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Monday, October 24, 2016

Reading, Math, and Freebies

This is me.  A lot of the time.  
Do most of us feel this way?
We want to always do what's best for our students.

I mean let's face it, we have a pretty awesome job.

Our students are always on our minds.

So it has to be natural that we always wonder if we are doing enough, 
could we do more, is what we're doing the right thing...
But, in reality, we are sometimes the only caring adult in that child's life.
For me, personally, so many of the students I work with need much more
than just what's on my lesson plans.  Sometimes my plans change right at last minute--
to incorporate something a child said, or to build on something that will spark their interest.
Yes, I still teach reading and math in there too--but I have students 
who struggle in more ways than one.  

So when it comes time for the reading and the math, 
I always wonder how my students are performing.
I know the kids I see are struggling learners.
But every little bit of growth I see makes me happy.

So when these behaviors are all taken into consideration, 
I have to pull other tricks up my sleeve.

For example, here is how I taught some of my boys to use the number line.

We used green dots as our go number.
So many of them were struggling with wanting to count  the starting number.
Making it into a stop and go with monster trucks was a hit--
even if they look bored in the pic.  I promise it worked! ;)

With my reading groups, some are still working on decoding.
This little pack is helping them--and me.  
I get to hear if they can blend their sounds, and sometimes I give them the word 
and see if they can segment the word for me.  
You can view this by clicking the image above.

All groups are working on various Fry Words as well.
Fun Phonics

Of course, we are still using and LOVING the Fluency Reads 
These are also great for my kiddos who are having trouble with decoding.

We have been discussing our Decoding Strategies.
I teach my kiddos that they all work together to help us be better readers.
See, Lips the Fish, is a difficult one for some of my students as they don't 
necessarily know letter sounds. They struggle producing the sound if they have trouble with their phonics.

I don't know if it's necessarily the right way to teach it, but I know that it is working for my learners.

I do Eagle Eye because I want them to draw from picture clues.
You can see a lesson about that HERE.
Then I tell teach them Lips the Fish, and he works with Eagle Eye because they are good friends.

I chose a Halloween story to model for my students.
Granted, it was a harder story, but I wanted something fun to read that we could discuss
and still use our decoding strategies.
**NOTE-- Keep in mind that I have a small group at the table with me at at time.
They were all able to see our story content.
If this had been a mini-lesson with a whole group, I would have used a big book.
I read the story aloud, and we paused to get our mouth ready, and used the Eagle Eye to help us with our unknown words as we read through the sentence. 
 (How's that for pulling in Skippy Frog too?--
See they all go together for all my readers--Skippy is easier for some due to decoding.)
They did really well with the mini-lesson. 
 (I even covered the word pointy in the story as well.) 

Again---not sure if this is the best lesson for all learners,
 but keeping the needs of mine in mind, it went over well.

After we read the story, I gave them a picture mat. 
I had copied this back to back and had the same pictures on both sides, but used different beginning sounds.
I simply slid it into a sheet protector to use at a later time for other groups.

This prompted a good discussion among groups, and provided challenges for some as they wanted to  just guess the word.  After reminding them to get their mouth ready, they caught on to the idea behind this activity and did very well. (Refrigerator and husk were hard words, but the r for rest, brought up vocabulary like recline, rocking, relaxation.  I was PRETTY IMPRESSED!) 

After we did these pages, we practiced using Lips and Eagle Eye in sentences of our own to read.
Again, they did very well with this lesson.
Bruise was difficult--they said boo-boo.  
Hey, they got their mouth ready--
but then we talked about
Does it look right?

I gave them a copy of lips to color.
While they were coloring, I asked them what they could tell me about  Lips the Fish.  
They could all tell me what he does to help us become good readers when we come to an unknown word. 

They made sure to tell me to put him onto our decoding chart.

 *I wish our laminator was wide enough to stick my chart paper through, but it is not.
The velcro dots make it easy for me to go back and tear off strategies, or place strategies on the chart depending on what I'm working with for each group. 
 This makes it easier for me to manage with 6 back to back reading groups. 

If the Lips the Fish activity looks like something you can do with your learners, 
feel free to click the image below to grab your copy from Google Drive.
Lips the Fish


  1. Love!!! do you have the similar things for the other strategies?

  2. I can't thank you enough for your Eagle Eye and Lips the Fish activities. We just divided our kids up for intervention and I was in charge of students below grade level who aren't using strategies. I have seen a HUGE difference in two days! I cannot wait to see what else you will share. Thank you again for these amazing freebies!!! They are changing lives.


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