Friday, July 20, 2012

Cloudette: A Must-Read Pic Book!

My position at my school is two-fold:  I am an elementary reading specialist and a literacy coach for preschool to grade 5.  Although most of my day is spent working with students, I do work with teachers, modeling lessons and helping to implement new techniques, programs, and strategies.  I love both aspects of my job, and the only complaint I have is one you all can relate to: I need more time!

When I work with students, I usually have a 30-45 minute time slot for a pull-out or a push-in. My position may be a little different than at your school.  Last year I used the program Corrective Reading for three students for 40 minutes a day, but other than that, I have created my own program for literacy enrichment and interventionThe program changes each year as I adapt it to students' needs.  Depending on the students, my program is carefully blended and crafted to include Guided Reading, elements of Reading Recovery, Reciprocal teaching, and Daily 5/CAFEThrow in some differentiated instruction, Universal Design for Learning, technology, and CCSS, and there you have it!

All of this is my long-winded way of saying, that when I create units/packets/activities, they cannot be too large because I do not have a large literacy block.  Plus, my purpose is different than that of a classroom teacher.  I entered teaching in the late 1980s, the peak of whole language and thematic teaching.  So, it is natural for me, it's in my blood, to want to create huge, thematic, integrated, units, especially when the text is very, very good.  But, I just cannot do so with my current position.  So, what I mostly create is designed for small group intervention, remediation, and enrichment.

 My new literacy activity unit/packet that I just listed is based on my new favorite book, Cloudette, by Tom Lichtenheld.  I read this sweet little picture book last spring and bought it as gift for the three 2nd graders I worked with.  What a wonderful story to teach students how very important they are and that they have the propensity to do great things!  An added bonus is that you can integrate it with a weather unit!  Click on the pic below to see the listing.

The focus of the packet is working with words: vocabulary, compound words, and contractions.  I included a thinking journal for students to interact with the text and to develop their comprehension.  Some active reading strategies I included are:  predicting, visualizing, cause-effect, inferring, and more!

I bought my copies from a Scholastic book order last year for just a few dollars.

You can grab the FREE weather thinking map I used in the packet by clicking on the pic below.  This is designed to use before, during, and after reading to activate prior knowledge, document learning, and for assessment after reading.

Graphics by KPM Doodles 

I cannot wait to use this with my students at the beginning of the school year. Many of my students struggle with self-confidence and feeling "smaller" than their peers. The packet is designed for first and second grades, but my 5 year old loved the story as well, and it can be used with kindergarten students with modifications. My very selective and particular 6 year old who claims not to like anything "cute" thought it was a hoot!! Driving in the car today he said, "Look!  That little cloud looks just like Cloudette!  I wonder what she will do?"

Take time today to admire nature's beauty and yes, the cuteness of clouds!  If you have not read this picture book yet, make sure you a grab a copy!

Happy Weekend!

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