Changing weather, cooler temperatures, and color changes are all signs of the arrival of fall. There's something magical about the colors, sounds, and smells of fall. Students often find themselves more engaged in learning when they are surrounded by the beauty of nature. Whether it's studying the changing colors of leaves, identifying different animals, or learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin, outdoor lessons are inherently captivating.
Fresh air and natural surroundings can help improve students' focus and stimulate their creativity. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can boost cognitive function and problem-solving skills, making outdoor classrooms an ideal setting for critical thinking activities.
Spending time outdoors has been linked to improved mental health and reduced stress levels. Fall's cool, crisp air and the calming influence of nature can help students feel more relaxed and connected to the world around them.
The hands on experiences and fresh air also invigorate students and engage them in their learning.
Fall is the perfect time to encourage physical activity among students. Hiking, nature walks, and outdoor games not only promote exercise but also foster teamwork and social interaction. Getting students moving in a natural setting can help overcome the hours of sitting in classrooms and keep them engaged.
There are many different subjects that can be taught outdoors. Each of these add a real world element to the students' learning and experience. Integrating social studies and science activities into your fall outdoor learning adventures can provide a well-rounded educational experience. To further enrich your fall outdoor learning adventures, try incorporating some math and language activities into the mix.
Here are some suggestions for social studies, science, math, and language arts that might be of interest.
• visiting local historical landmarks
* learning about fall harvest and traditions
• using maps and doing a geography scavenger hunt
• leaf identification activities
• studying the pumpkin life cycle
• weather monitoring
• learning about weathering and erosion
* keeping a nature journal
• stream study
• learning about seed dispersements
• nature math scavenger hunt
• using measurement skills outdoors
• fall data collection
• outdoor poetry writing
• nature journaling with descriptive writing
• vocabulary scavenger hunt (looking for examples in nature)
• reading fall themed books
Here are some preparation tips that will help make your outdoor sessions successful.
Select an outdoor location that suits your curriculum and learning objectives. Local parks, forested areas, the seashore, or even your school's own outdoor spaces can be transformed into effective learning environments. Make sure students are dressed appropriately for the fall weather. Layers, hats, and gloves are essential to keep everyone comfortable during outdoor lessons.
Tailor your lessons to incorporate the unique features of fall. Explore topics like the changing colors of leaves, the science behind falling leaves, the life cycle of pumpkins, or even Halloween-themed literature.
Bring technology outdoors by using tablets or smartphones for nature observation apps or taking pictures to document findings. This can enhance the learning experience and provide opportunities for digital storytelling.
Make sure that your plans are flexible and adaptable as the weather can be unpredictable and you may need to make changes quickly.
With preparation ahead of time and some back up ideas in case of change, getting outside to learn is worth the effort and will benefit your students.
Embracing the great outdoors during the fall season is a fantastic way to enhance your students' learning experience. The benefits of outdoor education are numerous, from improved engagement and focus to enhanced physical and mental well-being. By incorporating nature into your curriculum, you can create unforgettable learning moments and inspire a lifelong love for the natural world in your students. So, this fall, take your class outside and let the wonders of the season become your classroom.
Happy outdoor learning!
It's that time of year again. Summer break is ending for some and nearing the halfway mark for others. Teachers are starting to gear up again and think about the new school year. School supplies are everywhere, back to school ads are appearing on the television and the teacher brain is going into overdrive.
As hard as it is, it's important to try and keep relaxing and recharging so that you don't burn out before the year even gets going.
Does this sound like you?
• can't turn off teacher brain
• wondering how you are going to do assessments
• not finding enough time for planning
• juggling setting up routines while keeping kids engaged
• differentiating for range of ability levels
• trying to make lessons fresh and engaging
So many questions and worries
How can I go on when I am so exhausted?
How will I manage to assess everyone while keeping others engaged?
What if the range in my class is too wide?
I've been there. It is exhausting and at times overwhelming. That's why I have collected some of the different resources and activities that have been successful with my students and I've created The Ultimate Primary Teachers Ready To Go Kit.
These resources and activities can make the beginning of the year enjoyable and less stressful for both you and your students.
