Hi there! It’s a great (cold) day around here and we’re staying warm by moving!
My sister-in-law (who is also a teacher) stopped by the classroom yesterday (because she had conferences and was done early) to check out my awesome kiddos and some of the things we’re doing in first grade! I was telling her about how we try to incorporate moving every day and as a school, we have a friendly competition each month to see the classroom that does the most movement!
She mentioned a website, Gonoodle, and after checking it out- I’m hooked!
It’s a totally FREE website that offers video clips of dances, stretches, yoga, breathing, and more! The videos are quick, only a couple of minutes, and the kids love them! Plus, it keeps track of how many minutes you move in all- a great motivation for my class since they always want to win the traveling trophy 🙂
During indoor recess today, we did one of the Olympic hurdle videos, a few kid Zumba dances, and even the breathing cool down. It’s great and I really think it’s worth checking out.
What is close reading? Close reading means reading a passage or text several times throughout a week, each time looking “closely” at different aspects. For example, one day you might read and look for vocabulary words, one day might be spent on text structure, another day is focused on text features. The point is for kids to see that you can read for different purposes and that good readers often read and re-read text for different reasons.
We try to do a close reading week at the end of each month. This month we read a non-fiction piece on prairie dogs. We spent the first day building background knowledge and vocabulary, the next day on the main idea and details, and another day comparing and contrasting.
What I wanted to share was a AMAZING strategy we saw modeled at a recent professional development inservice day.
The goal was for the kids to read the text and pick out the words they thought were the most important. They couldn’t pick the three words I’d already introduced on the first day as important vocabulary words. They needed to work in groups, pick 4 words they thought were important to the main idea, and write each word on a post-it.
Don’t you just love how they are all referencing back to the text?
In all honestly, I was a tiny weeny bit nervous how this would go. It was awesome when it was modeled for adults at the inservice day, but would my first graders be able to do this?
I am here to tell you- they did SO WELL! There was no confusion, the kids went right to work, read the text and looked for important words together.
On a side note- we don’t use Post-it’s that often in class, so that was also a big appeal to this lesson 😉
Now for the really cool part…. after all of the groups had found 4 words they thought were the most important in the passage, we put all of the words together to make a bar graph. The first group went up to the board and put up there post-its, reading the words out loud they found.
The next group next up and if they had a word that was the same as the first group, they put that post-it on top of the other post-it (building it up like the bar of a bar graph). If they had a word that was new, they added it to the row along the bottom. By the end, this is what it looked like…
The kids had so much fun with this! As we were building it, they squealed with delight as another one was added to a column.
So what was the word that the majority of the class thought was the most important?
Predators! This was the word that most of the class found to be important to the main idea and something we needed to know! (This was great and on-point!)
The second most common word was…
After this, the kids were given a page with a key on it, for the “key idea“, where we all wrote the word predators and had to define it with words and a picture.
I wanted to share this strategy because it was actually very simple, but also very effective. It got the kids looking and thinking about the word choice and the word meanings. They had to decide, discuss, and choose the words they thought were the most important and work together as a team.
This was a big hit! All the kids had fun and were busy learning at the same time!
Parents- this pack is coming home today. Check out all of the activities we did with the same piece of text. Ask your child what they learned!
Have a great weekend!