Second Grade Perks


Thursday, January 21, 2021

5 Steps to Teach an Interactive Read Aloud Lesson (that are easy to implement)!

Want to make a read aloud lesson interactive but aren't sure how? Use these easy to implement steps to get going and watch your students' comprehension levels sky rocket!

What Is An Interactive Read Aloud?

The interactive read aloud strategy is a whole group lesson where the teacher will read a preselected text that is at least 2-3 grade levels above the students' current grade level. The teacher will pause throughout the book for conversation and discussion. The students will talk to each other, think to themselves, respond orally and in a journal. Students will actively process the meaning of the text through this type of engaging reading lesson. 

Check out this short interactive read aloud video from Fountas & Pinnell showing a few lessons in progress. 

Interactive Read Aloud Video

If you want to read my post with a little more information on how exactly I teach a read aloud throughout the week or why read alouds are so important then check out my post "Interactive Read Alouds....What are they, how to use them, and why they are so important" I go more in detail in that blog post about the read aloud culminating activities I do at the end of the week. 

interactive read aloud culminating activities

Interactive Read Aloud Book Selection

As mentioned above when you choose an interactive read aloud book, it needs to be about 2-3 grade levels above the students' current grade. You will want to pick a book that is a good fit for the standard you are covering that week. You will be integrating several other standards as review, but you will want one main standard to focus on. It's very easy to search for books that are good for particular standards. Make sure you choose one that you enjoy yourself. That will definitely make a difference in how your students respond to it. Plus, you will be using the book all week so it needs to be something engaging. 

interactive read aloud books

Interactive Read Aloud Vocabulary

The next step in planning an interactive read aloud lesson is to choose about 3-5 rich vocabulary words. These need to be words that students must know to understand the book. I usually make up hand gestures that go along with the word to help my students remember them. For example for feast we pretend like we are eating or for curious we tap our head with our finger like we are thinking. Anytime the students hear the word in the book we do the gesture to reinforce its meaning. I also make sure the vocabulary words are up on an anchor chart. This step will be discussed more below. 

Setting a Purpose for the Read Aloud

This part is actually two steps. Once you have a great text selected, decide on an essential question. This gives the students something to focus on to understand the meaning of the book. I tell my students they should all be able to answer the essential question by the end of the week. I usually tend to think of the moral or lesson of the story and base my question around that. The essential question will also go on your anchor chart. 

During this part you will also want to come up with several rich questions to ask throughout the book. Students will either answer you by turning and talking with a partner, using private think time to answer individually or writing their answer in their notebook or journal. 

The read aloud questions you use need to align to the standards. The majority of the questions should align to the main standard for the week, but you should also sprinkle other standard questions throughout. I like to use standards we have already covered as well as new ones just as a mini introduction. 

*Tip* Mark the pages you will be stopping to ask questions. A great way to do this is by writing the question on a sticky note and placing it on that page. Save the sticky notes and you'll have them next year!

Read Aloud Anchor Chart

I use an anchor chart for each read aloud we do. At the top I list the essential question. I also have the vocabulary words on the chart as well as the main standard for the week and some questions we can ask in order to understand the standard better. The majority of the chart will hold our learning for the week. I create some type of graphic organizer that goes along with the main standard we are focusing on and we fill in the information that we learn throughout the week. 

interactive read aloud anchor charts

So to sum everything up, here are the steps to plan an engaging interactive read aloud:

1. Select a book
2. Choose vocabulary words
3. Write an essential question
4. Come up with standard aligned questions
5. Create your anchor chart

interactive read aloud lesson plans

If this all sounds fantastic to you but you are wondering when in the world you will have the time to create all of this, I have already done all of the work for you for the entire year. Check out the yearly bundle, individual month option, or try the free lesson first to see if you like it!

Want to remember this information for later? Just pin the image below!

Related Interactive Read Aloud Posts

Interactive Read Alouds.....What They Are, How To Use Them & Why They Are So Important!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Insanely Easy Phonics Practice You'll Wish You Had Sooner

It's All About Phonics Practice Right?