Returning to school after summer break isn't always fun for kids. They've been free to do different things without the structure of the classroom routines. Now they have to fit into set schedules, rules, and routines of a new grade and a new teacher.
Engage your students from the very first day with dynamic activities and icebreakers. This kit features interactive games, team-building exercises, and activities that foster a positive classroom community. With the colorful posters and educational activities, you can set up an inspiring learning space that encourages curiosity and exploration.
This comprehensive kit is designed specifically for primary teachers. Packed with a wide range of resources and activities, this kit is your go-to solution for start-of-the-year preparation, emergency sub plans, and engaging substitute teacher activities. From day one to those unexpected absences, it's got you covered!
Check out what it includes
Classroom management resources and ice breakers and some active games
Posters and task cards as well as ice breaker tools and active games that will help you with your classroom routines and management to create a positive classroom environment.
Back To School resources full of activities for the first weeks back
These resources will give your students many different activities to do while you are trying to do assessments or trying to get to know your kids.
Literacy activities for reading, writing, language development
Reading for evidence, working with vocabulary and sounds, task cards for parts of speech and idioms, writing prompts are just a few of the activities here.
Math review for basic operations, graphing, and measurement
Basic math operations review, working with glyphs, and measurement games to get kids ready for more skills as they move on to more abstract concepts.
Science posters, graphic organizers, and experiments to get the year started off right
Positive self esteem activities and resources to create positive mindsets
Get ready to kick off the school year with confidence and ease and ensure a successful academic year for both you and your students. Get The Ultimate Primary Teachers Ready To Go Kit today and experience the peace of mind that comes with being well-prepared!
Not sure if you need the full kit? There are individual kits available as well. There is even a sampler kit for those who want to try just a few of the activities from each area. Check out my TPT store to find out more about the individual kits. If you are ready for a less stressful start to the year grab your ultimate kit now.
Does the following sound like something you might say?
"I want to do guided reading, but I teach French. How can I make it work with kids that have limited French language skills and who are afraid to speak? "
I know it can be more difficult with a second language, but it is possible to make it work successfully.
Benefits of guided reading
First of all, you need to understand why guided reading is something to consider. In most classrooms, kids learn at different speeds and they have different levels of comprehension and language skills. Teaching to the whole class at once doesn't always meet the needs of every student.
Working in smaller groups helps with targeting information that is needed to develop language skills and comprehension and this helps build up confidence. Each group can work on material that's appropriate for their skill level. It works for those who need extra support, those who are doing okay, and those who need enrichment and a challenge.
Those that need more support are able to get it in a safer environment. They will take more risks if they feel encouraged and less intimidated. This will help them to build confidence and be successful.
Guided reading and French
When it comes to teaching FSL with guided reading groups or center activities, the challenge can be greater because of limited understanding of the language. However, guided reading groups can give French beginners the chance to engage with the language in meaningful ways and practice their new skills. They also gain exposure to French in a supportive environment.
Although I don't have a lot of experience with using guided reading in French Immersion, I can tell you that when I was volunteering in a Grade 1/2 French Immersion class, the small groups that I worked with behaved in a similar manner to those guided reading groups I had in my English classroom.
If you choose to do guided reading, it's important to make sure that you have centers set up with appropriate activities and materials for the groups that are not getting direct instruction. At any guided reading center or station, it's important that all participants are given the opportunity to practice their French whether they are working independently or with a partner.
There are definitely challenges to running a guided reading program in early French Immersion classes due to the language skills needed, but it is doable once they have some basic skills. Later on in first grade or in second grade, most students should have enough language skills to handle independent activities at centers if they are taught how to use the different materials and activities.
Extra adult support would be helpful so that multiple stations could be used. If not, you may need to work with any group receiving direct reading instruction while the rest of the class is working on one or two different activities.
Center ideas and activities
if you are able to run multiple centers there are many different activities that you can try. Here are 4 different types of centers that you could consider along with possible activities that can be done at them.
