Sunday, October 16, 2016

Teaching the Core, 1 Informational Text at a Time

Teaching the Core, 1 Read Aloud at a Time is a huge success, and we thank YOU for your support! We are so excited to know that students all over the country are diving deeper into literature stories and gaining important reading skills at the same time.

Of course, we also understand that our students need to sharpen their ability to read complex informational text. For this reason, we are proud to introduce a new read aloud line-

To learn more about the benefits of reading informational texts with young students, please visit scholastic's article found here

Our "Teaching the Core, 1 Informational Text at a Time" lesson plans are created to support students as they read informative text on a variety of topics. Each lesson plan is organized to cover Reading Informational Text standards and spans across 3-5 days.

During these lessons, the informational text is read out loud to the class while students answer text dependent questions.  Students are guided to gather and record the text's key ideas and details. The class revisits the text again to focus on the author's craft and structure as students explore vocabulary words and phrases, examine information from text features, and consider the author's purpose. Students integrate their knowledge and ideas as they look closely at images and search for evidence to support an author's point. Finally, students participate in a culminating writing task to synthesize the information they have learned.

Bats by Elizabeth Carney 

We love National Geographic Kids Readers for teaching nonfiction.  They are full of interesting information, vivid photographs, and many text features.  "Bats" is no exception.  Students will love diving into this high interest topic with this close read. We included one of our favorite strategies with this book, "Drawing to Retell."  Students will draw a bat before and after reading the text and write about the changes they made to their illustrations. Students will also collect key ideas and details on either a web, or note-taking sheet.  To address craft and structure, they will analyze text features to find more information.  Finally, students will synthesize all the information they have learned to write bat facts on a darling bat craftivity.

Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson

"Pumpkin Circle" is a informational text which teaches kids about the full life cycle of a pumpkin. The book is written in rhyme and has great photographs of the pumpkin life cycle. Our 4 day lesson plans will help deepen students' understanding of informational text structures as well as the pumpkin life cycle. Students will love sequencing the pumpkin life cycle after reading the text the first time. After a second read of the text, students answer text dependent questions, then show even deeper understanding by adding information to the sequencing page from the first lesson. Finally, students will write about the pumpkin circle and make a cute pumpkin life cycle craft.

Spinning Spiders by Melvin Berger

"Spinning Spiders" is part of the wonderful- Let's Read and Find Out Science series. Students always love learning about spiders and we love the realistic illustrations in this story which help young ones access the text. To begin these lesson plans, students will compare key details from the text and sort facts into two categories- spider vs. insect. Next, students will focus on spider vocabulary from the text and define words using examples and non-examples. To culminate their learning, students will create informational, spider writing booklets. We also offer instructions to have students create an accurate three dimensional spider art piece which provides an additional, hands-on way to demonstrate understanding about spiders.

To save money on our informational text read-alouds, you can purchase them in a bundle.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

K-1 Read-Alouds for October

We are excited to announce the beginning of a new product line. We've had so much success with our 1st and 2nd grade read-alouds in our school and have received great feedback from teachers all over the country, so we decided to create a whole new set. This set will be geared towards the kindergarten and first grade standards. 

Our students fall in love with these stories because we dive deeply into them. Instead of reading the story once, we take time to understand key ideas and details, analyze craft and structure by examining dialogue, typography, word choice, etc., and focus on integration of knowledge idea by searching for information that comes from the illustrations. Students love answering the rigorous text dependent questions and finding evidence from the text to deepen their understanding of the stories. The read-alouds also include graphic organizers and writing in response to text activities to incorporate writing standards. Each one also incorporates a craftivity to compliment the story and a bulletin board heading to display the work. We are thrilled to be including some non-fiction titles in this new set. 

These stories are complex, lending themselves to span across 3-5 days  of close reading. While teaching each title, we cover many Common Core Literature and Informational Text Standards, while also giving ourselves time to respond to the text with writing and art. Each day we read the book for a different purpose and students complete a different activity. 

