Showing posts with label language arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label language arts. Show all posts

Building Fluency

Building Fluency
Fluency-  The ability to read with  speed, accuracy, and proper expression.

Building fluency is a main focus in my upper elementary classroom.  The majority of my students can say the words on the page, but reading the words with proper speed and expression takes practice.  Working on fluency carries over to other areas of reading, such as it helps to increase comprehension. As I tell my students..... to read is to understand, and if you don't understand/comprehend what you are 'saying', you aren't really reading. Building fluency is just one reading skill that is going to help them better comprehend.


We have all had kids in our classroom read aloud, whether it be whole class or in a small group, or even one on one.  As a teacher (and even as a student), we can easily recognize a child that struggles with fluency. It can typically be identified within the first few sentences of having them read aloud.  The same struggles we hear when they read aloud are most likely carrying over to their quiet independent reading.  Because of this, there needs to be some kind of activity within the classroom (or for homework) that focuses on building fluency.


 In talking to other teachers about what they do in regard to building fluency, I have come to the conclusion that many teachers assess fluency, they correct fluency, but they simply are not providing activities to build fluency. As always, time is a factor.  With that said, I wanted to share a little activity I do with my students.


I named this fluency building activity "Read It and Repeat It".  Yep, it's as simple as that!  Just practice and improve.  I don't have the kids read an entire book, but rather I assign them a Read It and Repeat It paragraph or short passage.  I actually take a suitable passage from a book, type it, and then give a copy to each student.  The passage is not long, most likely just a paragraph, but I make sure it's one that allows for expression.  It may have commas and other punctuation that kids would typically struggle with.  When I type the passage, I can fit 3-4 on a page, so that cuts down on copies. I know you could just have students read a short passage from a book they have, but for some reason, the kids get so excited about seeing what the passage is.  Having it on the small slip of paper doesn't seem so overwhelming. 


So, how does it work?  I have done the activity several ways.  I have made it a homework activity where I pass it out on Monday and they are required to practice reading it aloud each night. Then they come back and read it to the class on a Friday.  You don't even have to pick all kids to read aloud, as you can draw five names and just have those few read it aloud. I have also encouraged my students to make two recordings at home, and I even pass that suggestion on to the parents.  The students love to hear how much they improve, and when they do, they are amazed!!  You could even do this activity with just your weakest readers in the area of fluency.  You could easily pull them to the hallway and record them reading their passage.  They can practice reading it aloud to you each day in their reading group or even in the morning while all of the kids are arriving, and then record them again at the end of the week. You are sure to hear major improvements that will carry over to other reading activities.


I encourage you to give it a try!  Try it once. Do it weekly.  Add it as a bi-weekly activity.  However you do it, I feel sure you will have readers that love it and want to hear themselves improve in the area of fluency






Free Fall Summarizing Activity

Fall Summarizing Activity


When we teach students to pull out the most important details from a text and organize those details in a meaningful way, we are teaching them to summarize.  According to a statistic I read on the West Virginia Department of Education website (taken from Marzano research), the skill of summarizing is one of the top ten most important skills taught in school.   I would say that means it's pretty important. :-)  With that said, it's not something we should just teach once and walk away from it never to return. It should be a skill we come back to time and time again. In order to do just that, I have made a fall summarizing activity sheet that can be used with any book or story.  It's a free activity and can be found in my Teachers pay Teachers store by clicking the link below. 
 
Free Fall Summarizing Activity
 
free fall summarizing activity

free fall summarizing activity
 
 
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teachers pay teachers store

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Sarah, Plain and Tall Activities

I love reading the book Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan with my students. I actually have an entire class set, so we typically read and discuss it together. I have also used it with a small group, such as with non-struggling readers that may be working together while I am working with a lower level guided reading group. I like the book Sarah, Plain and Tall because of its realistic fiction and because of its plot, which I would consider a slower paced plot.  It's sort of old school, way far from today's favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and such. My kids never seem real sure about the book when we start, but then they always end up loving it.  As always, I tend to create activities that go along with what I am doing in the classroom.  So, you guessed it.  I have put together a fun little activity pack to use with this wonderful book. These activities are great for holding students accountable for their reading, especially if it is independent reading. If you use interactive notebooks in your classroom, these activities are perfect.  If you don't use interactive notebooks, you can still use them.  You could have them glue the activities onto construction paper, tag board, or inside a file folder.  If you use a file folder, it will be like a lap book.  You can learn more about the activities by clicking the link below.  Enjoy!


Sarah, Plain, and Tall Interactive Notebook Activity


You might also enjoy these activities:
How the book evolved- Click HERE for audio.
Video reading of Chapter one- Click HERE for video.
Interview with Patricia MacLachlan- Click HERE for interview.
 
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teachers pay teachers store
For more fun and creative ideas for the classroom, click the above picture to go to my store.

If you are a teacher and you like what you see, please visit often.

Constitution Day Reading Activity

Constitution Day Reading Activity


September 17 is Constitution Day.  Did you know that if you are a public school educator then you are required by law to touch on the Constitution in your classroom? The act states..

 "all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.". 

So, with that said, I have put together an easy print and go poster that is a perfect way to help your students understand how the Constitution came about and how it affects our country today.  Because I have highlighted vocabulary, this would be a great time to discuss some of the government related terms.  For example, delegates, Articles of Confederation, and branches of government.  If you wanted to elaborate further on the Constitution, you could then do a follow-up activity or maybe show a Brainpop or other video, or maybe even do a writing activity.  Have fun sharing with your students this very important document.  Get all of the details by clicking the link below.  


Constitution Day Reading Activity

Constitution Day Reading Activity
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Printable Bubble Sheets

Printable Bubble Sheets


Let's face it.... I think testing is here to stay.  Along with the testing comes the infamous bubble sheet.  I have a love hate relationship with those little bubbles.  I love to use them for a quick quiz or a short assignment, but I hate to use them for standardized testing because even my fourth graders get messed up on their bubbling.  They may be bubbling in number ten when they are actually on number eight.  They've skipped two and then they are totally screwed up until the monitor/teacher catches it. Monitoring tests is a whole other topic.... is that like the worst job in the world!!  I mean, who likes to walk three miles in their classroom in complete silence while trying to focus on circles a fourth the size of a dime.  ... UGH!

You will NOT believe this part.  For our very important state testing this past year, we were told that if we were walking around during the test (you know, the one they want to eventually base our salary on), and we saw a kid get screwed up on their bubbling, we could not say anything to them.  Now, if they realized they got messed up and asked for help, we could then help them, but if we noticed they had gotten off and they didn't realize it themselves, we could not say one  damn stinking word to them.  We had to watch them bubble incorrectly all the way 'til the end.  Thank goodness all of mine caught themselves, but in the lower grades, I'm sure some didn't.  That was about the craziest rule change I had heard in a while.

Regardless, bubbling is a thing of today.  I have made some printable bubble sheets if you would like to go check them out. I included lots of different kinds, even some for beginners learning to bubble and a ticket out the door bubble sheet. 


printable bubble sheets
 Feel free to pin.  Just hover over the image.




And here is another thought from me on bubbling.  :-)

Click to enlarge.  Feel free to pin.


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Thank you for helping to spread the word about Classroom Confections.

We appreciate you 'liking' us on facebook, tweeting about us, or pinning us on Pinterest. 

                      teachers pay teachers store
              For more fun and creative ideas for the classroom, click the above picture to go to my store.