- alphabetizing exercises where words must be sorted into alphabetical order;
- matching word cards with images
- flashcards games
- word bingo
- sorting task cards by sound or rhyme
Sentence building and words center
- Sentence building and word games
- word searches
- sentence building using word wall or word banks
- sentence scrambles
- silly sentences
Listening and recording center
- listening to French songs
- recording stories read
- reciting a poem in French
- engaging in audio reading where they can listen to a story and respond to questions afterward.
- creative writing assignments in French that focus on feelings and emotions;
- responding to text-related questions to build on comprehension skills
- French comprehension worksheets
- filling out simple dialogues with pictures to teach common words and phrases
- making storyboards
- sequencing images to create stories
Other activities to develop French language skills
- role playing skits
- partner reading where students help one another with words they don't understand,
- creating a story together with a partner using select vocabulary words
- using both auditory and visual clues while giving directions in French
- comprehension quizzes on text that they have read
Directed reading group ideas
To help ensure beginning students become proficient French speakers, there are several easy-to-implement French activities that can be applied to your directed guided reading groups. Examples include dictation exercises, introducing stories in chunks and practicing context specific vocabulary; practising letter recognition, phonemic awareness and word building activities; drawing story maps to help narrate the plot; playing dramatic storytelling games or roleplaying French dialogues.
French Language Resources
Here are some French language resources that I created and used in the classroom while volunteering. They may be helpful as you set up different activities and centers for your class.
Themed vocabulary word match activities
vocabulary task cards
escape room activity
word games and activities
Using guided reading and centers in French classes can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. By using creative tips and tricks to engage your students in their learning environment, they are sure to see progress.
Here is a new French resource that you could use for vocabulary work or sentence building. It has 81 high frequency French words with the English translations so it can be used for a variety of different activities.
Okay, you've decided to try reading groups. But, what do you do once your guided reading groups are set up? Making the groups is the first step, but in order for the groups to be successful the activities and centers are important as well. Here are some center ideas and tips that may help.
Directed guided reading group
The directed guided reading group is the one that gets direct instruction from the teacher. This group will do reading and perhaps some followup discussion or activities together with the teacher as they focus on a specific skill or concept.
The centers listed below are stations that can be used for the rotation of other groups. Depending on the number of groups you have, some centers may or may not be used every time.
Center 1 - Vocabulary Activities Station
Sight word games and vocabulary matching games are great for building up a working vocabulary. Using images and words and doing matching activities helps to imprint words with the objects they represent. These can be done with partners or individually and they can be a lot of fun.
Word searches and crossword puzzles are also great for vocabulary development.
Center 2 - Sentence Building Station
Word sorts and sentence building are also good for centers. Using word walls, personal dictionaries, picture dictionaries or word banks help with creating sentences. Doing silly sentence activities help with learning parts of speech and creating sentences with adjectives, nouns, and verbs. They also create laughter because they can be pretty silly. Click here if you would like to check out some themed sets.
Center 3 - Listening And Recording Station
Listening centers are great for listening to stories and following along with text. They can also be used for practicing reading along with the audio recording. If microphones are available and connected to computers, the students can record themselves and listen to themselves. This is a good way to help them understand what they sound like and can help them develop fluency.
Center 4 - Bingo Station
A bingo station could also be set up at a center and used for a variety of different language skills. Letter recognition and sight words are two things that come to mind. Use your own creativity to choose other types of skills that might work. Maybe the choices could be based on the books or subjects being studied.
Center 5 - Writing Station
You could also have a writing station where comprehension activities or writing extensions are provided. These could be reading responses, character studies, storyboards, retelling or continuing stories, or journaling. There are many other options, but you get the idea.
These are a few ideas that may help with setting up your centers. Depending on the abilities of your students and the space available, one area could be for silent reading. Sometimes kids just need time to read.
Don't forget that board games and other language activities are also great to use. Puppetry and readers' theater activities also work, but you need the space so there isn't too much noise. Otherwise, this could interfere with other groups and cause distractions.
When it comes to creating stations, it is up to you to decide on what to set up based on the needs of your students and the availability of materials and equipment. Whatever you choose, these stations will help make guided reading successful if they are well planned and kids know what to do.
Here's a sight word sampler for your vocabulary activities station.
