Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Classic Post: Teaching Informational Text Features

Posted by Brian Hopkins on Aug 26, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins that was originally published in July 2013. If you like what you see here, click here to read his other posts, or check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

I am excited to get the opportunity to write about a fun lesson for Hameray Publishing. Today’s lesson incorporates Science  with Nonfiction Reading. Students will learn about different text features while researching an animal.

The first thing the teacher should do is teach students different kinds of text features. These include headings, subheadings, table of contents, indexes, captions, diagrams, bold-faced words, pictures, etc. The easiest way to do this is to use actual nonfiction books to show children the different text features. Hameray Publishing has a great group of books on Arctic animals called Zoozoo Animal World that on the last page shows pictures with a one-word caption under it.*

Textfeatures6 describe the image

The next step would be to let the students go on a hunt for text features. They could write down the text feature and the book and page number that they found it on. This would show their understanding of text features and how they are used.

describe the image describe the image

Then to tie in with science, the teacher could read several books on animals and a discussion could be held on what kind of animal group the animal belongs in (mammal, fish, bird, reptile, etc.), if it is a vertebrate or invertebrate, what the habitat of the animal is, what the animal needs to live, where the animal lives, etc.  The article animal books are very simple with 1 sentence per page that tells you a little bit about animals. They are perfect for a young kindergarten or 1st grader reader or even for a 2nd grader to find information quickly. 

describe the image describe the image

To make sure the students understand about animals and text features, the teacher could have each child pick an animal. They would create a poster, diorama, or slideshow presentation about the animal. They would describe what the animal looks like, what group the animal belongs to, what its habitat is, where it lives, etc.  On the poster they would put some of the following text features to demonstrate their knowledge of how they help readers: title, heading, subheading, pictures, captions, diagrams, maps, etc. This would show mastery of understanding text features (Common Core 1.RIT.5, 2.RIT.5, 3.RIT.5) and vocabulary about animals.

~~~

My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught Kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a substitute teacher as I try to seek a new teaching assignment, which I hope is right around the corner! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

~~~

*To check out the Zoozoo Animal World series used in this activity, click here. You can also download an information sheet with key features about the series by clicking the image below! Other series with informational text features include Real World and My World! To nominate yourself or another teacher for the Teacher Spotlight, tell us a little more here.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Common Core, Informational Text, Brian Hopkins, Zoozoo Animal World, Science

Classic Post: Guided Reading Activities with Phonics—with FREE Download!

Posted by Brian Hopkins on Aug 12, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins that was originally published in October 2013. If you like what you see here, click here to read his other posts, or check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

Guided Reading Activities with Phonics

Last time, I discussed tying in informational texts and their text features with learning about animals. Today, I am excited to share with you some guided reading activities that focus on phonics.

The first thing you need to do is find out at what level your students are reading and what phonics skills they lack. Then you can pick out some books on an instructional level (where the child reads 90–94% of the words correctly) that have a few of those sounds. There are some terrific books in The Joy Cowley Collection that do just that for children who are past the phase of reading books with repetition. 

Here is a list of a few books and the phonics sounds that could be targeted in each:

joy cowley booksHairy Bear and the Door: aw/au – saw, paw, sausage; ow – growled, howled, yowled 

Hairy Bear on the Roof : o-e – rose, hose, nose

Fix-It Bear: short vowels – sad, glad, box, pup, up, fix, it, not, will, is, this; ay – play, away 

Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Farm Fair – ea/ee: clean, neat, sweet.  oa/o-e: rose, hose, soap, moans, groans; est – cleanest, neatest, tidiest, sweetest

Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Tub: ea/ee – seats, beach, sea, seen

Now that you have come up with a phonics skill to work on and a book that includes it, you can give the students some word work activities. Elkonin Boxes are small boxes split up with lines. Have the children push up a counter for every sound (not letter) in the word. So if the word is elkoninboxes5"fix," they would say the sounds one at a time as they pushed them into each part of the box /f/ goes into the first part, /i/ into the second, and x into the third. If the sound is oa and the word is "soap," they would push the first sound /s/ into the first box, the next sound oa /o/ into the second box, and the /p/ into the third box. 

Another fun activity children love is sorting words. Pick two phonics sounds that are similar or one that has more than one way to spell the same sound, such as ea and ee. Give the children a page of words to cut out and place into the correct category, ea or ee, etc. Have the children highlight the target sounds. Then they can practice reading the words to a partner or a teacher. To download a a FREE PDF of 2 word sorts, scroll to the bottom of the page! It's from one of my best sellers, which includes 41 word sorts.

One more activity that children love doing is looking in the book for a specific sound (word hunt) and when they find it, they use highlighter tape by placing the tape (which comes off easily) on the word they are searching for. 

