Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Why Are Fairy Tales Important? (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Sep 16, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 
― Albert Einstein

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes! I use it often. My last blog post was about the importance of reading fairy tales to our children. We talked about how fairy tales help us teach the basics of story elements—setting, characters, and plot (rising action, climax, and resolution)—as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Once a child understands story elements, his ability to make predictions and comprehend other stories is enhanced. Today I am going to continue our discussion about fairy tales.


Paul-4-180Have you ever wondered why reading a fairy tale is important?
 Fairy tales enrich a child’s imagination and creativity. Children learn many things when we read them books. From stories, a child can learn how a good person behaves and also can begin to realize how some people can behave badly or “evilly.” Fairy tales show children how to handle problems. They learn from the characters in the stories as they make connections to their own lives, and consider what they would do if in the characters’ shoes. Even though fairy tales can be unrealistic, they still teach a universal lesson.

Paul-4-collage
A great example of this is The Little Red Hen from the Story World Real World series. The book is adorable and the children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the illustrations! What a great lesson this traditional story teaches about learning to be helpful and not to be lazy! Bridge this story with Great Grains, the informational text to connect the tale to real-life circumstances.

With the book Great Grains, we learn about the different types of grains. After that, we read Different Kinds of Bread to see how the grains then become bread to eat. Guess what kind of “bread” the children wanted to make? Pizza dough! So we made dough and each child made their own little pizza. They loved it. When we finished, we reread The Little Red Hen, and every single child said they would not be lazy and would help the Little Red Hen.

The “moral” to this lesson is this: use fairy tales to teach morals and lessons. What can you learn from Goldilocks? How about Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk?

Enjoy the freebie. I would like to leave you with one final quote from Albert Einstein:

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

~~~

Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

Using Paired Texts to Meet Common Core ELA Standards—with FREE download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Sep 11, 2014 8:21:22 AM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts, click here to see her other posts, and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

Hi! It's Lesley again, with another blog post about using paired texts. I've loved doing this series of blog posts, because it has introduced me to this great series of books, Story World Real World, which pairs fiction and nonfiction books on related topics. The fairy tale fiction books are great to use as a familiar taking-off point for the content of the nonfiction topic.

Through the units I've designed to accompany these books, I've been able to integrate ELA common core standards RL.1, RL.1.3 RL.1.5, and RL.1.7, as well as RI.1.4, RI.1.5, and RI.1.6. You can find the standards written out at many sites online. I use CoreStandards.org.

Today, my fiction focus is on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

This is a fantastic story to use to review the comprehension skill of sequencing. The events of the story happen in a clear-cut sequence that make it easy for the children to summarize the story. Summarizing a story helps the child understand the story because he or she has to wade through the fluff and just get down to the bare bones. If you've ever listened to a six-year-old tell a story, you know how hard that is for him or her to do!

To help out with the sequencing and summarizing, I developed these cards:

Boatright-6-1Boatright-6-2

And this sequence chain:

Boatright-6-3Boatright-6-4Boatright-6-5

After reading the story, the pictures are placed in the sequence chain in the order they happen in the story. Once the pictures are in order, the child can then summarize the story with the help of the pictures.

As an added practice, or as an assessment of sequencing and summarizing, I have two items I can use. I have a printable and a tabbed booklet condensing the story even more into a beginning, middle, and an end. 

You can see how all these activities are a great way to reach the reading literature standards in the common core.

In my next blog post, I will share how I tied Goldilocks and the Three Bears to the nonfiction story Too Hot! Too Cold! Just Right!

Thanks for joining me today! I hope to talk to you again soon.

~~~

Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson packet, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Lesley Boatright, Fairy Tales

Using Paired Texts to Teach about Homes, Part 2—with FREE download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Sep 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts, click here to see her other posts, and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

Using Nonfiction Text

A few weeks ago, I shared ideas on how to use the fiction story Three Little Pigs from the Story World series to learn a bit about houses. Today, I'm going to show you how I plan to use the nonfiction text Where Would You Like to Live? from the Real World series to learn more about houses.

