Showing posts with label rti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rti. Show all posts
Do you play "making words" during word work in your primary classroom?  It's one of my favorite ways to practice spelling and decoding skills with kinders and firsties!  But what I DON'T love about making words are all of the letter cards to pass out and keep up with.  It always took me more time to pass out cards than to do the actual lesson!  So when we finally started doing making words digitally, it was SO much better!

Today we'll be talking about our routines for making words, how to use DIGITAL making words mats, and I'll walk you through an entire sample lesson!

Types of Making Words Mats

After I gave up on passing out letter cards, I used two different kinds of mats: dry erase boards and digital.  I love both types for different reasons!

Let's talk about the dry erase mats first!  I've used just plain dry erase boards had kids spell words with me as I give the clues.  But just a blank dry erase board isn't quite structured enough for the little kids.  It's hard for them to easily see where the new letters go. 

Laminated dry erase mats are a much better option!  Just pass out the laminated mats and dry erase markers and they use these just like a dry erase board.  I like to use the mats with the Elkonin boxes to help give the kids structure for where to write their words.  This resource has 4 options of mats though with and without letters and Elkonin boxes.

If you're ready to go all digital with your making words, or want to continue making words with distance learning or Google classroom, digital mats are perfect!

You can manipulate the letters by clicking and dragging so it makes a great alternative to the traditional letter cards.  Digital mats can also be used on iPads or in Google classroom.  They can also be used on your interactive white board if you just want to do the activity all together!

Making Words Routines

This routine is quick and predictable in our classroom.  Just like my Super Phonics lessons, each lesson is basically the same with different content or word.  So the kids pick up the routine quickly and it just gets smoother and quicker as the year goes on!

There is at least one making words lesson for each of my first grade Super Phonics units.  I try to work these in as a whole group lesson a couple times a week at the beginning of the year when we need more whole group activities and then as the year goes on, we do less of this as a whole class, and more of it in small group interventions.

Here is the basic routine (and it's outlined in detail in the video below):

  • Go over the letter names and sounds of each letter in the lesson
  • Build a starting word
  • You give them the new word and the kids have to figure out the letter or letters to substitute to build that word
  • You give them the letters to substitute and the kids have to figure out what the word is
  • Guess my word: You give students clues about a longer (usually 2-syllable) word to spell with the feature sound
You can watch my full explanation and model of a blends and digraphs lesson in this video.

You can find a free sample of these lessons here and the bundle for an entire year of these lessons here.

Number sense puzzles are one of my favorite ways to challenge my first graders' math thinking skills...especially my early finishers.  They are quick, low prep and engaging for kids.  My five year old begs to try them at home when I print them out!  Read on to see how to use number sense puzzles in the primary classroom and how I differentiate them for my highest thinkers and scaffold them so that even my 5 year old can successfully finish a puzzle on his own!

What Are Number Sense Puzzles?

Number Sense Puzzles are cut up pieces of a hundreds chart that students use to put back together using what they know about number order.

Why Should I Be Doing Number Sense Puzzles?

Number Sense Puzzles are important in the primary classroom for a lot of reasons.  At the simplest level, they are great for giving kinder babies practice identifying and matching numbers.

At the highest level, number sense puzzles force kids to think about number order and place value and compare 2 and 3-digit numbers.

They are also fantastic at quickly exposing misconceptions that kids have with counting, number order, or place value.

Who Are Number Sense Puzzles For?

Kids from kindergarten to second grade can benefit from Number Sense Puzzles.  Because these puzzles build number sense, any kiddo lacking these skills will benefit.

They are especially perfect for early finishers as a challenge, or RTI small group practice with scaffolds.  There is definitely a wide range of options and differentiation with these puzzles!

How Can I Do Number Sense Puzzles In My Classroom?

Before my Mommy leave, I made my own Number Sense Puzzles in my first grade classroom.  I simply copied a 120's chart on colored cardstock and laminated it.  Then, I cut the chart into random puzzle pieces.

