Sunday, January 25, 2015

Close Reading Nursery Rhyme Edition Part 2

Hey y'all!
Last year I blogged about how I introduce close reading to my littlest learners. I use nursery rhymes to introduce this rigorous skill and truth be told they eat it up!
Here in Texas we don't have Common Core Standards...but we do have our TEKS...and let me tell 'ya they're not that much different from CC. The high expectations and rigor are present in both sets of standards...our students are required to learn so much...and not only that...they need to be able to think critically, analyze, and evaluate...even our little ones! 

In the primary grades our focus is teaching our students how to read...but not just how to decode and read fluently...they also need to be able to comprehend and think critically about the text they read. 

In comes close reading.

Close reading is a reading strategy in which readers critically examine a text through repeated readings. Close reading allows students to dig deeper into the text and answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how. It helps our little learners to look for story structure patterns, new vocabulary, key details, author’s purpose and inferential meanings.
Close reading is engaging and has a defined purpose. It teaches our students to become analytical readers and pay attention to the details in the text.

This is how I do it with my tiny readers...
I choose a nursery rhyme that I know they'll love.
I introduce vocabulary words found in the nursery rhyme. We go over the words and complete a vocabulary graphic organizer.
On the 2nd day of learning the nursery rhyme I give my littles their own copy of the poem. They paste it on their journal and illustrate it on the back. They usually circle sight words, word patterns, or anything that I want them to notice in the text. 
My more advanced readers will get a copy of the poem with words missing...they'll write the words themselves and then follow up with circling sight words, etc. 
On the third day, my littles will get this reading comprehension sheet. We will answer the questions as a class or in a small group. I teach them how to find the answer to the text dependent questions in the nursery rhyme. I also make sure they answer in complete sentences. ;) 
These graphic organizers are also used to support my students' understanding of the nursery rhyme. Sometimes I give them their own organizer and everyone will fill it out. At other times, I run off a few and insert them in sheet protectors when they come to my table for small group instruction we fill it out together. Super simple! :)
My kiddos love interactive notebook pages...they love having everything together in one place and I often see them go back and revisit pages they've done and loved. 
On Fridays, my kiddos know that they'll be creating a sequencing chain or retelling the nursery rhyme using pictures. They look forward to these activities and frankly so do I...they always do an awesome job! :) 

You might wonder how I keep all of these activities organized...well y'all know I love me some binder organization so that's what I do. 
I printed out the cover to this product and inserted it to the front of a binder.
The actual poem, vocabulary cards, and printables are slipped inside a sheet protector and then placed inside the binder. This way when I need a certain nursery rhyme...I can find it all together in one place. Easy peasy!
So...what do you think?
How do you introduce close reading to your little learners? I'd love to know! 
Leave a comment below and I'll randomly select someone to win this 'lil unit. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Mini-Unit and a Freebie

We'll be celebrating the life of a great man in a couple of I thought I'd share this post from last year with you all.

I love teaching my students about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! 
We have tons of fun learning about acceptance and tolerance, and about the significant role Dr. King played in our society many, many years ago...and what his life means to us today. 
My students love learning about historical figures and Martin Luther King Jr. is one of our favorites! 

Last year we had lots of fun with this little unit...and as much as we loved really needed an update...almost 30 pages later I'm loving it even more! I'm so excited about the comprehension reading passage...I cannot wait to work on it this week! :)

Take a look at everything that is included. 
I'm soooo thrilled with the update...I'm pretty sure my students will love it. 

You can grab this unit at my TpT store on SALE for today only!

I hope you check it out! 

Also, don't forget about this 'lil craftivity I created on a whim for my third graders last year. ;) 
It is not included in my MLK mini-unit. But as's available for FREE here on my 'lil blog...polished and pretty for all of you! 
All I ask is that you be a follower of my blogTpT store, or FB fan page and perhaps leave me a little love. ;) Click on the image above or here for this little freebie. 

Okay, I'm off to enjoy something on Netflix. 

Have a great evening! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Five for Friday on a Saturday (01/03/15)

Happy Saturday, y'all! 
Today I'm linking up with my good friend Kacey for her Five for Friday party. 

I'm just a tad sad that Christmas has come and gone this's such a magical time...we love it! 
This year my kiddos decided to bake a cake for was so precious!
Definitely a tradition we need to keep. ;) 
Hubby and I decided it was time for me to get a big girl she is! 
I can't wait to start taking tons and tons of pictures with's the only way to get some practice, right?! 
So after teaching 3rd grade for two years...I'm back to teaching 1st this Monday.
I am so unbelievably excited! I cannot wait to get started! My prayers were answered when this opportunity arose...I'll be working at a terrific Catholic school, with a great staff, and amazing support system...I feel so blessed! 
Here's my little family helping me out during our winter break...because you know that setting up a classroom in a hurry is a family event! ;) 

 I cannot wait to teach my firsties about this great man...I have a little freebie that I'll be sharing on FB later on...stay tuned! 
This girl will be starting her season soon...and you know what that means, right?!
Softball for days!! So excited! 

Don't forget to link up with Kacey and join the fun! 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Currently January 2015

Hey y'all! 
I'm here to link up with Farley for her amazing Currently January Party
Can you believe it's already January 1st, 2015?! Insane! 
But I'm soooo excited about the new wish is for everyone to have an amazing year...full of love, blessings, and tons of happiness! 

Cheers to you, friends! 

This is Your Year!! {Giveaway!}

 Hey y'all...Happy New Year!!!!

My girls over at Owl-Ways Be Inspired are having a lil' giveaway fun!
Head on over there and enter to win a $100 gift card to Amazon!
I'm totally obsessed with Amazon...
you can not beat 2 day shipping with Prime! ;)
Not only could you win the gift card to Amazon, but many of us are giving away something special on our personal blog! Start the year off right with a $20 gift card to my favorite coffee place...Starbucks of course!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Make sure you head over to Owls to enter the $100 gift card
and many other giveaways!

May your year be full of blessings and happy memories!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

All I Want for Christmas is a...TpT Giftcard!

What's the very best gift you could get a teacher? A gift certificate to TeachersPayTeachers, of course! A TpT gift certificate is worth gold...seriously! Being able to purchase amazing teaching resources instead of having to create them yourself saves precious time, time that can be spent over the holidays relaxing or enjoying special moments with family and friends.
That's why I'm excited to be teaming up with some of my teaching blog friends who are each giving away a $10 TpT gift certificate. You'll find all of their links at the bottom of this post. You have to enter each contest separately, so be sure to read the directions on each blog.

TeachersPayTeachers recently gave their gift certificates a make-over, and now each certificate has it's own unique color. You can purchase a gift certificate for any amount between $10 and $200. Wow! Imagine what you could do with a $200 gift certificate! Click over to the TpT Gift Certificate page (you'll need to be logged in to see it).
I'm using Rafflecopter to host my giveaway. To enter the contest, complete any or all of these entries before midnight CST on December 23rd...the the gift certificate will be sent to the lucky winner on Christmas Eve! 
Remember, if anyone asks what YOU want for Christmas, be sure to tell them that all you want for Christmas is a TpT gift certificate! Hope your winter holiday is fabulous and that you enjoy time with the special people in your life! Be sure to check your email on December 24th to see if you won!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Little Christmas Chat

Sweet Abby over at The Inspired Apple is having a fun 'lil Christmas Conversation Linky much fun! 

I love hearing about others' Christmas please link up and tell me all about them in the comments below. 

I'd LOVE to hear from y'all! 

Thanks for the fun party, Abby! ;)