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Guided reading is a great way to meet the needs of your students and develop a love for reading, or at least less of a distaste for it. The other good thing about this is it can work in other languages too.
If you are teaching FSL, or even French Immersion, you can still use guided reading effectively. It may take some adjusting for the language skills that the kids have, but with some creativity and activities that can be done independently, it can be done. Organization and group management will be key for success.
Note: I will share more tips for how to make this work with French in a future post.
When it comes to reading, there can be many different levels and abilities in a classroom. Guided reading allows for small group instruction that focuses on skills and materials that are suitable for the students in each group. It may seem difficult to imagine running several groups in one classroom, but it is possible and it does ensure that kids of similar needs can get the instruction that best suits them. Those needing a challenge or enrichment are also able to do more complex work and not feel like they are being ignored.
There are several different components that I include when doing guided reading groups. I feel it is important to include reading, responding to reading, listening, speaking, vocabulary and writing activities as well as followup games and activities to practice skills taught. By incorporating all of these elements through centers and rotations, it is possible to have several groups working at the same time.
Getting started with guided reading
There are a few steps involved in creating and running guided reading groups.
First, you need to decide on how many will be in each group and do some assessment of the kids. This will help you determine what their needs are, what level materials they need, what skills are missing or weak, what time commitment may be needed and what kinds of rotations may work.
This may seem daunting, but it can be done. If you have extra support, that will help you determine how to create the groups.
Determining groups based on assessment
Assessment is important if you want to provide your students with the best instruction, but it is difficult to do a formal assessment of all your students while teaching your lessons. I found informal assessments worked just as well. They give you a chance to connect individually with each child and they also seem to help the child relax.
Use a selection of material from a variety of different levels and topics and try out some of them to see what would be a good fit to start with. I usually did this while others were doing some quiet seat work or silent reading.
Once you finish an informal assessment on the kids, look for similar abilities and make your groups based on this. Sometimes you will have to group a couple of levels together to avoid too many groups, but always made sure that those requiring the most support have no more than 4 or 5 in them. If you have extra support in the classroom, you can adjust the sizes somewhat.
Note: In a second language situation, the groups may be slightly bigger if you are working on language acquisition and vocabulary skills, but it is still important to keep groups small for those who may be struggling.
What to do when your groups are formed
Once you have formed some guided reading groups, it's important to figure out what time you have available and how you will create a rotation that will allow for the best use of the time. This may mean that not all groups get individual attention with you each day, but they will all have activities that will support their reading when they are not reading with you.
It's important that those needing the most support get direct instruction during your reading time. Others will get direct instruction on a rotating basis. The number of groups you create will help determine how your rotations work and this will help with organizing them.
Once you have a plan for your rotations, it's important to make sure that your students understand how the different activities or centers work and what their responsibilities are. While one group is getting direct instruction, it's important that the other groups know what they are to do. This could be reading, responding to reading, language activities, centers, listening activities or other language related activities. This will need to be taught so that everyone understands and you are not putting out fires during your guided reading instruction.
Planning and preparing
Once you have your rotations organized, it's important to make sure that you have a plan for how the groups move from one activity to the next. Creating a flow chart or a schedule can help. Practicing the movement is also important.
Materials should be prepared ahead of time so that the flow isn't disrupted by searching for materials or equipment.
Set up baskets with the materials for each guided reading group to ensure that you aren't hunting for things during the direct instruction. Gather up materials and equipment for each center or activity and have them in place before starting the rotations. This will help make your guided reading sessions flow smoothly and successfully.
Check out my TPT store for some resources that may help. I have a guided reading category, sight word category, and literacy category with materials that can work for reading groups. I also have several French resources available.
Note: It is not always possible to have several groups happening at the same time. Sometimes you may need to have one or two activities that the others are working on while you work with one group. You need to do what works for you.
I hope these ideas help and that you give guided reading a try.
Next time I will elaborate more about activities and centers that might work with the different groups.
Did you learn a second language when you were in school? How comfortable would you be using it now? Imagine for a moment, that you were thrust into a situation where you needed to communicate and the only language spoken was the one you learned years ago at school. I suspect you would be tongue-tied and maybe even a bit petrified to attempt to speak at all. But, there is hope.
