Read Across America, Book Tastings and MARCH Lesson Plans

Hello Teacher Brains!

I hope you all have ready for some March fun with your students!  My dad would say, “Work hard and play hard.”  So, before you hit Spring Break, let’s talk about a lot of work that has gone into helping to ease your workload, but still makes you look like you have been laboring 24/7!

No More Seuss?

Next week is Read Across America Week.  Did you know that they are rebranding?  The week is no longer limited to Dr. Seuss for the celebration.  They even have a new logo that appeals to students of all ages, backgrounds and will celebrate a nation of diverse readers.  Of course, who doesn’t enjoy dressing up like Dr. Seuss characters and serving green eggs and ham, but now the new theme is opening ideas for more activities and resources to encourage reading!

This brings me to my NEW baby! Okay, it’s not a human baby, but I birthed it! Lol

Book Tasting Escape Room

I loved the idea of doing a Book Tasting for the celebration, but I also love doing Escape Rooms.  So, I made a resource to include both! Check it out!  You just add books, plates and tablecloths to the celebration while students discover a challenge and work to beat the clock by “tasting” different book genres.  The genres include non-fiction, fiction, biographies and poetry.  There is a fun video to use at the beginning to HOOK your students.  You can decorate your room simple with adding plates and table clothes or go all out making it a Harry Potter theme or Pizza restaurant.  The sky’s the limit!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon too! This is one of my favorite weeks with leprechaun footprints, glitter and messy rooms.  Here are some of my favorite resources:

St. Patrick’s Day Escape the Room K-3

St. Patrick's Day Escape Room

Leprechaun Headband (hilarious!  The kids love this one!)

Rainbow Craft

How to Catch a Leprechaun Writing

The Paper Leprechaun Activity

Lucky Charms Sorting and Graphing

Leprechaun Unit with Writing and Crafts

Color by Sight Word St. Patrick’s Day Edition

NEW *****NEW****** NEW ******NEW ********NEW

If you Give a STEM Challenge!  This is my new series of STEM activities that relate to Laura Numberoff  books.  She is one of my favorite authors.  I was even LUCKY enough to meet her one time when I first began teaching.  She inspired me to be a writer.  I have two completed.

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie has students reading the story and building a mouse house!  This one is good for primary and intermediate students with different activities to differentiate in a SNAP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Give a Pig A Pancake has student reading the story and building a treehouse for the pig’s brother. So much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need editable word wall templates?  Well, I have you covered with this download.  Just type your words in the text boxes provided, pick your favorite fonts and colors to match your room!

Editable Word Wall Templates

FIRST GRADE TEACHERS,

Check out the 120th Day of School Mystery Escape Room!

I hope you all have a fantastic month! Make sure you are subscribe to my website newsletter so you can keep up with new releases, teacher-author courses and giveaways.

Sprinkling Lucky Fairy Dust on YOU so you can have a great month!

-Cindy

Strategies for Teaching Comprehension

As if teaching the basics of reading is not enough, you are responsible for teaching the most important skill of reading… comprehension.  So your students can read.  GREAT! But, if they can’t understand what they read… Huston, we have a problem.  I always wondered when I would see posts that say, “If you can read this, thank a teacher” how many people can’t read it?  How many can read it, but still don’t understand what it means?  While looking at ways to improve your literacy instruction, try these 5 strategies to improve reading comprehension.

  1.  Activate Prior Knowledge
  2.  Questioning
  3. Analyzing Text Stucture
  4. Visualization
  5. Summarizing

When you use these five strategies, students will begin to comprehend naturally.  Activating prior knowledge is one of my favorite ways to engage students in reading.  Research has shown that comprehension improves when students are engaged.  What better way to engage students than to bridge their old knowledge with new knowledge? For example, if we are going to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, I might ask students to share stories of when they saw a caterpillar or when they felt really hungry.  You will notice that when one student shares a story, they usually all do.  That should not irritate you.  When students are all wanting to share their prior knowledge, YOU GOT THEM!

Of course improving vocabulary skills, fluency, phonics and phonemic awareness are ALL pieces to the puzzle when it comes to comprehension.  Teaching reading can be complex with all the skills needed to be competent readers. Using the five strategies suggested is a great way to ensure students are comprehending what they read.

Narrative, History, Dream, Tell, Fairy Tales, Book

Here are some free reading passages with questions for you to enjoy.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Classroom Ideas for Kids

I was recently asked what I do for St. Patrick’s Day with students.  I am a huge fan of  engaging students through various holidays! St. Patrick’s Day has always been an exciting day with the students joining me in looking for a little trickster leprechaun on campus!

weather unit rainbow

I made a small pair of pants out of green fabric.  I would mess up the room when the kids where at lunch, sprinkle some glitter around the room (even in the toilets), and hang the pants on a cracked open window.  The students would look for the trickster everywhere.  When they would find the pants, we would laugh about how there was a little leprechaun running around without pants.  He would always leave a gold coin on the desk for the students.  Now, how does this fun tie into education?  First, we would read a book about a tricky leprechaun.  I also have a fantastic activity called The Paper Leprechaun where the kids have to make their own paper leprechaun using fine motor skills after listening to a poem, and the pot of gold goes missing.  They write out a personality for the paper leprechaun and then write about how to catch one!  For a home project, the students would make leprechaun traps working on problem solving skills at home with their parents.  These would be shared with the class during the week.  I would sometimes display them in the media center.  During centers, students made rainbow art. Each student would get to make their own LUCKY Shamrock Hat to wear for the day.

paper leprechaun cover      Leprchaun cover

For math, we would sort, count, graph, and eat Lucky Charm cereal. Who doesn’t like a little snack while learning!Lucky Charms Math long

Play some Irish traditional music while the kids are working using Pandora, YouTube, or Amazon.

ST. Patricks day headband

Need some great books to share with your students? Look below…

Building Children’s Vocabulary

Taking time to talk and read with children is a great way to help them hear and read new words.  Adults who have conversations regularly with children allowing them to ask questions about things that are interesting  in a non-threatening way, help build children’s vocabulary.  Children enjoy learning new big words.

Everyone wants children to do well in school.  Building their vocabulary is one way to help them become better readers.  The more background knowledge a reader knows, the better they become at comprehending what they read.  Talking to and reading with children are two great ways to help children hear and read new words.

Sharing a new word with children is quick.  Choose words that are of interest to children.  Usually words that are common with adult speakers, but less common in children’s books are popular.

Provide an example of a new word: Gigantic means something really big.

Then use it in a sentence that relates to daily life:  That monster truck is gigantic.

Next, have the child come up with an example:  The elephant was gigantic.

Last, use the word frequently during the week: Look at this gigantic ball!

Take time to share new words with children every day.  The payoff is GIGANTIC.  You can find some activities in this Yearlong Vocabulary Reading Blocks Program.

Vocabulary Kindergarten - 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program