After doing some of these fun activities, you can have the students in your group read the book you chose with those target sounds. You have now helped set them up for success! I hope you enjoyed these fun activities and find them useful for your students.

~~~

My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught Kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a substitute teacher as I try to seek a new teaching assignment, which I hope is right around the corner! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

~~~

For more information on The Joy Cowley Collection, which includes the books featured in today's post, you can click here to visit our website, or click the image below on the left to download an information sheet with key features! To download Brian's word sort PDF, click the image on the right, and ENJOY!

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, K-2 Literacy, Brian Hopkins, Guided Reading, Phonics

Making Inferences with Informational Text

Posted by Brian Hopkins on Oct 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, an occasional contributor to our blog. If you like his activities, check back frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

Making Inferences with Informational Text

Hi, I’m Brian from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings. I am so excited to have yet another opportunity to guest blog. This time, I thought I would blog about a skill that children work on in pretty much all grade levels. This activity in particular is appropriate for 2nd grade and up.

Making inferences is a tough concept for many students, because these are the questions with answers that are not stated exactly in the book. Children have to use the clues in the book and what they already know. One example would be: Sue went outside to play with her friends. When she got outside she saw the trees blowing and dark clouds in the sky. What inference can she make? She could say that it is likely to rain because it is windy due to the trees blowing and the dark clouds usually mean it is going to rain.

One activity that I like to do with students is to find a passage in a book with animals and they have to guess what animal it is—it’s kind of like a riddle. I have the students tell me or write down what clues they came up with to figure it out. I put a blank where the name of the animal is. Fold a paper in half and on the left side your students write down their clues and on the left side they write down their guesses. I have had my past 2nd graders circle their final guess after they consult with their groups.

hide and sneak coverhide and sneak pages

Here is an example from the book Hide and Sneak by Elizabeth Cook:

The top of the _________ can be black, dark, gray, or brown. As the __________ swims over the ______, the ________ dark body may blend in with the blue of the ocean below it. Light spots are sprinkled across its dark skin. The light spots help break up the pattern of the _____ body.

When swimming deep in the ocean, sharks also look up for __________. The _________ white belly can be hard to see against the bright light of the sun from above. This may help keep it safe from the hunting shark.

The clues are that the animal may be black, brown, or gray, swims, lives in the ocean, and has a white belly. The white belly should help children make the inference that it is a ray. It is specifically an eagle ray, but an answer of just “ray” would be fine!

hide and sneak ray pages

This wonderful book has sharks, rays, different kinds of fish, and a seahorse that you could use for the riddles. I also love the other books from the Underwater Encounters series, which include Sea Turtles and Clever Crustaceans.

underwater encounters books

~~~

My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a kindergarten teacher! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

~~~

To learn more about the Underwater Encounters series, which contains the books shown in this post, visit the website by clicking here or click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights! You can also check out the flip book version of Hide and Sneak by clicking here.

Underwater Encounters Sales Sheet

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Topics: Informational Text, Underwater Encounters, Brian Hopkins

Working with Sight Words: Brian Hopkins

Posted by Brian Hopkins on Oct 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, an occasional contributor to our blog. If you like his activities, check back frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

workingwithwords3 1 workingwithwords4 1

Working with Sight Words

It’s Brian again from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings. I am so excited to get to guest blog again! Last time, I gave many different ideas on teaching the alphabet. Today, I will be sharing with you some fun ways to teach sight words. I also have some happy news to share: I just landed a new job teaching kindergarten!

Sight words are tricky for many students, because with most sight words, you can’t sound out the words—you simply have to know the letters. These are words that students should be able to read and spell fluently.

Here are some activities that I have used myself in the classroom to make learning sight words fun:

    1. Spell the words using magnetic letters, Cheez-It letters, beads, letter tiles, letter Unifix® cubes, etc. Then have the child transfer the word to paper.

      2. Play board games, dice games, or card games that involve reading the sight words you are working on.

        3. Write down the word and the page number each time you find it in a book.

          4. Use highlighter tape to highlight the word in the book.

          workingwithwords1 1 workingwithwords2 1

            5. Find the sight word in a book using a magnifying glass.

              6. Write a sentence using the word.

                7. Spell the word with rainbow colors.

                  8. Use different chants and hand movements to learn the word. For example have the children say the letters in the word and clap the consonants and snap the vowels.

                    9. Take the children outside and give them sidewalk chalk to practice writing their spelling words or use shaving cream to write them on their desks.

                      10. Spellingcity.com is a great website where you can type in the sight words and it has many different activities to help the students learn how to spell them.

                        I hope these ideas help your students learn their sight words in a fun way!

                        ~~~

                        My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a kindergarten teacher! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

                        ~~~

                        To learn more about the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, which contains the Wishy-Washy Clothes book shown in this post, visit the website by clicking here or click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights!