BAM! Number Puzzles!  I simply put the pieces in a bag and I was ready to go!  I made multiple puzzles, each on a different color of paper to keep the puzzles separate and we used them as partner practice for math game day and in our math centers.

How Can I Differentiate Number Puzzles?

Number Sense Puzzles are one of the easiest games to differentiate and it does not take much additional prep! #winning

For my pre-made Number Sense Puzzles, I already have 2 different levels of numbers for each puzzle.  If you are making your own like I talked about earlier, you can simply just cut apart 1-50 for your lower babies...

...use the whole 120's chart for your on grade level kiddos, and cut apart a 200s chart for your higher kids.

Another way to differentiate Number Sense Puzzles is with scaffolds.  For kindergartners or RTI first or second graders, give them a completed hundreds chart to either use as a reference, or as a puzzle mat to place the pieces on top of the chart.

Just be aware that with this scaffold, students are working on recognizing and matching numbers, not number sense and number order.  This is not a scaffold I use with my first graders.  They can refer to the hundreds chart we have in our room, but I encourage them not to unless necessary to challenge and grow their math brains!

However, I do use this scaffold with my RTI math groups and lower counters and then slowly take the scaffold away as they improve.

For example, we may start with the chart as a mat to lay pieces down on...

And then move to having the reference chart beside the puzzle pieces...

And then just keep moving that chart farther and farther away from the puzzle until they don't need it anymore!

Where Can I Find Pre-Made Number Sense Puzzles?

If you're like I was in the classroom and just want the puzzles made already, then I have a year's worth of puzzles already made up for you!

There are two puzzle shapes for each month.  And each puzzle comes with two differentiated number levels for 4 total puzzles each month.  Find the bundle here which also has links to each of the 11 months that are also available individually!

My four year old is obsessed with magnetiles and I have yet to meet a kiddo who doesn't love them.  
You can find the set we own at home here.  They are perfect for STEM exploration, 3D shapes, 2D shapes, composing and decomposing shapes....ANNNNNNDDD, reading intervention! :)

Yep, you read that right.  When I was tutoring this summer, I used these magnetiles to help with sight word recognition and early reading skills.  Let's chat about using these awesome manipulatives in reading!
**affiliate links included in this blog post**

The first thing I do to prep my Magnetiles for intervention is to write one word on each magnetile to make a sentence.  I use sight words we work on for the reading level my group/intervention kid is on and then fill in with CVC words or other words I know they can sound out phonetically.  
Tip: I use the same color tile for the entire sentence for two reasons.  One, I just like color coding and if I have two sets of kids in my guided reading group working on sentence puzzles, we can keep track of whose is whose!  The second reason I use the same color is to eliminate the problem of the kids focusing on color as important in reading.  I basically want the colors to disappear so the kids are only focused on the visual appearance of the words!

Once, I've finished the sentence, we spread out all of the tiles and read each word on the tile in random order.  This is to practice decoding and sight word skills.

Then, the kids go to town ordering the words into a sentence.  There are a TON of skills they are using for this: decoding, syntax, language skills, and attending to punctuation and capitals!  Plus, they love that the magnetiles just CLICK together!

After we are finished, I just wipe off the magnetiles with a tissue!  And they can go right in their STEM bin!

If I want to use these longer than just for an intervention group, then I write the words with a sharpie and then go over the words with a dry erase marker and then wipe off!  Watch how I clean off the sharpie marker and the entire process in this video!

If you want to find my entire collection of sentence puzzles leveled for reading levels A-K, you can find them here!

This summer, I've been doing a book study on Jennifer Serravallo's book, The Reading Strategies Book, lead by Crystal from Teaching Little Miracles.

