Posts Tagged ‘reading’

10 Terrific Ways to Use Library Pockets

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

10 ways to use library pockets Teacher Created Resources

Library Pockets aren’t just for checking out books. They are so versatile, you can use them in many creative ways in the classroom.  As teachers start preparing for back to school, organization is key. You can use library pockets to stay organized with a classroom job chart, birthday bulletin board and more. Check out a few of our favorite library pocket ideas for some classroom inspiration.

Library Pockets Classroom Jobs Chart

CLASSROOM JOBS

Write different classroom jobs on each library pocket. Use string and clothespins to hang the library pockets to a bulletin board. Write student’s names on craft sticks and place in appropriate job pocket for each day. Use letters to spell out “Classroom Jobs”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Pockets Lunch Board Idea

LUNCH COUNT BOARD

Keep track of lunch count by labeling each library pocket as: brought lunch, hot lunch, salad bar, and potato bar. Write each student’s name on an accent and glue to a craft sticks. Place craft sticks in the appropriate lunch pocket for each day. Use letters to spell out “Lunch”. Complete by adding a coordinating border trim.

 

Library Pockets Student Treats Idea

TREAT POCKETS

Surprise students with a reward by writing their name on a library pocket and filling it with rewards, special treats or school supplies. Treat pockets filled with pencils & erasers are a great first day of school gift.

 

 

Library Pockets Birthday Bulletin Board Idea

BIRTHDAY BULLETIN BOARD

Create a birthday bulletin board by using decorative letters to spell out “birthdays”. Label each library pocket by month and attach to a chart or bulletin board. Write each student’s name on a mini accent and glue to craft sticks. Place each student stick in the library pocket of their birthday month. Use coordinating border trim to complete the look.

 

Library Pockets Reading Chart

WHAT WE ARE READING CHART

Label each library pocket with reading genres such as, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, fantasy, and biography. Glue library pockets to a large chart. Write each student’s name on a mini accent, and glue each accent to a craft stick. Place name sticks in appropriate category pocket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Pockets Classroom Calendar

CLASSROOM CALENDAR

Hang a calendar grid with calendar cards. Below the calendar, write the days of the week on each library pocket. Write yesterday, today, and tomorrow on mini accents and glue to craft sticks. Use Create & Decorate pieces to write the current month, season, and weather. Put the whole look together with border trim.

 

Library Pocket Fact Card Holder

FACT CARD HOLDER

Add each student’s name to a library pocket. Punch a hole on the top left and top right of the library pocket. Loop ribbon around the holes and secure with a knot on each side. Decorate with stickers and mini stickers, and give to students for an easy way to hold fact cards for field trips or special events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Pockets Number Chart Idea

NUMBER MATCHING CHART

Create a number matching chart by writing numbers 1-10 on each library pocket. Glue library pockets on a chart. Write numbers 1-10 on accents, and glue them onto craft sticks. Have students match the numbers by placing the numbered craft sticks in the corresponding pocket. Other varieties of this activity include using even or odd numbers, counting by fives, etc.

 

Library Pockets Synonyms WallSYNONYMS WALL

Make a synonym wall by writing a word on each library pocket. Stick the library pockets on a bulletin board. Write synonyms of each word on accents, and attach the accents to craft sticks. Have students place the synonym sticks in the corresponding word pocket. Embellish with decorative letters and scalloped straight borders.

 

Library Pockets Book Check OutLIBRARY CHECK-OUT SYSTEM

Assign each student a number. Label each library pocket a number to represent each student. Place on a chart and hang in the library or reading center. Insert a library check-out card in each pocket. Each time a student checks out a book they write down the book title, the day it was checked out, and the day it is due back.

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Strategies for ELL (English Language Learners)

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Reading Strategies for ELL/ESL

As teachers receive more and more ESL/ELLs (English Language Learners) into their classrooms, it’s important that they learn to integrate them with the rest of their student population.  The following reading strategies will help you with the process. Comprehensiable instruction and opportunities for verbal interaction will motivate students to engage in learning and actively participate in classroom activities. Here are some great reading strategies to help ELLs be more comfortable with reading.

Echo Reading

Use this strategy to help struggling readers with fluency, pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. The teacher (or other native English speaker) reads the text first, using proper intonation and a good pace. Students follow along silently and then “echo”, or imitate, the first reader.

Echo reading helps ELL students 
-Improve sight reading and speaking skills.
-Build confidence in their pronunciations.
-Remember important concepts.

Ways to Use Echo Reading: During chants, jingles, songs, poetry, and short stories.

Tips for Teaching this Strategy:
-Use gestures to show students which text to read.
-Have Students who are native English speakers lead the reading; it’s helpful for ELLs to hear voices similar to their own.
-Adjust the length of the text being read to meet the needs of your students. (e.g. For Emerging ELLs, the first reader should read one line of text; for Developing ELLs (and higher levels), the first reader can read several lines of text.)

Sample Activity
Hold a hand to an ear to demonstrate the idea of hearing an echo. Explain that bats use echoes and different tones to locate food sources and other important information. Vary the pitch (higher or lower) while reading to encourage students to practice different intonations when they echo read.