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                        Topics: K-2 Literacy, Kindergarten, Brian Hopkins, Sight Words

                        Working with Letters: A Guest Post from Brian Hopkins

                        Posted by Brian Hopkins on Oct 2, 2013 8:00:00 AM

                        This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, an occasional contributor to our blog. If you like his activities, check back frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

                        Hi, I’m Brian from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, and I am so excited to get the chance to do another guest post! Today, I would like to give you some fun ways that your students can practice learning the letters of the alphabet.

                        Working with Letters

                        Workingwithletters1 250 workingwithletters2 250

                        First, take out your Letter Buddies book that goes with the letter and sound your class is learning. Your students can trace the letter on the front cover. Then show them the pictures of things that start with that letter. If you have highlighting tape, your students in small groups could highlight the letter. They love doing this!

                        workingwithletters4 250Next, pick a fun activity for your students to work on that goes with the letter. One of my favorites is to write the letter large on cardstock or construction paper. Then either you or the students trace it with Elmer’s Glue (it may not work with a glue stick) and glue something that starts with that letter all around the letter to trace it. Here are some ideas that my Facebook fans and I came up with (some might be a bit costly, so you may want to pick a different activity for that letter):

                        A – acorns, Apple Jacks (cereal)

                        B - buttons, beans

                        C – Cheerios

                        D – dots from a hole puncher

                        E – egg noodles

                        F – Frosted Flakes

                        G – Goldfish crackers, glitter

                        H – hearts (cut out), Hot t=Tamales (candy)

                        I – Ice Breaker gum or mints, ice cream cone (broken up)

                        J – jelly beans, jewels

                        K – kidney beans

                        L – lima beans

                        M – M & M’s

                        N – noodles

                        O – olives

                        P - popcorn, pretzels

                        Q – quilt pieces (cut out small squares from different colors of construction paper)

                        R – rice

                        S – skittles, sand

                        T - toothpicks

                        U - umbrellas (mini paper ones)

                        V – van (hot wheel ones have them dip on ink or paint and drive the wheel around the letter) or velvet (pieces from a craft store)

                        W – Whoppers or Werther’s candy

                        X – Xtra gum wrappers

                        Y – yarn

                        Z – zoo animal stickers

                        sandart2 250Another fun one that works especially well at a center or small groups is to have the student or yourself write the letter you are working with on an index card. Then trace it with glue (again, Elmer’s Glue works better than glue sticks). Next the student sprinkles colored sand (try Dollar Tree to find it) over the glue and then shakes it off onto a plate or tray. Once it dries, they have the letter they can trace with their hands before they practice writing it on paper.

                        A nice easy assessment would be to take magnetic letters, Cheez-It letters, letter beads, etc. and put several—including the capital and lowercase letter the students have worked on all year—on a magnetic pan or a plate (depending if you are using magnets or not); call the students up one at a time and have the child take all of that letter out.

                        ~~~

                        My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught Kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a substitute teacher as I try to seek a new teaching assignment, which I hope is right around the corner! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

                        ~~~

                        For more information on the Letter Buddies Letter Books, which includes the books featured in today's post, you can click here to visit our website, or click the image below on the left to download an information sheet with key features!

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                        Topics: Making Learning Fun, K-2 Literacy, Letter Buddies, Brian Hopkins

                        Guided Reading Activities with Phonics from Brian Hopkins

                        Posted by Brian Hopkins on Aug 15, 2013 8:00:00 AM

                        This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, a recently featured teacher in our Teacher Spotlight. Brian will be contributing from time to time, so if you like his activities, check back frequently. You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

                        Guided Reading Activities with Phonics

                        Last time, I discussed tying in informational texts and their text features with learning about animals. Today, I am excited to share with you some guided reading activities that focus on phonics.

                        The first thing you need to do is find out at what level your students are reading and what phonics skills they lack. Then you can pick out some books on an instructional level (where the child reads 90–94% of the words correctly) that have a few of those sounds. There are some terrific books in The Joy Cowley Collection that do just that for children who are past the phase of reading books with repetition. 

                        Here is a list of a few books and the phonics sounds that could be targeted in each:

                        joy cowley booksHairy Bear and the Door: aw/au – saw, paw, sausage; ow – growled, howled, yowled 

                        Hairy Bear on the Roof : o-e – rose, hose, nose

                        Fix-It Bear: short vowels – sad, glad, box, pup, up, fix, it, not, will, is, this; ay – play, away 

                        Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Farm Fair – ea/ee: clean, neat, sweet.  oa/o-e: rose, hose, soap, moans, groans; est – cleanest, neatest, tidiest, sweetest

                        Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Tub: ea/ee – seats, beach, sea, seen

                        Now that you have come up with a phonics skill to work on and a book that includes it, you can give the students some word work activities. Elkonin Boxes are small boxes split up with lines. Have the children push up a counter for every sound (not letter) in the word. So if the word is elkoninboxes5"fix," they would say the sounds one at a time as they pushed them into each part of the box /f/ goes into the first part, /i/ into the second, and x into the third. If the sound is oa and the word is "soap," they would push the first sound /s/ into the first box, the next sound oa /o/ into the second box, and the /p/ into the third box. 