If you've missed this book study, you can catch up with these links!
Getting Started
Goals 1 & 2: Emergent Reading and Engagment
Goals 3 & 4: Decoding and Fluency

Today, we are talking about Reading Comprehension....the end goal for our sweet readers!  Let's dive in!!  And read all the way through to catch a FREEBIE!
{affiliate links are included in this post}

Goal 5: Supporting Comprehension in Fiction: Plot and Setting

At the end of the day, we read as adults because we understand and enjoy what we are reading.  So, we want that for our kiddos too!  For me, comprehension has always been a struggle.  I am that reader who reads and rereads the same paragraph 3-4 times so I can understand it.  And I naturally pick easy fiction reads as an adult that I don't have to "think" too much about.  I know all the skills, but it's just something I didn't completely learn well until I started taking education classes as an adult.

So, that influenced me as a teacher.  I want my own kiddo and my firsties to understand what they are reading!  Here's a look at some of my favorite strategies from the plot and setting section of fiction comprehension.

Strategy 5.3: What's Most Essential

This is one of my go-to comprehension strategies in first grade!  In this strategy, kids tell the characters and setting and then summarize the beginning the middle and the end.  I usually use these graphic organizers from my guided reading packet, but I also love Serravallo's foldable she used too!

What I love most about BME graphic organizers is they are the perfect scaffold for both sides of the spectrum.  I love the ease of differentiation with just one tool!

When I have kids that do not comprehend well, this organizer helps give them focus and order to retelling the story.

And when I have kids that comprehend so well that they want to give me every little detail in the story, this organizer helps them lock down on 3 major events from the story.  It gives them a way to think about the most important parts and filter out the supporting details.

Strategy 5.9: Who's Speaking

In this strategy, readers "try to have a mental picture of the people in the scene to keep track of who is speaking."  After all, if you can't figure out who saying what, you can't understand the story!  I have used this strategy in whole group reading before during our Wizard of Oz reading unit.  You can read about the "Who Said That?" whole group game we play in this blog post.

But I have not used this strategy much in guided reading--I have no idea why!!  In our Wizard of Oz game, we connected it to character traits and inferring.  But in guided reading, Serravallo suggests connecting this to comprehension of the plot--which I LOVE!

I loved the way she color coded the dialogue for the characters!

Goal 6: Supporting Comprehension in Fiction: Characters

Serravallo says,

"Underneath the umbrella of 'fiction comprehension,' I consider plot and setting to be first...and character to be a very close second."

In general, I think first grade teachers do a great job of identifying characters and a not-so-great job of understanding characters. #raisingmyhandtoo  In my mind, it's very easy for me to brush that aside for older grades to take care of.

But we have to work hard to teach both of these aspects of characters along side each other....just like we teach visual and meaning cues together in decoding.  Here are my favorite strategies from this section.

Strategy 6.3: Put On The Character's Face

In this strategy, kids look at the pictures and think about the words to infer the character's feeling as they read.  I loved the real picture chart of kid faces for each emotions!

As I was reading this strategy, I was trying to visualize what this could look like in guided reading.  For my firsties, I think it would be super engaging to have some mirrors (this is the one shown in the picture) at the reading table.  I could have 2-3 pre-determined spots to stop and check on character feeling.  We would have sticky notes in those spots.  Then, at each spot, the readers would stop, think about the text and pictures, infer the character feeling and then put on the character's face with the mirror!  How fun is that??

Strategy 6.1: How's the Character Feeling?

This strategy goes hand in hand with the other strategy, but I love that it extends the concept into text evidence.  In this strategy, students  make sure they "care about how the characters feel, talk, act and think."  They imagine themselves to be "in the same situation and think about how we felt or would feel."

What I love most about this strategy besides the extension is the scaffolds she gives.  She gives our little readers categories and questions to answer about the character and his/her traits during reading time so that they can make a better inference on how the character feels.

I made a character feelings organizer FREEBIE for this strategy to add to the other organizers in my guided reading packet.