Before we begin reading, I plan on introducing the features of a nonfiction text to the class by looking through the book and pointing out and discussing the features the book has. Then I will let the children put sticky notes on the features in the book.

Boatright-5-1

After reading the book to the class, I have flashcards that show different types of houses from all around the world. We will discuss the different houses. Using a map, I will have the children find the different places in the world where the houses are found. They will glue pictures of the houses onto the map.

Boatright-5-2

Next, I will ask the children to pick two houses to compare and contrast using a Venn diagram. They will have to tell at least one way the houses are the same and different.

Boatright-5-3

Finally, the children will work with partners to complete a class book about homes, using the format found in the Where Would You Like to Live? story. I will encourage them to be creative and silly, with nothing being too far out there to use as a house!

Boatright-5-4

After writing, making pictures, and assembling the class book, I will put all three books into a take home bag, and the children will take turns taking the bag home to share our stories with their families!

Check back in a few weeks for another post about using paired texts in the classroom. I will be showing how I will use The Little Red Hen and Who Made our Breakfast? to teach about food from the farm to the table.

~~~

Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson packet, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Informational Text, Lesley Boatright

Classic Post: Using Narrative Texts in the Common Core Classroom for Grades 1–2

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM

6358 Cover teacher reading 44645287  iofotoThis classic post was originally published in May 2013. Check our archives for more great Common-Core-related posts!

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) require students to gain exposure to a wide variety of texts, including narrative text (literature) and informational text. The CCSS for English Language Arts states the following:

"Whatever they are reading, students must also show a steadily growing ability to discern more from and make fuller use of text, including making an increasing number of connections among ideas and between texts."

With this idea in mind, the Story World-Real World series was created. Written by Alan Trussell-Cullen, this series is leveled for the first- and second-grade reader. It takes traditional story tales, updates them with modern, easy-to-read language and bundles them with a set of informational texts that tie in to real-life elements of the narrative text that children might be curious about. Today we will focus on the narrative texts, and how they can be used to satisfy the literature standards required for the early elementary classroom. For easy reference, I've reproduced here the standards that students are expected to meet with regards to prose literature in the sidebar.*

Narrative Text and Literature Standards:

Grade 1

Students should be able to do the following:

~ Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

~ Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

~ Describe characters, settings, and major events ina story, using key details.

~ Identify words and phrases in stories that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

~ Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.

~ Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.

~ Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

~ Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

~ With prompting and support, read prose of appropriate complexity for grade 1.

Grade 2

Students should be able to do the following:

~ Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

~ Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

~ Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

~ Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story.

~ Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

~ Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

~ Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

~ Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

~ By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

The Story World-Real World series was specifically tailored to help students meet these Common Core standards, and the free Teacher's Guide (available for download in June) will include many ideas to support teaching narrative texts.

Below are example lessons extracted from the Story World-Real World Teacher's Guide for using children's favorite traditional tale: Cinderella. Note: there's a flip book of the story below, so you can read how the story was adapted for the this reading level**.

Example Lesson: Cinderella

Before Reading: introduce the idea of folktales (to support the Grade 2 standard on the topic): "We are going to read a story that people love so much that they have been telling it for hundreds of years." Examine the cover and the title with the students ask them what they think the story is going to be about.

As you read the narrative text with the children, encourage them to join in with the reading when they think they know the words. Before turning the page, encourage them to predict what will happen next. This gets them thinking about the structure of a story and allows them to draw upon the illustrations for clues.

After Reading: The Teacher's Guide provides a wide variety of "after-reading" activities to engage the children once you've finished the book. Here are a few examples:

•    Reread pages 6–7. What do you think Cinderella felt when she saw her fairy godmother appear? Role play: If you were Cinderella and you suddenly found yourself wearing a beautiful ball gown and sparkling glass slippers, what do you think you would say to your fairy godmother? What would you tell her about how you felt? Look at the illustration. Is there anything in the picture that might help you predict what is going to happen next. (Answer: the pumpkin and the mice.)

Cinderella 6 spread resized 600


•    Reread pages 8–9. Look at the illustrations. How can you tell what the coach was made from? What about the “horses”? Can you draw a clock and show where the hands would be at midnight? What does the fairy godmother mean when she says about the clock “striking” twelve? How do you think Cinderella was feeling as she drove off in the coach?

Cinderella 8 9 spread resized 600