Here are the titles and a brief overview of our October K-1 read-alouds:

Turkey Trick or Treat

We couldn't pass up the chance to use Wendi Silvano's "Turkey Trick or Treat." Our students loved Turkey Trouble and Turkey Claus so we know this will be another hit. This delightful tale is sure to make your students giggle as Turkey tries on different Halloween costumes in hopes that he can trick the farmers and get some candy for him and his farm friends. He tries various costumes so the farmers won't be able to identify him when he knocks on their doors. To address key ideas and details, students will sequence the events of the story. "Turkey Trick or Treat" is filled with clever word-play, which is perfect for teaching words and phrases from the craft and structure standards. Students will determine the meaning of silly phrases from the story. As a culminating activity, students will dress their Turkey in a costume of their choice and and write an opinion piece on why their costume is a good choice. 


We are excited to include our first nonfiction read-aloud in this pack. As we taught the reading literature read-alouds through out the year we realized adding some nonfiction titles would benefit our students. We chose "National Geographic Kids Halloween" because the information was complex enough for kindergartners and first graders. This series also has great text features. We addressed the main idea and details by having students use evidence from the text to write things people do during Halloween. We also dove into the Halloween vocabulary and used some of the text features (such as the glossary, photographs with captions, etc.) to help define the unknown words. As a fun way to finish this read-aloud, students will write their favorite thing about Halloween and complete a fun craft. 

Ghost in the House

"Ghost in the House" is a cumulative counting story full of fun rhythm and rhyme.  When a little ghost explores a creepy haunted house, he encounters many spooky creatures. At first, the ghost and his friends are worried about who they will meet around the next corner, but smile when they encounter each other.  Kids love the surprise ending, when the creatures meet the scariest creature in the house.
This book is perfect for retelling the story in order. Students will sequence the story and color puppets to practice retelling. We also thought it would be fun for students to match dialogue to the creatures because of the book's lively sound words. As a culminating writing activity, students will create their own creature.   


Owl Babies

"Owl Babies" by Martin Waddell is one of those stories that we can read over and over again.  Three baby owls wake up one night to find their mother is missing.  At first they are brave, but as the dark night goes on, they talk themselves into being scared. This is a wonderful book to discuss feelings because the illustrations and dialogue tell so much of the story.

To capture key ideas and details, we will have students sequence the story, then complete a story elements graphic organizer.  Then, we will analyze illustrations and dialogue to dive into how the characters' feelings change throughout the story.  Finally, we will have students relate to the baby owls by writing about something that scares them.

Skeleton Meets the Mummy

 "Skeleton Meets the Mummy" by Steve Metzger is a cute, must-have Halloween story. To go trick-or-treating, Sammy the skeleton walks through the dark, scary woods. Along the way he discovers that he is being followed by a mummy. Students are relieved when they find out who the harmless mummy really is.  Students will respond to the text by sequencing the scary story events in order while using ordinal words. We know our students will really enjoy creating a reader's theater of the story's scary sounds as they focus on the craft and structure of the book. Finally, students will extend their thinking as they write about something else that could scare the skeleton in the woods. 


Our K-1 read-aloud set just wouldn't be complete without "Crankenstein" by Samantha Berger. This charming story introduces a seemingly ordinary boy who transforms into a cranky Crankenstein as rotten events happen to him. The illustrations tell much of the story and students can't help relating to this cranky green character. The key ideas and details standards are addressed as students recall events that cause the boy to be cranky. They will better understand Crankenstein's feelings as they act out and record the character's dialogue. Then students will look closely at the illustrations, making text and illustration connections, to truly understand what is causing the boy's crankiness. As a writing activity, students will relate to Crankenstein by sharing what makes them feel cranky.

We have written detailed lesson plans for each of these books that can be found in our Teachers-Pay-Teachers store. You can purchase each read aloud separately our October Bundle