Saturday, September 10, 2016

Practicing CVC Words in Daily 5 Word Work


I am so excited that my first graders will start Word Work next week! We use The Daily 5, so we have been slowly building our stamina in different activities for the kids to do during our reading block.  What is challenging about this is that we have a curriculum for phonics, so I have to find a balance between using our phonics program and providing other hands on activities for the kids to do.  I am excited to have several different activities for my kids to work on throughout the week to help them master their CVC words.

CVC Go Fish and Memory Game
What I love about this game is that most kids already know how to play Go Fish or Memory, the prep is easy-print, cut, laminate, and go, and I can get double mileage out of one set of cards!  Students can use the same set of cards for both Go Fish and for Memory.  To make a match the students match up a CVC printed word with the matching CVC picture.  I am teaching students how to play both games, partnering them up, and letting them decide what game they would like to play.

Build the Word
These cards are by far my favorites! Each card has a CVC picture and then 3 sound boxes to allow students to build the word.  The sound boxes are big enough for yellow letter tiles or magnetic letters.  My hands on kids who need manipulatives love to build the words, and it is a little more structured then letting them free build with the magnetic letters. For my visual kiddos, the card visuals are a great way to connect a picture to a printed word.

Missing Sound
This activity is similar to build the word, but instead of making the entire word, students are filling in one missing sound. I use this activity at the beginning of the week, while we are still learning about CVC words and students need to practice identifying each sound one at a time. I put the correct missing letter on the back of the card so that students can self-check their work.  I laminate my cards and let students use a washable marker or dry erase marker on their cards, but the cards also work with letter tiles, magnet letters, and clothes pins.  I keep this activity on hand too for kids that are struggling with CVC words throughout the week.  It allows them to experience success while still practicing hearing all the sounds, and they can have a picture to print card to help them learn to identify and spell these different words.



B-I-N-G-O
Friday is my “game” day, and this will be the game I am using this Friday to help my kids.  I am fortunate to have my TA during my reading block.  She will be the caller for the game.  As she calls, the kids will be looking for the printed words. I love that this activity is helping the kids practice reading all the sounds in the word, because some of the words are visually similar, example, pet and pit.  By Friday, my kids will have spent 5 days practicing their CVC words, so reading the words will hopefully come easy.

Read a Word File Folder Game
I love file folder games! My kids love file folder games.  After they learn about how to use and take care of our file folder games they beg me to play them! I love this game because players travel through the game board and take turns reading different CVC words.  I have my kids play this game with me or our TA a few times but then set it out for them to play on their own once they have mastered it.  I do wait until the end of the week to roll this game out because it requires the players to check each other.  I want to make sure that they have practiced CVC words enough, and that they understand what that means before they begin playing this game.

I am so excited for my kids to use all of these activities this week! We are going to have a great week learning about Daily 5 Word Work and CVC words.  Check out my TPT store for all of these activities and more.


Happy Teaching!
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Monday, September 5, 2016


Data Walls
            One of the best ways to see data cross laterally is through the use of a data wall.  I started using data walls to have a visual of how my students were moving academically and behaviorally.  The data wall shows how students are moving quarterly, natural student-  grouping based on skills, and students who need may need to enter into RTI instruction.  This great tool then hangs in a confidential place, and is referred to as I plan instruction, make groups, choose who needs double doses of instruction, and even as a tool to prepare for parent-teacher conferences. 
Creating a Data Wall
            The data walls that I use are created with large pieces of chart paper and sticky notes.  To begin, I divide my chart paper into a 4 x 4 grid.  I choose to do a 4 x 4 grid because our school tests 3 times a year, and we have 3 possible levels for student achievement (at, approaching, and below grade level).  A 4 x 4 grid allows me to capture all of these variables, and gives me space to add labels to my matrix so that I can place my students appropriately.  If I was going to use trimesters with 4 benchmarks, I would use a 4x5 matrix.  Then, I use the bottom row of boxes to label each testing season.  I skip the first one, because that is where I put the subject that the data wall is for.  After I have completed this, I then write my benchmarks moving down from the first column. I choose to color code my benchmarks based on RTI, meets and exceeds are green, below is yellow, and unsatisfactory is red.  I also use a blue to signify what the above grade level would be, because we expect a year's growth for everyone, regardless of where they come in at.
            After I have made my walls, I then gather my materials to begin to add student data.  I love staying within the color coordination of RTI because then I can easily spot who my tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 kids are.  I order red, yellow and green Post-It notes for this reason. This year, we have had a hard time finding the red colored sticky notes and plan on using regular yellow sticky notes with color coordinated markers to write the student data.  After I collect the data for my students, I then write out a sticky note for each child.  I like to put their name at the stop of the sticky, a photo of the student on the left side of the sticky, and any notes that are important to the data wall about the student.  For example, I could have a tier 1 student on the DRA, who might be on the bubble for comprehension. This is a note that I would put on the sticky note.  For students who are on yellow sticky notes or red sticky notes, I will also add the date that they were progress monitored.  This adds a level of accountability.  I can easily see who I need to check in with.  The student sticky note houses a growing body of evidence of progress monitoring, interventions, and any other information that may impact the growth and development of a student.
            This process is repeated at the beginning of every testing season.  I do not like to move student sticky notes from one testing window to another because I like to see how students are moving.  This is a great way to catch a student who drops, or a student who stays stagnate.  It is also a great way to catch a child who suddenly grows, monitor interventions, and really make decisions to impact student learning.

Grade Level Walls
This year, our entire team is going to be using the data wall.  We wanted to share the wall for several reasons.  It allows us to see any grade level trend throughout the year that are impacting all of our kids.  It allows us to see natural groupings within classes so that if we want to share kids, we can easily identify how kids can be grouped.  The down side to sharing a data wall is finding a way to be able to identify each classroom at a glance also.  To problem solve this, I decided to add a colored dot that coordinated to each teacher at the top of each sticky note.  Now we can easily see trends not only within our classroom, but within our grade level while still being able to identify our own kids.
Although we love sharing our data together as a team, it does take a certain level of trust as a team to have our data out there.  A team data wall is not an opportunity to decide who is a better teacher or which teacher is lacking at something.  The goal of the data wall is to move students forward.  The sole purpose of the color dots is merely to be able to keep track of our own kids.

Moving Forward

Data can be such an important and purposeful tool.  Student data allows us to pinpoint where students are lacking a skill so that we can move them forward quickly and best utilize our time in the classroom.  I love my data walls and it is one tool that I truly utilize to plan and guide my instruction.
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