Thursday, June 28, 2012

Word Work Fun!

Today I did not set out to work on Literacy Centers, but that's where I found myself obsessing (yes, obsessing).  Of course, I have now run out of colored ink and white cardstock and a trip to Target, Staples, Office Max, or all 3 is in order. 

As I was printing out some lit centers from old TpT purchases, I began thinking about creating some spelling/word work activities as they relate to high frequency (and other familiar) words.  I teach small group reading to the average students in my grade level (at my school we ability group by grade level), so I had them in mind as I worked on centers today.   

I started making a list of your standard spelling centers: magnetic letters and cookie sheets, letter tiles, scrabble tiles, and then it hit me...what about a keyboard?

We don't have enough computers at school to have actual computer time but the kids need to be familiar with a keyboard.  So, I Googled "computer keyboard template" and looked under the image results.  I found this and created a document with two images to a page. Then, I laminated them, and cut them out.  So quick, so easy, and sure to be a hit with the kiddos.

Just as students would use magnetic letters or letter tiles to practice making and/or spelling familiar words, the students will do the same with the keyboards.  It's just another way to have them interact with important words as they become familiar with the location of each letter on the keyboard. Now, this most likely means that my second graders will hunt and peck their way around the keyboard, and that's OK.  The point is, they will be exposed to where those letters are located on the keyboard.

I plan to have them "type" out each word from the provided set of words, but you can use the idea however you like.  You could have your students write the word on a piece of paper or a whiteboard and then type it out.  Or, you could have them spell it aloud to a partner before they type it out.  It's up to you!

As for the words they will work with?  I printed out some word lists including high frequency words from FCRR (click on Fluency-Part Two and scroll down until you find the HF words) and some thematic word lists I found here.  I placed the word lists in page protectors and they will be housed in a binder. The students will practice spelling these words with the keyboard (or magnetic letters, etc).

I hope you can use the idea in one way or another. :)

Update: Please note, I realize that there are many ways in which one could use the keyboard template idea.  That's the beauty of an idea like this, you can use it however you want (or not at all). There is no right or wrong way.  Make it your own so that you can meet the needs of your students/school/whatever.

Due to program changes, I no longer run centers in my classroom, but when I did, this was the one center I had that did not have a formal accountability component (something the students turned in to me).  I know, I'm a rebel.  The students using the centers (while I led small groups) worked in pairs, so I guess you could say that they had some informal accountability in that if they didn't use it the way it was intended, their partner would likely let me know.

Having one center without formal accountability worked for me, and it didn't bother me because the seven other centers that the students had to work their way through that week were highly challenging and each had an accountability component.  I changed out my centers weekly, which means this center did not make a weekly appearance.  Ultimately, a center like this posed less pressure and was relaxing for the kids (and I'm OK with that from time to time).

Have fun making the idea work for you!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nonfiction Text Features Posters

There are so many different text features that our students need to know.  Common Core identifies a few specific features that second graders need to know, and my district has identified a few additional features they want our students to know.

I like to teach these features in context, meaning, as they come up in the text.  Some texts we read may not have all the features they are responsible for knowing.  I thought it would be nice to have a visual that I could refer to when discussing these features with our texts, so I made a set of posters!

I used my district's list of identified features plus those explicitly stated in RI.2.5 when creating this set. 

You can get your own set here, for FREE!!!  I hope you like them and can find a use for them.  If you download the set, please leave a comment!

 Click here to get your set!


Note: This poster set has been updated from what was originally posted in my store.  I updated this blog post on July 31, 2015 to include images of the newest version of this freebie available in my TPT store.  

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