If you teach primary grades you know it's all about phonics, phonics......and yes phonics! The #1 reason I love teaching 1st grade is the fact that I get to teach these babies how to read. A crucial life long skill is totally in my hands, and I don't take that lightly. I love teaching phonics!

Reading Small Group Time

My reading small groups take up a HUGE chunk of my day. I run 3 thirty minute (yes, I said 30 minute) groups every day. I don't teach phonics whole group at all. I save those precious minutes and divide them between my small groups so they get more time with me. If you are wondering how I can do this, well it's because I have proven to my administration that it works!! I'll have another post soon that goes more in depth about how I run those small groups.

Phonics Practice Pages

Today I want to share something that is going to make your life so much easier. When I am having these long small group sessions, my other students have to be doing something right? That's where these insanely easy phonics practice pages that you wish you had sooner come into play. 

How I Use The Practice Pages & Why You Should Too

Every student has a green phonics folder with pages inside that review the previous week's skill. This ensures they don't have to come ask me for help (and interrupt my group). Can I get an Amen?!?! We have already spent an entire week on the skill so they are good to go. Another thing that makes these pages so easy is that every skill follows the same types of phonics worksheet and phonics game practice.....color by sound, mazes, sentence writing, comprehension, dice and spinner games, etc. After the first few weeks students get the hang of it and know exactly what is expected of them. I put enough pages in their folder for them to work on the entire week and they just have to turn their folder in to me by Friday (if they do, they earn Fun Friday!) This allows them to be in control of what pages they chose to work on each day. 

Another Reason to Use These No Prep Pages For Phonics Practice

If you still need another reason as to why these are so insanely easy, well I have one more. They are so easy to differentiate. Some pages will have students only focusing on one vowel so you can use those pages for students that had a hard time with the skill the week before while some pages may include 2 or more vowels. Some pages use words while other use pictures. If the comprehension passage is too hard there are some pages with only sentences. Lots of different options to meet all of your needs!

Need an Online Option?

Also, as an added bonus I have included a Google Slides option for those of you teaching students online this year. If you would like to try some of these pages out I am offering a portion of the short vowel packet for free! Just click the picture to download it now!

If you like what you get, head over to my shop and get the full version. Already uploaded to TPT are the short and long vowel versions as well as initial blends

Challenge Your Students With Close Reading

And as always if you need something to challenge some of your students and want to try a close reading lesson with them, then subscribe to my newsletter to snag a free 5 day lesson along with an email series that goes more into depth on close reading and what a game changer it can be for your students comprehension!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Do You Want Students That Get Excited About Reading Comprehension?

Have you ever pulled out a passage with comprehension questions and heard groans from the class? I have so many times which is why I had to try something new and engaging. I started looking into close reading a few years ago and have never heard another groan.

What is Close Reading?
Close reading is thoughtful, critical analysis of a text. It focuses on significant details or patterns in order to develop a deep, precise understanding of the text's form, craft, meaning, etc. It is a key requirement of the Common Core Standards and directs the reader's attention to the text itself. 

What All Does Close Reading Include?
Close reading involves short passages and excerpts and allows the reader to dive right into the text with limited pre-reading activities. It focuses on the text itself  and requires rereading deliberately. Students will take the time to notice things that are confusing and will be given the opportunity to discuss the text with others through options such as think-pair share or turn and talk. This will give students the ability to accurately respond to text-dependent questions.

What Are Text Dependent Questions?
Text dependent questions can only be answered with evidence from the text. They can be literal (checking for understanding), but must also involve analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Text dependent questions will focus on a word, sentence, or paragraph, larger ideas, themes, or events as well as on difficult portions of text in order to enhance reading proficiency.

Why Do Kids Love It?
Close reading allows students to read text that is over their heads. It offers them the safety net of peers during think-pair-share and turn and talk to discuss it together, causing much learning to take place. I display a "text talker" poster to give students sentence starters when they are with their partners.  

