Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Identifying Character Traits through Paired Texts—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Nov 1, 2016 3:51:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Laureen, a Canadian first grade teacher of 25 years who writes at the blog Teach with Laughter. This post includes a free download!

The Fables and the Real World series is a set of 40 books that pairs fables with informational text. I had the wonderful opportunity to use The Ant and the Grasshopper along with Grasshoppers in my classroom.fables-ant-and-grasshopper-book.jpg

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Fables often have animals as main characters. In the classic fable The Ant and the Grasshopper, the grasshopper enjoys relaxing while the ant works tirelessly to prepare for winter. It won’t take long for your students to identify the moral of the story: there is a time for work and a time for play. Ask your students: Have you ever wanted to play when it was time to do a chore or your homework?  

After reading the information text Grasshoppers, have students discuss the differences between the grasshoppers in the two books. The nonfiction book Incredible Ants is a perfect pairing text for comparing the ants. As with most fables, the animals are given human characteristics. These characteristics differ from real grasshoppers and ants.

Have a discussion about the traits of both the ant and the grasshopper in the fable. Character traits are the part of their personality that is consistent over time. Have students reflect on character traits of the ant and the grasshopper on the following page.

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I am anxious to get my hands on more sets from the Fables and Real World Series!

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To learn more about Fables and the Real World, click the series highlights image below to download an information sheet with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the second image below!

Fables and the Real World More Information

 Ant and the Grasshopper

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Topics: Fables and the Real World, Paired Texts, Laureen, Character Traits

A 'Color Words' Activity—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 18, 2016 3:26:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Laureen, a Canadian first grade teacher of 25 years who writes at the blog Teach with Laughter. This post includes a free download!

 

I first became a Joy Cowley fan when I fell in love with Mrs. Wishy-Washy. The more books I read, the more of a fan I became! The Joy Cowley Early Birds series is perfect for engaging young readers. The books range from Levels C through G and are great for independent and guided reading.

In the story Balloons (guided reading level E), the illustrator grabs our attention with an illustration of a balloon and a cat with claws out. Before reading, ask students what they infer might happen in the book. This will spark their curiosity and get them wanting to turn the page!

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To make your guided reading plans a breeze, the inside back cover gives suggestions of how to use the book before, during, and after reading. It also lists features of text to help you decide if this book is a good choice for your reader.

As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, after I finish with a guided reading group I like to give them a follow-up activity to keep them engaged and to let me focus on my next group. This activity focuses on color words, which gets me thinking, “Why did each family member in the book choose a red balloon?” Download the activity below!
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To learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, visit our website and click the series highlights image below to download an information sheet with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the right image below!

New Call-to-Action            Color Words Activity

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Guided Reading, colors, Laureen

Seasons with Guided Reading Groups—includes FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 11, 2016 3:26:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Laureen, a Canadian first grade teacher of 25 years who writes at the blog Teach with Laughter. This post includes a free download!

 

The Kaleidoscope Collection makes guided reading planning so easy for teachers! The books range in guided reading levels from A to K, include both fiction and nonfiction, cover a range of topics, and are highly engaging. Each book clearly indicates the reading level so teachers don’t need to make any guesses.

With the arrival of fall, I was struggling to get my students to dress properly for the weather. Then, I stumbled upon two books from the Kaleidoscope Collection, both at level D, that focus on the seasons and weather. I used the books Four Seasons and Recess Time to make guided reading relevant to my students. In addition, they match my grade one outcomes perfectly!

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After I finish with a guided reading group, I like to give them a follow-up activity that keeps them engaged with the information and text. This is essential for their own learning and allows me time to work with another group. For this follow-up, I have students work on a flap book that I preassemble for them.

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This flap book is available for you as a free download. Although you can use this printable in a variety of ways, I ask students to draw pictures of themselves wearing clothing appropriate for each season. I have also included two different printing lines for you to easily differentiate for your group.

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As you can see from the pictures below, the combination of photos and illustrations lend themselves to discussion about the seasons.

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To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection, click the series highlights image below to download an information sheet with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the right image below!

Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet Ocean Life Activity Sheet

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Guided Reading, Seasons, Laureen

Using Gingerbread Cookies to Teach Writing—with FREE download!

Posted by Laureen on Jan 20, 2015 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Hi again! I’ve been enjoying my visits here on the Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog.  The last time I was here I shared my excitement about one of the Story World Real World sets and today I’m excited to share another activity with you that can be used with the Story World Real World Gingerbread Man set.  