This summer, I've been tutoring a sweetie in reading.  We are working a lot on finding ways to remember to get our mouth ready for the first sound.  You know, instead of like making up whatever random word comes to our mind??? :) #realtalk

Here's a look at some of the strategies we are using and how I used this in my first grade classroom!
{This post contains a few affiliate links.}

Pop The Bubble

This is one of my favorite whole group games to use with my kiddos no matter what content we are learning.  It works well for whole group and small groups, and is a fun way to keep everyone engaged while practice knowledge level skills! :)

I simply show a task card on our interactive white board.  I chose pictures and words purposefully so that their can be more than one option for each picture.  The picture below could be "gift" or "present."  And I quickly know who is getting their mouth ready and paying attention to print by who answers "gift" and who answers "present!"

When students have their mouth ready and know the word, they but an air bubble in their mouth to let me know they are ready. (No shouting out!)

Then, we all kids are ready, I simply say, "POP!" and they all blurt out the word together!

To add even more engagement, poke your finger toward the group (don't really poke kids, K? :) ) to "pop" their bubble without saying anything.  It's amazing how many eyes you can keep on you doing this! :)

Guided Reading Warmups

In small groups, I love using these task cards when getting our mouth ready is our focus strategy for reading.  There are two sets of task cards in this with support (highlighted beginning sounds) and one without (no highlighted sounds).

There are several ways we do this.  We just go through them flash card style and play Pop The Bubble.  Or, I give each kid a card to practice on their own and then we go around and quickly share!

Mouth Ready Gloss

This idea came to me this summer through tutoring and my tutoring kiddo is LOVING IT!  I used this Burt's Bees and took off the wrapper.  Then, I just used some colored sharpies to write on the side of the chapstick.  Last, I added a small piece of washi tape to the top cap for some extra decoration!

Of course, this wouldn't be sharable in the classroom! :)  But you can find cheap chapstick here for less than $1 each if you need to buy several for a small group or class set!

You can find all of these materials from this post in my Reading Strategies Intervention Packet!
This summer has been hit or miss with "playing school" as Cooper calls it at home.  I am consciously trying not to push academics on him because he is fine academically for his age and I don't want to squash his enthusiasm for learning.

But back in the Spring, Cooper begged to play school one day...we had dropped our short run or structured/forced school time at home for the sake of letting him be little.  When, I asked him if he wanted to reading or math he said, "Yet's do weading, Mommy...but wif wuhds not just yetters!" {Forgive my spelling, but I just can't type it correctly when it so much cuter sounding how he says it! ;)}  So, I caved and we practiced sight words for a few minutes...because he was begging...and how does a teacher mom argue with that?

And he loved it!  Here's a look at how we practiced sight words that day...perfect for any preschooler at home, kindergartener, or RTI intervention group.  Plus, just make the words a little more difficult and it works for first graders too.

Review sight words we know

Cooper's favorite way to review sight words is the fly swatter game.

He loves to play it by himself and he also loves to race Daddy! :)  Of course, this is a classic game in elementary school with a TON of ideas for reviewing skills, but I love that it's easy to do at home.  The sight word cards are from my iTeach Tots packet, but this could easily be done with sticky notes and a pen too!

We also review with reading races:  I flash the sight word cards up and see how fast he can read through all of them....this one always produces giggles galore! :)

The third way to review is reading and sorting:  Cooper reads a word and sorts it under the number of letters in the word.  Then, he rereads all of the words under each number!  My kiddo loves this one...and teacher mommy loves that he's learning sight words and concepts of print (differentiating between letters and words) at the same time!

These are just a few of a million and one ways to review sight words, but right now they're our favorites and what Cooper asks for the most!

Introduce New Sight Word

Once we spend 2-3 minutes reviewing sight words {seriously, the length of that video was all we did that day for review!}, I introduce the new sight word.   Right now, we are using these sight word pages from my packet for this.

