read alouds

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100th Day Speed Read

Hello educators!! Today, I am sharing a fun little activity that you can use for the 100th day of school, or any time of the year that you see fit. It's called the 100 Word Speed Read!

This is something that can be paired with a one, two, five minute timer to encourage students to build up their fluency and automaticity of word reading.

Students simply, start at the first word and read as quickly and accurately as they can until they reach the 100th word on their speed read mat!

This week, we have our 100th day of school. We will use this for guided reading warm ups, read to self warm ups AND it'll be a special part of their nightly reading homework!

If all goes well, then we will time ourselves using our ipads to see how quickly we can accurately read all of the words.

We'll jot down our time, and then graph!! I'll use the graph for a warm up talk before our math workshop block. We'll analyze the information and come to some really great conclusions about our reading!

Grab your own FREE copy of THIS speed read by clicking:

Penguin Week is Here!

Hello!! Penguin week is here, or it may have passed for you. Either way, you can use these activities this year or next! This unit is one of my favorites. This coming week will be the third time I am doing it and I can't wait to see what my students gain from it this year!

This free unit includes so much that will get students reading, writing and thinking! Isn't that everything we want?

Here is our home base for this unit. The chart below starts off COMPLETELY blank. I review vocabulary such as fact, topic and subtopic with students. I make them into fun circles with astrobright papers and make those little circles in front of the kids. I also like to have them make the circles as well to place in their reading bin for the week.

To begin the unit, we start with a discussion of things we already know about Penguins. This gets their mind active and engaged. It also allows for CONNECTIONS! That's when the real learning starts to happen. 

After a discussion, I read a book to the students for read aloud. We then, focus on asking questions - not recalling information and facts just yet. I want to get them thinking more so when we read more, they have a reason to listen. I write down their questions and stick it on the anchor chart.

Then, throughout the week, we read a variety of passages, shared reading texts, articles and I read books to them. For some fun reads, I also read Tacky the Penguin to students this week!

You can find the books I read to students by clicking on this document here. I like to buy these books so I have them each year. 

As we read books and have discussions, I have students work to identify facts and information. They work to identify categories that the information would fit into. Once we complete one category, we begin our Penguin non-fiction book. In the non-fiction book, they write down one category in their table of contents, then they write their new learning. I incorporate text features here too by having them add a header to each page and a bold word. I let them use sharpie for their BOLD words. It's the best thing ever!!
By the end of the week, we have learned SO much about penguins and they get to take it all home in their informational book, "All About Penguins."

To make our penguin study come full circle, I like to throw in a few other things too! We read a variety of penguin poems each day and I encourage students to do this as well at their reading station during our daily 5 rotations (read to self/partner/ AKA just read). #forreal 

I print off these little penguins I found online for students to use as pointers while they're reading for the week too! They eat it up!

During word work, students complete these penguin word work activities to go along with their phonics focus for the week.

Then, at their writing center, they'll be working on their non-fiction penguin book. To start off our week though, I'll be giving them penguin fact sentence scramblers to complete.

If you want these activities, they're all yours for free! 

If you love this unit, you might liking my living and nonliving unit too! This is a fun one because it integrates informational writing and WORMS!!!

How to Create Learning Folders!

I am sure many of you have made learning folders to hold students work for a unit of study. In case you haven't and this catches your attention, I wanted to show you how they could be made for free! There is no need to buy file folders, or real folders for that matter.

Here are the materials you need:

  • Two pieces of computer paper (any color)
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Two half sheets of computer paper

Most of us, have the stuff I mentioned above on hand. If you don't have tape, you'll be fine without it! use glue instead! Here is how I created my learning folders for my Living and Nonliving unit of study with my first graders!

Step One: Get two pieces of paper.

Step Two: Tape the two pieces of paper together in the center. I do the inside and the outside for durability.

Step Three: Cut out pockets for the folders. You can cut out one or two pockets. Students can decorate their pockets!

Step Four: Attach the pockets to the folder - only applying glue to the bottom, left and right side. 

Step Five: Add a cover! This is a great way to let students in on what they'll be learning! They can decorate it with prior knowledge, the learning objective or they can write down new learning from your very first lesson!

Last but not least... add all the learning inside the folder!

Don't let the back of the folder go to waste either - Make it interactive, make a game on the back, make some flipper flappers! Have fun!!

I hope you found this post helpful and it sparked some ideas for your own units of study! I used my Living and Nonliving unit here in my examples. If you are interested in that, click the cover below!

Thanks so much!!