read alouds

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Officer Buckle and Gloria Reading Response

Hey guys! It's been a while since I've been on here but I just wanted to pop in to pass along a freebie that was inspired by our read aloud today.

Each Monday morning, after calendar I read a story to my class that will correlate with one of their reading stations: Book Response. Normally this station has a simple response sheet where they rate the book, tell what it was about, draw their favorite part and circle words to describe the book.

We decided this week to switch it up after we read Officer Buckle and Gloria. Inside the story a student writes Officer Buckle a letter using star shaped paper. My students thought that was so cool. So, this week, their reading response is on star paper. It isn't anything fancy and I've left it pretty open.

These are their choices that I'll provide:
(I'm also always open to their ideas too)

1. Draw a picture of a character and write events that happened to that character.
2. Retell the story elements.
3. Write your own safety tips (this goes with the story)
4. Write about your favorite parts
5. Retell the story

I printed one blank star and one star that has the words, "My Safety Tips."
I am going to leave this pretty open ended and let the students choose what they want to do.

Here is an example of two stars so you can get an idea. I made these two stars as examples for my own students.

To grab this for free, just click here or the picture below!

Fact Fluency in First Grade!

When you hear the term fact fluency, you often think of a timed test of addition or subtraction facts. This is what I used to think of too. I've dug more into that term and realized that students do not become fluent fact solvers unless they can successfully understand numbers and the strategies used to solve a variety of addition and subtraction equations.

A few years ago, I was noticing that I was teaching my first graders all of these fact solving strategies to help them become better mathematicians. As we were building upon concepts, I began noticing that some important concepts were being forgotten. We would have to take a few steps back, review and redo. I had math stations in place, but they were whatever I could muster together at the time because... *new baby!*

This is when the idea of a Fact Fluency packet arose. I chose particular strategies that my students needed at certain points in the year, created extremely easy prep activities and we set off practicing our fact fluency strategies each Friday.

Today, I want to show you the first Fact Fluency pack. It's my back to school unit and it's specifically geared for first grade. My recommendation with the first pack is to start the kids off very slowly. Each day during the first few weeks of the year my students and I have a mini-lesson practicing one of the skills inside the fact fluency product. Once we have a mini-lesson, I decide if they can do it on their own, need a partner or need whole class guidance. I pass it out, we do it and done! When I feel like they can tackle four of the concepts successfully, then we begin Fact Fluency Friday.

Fact Fluency Friday is where I set out four buckets. In each bucket, there is a different activity that allows students to practice a different math skill that they have already learned. Each student is also given a Checklist. They get to choose which tub they begin with. When they finish, they bring their paper to me. I check it, return it and place a smiley face or sticker on the number they completed. For example, if they took an activity from tub 1, they would get a completion sticker on #1 on their checklist.

Here is an example of the set up of Fact Fluency on a Friday.
You could easily have students do these for math stations as well. Each day, during math station time, they choose which activity to do. They can still earn stickers as they finish. Either way will get the same results!

Once all of the buckets are out, then you want to fill each one with a different activity. You get to choose which activity goes in each number. I did not pre-number them as there are more than four concepts included in most of my Fact Fluency Products.

After you choose which activity the students will complete, then you will want to set out the manipulatives or supplies that students will need to complete each activity. In the back to school file, I have included printable versions of the manipulatives that you will need to fit the back to school theme, but you can always use what you already have! The things included are number lines to 10 and counters.

Now that you know how the system works. Here are the actual concepts covered in the Back to School Fact Fluency Product. I have also pictured the materials you will need with each activity!

This first activity focuses on practicing the skill one 1 more and 1 less using numbers under 20. One of my favorite math tools that I have my students use all year is the build it mat that you see here. It allows students to manipulative their numbers in an organized manner. It also emphasizes the language and symbols of +1 and -1!

This next activity is all about making ten! This is such an important skill to master in first grade. Students work on using number lines or counters to solve addition equations. 

This next activity is all about writing those numbers and counting up to 52! Students get to practice two things at once here! They simply trace all of their numbers, cut them out and place them in the correct empty spaces so that they are in sequential order.

This is one that I LOVE! Students are working here to look at a series of four numbers. Their job is to identify if YES! Those four numbers are in order from least to greatest or NO! Those four numbers are not in order from least to greatest.

This last one allows students to practice drawing math pictures to solve addition equations. It also allows students to view a picture and create a matching addition equation. For example, if there is one black dot and three white dots then the addition equation would be 1+3=4.

As you can see, each concept includes four different activities! That gives students four weeks of practice on that skill before they move onto the next set of fact fluency strategy skills!

Next up, organizing these each month.

I simply, stick the cover of the product on the front of the folder.

Inside the folder I place my master copies and any manipulatives that I cut and print out for use.

I also like to include the contents of the product so I know which concepts are covered. I saves me time so I don't have to sift through all of the papers.

There you go, Fact Fluency! If you're interested in trying out the Back to School file, click here!

Book Activity: Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff

I have found the most adorable book that is SO realistic and relatable for students (and me)! It's called, "Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff!" This book is about a kangaroo named Cami who had to clean her room so she could be on time to a party. Her parents sent her to her room to clean and in the midst of cleaning, she got overwhelmed and very distracted by all of the cool things she found. Also in the midst of cleaning, she realized that she had to return a toy to a friend... but, she couldn't find the toy! Oh no!! The story ends with a lesson that Cami learns about being organized and a way that can also help her clean up effectively.

Here are some images from the text. The illustrations are just beautiful.

In addition to this amazing book, I had to create some fun activities for my students to do. Once I got going, my son asked to color a Kangaroo too... So, I may have also thrown in a few Pre-K activities too!

This book lends itself to such great discussion, text connections, character analyzing and focusing on story elements. It's PERFECT for the classroom. I'm thinking, it'll be our first read aloud series of the year.

Here are some of the toddler activities I created to go along with this book!
There is an adorable Kangaroo puzzle and a kangaroo coloring page with the letter K! 
My little man and I may have worked on a few other letters too! :-)

If you own this book or are about to own it very soon, here are the FREE activities for you to use with it!

You can also find the book by clicking here.