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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Exemplar Texts for the Common Core - Informational Text

In the last couple of months, I've posted Exemplar Read Aloud Texts for the Common Core , and  Exemplar Texts for the Common Core - Stories.

Today I'm getting to my favorite category of Exemplar Texts:  The Informational Texts!

The Exemplar Texts are books that are recommended for this level because of the complexity and quality of the texts.  Children in these grades should be reading many books of this complexity and quality, these are just examples.

Here are links to some of the Informational Texts recommended for grades 2 and 3.

For more information about the Exemplar Texts for the Common Core see my blog at Elementary Matters.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Root instruction is critical to vocabulary devlopment and is now in Common Core K-5!  Check out these great freebies to kick off your root instruction!!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Determining Central Idea and Writing Summaries for Non-Fiction

As early as grade 2, students must be able to begin to identify a main idea in their reading. The concept of finding a main or central idea and being able to provide an objective summary of a text continues to be found in each grade, up to grade 12.

These two worksheets will help your students learn to identify the main or central idea of a nonfiction text, then convert the text to a clear, concise summary.

These can be used effectively in grades 5 and up!

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sight Words-It's Not Just A Common Core Thing!

Common Core tells us we need to be teaching sight words.  Common sense tells us that too. doesn't it?  Students need to achieve quickness and accuracy with common sight words to make their job of reading a little easier.  We all know if they are working too hard to decode words, there is not enough brain power left for comprehension of the story.  Building up our students' reading fluency is an important step in their reading progress.

My students like to practice sight words.  I try to make it fun for them.  I've done some things on the Smartboard.  But when I created these slides for them they loved them!  

fun sight word practice
Dolch Preprimer Sight Words

fun sight word practice
Dolch Primer Sight Words

fun sight word practice
Dolch First Grade Sight Words
fun sight word practice
Dolch Second Grade Sight Words

I have themed each group of Dolch sight words differently.  Then if you use more than one set with your class, your students see new slides.  My kids were very excited when these went up on the Smartboard because they liked the pictures and it wasn't as boring as just black and white.  I did make each slide exactly the same to be sure they were learning the words and not the pictures that went with them.  These packs are not looped either.  I find that when they are timed to go on a lot of time my students are not ready and it causes frustration.  All you or the student has to do is touch the Smartboard screen or click the mouse to advance to the next slide.

These sight words can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be shown on the Smartboard as I have mentioned.  You could also use them on an individual computer in a literacy center station.  You can also print them off to make a class book for students to practice on.  And you could individually choose which slides to print for students to take home a printed version of just the words they need to work on at home or keep in their desk.

I hope that I have given you another way to help make learning sight words fun for your students!

Conversations in Literacy

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricanes and the Common Core

It seems that we just had one extreme condition that got the kids talking,  (See Turning an Earthquake into Learning.) when another extreme condition comes along!  Yes, Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm) is heading our way!

This storm is unique in a couple of ways:
  1. It is a HUGE slow moving storm.  According to the local news, the storm winds extend 500 miles from the eye of the storm. Yes, that's 1,000 miles in diameter!  The fact that it's moving so slowly means that the wind and rain will last longer.
  2. It's a full moon tomorrow.  To those of us near the coast, that means the tides will be higher than normal, plus the storm surge pushes that water up even higher.  
We're bracing for coastal damage, flooding, and power failures.

Of course, when you're 7, your biggest concern is trick or treating. The next concern is their electrical games, ipods, ipads, and videos.  I'm thinking this a great opportunity for finding some of those old fashioned ways to have fun!  (Of course, I'll be lost without my laptop, which pretty much has a non-functional battery!)

I was looking for some Informational books on Hurricanes, and found these on Amazon:                                                                 

I've already ordered the Gail Gibbons book!  Her books are great informational text for second graders, they're written with enough information to keep them interesting, yet they're on the child's level so they can understand them.

I turned the earthquake into a writing project on narratives.  I thought I'd turn the hurricane into a writing project on opinion writing!

I'll work on this Common Core Standards:  

Click image to download freebie.
2.W.1:  Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g. because, and also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

I made up this graphic organizer, along with a couple of samples.  I thought they could choose from a few hurricane related topics:  favorite kind of weather, favorite "non-electric" activity, favorite book, etc.  I always believe that children need to talk before they write, so I'd share my samples, and enhance each time to make the story more interesting.