I am sure that you are familiar with the traditional tale of The Gingerbread Man.  Well, Hameray has published the most adorable version and paired it up with three informational texts, Gingerbread Kids, Fun With Food and Run! Run! As Fast As You Can! 

Today, I’m going to focus on Gingerbread Kids.  It explains how to make gingerbread cookies—from putting on the aprons through until after they are eaten, and even includes a recipe!

My suggestion—bake the  cookies with your students. Not only will they be excited, but the school kitchen will smell delicious!!!

Have you ever used flip-flap writing books with your students?  I’ve created one to use with gingerbread cookies and I am thrilled with how it turned out.Stewrat-9-300

Before students begin writing, I’d have then brainstorm, as a class, all about gingerbread cookies. I’ve included a header and the can, have, and are gingerbread men to use in a pocket chart or on chart paper. Students can write in their flip-flap books by using the list.

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Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter. You can also visit her TPT page here.

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To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the image to the right below!

New Call-to-Action   New Call-to-action

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Story World, Real World, Writing Activity, Gingerbread, Laureen

Using Literacy Work Stations to Teach Compound Words—with FREE download!

Posted by Laureen on Jan 13, 2015 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Hi again! I’ve been enjoying my visits here on the Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog.  I enjoy creating engaging, hands-on literacy activities for my students and am delighted that I have been asked to share some of them here.

The last time I visited, I shared a writing activity that could be used with the Story World Real World Gingerbread Man set.  Each year, when I do a gingerbread theme in my classroom, I take the opportunity to do some review of compound words.  After all, gingerbread is the tastiest compound word I know!

Here is a word work literacy station that students can work at independently:

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Students will match the gingerbread cards to create compound words and the recording page will allow you to check for understanding.  I have included a student instruction card to build independence. 

I know I’ve said it before but you really should check out the Story World Real World series. 

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Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter. You can also visit her TPT page here.

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To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the image to the right below!

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Story World, Real World, Compound Words, Laureen

Using Mirrors to Build Vocabulary—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Dec 2, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Hi again, it’s Laureen from Teach With Laughter.  I am so excited to be using the Story World Real World books in my classroom that I’m here to share another activity with you that you can use with The Greedy Dog and the Very Big Bone theme set.

As mentioned in my last post, the traditional story of The Greedy Dog and the Very Big Bone comes with three related informational texts.  The activity I’m sharing with you today can be used with the narrative book Mirror Magic.

One of the activities my students enjoy during literacy centers is using mirrors to read backward words.  Not only does it build vocabulary, but it also helps with fine motor skills and it’s FUN!

At the bottom of this page, I've included a packet of mirror activities for vocabulary that your students will find engaging and fun!

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I picked up a few mirrors at our local dollar store and students use them to read the twelve word cards.  I have included a student instruction card to keep students on task and a recording page to check for understanding.

You can download the worksheet below, and be sure to check out the Story World Real World series—you won’t be disappointed!

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Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter. You can also visit her TPT page here.

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To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the image to the right below!

New Call-to-Action  Mirror Vocabulary Activity Packet

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Story World, Real World, Vocabulary, Laureen

Tying Your Vowel Lesson in with Stories—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 30, 2014 9:52:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Hi there, it’s Laureen stopping in from Teach With Laughter to share my excitement with you about the series of levelled readers called Story World Real World. Each pack includes four books. The Story World book is a traditional story, and it is accompanied by three nonfiction books that relate to the story. This post is the first of two about The Greedy Dog and the Very Big Bone Theme Set.

The traditional story of The Greedy Dog and the Very Big Bone lends itself to a great discussion about always wanting more. Sometimes we just need to be happy with what we have.

The three accompanying informational texts will grab your student`s attention and can easily be related to the story. Bones teaches students interesting facts about bones. Mirror Magic is about reflections and mirrors (too bad the Greedy Dog didn’t know this information!). Dogs at Work talks about the fact that dogs aren’t just pets—many have jobs. The four books are guided reading levels K/L making them perfect companion books!

I usually like to have some kind of follow-up activity for my small groups, so I created an activity that related to the story and also a skill my first-graders are working on: long and short vowels.

