Sunday, September 30, 2012

Exemplar Read Aloud Texts for Common Core

Reading Aloud to children, even after they know how to read, is such a valuable experience for many reasons!  Here are a few:
  1. Reading aloud promotes a positive attitude toward reading and books.
  2. Reading aloud helps to promote a longer attention span.  
  3. Reading aloud exposes children to complex language, which will help the children in all areas of their development, especially their reading development.  
  4. Reading aloud to children enhances a child's oral vocabulary.  A strong oral vocabulary is essential to reading comprehension.
  5. Reading aloud teaches children about the world.  It promotes lots of conversations about what is like in different parts of the world, for people who are different from themselves.  They learn about the elderly, the rich, the disadvantaged.  They travel to faraway lands and they travel through time.  
  6. Reading aloud models reading fluency and good reading habits.
  7. Reading aloud models good reading strategies.  Most teachers "think aloud" while reading, modeling the types of thoughts readers have.  ("I wonder what happens next." or "I think he's going to..." are great conversation starters with children!)
  8. Reading aloud helps children learn how stories are structured.  They learn how stories typically begin by introducing the characters and setting, then things develop, a conflict arises, then a solution.
  9. Reading aloud helps children recognize and explore feelings through the characters in the stories read to them.  They develop empathy and compassion.
  10. Read alouds encourage thinking.
  11. Read alouds encourage imagination!
  12. Read alouds encourage children to express themselves more clearly and more confidently.
  13. Reading to children is fun for all involved.  What could be better than that?
It just so happens that even the Common Core Standards themselves encourage reading aloud to children.  In fact, they have a whole list of Exemplar Texts!  The authors of the Common Core looked for books and stories with complexity and quality.

These are the Common Core Suggestions for Read Aloud Stories for Grades 2 and 3:


I'm only familiar with a couple of these, but I'm very excited to see some of the new ones.  If you click each picture, it links to Amazon for a description of the story.

These are the suggested Read Aloud Poetry collections for Grades 2 and 3:
Song of the Jellicles

Your World
by Georgia Douglas Johnson

These are the Common Core suggested Read Alouds for Informational Text for Grades 2 and 3:

After looking at all these books on Amazon, I'm aching to buy them all and read them to my kids!  They represent a variety of cultures, people, places, and topics that will inspire any child!  I can't wait to hear the conversations!

For lists of Exemplar Texts for other grades click HERE.

Finally, a freebie.  It's impossible for teachers to fill all the need for "read aloud" and do all the other things we need to do.  Therefore, I encourage parents to read to the children as well.  In fact, whenever a parent asks how they can help their child, my answer is always the same:  read to them. Many are surprised to hear that children who can read will still benefit from listening to stories.  Here's the message I give parents about reading aloud to their children.  Click the image for the freebie!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Almost October? Time for Some Freebies!

Can it really be almost October already?  October just happens to be one of my favorite months!  And it just so happens I have lots of freebies for you!

October is Fire Safety month!  I've found these "Fire Safety What ifs" can really get the children talking about some fire problem solving!  Click the image to download these!

Common CoreAnd of course, it's football season!  Be sure to click the purple image for a football themed game that supports the Common Core!
Isn't Halloween one of the biggest holidays of the year?  Here's one more freebie to keep your students interested in classwork during the Halloween Days!

Isn't October fantastic?  I love this time of year!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Starting the Year With Number Sense!

I've been in kind of an unusual place this year for math instruction and I'm liking it!

My district is in the process of lining up teachers to pilot some new math programs that are more aligned with the Common Core State Standards than our present math program.

This means we've had a few weeks to fill before our training to pilot the new programs.

We've been instructed to go through the first unit of the old program in the meantime.  That didn't take me long, so I've found some delightful ways to make use of this extra time in Math!

I recently read this book on Number Sense Routines, and I was quite anxious to start the year with a lots of opportunities to build Number Sense in my students.  Here are some of the things I've done:
Click to download freebie!

  1. I've let the children get to know this Number Grid.  We've had lots of practice using it to skip count, add, subtract, and generally get to know numbers.  The colors help the children keep track of what row they're on.
  2. We've used Cuisenaire Rods to make addition facts and number families.  (See THIS blog post for more information on the Cuisenaire Rods!)
  3. We've used the base ten blocks to write numbers in expanded notation.  We've also used them to help us add larger numbers.
  4. We've reviewed first grade math standards with games like THIS game I designed based on the first grade CCSS.  (They loved it!)
  5. We've done calendar math to develop number sense and have fun with the day's numbers.  
  6. We've told math stories and made plus signs with our arms if the story told about sets being joined together.  We made minus signs with our arms if the stories told about sets being taken apart. 
  7. We've played lots of games to practice and review those skills they learned in first grade and need to strengthen such as telling time, counting money, and addition and subtraction.
I wish every year started with time at the beginning of the year to review and build good strategies and number sense.  These kids are going to have the best math year ever!

What would you teach if you had time in math?

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