It can be like riding a bicycle
Learning a second language can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be there in the future as you need it. Often people say it is like riding a bicycle. With a bit a practice it will come back from the cobwebs of our memories.
It can sometimes be difficult to re-learn how to speak and write in a second language after not using it for a long time. Even the most experienced second language speakers feel shy or rusty when it’s been a while. However, like riding a bicycle, all of those skills you developed come back to you quickly when you start using the second language again. To help with confidence when speaking and writing in your second language, try taking an online course that reviews basic grammar and conversation topics. This can help refresh your memory and get conversations flowing again. Plus, we all need to practice our second language from time to time so that we don’t lose the skill entirely!
Sometimes you need a reason why
I still remember when I started to refresh my French after not using it since high school. My kids were entering into French Immersion and I wanted to be able to understand what they were working on and help them out. I took a couple of courses through online university and with a bit of practice, I became comfortable with the language again.
I started to help out in the classroom and this made it easier to see how to use simpler forms of the language to communicate with the kids. I also was able to practice my French with the kids without fear of any mistakes I might make with gender usage.
Note: I still find it tough to remember which nouns are masculine and which are feminine. I often keep a dictionary nearby to check this out or I go to an online dictionary.
I am so glad that I did brush up on my French, because when I first started teaching, I ended up in a long-term substitute situation where I needed to teach Grade 1 French Immersion for 4 months. With the help of my colleagues and with my knowledge of how to teach different subjects, I was able to create materials and lessons that worked. It was scary, but I realized that I could do it. That immersion into my own kids' classrooms helped me to learn simpler ways of communicating with my students and I was able to transfer that to my classroom situation.
Following the 4 months in Grade 1, I ended up teaching French Immersion music for 9 years. This meant I needed to learn all the specific French jargon and terminology for music. Talk about choosing to jump into the fire! But I did it.
Who knew that Frère Jacques could be sung so many ways in Kindergarten. I used it to teach emotions, beat, rhythm, echoing, and many other things when I first had the kids who knew no French. They thought that I was very silly, but they had fun joining me.
You may need to refresh more than once
Fast forward several years, and my French was rusty again from lack of use. I decided to do something about that because my grandchildren were entering French Immersion. I started to brush up on my French and volunteer in my grandson's classroom. I started creating resources for my older grandson who was going to go into Late Immersion and I started to tutor some other students who were going into Late Immersion.
It was much faster getting my fluency this time. The grammar made sense and the vocabulary came back quickly. Creating the resources and using them with beginners also helped me to find out where things needed to be modified to make them work better.
If you are interested in checking out some French resources that work for young learners or those beginning in Late Immersion or FSL, check out my French categories in my TPT store.
If you want excitement, watch how kids react to the first sign of snow.
When I woke up a few days ago, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. Little did I know when I headed to school, it would be a few inches by lunch time. The kids kept looking out the window and watching the clock waiting for recess break so they could get outside and play.
Of course this meant allowing more time for bundling up and preparing to go outside, then unbundling and dealing with snowy gear when they came back inside, as well as the many stories they had to tell about playing in the snow.
Teachable moments are rampant at times like this. I like to use these events as springboards into different activities. You can still meet requirements of the curriculum by adding them in, they just have a fun twist to capture the excitement and focus of the kids.
I learned early on to take advantage of this excitement instead of trying to squash it so that they could get back to work. Here are a few different ideas that I would do.
Story telling and writing
I would build in time to allow them to share their stories and then I would use that to help them write stories. Story writing using the fun activities they did outside can help even the most hesitant writer to put pen to paper.
Once I had my class imagine what it would be like if the city froze. We talked about all kinds of crazy scenarios and possibilities and after brainstorming as a group, each person did some more brainstorming on their own. Then, they wrote stories and tried to add in many details and descriptive words to paint the picture in the reader's mind. Sharing the stories later was so much fun.
Here is the template we used for the stories.