•    Reread pages 14–15. Why do you think so many people wanted to try on the glass slipper? (Perhaps they all wanted to marry the Prince?) Do you think the Prince would have liked to marry one of Cinderella’s sisters? Why not? Look at the illustration closely—what do you think Cinderella is thinking and feeling?


Cinderella 14 15 spread resized 600

child drawing 44797486 Jane September
•    Shared writing activity: Get the children to retell the events of the story (CCSS Grade 1 #2). Then help them turn this retelling into captions, for example:

- Student: “Cinderella is made to do all the work. Her ugly sisters do nothing.” Teacher: What happens next? 

- Student: “The King’s invitation to the ball arrives.” Teacher: What happens next?

- Student: “Cinderella’s fairy godmother gets Cinderella ready for the ball.” Teacher: What happens next?

- Student: “Cinderella dances all night with the Prince.”

Write each caption for the children on large cards. Then divide the children into groups. Give each group a caption, a sheet of art paper for each child, and suitable art materials. Help them plan and complete their own illustration for each caption (CCSS Grade 1 #7). Mount their drawings on the wall with the captions in sequence to make a wall story. Prepare a “title page,” too, e.g, “‘Cinderella’ retold by room 4 at Sunshine School. Illustrated by (the children’s names).” Read the story with the children.

 This was a sample lesson from the Story World-Real World Teacher's Guide. The suggested text is meant to help guide the discussion and facilitate interactions, but is in no way meant to dictate exactly how a lesson is taught.

 Features of the Narrative Text Cinderella:


•    Aligned with the Common Core State Standards (see Reading Standards for Literature Grade 1 #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10).
•    Punctuation: speech punctuation, exclamation marks, questions marks.
•    Opportunities to develop reading for inference skills.
•    Dialogue between characters.
•    Vocabulary development
•    Words and phrases that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses (CCSS Reading Standards for Literature, Grade 1 #3).
•    The characters’ actions and feelings (CCSS Reading Standards for Literature Grade 1 #4).

Check back tomorrow to see how the informational texts related to Cinderella can be used to to help children make connections between the fictional narrative text of the story and things that exist in the world around them! To see all titles available in the series, you can visit our website or take a look at our brochure for the series by clicking below.

- Tara Rodriquez

*All information regarding the CCSS comes directly from the Common Core website and can be found in the downloadable PDFs available on that site.

** Because this is a sneak-preview of the forthcoming Teacher's Guide, which is still in draft form, the final downloadable Teacher's Guide soon available may deviate slightly from what is presented here.

Photo credits: Iofoto (classroom scene); Jane September (child drawing)

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Common Core, Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Alan Trussell-Cullen

Classic Post: Using Informational Texts in the Common Core Classroom for Grades 1-2

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 8, 2014 11:31:37 AM



Informational Text Standards:

Grade 1

Students should be able to do the following:

~ Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

~ Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

~ Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

~ Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.

~ Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.

~ Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.

~ Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

~ Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.

~ Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

Grade 2

Students should be able to do the following:

~ Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

~ Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

~ Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

~ Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.

~ Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

~ Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

~ Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.

~ Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.

~ Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

The Common Core State Standards place a high value on informational text, emphasizing it more in the early grades than ever before. We've looked at how to work with narrative text in the classroom and how to deepen interest in literature by tying in facts (and vice versa); now, let's take a look at how informational text can function on its own in the classroom. For easy reference, I've reproduced here the standards that students are expected to meet with regards to prose literature in the sidebar.*

Helping Students to Recognize Features of Informational Texts

One of the main ways that informational texts differ from narrative literature texts, aside from the veracity of their content, is that informational texts have key recognizable features that can clue readers in to the fact that they are reading something that is intended to inform. We are all familiar with these features: table of contents, glossaries, indices, photos and realistic illustrations, etc., but it is likely that our students are completely new to the medium. As early as the first grade, the Common Core State Standards expect children to be able to recognize these features and know how to use them.

One way to familiarize students with the features is to scan the pertinent pages of an informational text that show the different features, and have students read along with their own copies of the book. You can present the pages in diagram form, labeling things such as headings, illustrations, and the index, and test the students on their knowledge with a worksheet with blank labels. An example of a bare-bones version of this is below.

ITparts diagram

Choosing Your Informational Text

6273 Pg07 school reading 000014079708 Kim GunkelWhen introducing your students to informational texts, you'll want to choose topics that both have all or most of the informational text features and will also be interesting to students. One way of finding topics that will interest them is to choose books that draw from and expand upon things the students are already familiar with. Another way is to find topics that they may have recently heard or read about through exposure to narrative texts.

