Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Small touches matter: Ideas for Reading Groups and a FREEBIE

Happy Hump Day!  I am gone again today, but I left you in good hands!  Please welcome my guest blogger today~

The Enchanted Kinder Garden

Hi!!! *waves excitedly* My name is Keri over from Enchanted Kinder Garden. I am in my 6th year of teaching. Five years have been in kindergarten and last year I was in 1st grade. I was soooo super excited when I found out I would be able to do a guest blog for Lauren. This is my VERY first time blogging as a guest and I'm just all smiles! Thanks Lauren!

Now... I had my idea of what I wanted to write about last month. I waited and waited to write it and of course, I changed my mind. So today, I wanted to write about how small things make a HUGE difference. This year, I changed schools and changed reading series. I've gotten so used to teaching Harcourt Storytown for the past 5 years - that I didn't know any other way of life. I had gotten so accustomed to teaching it, that I really did not need to look at the book.

BOY! That has CHANGED. Scott Foresman Reading Street is a whole different planet compared to Storytown. With that being said, I am absolutely the worst reading teacher right now. I hope I'm not the only one that has ever felt that way. My small group instruction time is seriously in need of construction and a pick me up. I had to think of something to do quickly before I got too far into the school year and began to HATE small group. I went into Michael's one day to make something not for school and ran upon something. I ended up walking out with this boatload of stuff. Two things happen to be for school.

Can you tell how much I love crafting? Yes, I craft in my spare time which is usually once every six months. There in the upper left corner - my two items purchased to bring some sprucing and enjoyment to small group.

THESE! How easily can this set of bats and this set of jack-o-lanterns spruce up some alphabets?!

I previously purchased these at Michael's as well. All things were purchased either on sale/clearance AND with a coupon off my entire purchase. I paid nearly next to nothing for them all. So would you like to see what I came up with? My students are having the HARDEST time identifying letters, beginning sounds, and objects that begin with a certain sound.

The first way that I thought of was to add a clothespin to a different chart. I only did one pumpkin and one bat. I added a letter card with the clothespin. I laid it on a table/floor and drew one picture to start it off. I also added the beginning letter next to it as a label, since we've been working on labeling our pictures with the beginning sound. I let the students come around during centers and draw a picture to match the letter on the chart. This way, they had a letter to look at, a picture to see, and a model of a picture to begin with. I ended up with an alligatior, an ant eating an apple, and a dinosaur whose name begins with an a... I let that one go since I have a child that is obsessed with dinos.

The second way, I added on a letter to the clothespins with velcro. I decided not to hot glue them simply because I only have six each. I thought six is an awesome number for small group. I have five in my largest group and one could be saved over for me to model with. I attached each to a bag.This way, we could each have a bag at a time and work on them in some form. I pulled some picture cards from a game that I made and allowed them to sort the pictures into the bags. This could vary by adding a picture to the clothespin and making rhyming words. You could also add a number which I might try next and add 1, 2, and 3. We can sort pictures by the number of syllables in each word. We have been working on that and this would be an easy way to help practice sorting.

Also, I used them as bookmarks when one of my groups ran longer and I wanted to keep them on the right page in our readers. Can you think of any other ways that these can be used for reading?

Just a quick walk through a store will help anyone bring an old and ugly brown bag to LIFE, excitement to pick that book up from yesterday, and a way to bring your illustrations for a particular letter to life. Hope you can find something quick and simple to make once you take a walk through the clearance section of any store. Enjoy! I've left you with a freebie that I made to go with my syllable game!

Thank you much Keri for these very cute ideas!  The little things do matter to our students and they do notice!  Make sure you stop on over at Keri's blog for more teaching ideas!

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