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Math And Science Activities
Sometimes, I would take a math or science approach. This might include measuring the snow, seeing how long it takes to melt when brought inside, building a fort outside, seeing who can throw a snowball the farthest, making snow families, or checking the temperature at different times of the day to see if it gets colder or warmer.
If you live in a place that doesn't get snow, you could try doing some activities that might mimic those we did.
For example: Use rolled up socks as pretend snowballs and see who can throw them the farthest.
Shave up some ice and form snowballs and try to make a small snowman.
Use ice cubes to build small forts
Check the temperatures in different parts of the world for a few days in a row and then graph the results.
Imagine what a snow day would be like and write about it.
There are several winter language and math activities that you can do, but adding in the real life moments just makes them so much more fun.
Here are some other winter resources that might be of interest as the cold, white days continue.
Winter Sports Bundle
Winter Word Work Language Activities
Winter Parts Of Speech Silly Sentences
For lots more ideas, check out my winter math and literacy category.
Winter novel studies are also a great way to include a winter theme into your language arts. Here are some novel studies that might interest you.
Emma's Magic Winter
The Kids In Ms. Coleman's Class - Snow War
Horrible Harry And The Holidaze
Grab the excitement and wonder of winter and add it to your lessons for more engagement and motivation. I would love to hear some of the other ways you weave winter into your lessons.
Don't forget to grab your free copy of Frozen writing templates.
From the time children are babies, we talk, sing, and make gestures to get them to respond to us and we are so excited when we hear them squeak and coo. This is oral communication at its best. We've made a connection and started the process of language development.
Importance of oral communication
Oral communication is such an important way to develop language and literacy skills. It is through oral communication that children learn to articulate their thoughts and experiences, to engage with others, and to build their vocabulary and comprehension.
Oral communication doesn't begin when a child goes to school. It begins from the time the child is a baby. The more we interact with kids when they are infants, the better they are able to communicate their feelings and needs.
Teachers can build on those early communication skills when the children begin school, but the richer the experiences as infants and toddlers, the more successful they will be with their educational experiences.
Though oral communication is sometimes viewed as simply talking, it is actually a complex process that employs all the language arts skills. When we oral communicate effectively, we are able to share our thoughts and feelings with others in a clear and concise way.
Oral communication is so much more than just speaking. It is an oral language activity that uses all the elements of Language Arts including listening, viewing, speaking, writing, and critically thinking. When we communicate orally, we are not only using words but our whole body to express ourselves through intonation, facial expressions, gestures, and body language.
Oral communication helps children to develop language skills, and it also encourages them to be creative and expressive. There are many different ways to encourage oral communication in the classroom. We communicate orally when we tell stories, sing songs, read books out loud, enact scenes from plays, and present oral reports.
In the classroom, oral communication activities can range from choral reading and readers theater to storytelling and circle time discussions.
Choral reading and readers theater
With choral reading, the whole class reads a book together, taking turns to read different parts. This is a great way to get everyone involved, and it can also help to build confidence in those who are less confident readers. Because they are reading as a group, the fear of making mistakes and struggling with reading is lessened.
Another way to encourage oral communication is through readers theater. This is where children take on the roles of different characters in a play and read their lines aloud. This is a great way for children to practice their oral reading skills, and it also allows them to be creative and have fun. They can sometimes add different actions and voices as they read.
Plays and puppetry
Puppetry and class plays are great ways to promote oral communication skills. These activities provide opportunities for children to practice speaking in front of an audience, to listen to others, and to develop confidence in their oral communication skills. The actors are able to use body language and actions to further emphasize the words and voices they use for their roles. The audience practices the skills of listening and viewing to make sense out of what is being expressed on stage.
Audio books and music
Listening is a big component in oral communication. It is important to be able to listen and understand when someone is speaking or sharing information through other mediums. Using audio books and music is a great way to help develop listening skills. Messages are being shared without the visual part, so it is necessary to listen more closely to understand what is being shared.
Doing interviews is another great way to develop oral communication skills. Not only does it require being able to speak, but also to listen so that both parties are able to understand and share ideas and thoughts.
Being part of a podcast involves listening and speaking as well. The difference is, you can't necessarily see the other person, so you need to be able to figure out meaning from the words and intonation of the speakers.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help your students build their oral communication skills. So have fun and get creative!