He seriously is obsessed with these right now!  After we did the first one this summer, he begged to do a new one every single day until we left on vacation!  And after the first few, I was able to get him started and he finished on his own while I finished up a few things around the house.  It takes my almost 4 year old a good 15-20 minutes to to all of it on his own.  #thankyouJesus

We read the new word together and spell it as we build it with something fun...whatever we can find around the house!  We've used yarn, beans, pasta, spaghetti noodles.  There are so many fun options!

Then, he reads each word in the Read It! section and circles the sight word we are working on.  He loves using my flair pens too...a boy after my own heart! :)

Then, we build it by cutting the letters from the bottom to build the word in a sentence.  We find it by choosing the letters in the correct order to spell our word.  Last, he traces and writes the new word!

Read it in Context

This is the most important part to me as a teacher.  In first grade, I see kids all the time that can pass their first 100 sight word list, but still can't read past a Guided Reading Level A or B.  So, while I think sight word practice is crucial for many kids, it means nothing if they can't transfer that learning into reading.  That's the end goal!  At home, I practice this with Cooper after we learn his new word.  And it looks very similar to how I practice this with first graders too!

We play fly swatter again with the new word included.  And I call on the new word more than the others to give him more practice with the new word.

Then, we build sentences with our review sight words including our new sight word.  And he loves to use that stinkin' fly swatter as his pointer! ;)

I try to mix it up and do several sentences with the new word.  And then we stop when he is done.  Because we all know, it doesn't do anybody any good to keep going past the "over it" stage! #keepinitreal

I'll be blogging more about practicing sight words in context with my sight word readers (also included in my iTeach Tots packet) later this month so check back in for more sight word work!

What's your favorite way to practice sight words?



Tier 1.  Tier 2.  Tier 3.

These are not terms I learned in college more than 11 {yikes!} years ago.  In fact, until this past year, I didn't fully understand what this RTI business was all about.  I sat through a 30 minute presentation several years back about the Pyramid of Intervention and thought, "Okay, so this is how kids qualify for special education now.  Check."  And went on about my teaching...

It wasn't until recently that I began to understand how Response to Intervention {RTI} and classroom differentiation really were connected.  2 years ago, my district was asked to essentially jump off the deep end into using PLCs to guide an intervention block of time.  And 2 years later and 2 school districts later I can say that now I get it.

But...BUT....that was after many trials of coming up from the deep end gasping for air, lots of panicky dog paddling and a little bit of drowning too. LOL!:)  Here are the mistakes I've made myself and mistakes I've witnessed when trying to make an intervention block work within your PLC team.  ...And, most importantly, here are the 6 "INSTEADS" that I'm doing from now on with RTI intervention!

1. No Data

If intervention is going to work, we have to come to our PLC with the data.  The question is not, "What do you think?"  The question is "What does the data say?"  When our PLC team meets to talk about Tier 2 kids, we are expected to bring our data.  My husband would loose his job on the spot if he showed up to Walmart Home Offices for a presentation with no data.  Why do we think it's okay to sit at a table and talk about kids without records to back us up?

Instead...Bring Yo Data! :)
I start off the year with tons of district assessments that are required.  I organize that in my data wall so I have no excuses for our first PLC meeting.

As I assess, I record the scores in the data wall.  It's really no extra work at all!  And when it's time for our first PLC or RTI meeting, I haul my laptop down to our meeting and have my data on hand to help me talk about kids.

Yes, our teacher intuition is important.  I've had the feeling of, "but I just know...." many times over the last 10 years of teaching.  But my PLC team and administrators take me much more seriously when I can back up that statement with some numbers!

2. Too Much Data

Then, there's the flip side of this coin....too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Instead...Assess for ONLY the data you NEED! 
Good RTI interventions can be planned around the data we already are required to have.  There is no need to make up an additional assessment just for an intervention.  Don't get me wrong...if you want to assess just because it's super fun and you have plenty of extra time on your hands, then go for it!  But, I struggle to find enough time to assess what's required, much less extras!  If it's needed, then I'm happy to make the time.  Most of the time, though, interventions that are super effective can be built around the data I already have.  Double the work is not how good teachers roll!