                        Another fun activity children love is sorting words. Pick two phonics sounds that are similar or one that has more than one way to spell the same sound, such as ea and ee. Give the children a page of words to cut out and place into the correct category, ea or ee, etc. Have the children highlight the target sounds. Then they can practice reading the words to a partner or a teacher. To download a a FREE PDF of 2 word sorts, scroll to the bottom of the page! It's from one of my best sellers, which includes 41 word sorts.

                        One more activity that children love doing is looking in the book for a specific sound (word hunt) and when they find it, they use highlighter tape by placing the tape (which comes off easily) on the word they are searching for. 

                        After doing some of these fun activities, you can have the students in your group read the book you chose with those target sounds. You have now helped set them up for success! I hope you enjoyed these fun activities and find them useful for your students.

                        ~~~

                        My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught Kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a substitute teacher as I try to seek a new teaching assignment, which I hope is right around the corner! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

                        ~~~

                        For more information on The Joy Cowley Collection, which includes the books featured in today's post, you can click here to visit our website, or click the image below on the left to download an information sheet with key features! To download Brian's word sort PDF, click the image on the right, and ENJOY!

                        New Call-to-Action  Hopkins Word Sort

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                        Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, K-2 Literacy, Brian Hopkins, Guided Reading, Phonics

                        Spotlight! Teaching Informational Text Features with Brian Hopkins

                        Posted by Brian Hopkins on Jul 12, 2013 8:00:00 AM

                        describe the image

                        Brian Hopkins brightWelcome once again to our Teacher Spotlight, giving recognition (and free books!) to deserving teachers who have great ideas to share. Today's featured teacher is Brian Hopkins of Brevard County, Florida. Brian authors a blog called Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math. He posts more than once per week, and his blog is well-written and interesting. Today he brings us a science lesson that ties the Common Core's informational text (nonfiction) threads to Arctic animals. Here's the lesson in his own words:

                        I am excited to get the opportunity to write about a fun lesson for Hameray Publishing. Today’s lesson incorporates Science  with Nonfiction Reading. Students will learn about different text features while researching an animal.

                        The first thing the teacher should do is teach students different kinds of text features. These include headings, subheadings, table of contents, indexes, captions, diagrams, bold-faced words, pictures, etc. The easiest way to do this is to use actual nonfiction books to show children the different text features. Hameray Publishing has a great group of books on Arctic animals called Zoozoo Animal World that on the last page shows pictures with a one-word caption under it.*

                        Textfeatures6 describe the image

                        The next step would be to let the students go on a hunt for text features. They could write down the text feature and the book and page number that they found it on. This would show their understanding of text features and how they are used.

                        describe the image describe the image

                        Then to tie in with science, the teacher could read several books on animals and a discussion could be held on what kind of animal group the animal belongs in (mammal, fish, bird, reptile, etc.), if it is a vertebrate or invertebrate, what the habitat of the animal is, what the animal needs to live, where the animal lives, etc.  The article animal books are very simple with 1 sentence per page that tells you a little bit about animals. They are perfect for a young kindergarten or 1st grader reader or even for a 2nd grader to find information quickly. 

                        describe the image describe the image

                        To make sure the students understand about animals and text features, the teacher could have each child pick an animal. They would create a poster, diorama, or slideshow presentation about the animal. They would describe what the animal looks like, what group the animal belongs to, what its habitat is, where it lives, etc.  On the poster they would put some of the following text features to demonstrate their knowledge of how they help readers: title, heading, subheading, pictures, captions, diagrams, maps, etc.   This would show mastery of understanding text features (Common Core 1.RIT.5, 2.RIT.5, 3.RIT.5) and vocabulary about animals.

                        - Brian Hopkins

                        ~~~

                        Hopkins BlogMy name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught Kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a substitute teacher as I try to seek a new teaching assignment, which I hope is right around the corner! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

                        ~~~

                        *To check out the Zoozoo Animal World series used in this activity, click here. You can also download an information sheet with key features about the series by clicking the image below! Other series with informational text features include Real World and My World! To nominate yourself or another teacher for the Teacher Spotlight, tell us a little more here.

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                        Topics: Teacher Spotlight, K-2 Literacy, Common Core, Informational Text, Brian Hopkins, Zoozoo Animal World, Science

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