Have you ever reflected back on why you teach the way you do? What made you use that story? How did you know what to do when a certain situation arose? Could you have approached things in a different way?
Teaching kids language skills so they are able to communicate effectively can be complicated at times. There are so many different experiences and abilities to take into consideration.
I started to do some self reflection and realized that some of my most valuable lessons and ideas have come from raising my own children. As I stumbled through those first few years helping them learn to talk, read, write, and self regulate, I found myself creating a toolkit of skills and resources that would ultimately go with me into the classroom.
Who knew those constant "why ......? questions would shape my teaching for years to come.
I have 4 children and as might be expected, they all learn differently. What worked for one child didn't necessarily work the same way for the others. Sounds like most classroom situations, right? That means that we need to have multiple ways to approach each situation so that we can help all our students to be successful as they learn.
Let's focus on language development for today.
Language development requires being able to recognize sounds, letters, and how all of this goes together to communicate.
One of the best ways to help children develop strong language skills is to combine oral communication with phonemic awareness and phonics instruction. By combining all of these elements, you can create a powerful tool for teaching language development.
When it comes to teaching language development skills, phonemic awareness and phonics are two of the most important concepts for primary teachers to understand. Simply put, phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. Phonics is the relationship between those sounds and the letters that represent them.
How we approach teaching these skills will vary depending on the abilities of our students, our teaching styles, and of course access to resources and support available.
There are many different ways to approach phonemic awareness and phonics instruction. Some teachers prefer to work on phonemic awareness activities first, and then move on to teaching phonics. Others teach phonics from the beginning, using games and activities to make it fun and engaging for students.
Whichever approach you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it's important to make sure that your students are comprehending what you're teaching them. Second, be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for practice. And finally, don't forget to mix things up now and then- kids learn best when they're having fun!
Phonemic awareness and phonics activities
There are a variety of phonemic awareness and phonics activities that you can do with your students. Here are a few ideas.
Word work activities are a great way to practice phonemic awareness and phonics skills. Word family activities, segmenting and blending, for example, help students learn about how individual sounds come together to form words. These activities are essential for helping students develop phonemic awareness and phonics skills.
One way to introduce phonemic awareness is through rhyming games. You can start by saying a word and having your child say a word that rhymes with it. As they get better at identifying rhyming words, you can start saying a series of words and have them identify the word that doesn't rhyme. This will help them to start thinking about the individual sounds in words.
Another popular activity is called "sound swapping". To do this, you'll need a list of words that all begin with the same sound (for example, hat, ham, hog). Write each word on a separate sheet of paper or index card. Then mix up the cards and have your students draw one from a pile. The goal is for them to read the word aloud and then swap out one of the phonemes (sounds) to create a new word. For example, if they draw the word "hog," they might change the /h/ sound to a /t/ sound to create the word "tog." This activity is great for practicing phonemic awareness skills while also reinforcing letter-sound relationships.
Word families activities are a great way to reinforce phonics skills. A word family is a group of words that share the same ending sound (-at, -an, -ig, etc.). You can introduce word families by reading aloud a list of words from the same family (-at words: cat, hat, rat, bat). Then challenge your students to come up with additional words from that same family (-at words: mat, sat). Once they've had some practice with this, you can start mixing things up by having them create words from different families (-am words: jam, ham) .
Word family activities not only help students understand how different letter combinations can create new sounds; they also provide valuable practice in blending and segmenting words - two essential skills for reading success!
My son loved to try and read words he saw around him and he liked to have me make word lists and tape them to his closet door from the time he was a toddler. I still remember all the "ss" word lists. He would read through them and try to figure out other words that might go in each list.
Read alouds are a great way to model phonemic awareness and phonics skills for students. When you read aloud, pay attention to the rhythm and flow of the words. Point out how the different sounds come together to form words. You can also do some fun language activities together, like clapping out the syllables in words or finding words that start with the same sound.
My daughter used to listen to me read books to her and then she would record herself reading the books. I was amazed at how well she was able to copy the intonation and fluency from an early age. It goes to show the importance of reading aloud to help with language development and oral communication.