Another reason I have found that my students love close reading is the annotating portion. They love to use their different color pens or color pencils and mark all over the text with their thoughts and feelings about what they read. This is another time I will display a poster with several symbol options they can use to mark up their text. 

Allowing students to read and learn from what is challenging and unfamiliar, opens up so many possibilities for them.

How Can You Use This in Your Class?
I would love for you to try this out with your class. If you click HERE or on the pictures you can access a free passage with text dependent questions to try out. I'd love to know how it goes for your students so make sure to come back and comment or leave pictures!

Teaching Online?
If you enjoy the freebie check out the full version that offers a Google Slides option for online learners. 

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Cure For Your Lesson Planning Blues

What if there was just one thing standing between you and a fun school year filled with students happy about learning?

I know it seems hard to believe but hear me out…

Interesting lessons that are fun for you and students don’t just happen from a teacher’s manual on most occasions.

(Wouldn’t that be nice!)

You have to decide what you’re teaching, choose what needs differentiated, gather all the supplies, run the copies or send the emails, and then prepare everything.  Not to mention lining it up with all your standards.

And the domino that starts it all is knowing what you’re going to teach.

In other words, the path to instruction begins with a plan.

Today, you can get your hands on ready-made lesson plans for just the way you teach—complete with handouts and directions—for a ridiculously low price. Click on any of the pictures throughout this post to preview all of the products you can get!

It’s called the CF Collective Lesson Plan Mania Bundle - and it’s available only for a short time! - and here’s how it works:

It’s a complete planning solution made up of hundreds of pages of lesson plans and resources specific to either reading or math.

Each bundle contains games, puzzles, mini-books, assessments, and ready-made lessons plans (and even slideshows!). 

No matter how you plan, there are multiple resources that are perfect for you and there are two buying options:

Option 1: Choose ONE bundle that is targeted close to your grade level and subject:  Grades K-2 or Grades 3-5 in either reading or math. I'm also offering a BONUS FILE with each bundle that you purchase.

This option is for K-2 Math teachers:

If you purchase the K-2 Math bundle you will get this greater than less than differentiated file that focuses on tens and ones, hundreds, tens and ones, or thousands, hundreds, tens and ones to make differentiating a breeze!

This bundle is for K-2 Reading teachers:

If you purchase this bundle you will receive Pirate Parts of Speech to get your K-2 students excited about learning about the parts of speech pirate style.....there's even a treasure hunt!

This bundle is for 3-5 Math Teachers:

If you buy this bundle you will get a 3 pack of multiplications games as a bonus!

This bundle is for the 3-5 Reading Teachers:

Purchasing this bundle will get you a pack of genre posters as a bonus:

Option 2: For an AMAZING deal, get the ENTIRE package of ALL FOUR Bundles with over 4,000 pages of made-for-you lesson plans, so you’ve got total control no matter how your grade level and curriculum needs change from year to year for grades K-5.

If you purchase this bundle you will get my mastering math facts packet as a bonus!

Bonus products are not shown on the product page but will automatically be sent to you when you purchase.

You really can have school fun and learning at the same time in your classroom, starting today.

Make those lessons fun by picking up your copies of the CF Collective Lesson Plan Mania Bundles right HERE

P.S. This is a limited time offering, and it’s only on sale for a short time, just until Sunday, November 22nd (before it disappears forever). Get it here before you forget!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Interactive Read Alouds.....What They Are, How To Use Them & Why They Are So Important!

How do you teach reading whole group? I use interactive read alouds and it has been a game changer in my classroom not only for comprehension but participation! 

This is a long post but FULL of information and if you make it to the end there is a free week long lesson for you!

What are Interactive Read Alouds (IRAs)?

Interactive read alouds are a way to teach your whole group reading lesson where the teacher will read aloud a text and pause at different parts of the text for conversation. The students will talk about the text or respond to it either as a whole group, or with a partner(s). This process helps readers listen actively in order to process the meaning of the text. 