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On each of ten bones, there are pictures and words of items that either have the short ‘o’ or long ‘o’ sound. They are to be sorted onto the two sorting mats. I have included a student instruction card to keep students on task when I am unable to be with them and a recording page to check for understanding.

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Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter. You can also visit her TPT page here.

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To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the image to the right below!

New Call-to-Action  Greedy Dog Vowel Packet

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Story World, Vowels, Laureen

Using Mrs. Wishy-Washy to Teach Vowels—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 21, 2014 8:00:56 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Hi there! It’s Laureen again, excited to share with you an activity you can use with many of the Mrs. Wishy-Washy books. If you look at my past posts, you’ll see that I am a huge Mrs. Wishy-Washy fan!

While reading one of the Joy Cowley’s Early Birds series books, Wishy-Washy Ice Cream, I thought about the long and short vowels in the title and that my students needed some practice differentiating the two. I made two headers one that reads long vowels and the other short vowels. Then I created some picture cards that can be printed out, cut apart and sorted as seen on this student instruction card.

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I keep this instruction card at the literacy center to remind students what they should be doing.

Since I am usually doing guided reading with another group while students are working on word work, I like to include a recording page so I can check for understanding and keep students accountable for their work.

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I hope you and your students enjoy this activity and if you don’t have any of Joy Cowley’s Early Birds series in your classroom be sure to check them out. I think they’re a must for every classroom!

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Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter.

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To learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the image to the right below!

 New Call-to-Action  Mrs. Wishy-Washy Vowel Packet

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley Early Birds, K-2 Literacy, Vowels, Laureen

Teaching Blends with Letter Buddies—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Hi again! It’s Laureen from Teach With Laughter. I’m excited to be writing today about some blends books from the Letter Buddies series that I have had a chance to share with my students.

The Letter Buddies Blends Books each contain six examples of a blend, one per page with just the word printed underneath.  The Letter Buddies Best Friends Books are a perfect companion, using the same six words written in simple sentences.

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I used the Blends Books in a small group to introduce the words to the students. Since the pictures gave us clues to the words this was easy and built their confidence. Then I introduced the Best Friends blends book with the same words used in sentences. Since students were familiar with the words and the other words were beginning sight words they were very successful, and we could focus on fluency and sentence structure.

Do your students struggle with ‘b’ and ‘d’ reversals? Mine do, so for this lesson I focused on the blends ‘br’ and ‘dr’. Scroll to the bottom of the page to download a ‘br’/‘dr’ blends anchor chart.

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Then to check for understanding, I had my students complete the following activity. They needed to differentiate between pictures that start with ‘br’ or ‘dr’. Combined with the anchor chart, students completed this independently at a word work station while I worked with another group.

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I hope that you have a chance to check out this great book series!

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Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter.

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To learn more about Letter Buddies, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights images below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the image to the right below!

New Call-to-Action New Call-to-Action  Br Dr Activity Packet Download

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Letter Buddies, Blends, Laureen

Using Mrs. Wishy-Washy to Teach Compound Words—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Mar 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Laureen. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Teach with Laughter, for more of her writing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s Laureen visiting again from Teach With Laughter. Today I’m going to share with you an idea that I use with my students as a follow-up to reading Joy Cowley’s Mrs. Wishy-Washy books.

Like you, when reading with my students I am constantly pointing out words, including compound words. You’ll find compound words in just about every book. For example, in Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Tub you’ll find "sunshine," "afterward." and "everywhere," and in Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Birthday there’s even one in the title!

As a follow up I created an engaging "I Spy" activity for students. Using a magnifying glass (who hasn’t met a child who loves them?) they will search for teeny-tiny words.

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Students need to combine words to create compound words and record them. For example they’ll find "cake" and "cup" to create "cupcake." I have included a student instruction sheet to keep students on task in a center, an "I Spy" picture page and a recording sheet.

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Make sure that you have a magnifying glass handy and watch the learning and the smiles happen!Thanks for reading my post and enjoy your freebie!!

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Laureen is a grade one teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for 22 years, has two children, and enjoys creating hands-on learning activities for her classroom.  You can read about more of her activities at her blog Teach With Laughter.

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To learn more about the Joy Cowley Collection, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download an information sheet with key features. To get today's free activity download (4 pages), click the compound unit image below!

New Call-to-Action Mrs. Wishy-Washy Compound Word Unit

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, K-2 Literacy, Compound Words, Laureen

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