These first informational texts should be bright and captivating, with pictures—illustrations and especially photographs—that draw students in. Where possible, the photographs should feature children, though this won't be applicable to every topic, of course. The informational texts should be at the correct reading level, with lines of text broken up into bite-sized chunks at sentence or phrase boundaries, with enough space between the letters and words that fledgling readers will not have trouble making them out.

While Hameray's new series Real World was designed to pair with the Story World series (narrative texts), they can stand just as well on their own as terrific informational texts. The topics are diverse enough that there will be something of interest for almost every young reader, from animals to the water cycle, and from baking to ball games. This also allows them to be worked into various teaching units throughout the school year. Disciplines covered span from the sciences to the arts and beyond.

The Story World-Real World series was specifically tailored to help students meet these Common Core standards, and the free Teacher's Guide (available for download in June) will include many ideas to support teaching informational texts.

Below are example lessons extracted from the Story World-Real World Teacher's Guide for one of the books in the set of informational texts intended to support the traditional tale Cinderella.** The book is called What's the Time?, and it is about different ways of telling time and where you can find clocks. There are many more activities and lessons in the teacher's guide; this is just a sample. There's a flip book of the title below the lesson.

Example Lesson: What's the Time?

Before reading the book:

Look at the cover with the children. Ask what kind of book is this going to be—a story (like Cinderella) or an informational text? (CCSS Reading Standards for Literature Grade 1 #5)

During the reading of the book:

If you are doing a shared reading, read the text with the children, spending time on the photographs and illustrations as well as the text (CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text Grade 1 #7). For guided reading, decide on a specific learning focus: for example, vocabulary (reading, saying and understanding new words), or informational text features, or science information and concepts.

After reading the book:

Discuss Informational Text features (table of contents, headings, photographs, captions, glossary, index). How do they help us read and write about a nonfiction or informational subject? (CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Texts Grade 1 #5)

Reread pages 4–5: Can we see our own shadows? Use a light to act as the sun. Have a student stand in one place. Shine the light on the student so he or she casts a shadow. What happens if we move the light around the student? (The student’s shadow moves.) What have we made? (A human sundial!) Talk about the students’ shadows when they are out in the sunlight on a sunny day. Why is it that sometimes our shadow is front of us and sometimes it is behind us? Why do shadows seem to get smaller towards the middle of the day and then longer in the afternoon?


describe the image

Reread pages 12 – 13. Ask the children to count how many clocks they have at home. Are there any clocks on public buildings in your town or city? How many clocks can they find in the classroom? (Don’t forget computers.) In the school? Why do we need so many clocks?

WTTblog12 13 

 This was a sample lesson from the Story World-Real World Teacher's Guide. The suggested text is meant to help guide the discussion and facilitate interactions, but is in no way meant to dictate exactly how a lesson is taught.

 

 Features of What's the Time?

  • Informational text type: Description (Text type description: “informs the reader about the subject being described”.)
  • Informational text features: Table of contents, headings, glossary, index. (CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Texts Grade 1 #5)
  • Visual information: photographs with captions and labels. (CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Texts Grade 1 #6,7)
  • Vocabulary: (egg timer, sundial)
  • Supports integrated curriculum learning – literacy learning (reading informational texts: (CCSS Reading Standards for Informational Text Grade 1), plus science (Physical science: measurement, light and shadows, gravity).

 

To see all titles available in the series, you can visit our website or take a look at our brochure for the series or download the series highlights by clicking on either below.

- Tara Rodriquez

  

*All information regarding the CCSS comes directly from the Common Core website and can be found in the downloadable PDFs available on that site.

** Because this is a sneak-preview of the forthcoming Teacher's Guide, which is still in draft form, the final downloadable Teacher's Guide soon available may deviate slightly from what is presented here.

Photo credit: Kim Gunkel

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Common Core, Story World, Real World, Informational Text, Lesson Plan

What Can Fairy Tales Teach Students? (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 27, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun Factory.Click here to see her other posts on our blog!

We love fairy tales! I mean, we LOVE fairy tales!!

In the last few years, the teaching of fairy tales and nursery rhymes in the public school systems has gone by the wayside. However, current research is urging teachers to bring them back into the curriculum.

Experts agree that nursery rhymes are great for teaching rhyme, rhythm, and repetition. Fairy tales teach story elements such as setting, characters, problem-solution and beginning, middle and end (to name a few).

We use fairy tales with pre-kindergarten all the way through third grades. We use fairy tales to teach reading comprehension, math, and almost every skill you can think of! This becomes super easy when using books from the Story World series!

Cinderella_Cover_500

Since my “freebie” is about Cinderella, I will use Cinderella as an example. First, read Cinderella. (By the way, the illustrations are adorable!) Then link the story to the real world by using the accompanying Real World series books, which include Let’s Dance, What’s the Time? and Why Do We Wear Shoes?

Lets_Dance_180Whats_the_Time_180Why_Do_We_Wear_Shoes_180

At the bottom of the page, you can download a freebie that I have used for first-, second-, and third-grade students. Below is a sample page from the packet:

Cinderella_Scrambled_Sentences-5

Enjoy and have a great summer break!

Susan