Why are IRAs Important?

Interactive read alouds are a great way to teach important reading skills while having the students stay focused and involved. When teaching with this method, students will be listening, thinking, talking with a partner, writing, sharing and so much more. Each week there will be one main standard focused on but other standards will also be tied in just as a brief introduction of that skill or a review. 

How I Use IRAs 

I begin every day’s lesson by using the “When we talk posters” to go over our read aloud rules. When we talk we….. *Explain our thinking* *Use a strong voice* *Track the speaker* *Wait our turn.* Students are taught that they can’t just answer without backing up their answer with “because.” They can disagree with someone’s answer but again they have to follow up why they disagree with “because.” They have to speak loud enough for everyone to hear. I randomly call on students to repeat what another student said so everyone has to be able to hear. 

Before I call on a student to answer, I say “let’s track (student’s name). That means all eyes should be on that student that is answering to show respectful listening manners. After we review the rules I say the “I can” statement for the day. It’s posted on my anchor chart for the week. Next, we go over our essential question for the week and discuss the weekly vocabulary words. We have three words each week. We come up with a hand gesture for each word and every time they hear that word during the week they perform the hand gesture that matches. *Examples* feast-we acted like we had a fork and we were eating male-boys pointed to themselves and the girls pointed to a boy beside them.

Weekly IRA Layout

Each day’s lesson typically takes about 30 minutes. I write the questions I will be asking that day on a sticky note with the day of the week I want to ask them and stick it on the appropriate page. That way I know when to stop in the book to talk. My students have a reading journal they bring to the carpet with them every day to complete their writing responses in. 

You will use an anchor chart that your class will add to throughout the week that will include the essential question for the week, vocabulary words, standard being covered and their learning.

*On Monday you will mainly focus on just reading the whole book all the way through with little interruptions. Students will listen for vocabulary words and have a writing response to complete.  

*Tuesday you will read the first half of the book again. Students will turn and talk with their partner, have a writing response to complete, listen for vocabulary words and this is the first day you will really start discussing the weekly standard. 

*Wednesday is a copy of Tuesday but you will read the last half of the book. 

*Thursday and Friday will be when students complete some type of culminating activity to go along with the book or weekly standard. It may be a project that takes both days to complete or it may be a different activity each day. Some weeks it may be using a different book to do some comparing and contrasting.

What is a Culminating Activity?
Culminating activities are what the students will complete after your deep study of the text. They will require students to think about the most important things you presented to them during the week aligning to the standard being taught. This gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their level of mastery over the standard. They could be anything from speaking, drawing, writing, etc. but the main purpose is to allow students to show their mastery in a meaningful practice. Most include a cute craft that can go along with the lesson for that day. 

Want To Try It Out For Free?
If you think this is something your class would enjoy then try out a week's lesson for free. This lesson uses the book Who Would Win? Rhino vs. Hippo. If you don't have the book it is available on YouTube. I like to mute the reader so I can read it to my class and pause on the pages where I need students to discuss. 

Thanks for reading and I truly hope you try out IRAs in your classroom and that you and your students enjoy it!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Addition and Subtraction Escape Room STEM Challenge FREEBIE

Today I had my first graders review addition and subtraction strategies within 20 with this super fun escape room STEM challenge. 

First we read the problem which really got them excited!

Next, they had to complete all of the clue cards and write the answer on their clue check off page. I had to check off each box before they got to move on to the STEM challenge. There is a black and white version so that students can play individually or a color version if you want to print a few copies and have them play in groups. 

Once they get get all of their boxes checked off they get to start on the STEM challenge. They had to create a pumpkin patch marble maze. They had to mark a start and finish and draw the path their marble would travel. They even used pumpkin shaped candy for obstacles. If they completed this challenge they escaped the pumpkin patch and got a completion badge!

They LOVED this and it was such a fun thing to do on a Friday afternoon. If you think your class would enjoy this then check it out for FREE in my TPT shop!