 

Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA)

Use this strategy to model how to make and confirm predictions. Here are the steps to DRTA:
1) Choose a text. Preselect stopping points where students can pause while reading.
2) Preview keywords or pictures. Ask questions to guide students’ thinking.
3) Have students make prediction about what they will read.
4) Stop at set points so students can check predictions, revise them, and make new predictions.
5) Ask questions to help students match their predictions to the reading.
6) Discuss what has been read before reading the next section.

Examples: Use objects or pictures to preview a text and make predictions; ask questions about keywords and vocabulary; focus on characters and what they might do.

Tips for Teaching this ELL Strategy
-Use as a whole-class or small-group activity
-Remind students to use what they already know to make predictions

Sample Activity
Have students look at pictures in a book to predict what a story or text might be about. Have them write one or two questions they have about the story. Review the students’ questions to determine where to stop and discuss the story. Read the selection as a class, pausing as planned. Call on the students who quote questions related to that part of the story, and conduct discussion about the reading thus far.

For more strategies on teach ESL/ELLs, see Strategies to use with your English Language Learners

The Cat in the Hat: Classroom Discussion Topics & Free Activity

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The Cat in the Hat Classroom Discussion Topics & Free Activity

Read Across America Day is March 3 and many teachers and students will be celebrating by reading and having classroom discussions about Dr. Seuss’ classic story, The Cat in the Hat. This book is about a girl named Sally and her brother who don’t know what to do on a rainy day. Suddenly, in comes the Cat in a Hat, and that’s when the trouble begins! The pet fish reminds the children that the Cat should not be in the house because their mother is not home. However, the Cat insists on staying and entertaining the children with a variety of tricks. When Mother finally gets home she asks the children what they did while she was out. The kids cannot decide what to tell her. The Cat in the Hat ends by encouraging the readers to decide what they would tell their mothers in that situation.

There are a variety of fun classroom activities and discussion topics based around this story. Here are a few discussion topics:

  1. Discuss rainy day activities and create a Rainy Day Bulletin Board. Cut raindrops out of blue paper and have the students write down some rainy day activities on the raindrops to post on the bulletin board.
  2. Consider using The Cat in the Hat to introduce your social studies unit about safety or stranger awareness.
  3. Collect real hats and/or pictures of hats that can be displayed around the classroom to promote interest. Each day you teach the unit put on a hat (or show a picture of a hat) to signal to students that it is reading time. Encourage students to figure out who would wear such a hat.
  4. Have the students wear a hat when it is their turn to read a page out of the book. Discuss the feel and look of the hat and who would typically wear it.
  5. Set the stage and build background by discussing the following:
  • Have you ever been left home alone?
  • What activities are you allowed/not allowed to do when you are alone?
  • Talk about a time when it took courage to tell something to your parents
  • What would you do if a stranger came to your door while you were home alone?
  • Discuss and do(or review from the Rainy Day Bulletin Board) any fun rainy day activities

Need more Cat in the Hat activities? Download the free Pocket Chart Sequence Sentence Strips.

540 Cat in the Hat TCRPocket Chart Sequence Strips 2Use the Cat in the Hat sequence sentence strips to create a pocket chart activity. Teach and practice sequencing skills, reproduce, cut out and laminate the sequence sentence strips below. Have the students put them in the correct order and display them on a pocket chart. Students may also work in groups to create a book by cutting the strips, pasting them on drawing paper, and illustrating their sentences. Staple the strips in the correct order and read them to the class.

For more Cat in the Hat activities, discussion topics, and lessons see A Guide for Using The Cat in the Hat in the Classroom

The Perpetual Pendulum: Nonfiction vs. Fiction Reading

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Yes, we are all aware of how important reading nonfiction has become.  You can’t pick up a journal, read an article online, or look at the Common Core State Standards and not be made aware of this.

I love to read nonfiction.  There are so many fascinating books that fit that category.  Seabiscuit:  An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand was one of my favorites a few years ago.  It was a great read about an amazing horse.  Recently I read The American Plague:  The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby.  The story about this horrible disease drew me in.  I found it a real page-turner. In my book group I’m the one known for choosing nonfiction books.  But–and there is always a “but” isn’t there–here’s my concern.  Are we already letting that perpetual pendulum swing too far from fiction when it comes to the classroom?

Will kids take any joy out of reading if all they read is nonfiction?  You won’t get any argument from me that the skills that one uses in nonfiction reading carry over to everyday life.  Recipes, directions, street signs, nutrition labels, and the list of what we read daily goes on.  But how much joy is there in that?  Yes, the books I mentioned were wonderful, but they were narrative nonfiction and told a story.  They read like novels.  That’s not the case for much of the nonfiction reading that kids do.

I think we need to be careful with kids and allow them to read lots and lots of fiction.  Otherwise what happens to their imaginations and their capacity for dreaming?  Where will inspiration from fictional characters such as spunky girls and adventurous boys be found?  What about those who like, or even need, to escape into a book find their routes into them?  As good as nonfiction can be, it’s rather difficult to use it as escapism.

Can we find the right balance?  Can we teach the skills but give children the opportunity to be immersed in the world of fiction?  Can we not do what we so often do in education, throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater?

How are you tackling this dilemma?