~~~

Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

Using Paired Texts to Teach about Homes—with FREE download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 23, 2014 3:41:19 PM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

Well, school is out for me, and my summer break has begun. But as you well know, that doesn't mean I am not thinking about school. I've started planning some social studies units, and one that I want to focus on is homes. What better way to introduce the concept of houses and homes than to read Three Little Pigs?

I found a great pairing of fiction and nonfiction text in the Story World Real World series. It pairs Three Little Pigs and Where Would You Like to Live?

I plan on reading Three Little Pigs first. After reading the story, we will take a minute to discuss the structure of a fiction text, identifying the characters, the setting, the problem, and the solution using first, middle, last. Since this will be close to the beginning of the year, I will not have the children write this out. Instead I will use my story stepping stones to have the children practice summarizing the story.

stepping_stones

SWBS-400

After we finish this, I will have the children use flashcards to order the houses from weakest to strongest.

We will analyze and compare the three types of houses, filling out a three-part chart as a group that tells the good and the bad about each house.

straw-200sticks-200bricks-200

At the end of the lesson, the children will write about which house they would like to live in and tell why.

This is the first part of the lesson I have developed to go along with the fiction story, Three Little Pigs. Look for my post in a few weeks that outlines how I will work in the nonfiction story Where Would You Like to Live?