3. No Flexibility

Remember the days of the red bird, blue bird and black bird readers?  Once a black bird, always a black bird, right?  Well, gone are those days. willing to move kids as needed!
My kiddos look forward to switching intervention groups...even kids like a fresh start!  But flexibility is more than just redoing intervention groups every so often.  It's getting 2 days into intervention groups and realizing Sammy is a lot farther behind the rest of the group than you expected and really needs to be in that other group.  It's getting excited for Sally because she's soaring during intervention time and would really benefit from extension now.

When our PLC team sits down to plan our intervention grid, it is not set it stone.  It's a fluid document and we have just come to expect changes.  Because always staying a black bird is not what's appropriate.  And great teachers are in the business of doing what's best for kids.

4. Too Much Flexibility

And while being flexible is what's best for kids, there's a flip side to this one too.  I've lived through some way-too-flexible interventions.  Switching kids around every week or every two weeks and expecting any growth in that amount of time was just wishful thinking on my part at the beginning of my intervention experience! And if pre- and post-assessments are required for each intervention cycle then just forget about that teaching thing.

Instead...give your RTI intervention time to work before switching everyone!
We have to be willing to change kids around....but within reason!  And we have to be willing to stay the course long enough to figure out if our intervention is working!

5. Focusing on the Why Nots

Because the RTI system is set up to identify kids who are not successful in the regular classroom, our first instinct is to focus on the kids who are struggling.  And that's important.  Don't get me wrong.  One of the superintendent's I taught under and consider one of the greats used to say,

Who's not performing? Why not? And what are we going to do about it?

All valid questions.  Extremely valid.  And it helped make me the data driven, small group focused teacher I am today.  However, somewhere along the way I started feeling guilty for my strongest learners and the little attention I was giving them.  How was this fair?  Their parents trusted me to give 110% to their child too, right?

So, INSTEAD.... after a lot of reflecting over the years, I've changed my mindset to...

Who's not performing? Why not? And what am I going to do about it?
Who's achieving? Why? And how am I going to keep them growing?

By focusing on these two areas, I am able to find out what's not working as well as what is working.  We can add extension groups to our intervention block and not feel bad about it.  I can pull small groups of my highest learners more than once a month and feel less guilty about the students I'm not working with and more like I'm fulfilling my promise to every child and every parent who has trusted me with their most treasured possession!  A wise co-worker once told me that parents send us the best that they have every day to school--and while that has a world of implications, I like to think that parents of my lowest and my highest babies feel their child is the best they have.  And I want to do everything I can to treat them like the best--no matter their academic abilities.

6. These Are MY Kids

This is a big one.  My first year teaching I realized really fast that I can't do it all.  While I'd love to be everything to every child every day....that just doesn't happen.  It is physically impossible.

Instead... These are OUR kids!
So the fact that I was on a "dream team" for so many years that shared kiddos was a blessing that I didn't even realize I had at the time!  You can read about how we shared our kiddos during guided reading groups here...and intervention groups work the same way with my teammates.  Check out how we *physically* share our kiddos during intervention time using this interactive intervention grid.  It's seriously been a life changer for planning how we would share kids!

Watch this video first to see exactly how I use this document!

Intervention groups really only work when your whole PLC team is on board.  Otherwise we are just differentiating in our classroom.  Thankfully, both schools I've taught at had an "our kids" mindset.  Not just in physically sharing kids, but in owning the successes and failures.  While Jane may be in my classroom, my teammates who see her during intervention are the first to be frustrated when she hits a brick wall and are the first to celebrate with me when she succeeds!  And that's a culture that is so SO important in a school.  It's not me against you.  There is no, "my kids are smarter than your kids." And at the school level, there is not one shining grade level favored above the rest.  Because every grade level has a part in each child's story.

They're our kids.
Our family.
And...we are all in this together. (Cue the music!)
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