other school support staff to the debut of the video. It was an exciting and productive way to show off their work. 

Center Rotation Schedule

I have recently been asked by several people how I set up my center rotation schedule. This rotation schedule is set up with 20 students. If you have more than 20 you can add more students to each group. The only thing that moves on this chart are the top cards. Listening center will go to the next spot and Poetry will take the first spot on the next day and so on.

These top cards coordinate with the day of the week. They will move everyday.

Center Rotation Schedule

Color meaning:
Red: Low Achieving Readers
Orange: Medium Low Achieving Readers
Blue: Medium High Achieving Readers
Green: High Achieving Readers
I match Low Achieving Readers with Medium High Achieving Readers and Medium Low Achieving Readers with High Achieving Readers. This grouping is done this way as to not have too much of a gap between the readers. Students are partnered to give each other help during independent centers: Listening, Computers, Word Building, Spelling, and Poetry.

9:00 - 9:30
Teacher - All Red Students
Book Making - All Blue Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Orange 1 and Green 1, Computers Orange 2 and Green 2, Word Building Orange 3 and Green 3 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Orange 4 and Green 4, Orange 5 and Green 5

9:30 - 10:00
Teacher - All Blue Students
Book Making - All Red Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Orange 4 and Green 4, Computers Orange 5 and Green 5 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Word Building or Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Orange 1 and Green 1, Orange 2 and Green 2, Orange 3 and Green 3

10:00 - 10:30
Teacher - All Orange Students
Book Making - All Green Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Blue 1 and Red 1, Computers Blue 2 and Red 2, Word Building Blue 3 and Red 3 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Blue 4 and Red 4, Blue 5 and Red 5

10:30 - 11:00
Teacher - All Green Students
Book Making - All Orange Students
Independent Centers - Listening Center Blue 4 and Red 4  Computers Blue 5 and Red 5 (Notice, on this particular day no one goes to Word Building or Spelling or Poetry.)
Seat Work - Blue 1 and Red 1, Blue 2 and Red 2, Blue 3 and Red 3

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Math Vocabulary

2013-08-16 12.53.13

One of the first math lessons I did was teaching the students counting, writing, and spelling numbers from 1 - 10. I am trying to get away from using traditional worksheets to provide this type of practice. This year I am having the students write in Math Journals to record vocabulary words and computations. As you can see in the first picture all of the students are writing in their journals. They have 10 math unifix cubes to practice showing each number's value.

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Students wrote the information from a chart paper we worked on together. I wrote the number, asked the students how many dots to draw, and asked them to tell me what the beginning sound of each number word started with. This not only provided number sense, but some phonics as well. We did each number one at a time. I did not move on to the next number until the students finished writing the information for the one we were working on. Those who finished quickly could write the next number and draw the dots for that number. 

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Having these number words in their journal will allow for easy access when they are writing and need to use a number word. As with all chart paper created by the students and myself, I will post it for the year on the wall. 

To find out more about using vocabulary and teaching to the common core visit my site at: http://teacherslearningconnection.com/courses/ccss-reading.html. You can sign up for my course ELA 925 Reading: Common Core and Curriculum mapping at: http://ce.fresno.edu/cpd/courses/coursedetails.aspx?courseCode=ELA-925.

Listening Center Journals

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My goal for this year is to drastically reduce the number of copies I make. Not for environmental purposes, although important to me, but simply because copies are not necessary. Under the Common Core State Standards students will be expected to be in charge of their own learning with the teacher acting as the facilitator. This listening center book report idea is one way teachers can slowly teach students to become responsible for creating their own response to reading; another big CCSS standard. 

Imagine doing a listening center without copying class sets of book report pages each week; a practice I have done for years. What if instead we used journals for the students to write their responses? I plan on giving students a sample of what is expected during the first month of school. Through this activity, I will train students to become more independent at writing their own responses to literature. I decided to simply use a chart paper to write directions for responding to the book they hear. I will change the responses out with each new book. As the year progresses I will provide less support. 

IMG_1712

For the "picture" area I can use sentence strips to ask the students to draw things like: Draw the front cover/back cover/title page of the book. Draw your favorite part of the book. Draw the characters in the book. 

For the "write" area I can ask the students question like: What did you like best about the book? Who are the characters of the book? What is the setting of the book? What was the problem? How did the problem get solved? 

I will save the money from not making copies for other important things, like purchasing more journals. 


I hope to post more center ideas and copy saving ideas in the future. 

Today I tried this lesson out. It was difficult for some students to follow along. I am maybe being over zealous thinking that 1st graders could do this on the first day of school. I am sure with practice they will be able to produce quality literature responses. 

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If your interested in teaching reading using the Common Core go to my website course page at: http://teacherslearningconnection.com/courses/ccss-reading.html or my Fresno Pacific University website at: http://ce.fresno.edu/cpd/courses/coursedetails.aspx?courseCode=ELA-925

Literacy Center Rotations

Teachers you need to devote 2 hours a day 5 days a week to literacy centers. It is important to start them within the first two weeks of the school year. Do your DRA or other assessment to get your students grouped into homogenous reading groups the first week of school. Next, set up 4 homogenous groups based on their assessment scores. During the first two weeks you must train, train, train and do some more training on expectations at each center. 

Once you start centers and everyone is trained give yourself the freedom to float around the room. Do not put your self at the teacher reading table the first week of center rotations. You can put an activity at that table each day. It is important for you to do more training while you are moving about the room. 

On the third week of school you are ready to start centers. You can now feel comfortable with letting your students be independent at the centers. At this point you will be a able to focus on your reading groups. Now, I am a realistic teacher and know that you are going to have interruptions from students while teaching small groups. It is to be expected, but if you train your students well you will have fewer interruptions. 

My rotations include:

  • Reading with Teacher: This rotation happens everyday. This is a small group instruction center where I provided guided reading. I always start my first rotation with the group that needs the most help and end with the group who are more skilled readers (I am always more energetic at the beginning of centers thus giving my most to those who struggle with reading). 
  • Journal Writing: This rotation happens everyday. This includes a small group of heterogeneous students working at their seat. They can write about topics on a topic list, a thematic writing, free choice writing, etc. 


  • The students rotate through these rotations one time per week.
    • Poetry: Students build a poem with sentence strips.

    • Word Building: These are scrambled sentences or vocabulary exercises using thematic words.
    • Computers: Blogging, other Web 2.0 activity, or RAZKids.com reading.
    • Library: Students can switch out books they have at their desks for new books. They can free read in the library.

    • Writing: Thematic Writing. Students write about the thematic unit we are studying. 

The important things with doing center rotations are: Start early in the year; Train them very well on what you expect; Do not deviate from your routine. 

Learn more about teaching reading under the Common Core State Standards here. Sign up to take ELA 925 Reading: Common Core and Curriculum Mapping here

teacherslearningconnection@gmail.com           © Jeromy Winter 2011