The concept of print is also important for primary students to understand, as it helps them to make connections between what they see on a page and the words that correspond to those images.
Sight word games help students to learn how letter-sound relationships work. For example, students might be asked to match pictures with words or to identify words that begin with a certain sound. These games are not only fun for students, but they also help them to develop a better understanding of how written language works.
Here are several themed sight word sets and activities that may be helpful.
The importance of phonemic awareness and phonics cannot be overstated. These skills are essential for language development and reading comprehension. Without them, students would have difficulty understanding spoken or written language.
The ultimate goal of phonemic awareness and phonics instruction is to improve reading comprehension. So go ahead and get started on some fun phonemic awareness and phonics activities with your students today!
This is a sampler of alphabet sounds game board that is free for my newsletter subscribers. If you are interested in the full resource, you can find it here.
Teaching kids reading nowadays is a juggling act, balancing a wide range of abilities and skills with confusion, engagement, and boredom. Differentiation is a must, not a suggestion anymore. Full class lessons are often replaced with guided reading groups.
Planning guided reading groups
Guided reading can be a bit daunting for primary teachers. When you consider all of the different guided reading activities, it's no wonder we sometimes feel overwhelmed! But guided reading doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, planning guided reading groups is actually quite simple, and the benefits are well worth the effort. Here are a few tips to get you started.
First, do some pre-assessment to decide on appropriate reading levels to start with. Then, choose texts that are appropriate for the levels of your students.
Next, decide what you want your students to focus on during guided reading.
Finally, don't forget about word work!
Choose appropriate texts
Once you have decided on the levels for each reading group, it's important to have a variety of materials and topics available so that all students can be successful. You want to make sure that the texts are interesting and engaging.
It's important to select books that are not too difficult or too easy, as this can lead to frustration or boredom. Fortunately, there are now many leveled readers available, so finding the perfect books for your groups should be a snap.
Decide on the group focus
The needs for each group will be different. You will need to decide on what the focus will be based on these needs. Do you want them to work on fluency? Comprehension? Vocabulary development? Once you know your goals, you can choose activities and games that will help your students meet those objectives.
Don't forget word work
You'll need to prepare your guided reading materials. This includes creating sight word lists, preparing word work activities, and generating questions for each group. You'll need to select language activities and games that are appropriate for each group.
This is an important part of guided reading, and it's a great way to help students build their vocabulary and sight word recognition skills. There are many fun and engaging ways to incorporate word work into guided reading, so get creative and have fun!
Setting up guided reading groups
Guided reading is a great way to help your students improve their reading skills. But how do you set up guided reading groups? And what should you do with the different groups?
Managing multiple guided reading groups can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier.
First, make sure you have a clear plan for each session. This will help you stay organized and keep the groups moving along at a good pace.
Second, provide clear instructions and model each activity before jumping into small groups.
Build in some flexibility into your schedule so that you can adjust as needed.
Finally, it's important to monitor the groups and adjust as needed. This might include changing the texts or activities based on student progress or adding in intervention or enrichment activities.
If you would like more specifics about setting up groups, check out these posts.
Guided Reading - Getting Started
Running A Guided Reading Program
Keeping kids on task
Once you get your guided reading groups set up, you need to make sure that kids are staying on task. Here are five guided reading activities that will help keep your young readers engaged:
1. Read the first sentence of the story together and have them predict what will happen next. This is a great way to get them thinking about the story and making predictions.
2. Ask them questions about the characters and what they think the characters might do next. This gets them invested in the story and thinking about the characters' motivations.
3. Have them illustrate a scene from the story. This allows them to use their imagination and really visualize what's going on in the story.
4. Have them retell the story in their own words. This helps to solidify their understanding of the story and gives you an opportunity to check for comprehension.
5. Put together a class book with illustrations from each student. This is a great way to end a guided reading unit and gives everyone a chance to see their work in print!
Guided reading is a great way to support your students' literacy development. By taking some time to plan and prepare ahead of time, you'll be ready to make the most of this instructional approach! By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to success with guided reading!
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.