You can download the lesson packet at the bottom of this page.

~~~

Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson packet, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Informational Text, Lesley Boatright

Using Paired Texts to Teach about Dance—with FREE download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

With one and a half days of school left, the days got hotter in our non-air-conditioned school, and my little ones really started to get antsy! As I was looking for ways to keep the learning going but have fun at the same time, I stumbled across the pairing of Cinderella and Let's Dance in the Story World/Real World paired texts series.

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I know my kids love to dance, and I decided to create a resource that would let them learn a little about different types of dance and do some writing, and then we would have a "Final First Grade Friday" Dance Party.

First I read the children Cinderella. We reviewed the fictional story format, and then I had the children complete a worksheet outlining the characters, setting, plot, and sequence of the story. 

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Next, I read the informational text Let's Dance to the class. After reading and discussing, we went over four different types of dance using flashcards I had made, and we watched YouTube video clips (prescreened for content) illustrating the four types of dance I chose to focus on: hip-hop, ballet, ballroom dancing, and '80s-style let-the-music-move-you dancing, which I referred to as free dancing. After viewing the clip for each style of dance, I played it again, letting the children attempt to dance in the same style. They also competed a little booklet about the types of dance.

Finally it was time for the "Final First Grade Friday" dance party! Again, I used prescreened brain break videos on YouTube and let the children dance along. They had a great time. One boy asked me if he could dance his own way instead of dancing like the video. My answer: of course you can!

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Just like at a real dance, some of the children were either too shy or too cool to dance!

All-in-all, our "Final First Grade Friday" dance party was a huge success, and I was proclaimed "the awesomest teacher ever!" for making such a fun lesson that combined a little bit of learning and writing with a lot of fun.

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If you would like to try the dance party in your room, you can download the file at the bottom of the page.

I hope your last days of school are fantastic!

~~~

Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.

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For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the booklet sheets, click the image to the right.

 

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Informational Text, Lesley Boatright

Hameray Herald: June 2, 2014 Issue

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 2, 2014 2:27:45 PM

Letter Buddies Contest: Did You Win?


LETTER BUDDIES CLASSROOM 
CONTEST WINNER IS...

Thanks to everyone who participated. With hundreds of entries, it wasn't easy to select a winner of the 2014 Letter Buddies Classroom Contest, but there's one lucky teacher who has won the Grand Prize—a Letter Buddies Class Set!

Congratulations to Kim Noreikis!
Booker T. Washington Primary Academy
Lexington, KY

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Using Paired Texts to Teach Personal Safety

Guest Blog by Lesley Boatright: 
Lesley uses paired texts from Story World Real World to explain safety.

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How to Pull Facts from Biographies w/ Alphaboxes

Guest Blog by Richard Giso: 
Rich shares an activity he uses with his 2nd graders: the Biography Alphabox.

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8 New Joy Cowley Big Books!

Eight additional titles now available as Big Books from the Joy Cowley Collection Green and Red Sets!

Learn More by Clicking Here

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Zoozoo Mundo Animal: 20 Spanish Nonfiction Readers

Zoozoo Mundo Animal consists of twenty Spanish titles featuring animals native to different regions of the world. Start your bilingual and ELL students off right with this low-leveled series (guided reading levels A–D).

Learn More by Clicking Here

 
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Topics: Joy Cowley, Story World, Hameray Herald, Biography Series, Spanish

Using Paired Texts to Teach Personal Safety—with FREE download!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on May 28, 2014 8:59:00 AM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

This week, with the end of the school year rapidly approaching, I wanted to make sure my children were aware of personal safety rules by using paired texts from the Story World Real World series: Little Red Riding Hood and Stay Safe.

As I did in my previous lesson, I displayed both texts and had the kids identify which story was the fiction story and which was the informational text. They were able to tell immediately which was which, and they also remembered the reasons why, such as illustration versus photo and animals acting like people versus real people doing a real thing, riding in a car.

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Then I read Little Red Riding Hood, and we discussed what Little Red Riding Hood did that was not a safe thing to do. This lead to a discussion of ways to keep ourselves safe, with the primary focus being on stranger awareness.

Next, I read the informational text Stay Safe, telling the children there were more things that they had to be aware of to keep themselves safe. We read and discussed each point in the book. After reading, we made a list of ways to stay safe on chart paper.

From there, I told the children they would work with partners to create a class safety book.

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They could use one of the rules we came up with on our chart, or add a rule we hadn't discussed. Most children chose one of the rules from the chart, but some did choose to elaborate a bit.

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The final step in our quick lesson about staying safe is for the children to create this foldable mini-book. This way, the children will have their own book with their top three summertime safety rules!

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If you would like your own copy of the pages I used to create these booklets, you can download them for free at the bottom of this page.

~~~

Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.

~~~

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the booklet sheets, click the image to the right.

 

Read More

Topics: Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Informational Text, Lesley Boatright

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