Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Bookworm Buddies and More Readers' Theaters

This month will be as busy as November. The week before Thanksgiving, my second grade reading group performed an adaptation from the Weekly Reader passage on Squanto. Now they are hooked on readers' theaters! Each child felt empowered as a reader.  What a great way to read, read, read, and still have the fun of a skit--without the commotion and stress of costumes and props!

We'll be performing "Tacky, the Penguin" as one of our readers' theaters. We may have time for another one! See the link (on the right) for some free readers' theaters scripts for your classroom. Parents and other children will be invited to join us in the thrill.

My bookworm buddies are going to be busy writing responses to text, using evidence from the text. This is a biggie, and takes extra planning from me...but well worth it. 

If there's time, we'll be making cards and letters to real people. We'll be spreading holiday cheer with our creations. Some kids have not had the experience of writing a real letter to anyone that'll be fun.

Making Books--another project we will make time for. I like to show kids how to make the star book--a great format for almost anything. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November Poem: Five Fat Turkeys

Today, we read a poem called Five Fat Turkeys, which the second graders read enthusiastically. They do not seem to get tired of reading poems together. Choral reading is such an empowering reading activity to struggling readers. Teachers sometimes forget that everyone gets something out of reading poems matter what skill level. Good readers will enjoy the fun of the rhythm and rhyming. It is much like singing a song.  I like to think of it as another way of reading music. After reading this several times in different ways, we made thumbprint turkeys using stamp pads to illustrate the poem. Great fun and an activity that allows differentiation for students in grades K-2. Excellent opportunities for ESL students, too.

A Fun November Poem:

Five Fat Turkeys
Five fat turkeys are we.
We hid all night in a tree.
When the cook came around,
We couldn't be found!
And that's why we're here you see!
                                                   -Author Unknown

sentence strips or chart paper
stamp pads

Write the lines of the poem on sentence strips or chart paper.
If using strips, place in a wall pocket chart.
Write the rhyming pairs in matching colors so they stand out.

1. Choral read the poem.
Take turns reading together, dividing up lines among students.
Try different and fun ways to read this, pairing up students in creative ways.

2. Phonological awareness: Ask what word rhymes with tree? What word rhymes with found?

3. Print awareness: Bring attention to the uppercase letters at the beginning of each line, the contractions and apostrophes in the words, we're, that's, and couldn't. Discuss end marks such as periods, and exclamation point.

4. Comprehension check: What or who are the turkeys afraid of?
How do you know?

5. Art Activity:
Copy the poem onto a page for each student.
Leave space below for illustrations.
Set out stamp pads, markers, and colored pencils.
Ask the kids to draw a tree and make 5 thumb prints and details to make mini turkeys.

(The illustration is also an opportunity to show comprehension. Drawings should show relevance to the poem and the main idea that the turkeys are hiding from the cook.)

Extension: Together, create signing or pantomiming of the words. Learn the poem by heart and recite it with movements in front of an audience (parents, classmates).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pugs Make Good Book Buddies

Literacy Week is a fun time to invite our community to read with us. Not too long ago, we had some four legged visitors. Here, Miss Sally, our bus driver's pug came along for a good story! (Well, she was a good listener earlier.) I guess a warm lap is as good as a story.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Choral Reading and Readers' Theaters

My younger students get so excited when they do a readers' theater. They really do feel like super stars. It's such a great opportunity to improve fluency and comprehension skills.  This month of November, I will have my second grade reading group do one just before Thanksgiving break. We have such little time to do a real play, so a readers' theater is ideal. Although it is easy to create your own script from a favorite story, there are plenty out there that you can print out. 

After Thanksgiving Note: My crew ended up doing a very nice readers' theater on Squanto, which I adapted from Weekly Reader. This was the best segue for kids to write a report on this famous Early American peacemaker.