Thursday, March 27, 2014

Independent Comprehension

This is probably one of my student's favorite times.  When that transition "Move it, Move it" song comes on and on the projector it says, "Come to the carpet.", My kids seriously start cheering.  They know that it is time for our whole group comprehension.

At the beginning of the year we learned many of the fantastic comprehension songs from Reading Power.  So often one of my students during our transition will start singing one of the songs:
*"When I read a story and my brain says, "woah" this part reminds me of my friend Joe.  It's called connect- da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da,da..."

It is just way too cute- I can't stop it and typically start singing along.   :)  I just love how they become pumped for comprehension time.  I will "hook" them anyway that I can!

Even though whole group is just 20 minutes I feel that so much goes into it.  I am going to start by highlighting what my kiddos do independently during "comprehension rotation" as I am teaching a guided reading group.

We use the Journey's reading series.  Each week there is a new mentor text.  I actually like these stories.  Each week there is also a comprehension assessment based off of the text.  The assessment is multiple choice and covers comprehension skills that we have already learned.  I made a little answer key to break down each question type for each test.

This took awhile but it is worth it.  No longer is this JUST a test for the sake of giving it but it is a tool to drive my instruction.  As students miss a question, I mark off the number so that I and my students can clearly see what skill they need to work on.  I involve my students in making a goal each Friday to work on during independent comprehension (formally my read to self rotation.)

Students place a sticky note on the goal sign that they want to have for next week. 
I plan to:
 1.  clean my board (gross!)
and 2.  update these to make them more cutesy this summer. 
*If students don't miss a question, they get to choose any skill to review.

During independent comprehension time- students use materials in their specific goal tub:

I have a drawer for each of the comprehension skills that we cover.  The drawer has matching pictures to the poster.  On the outside is also a QR code to a blendspace lesson.  If you haven't checked out blendspace- please do!  I am OBSESSED with it. 
I have always tried to incorporate videos/ photos in my lessons.  However it would take a long time because I would have 17 tabs opened on my computer.  I would go back and forth between, google images, youtube, google docs etc.  Blendspace has one search bar, you type in what you want to search for and down the right hand side are simple clicks to search all of those different places for that same information.  You drag what you want to almost a Pinterest looking "board" and everything that you want to teach a lesson is right there.  You can even make and embed assessments.  As long as your students sign in- it will send the results of the test and analyze them.  I ADORE this FREE program.  It is super fast and easy to use.
Here is a picture of what is inside the drawers:
There are Lakeshore games (These are taught in advance), some awesome task cards that I bought on TPT and also a paper graphic organizer.  Students can use the graphic organizer with any book.  If they choose this option- I have them bring the book to our "proud" meeting before lunch for me to look at it quickly.  On 2 computers we also have the choice of playing the electronic Lakeshore Comprehension games (there are only 4).
I am trying out a BYOT program the last half of the year.  So if my students have a technology device they can also choose to scan the QR code to go to a blendspace lesson.
Students are expected to finish their guided reading group "classwork" first before working on their goal.  If they finish all goal work.  I also have other materials like inferencing pictures available.
I'm not going to lie- this took a LOT of planning and preparation.  However this is one of the things that once you do it- it is finished and you shouldn't have to do it again. 
However I teach first grade and in reality I MIGHT have to replace some of the materials every few years.  Until now- just wiping clean with Clorax wipes should work well enough!  :)
I think that I need a "break" week once a month.  I have had so many things that I have wanted to share but it takes me about 2 hours or so to write a blog post and I am usually grading items or creating items until bedtime each night.  That is why I am super excited for Twitter.  Now I plan to take about 30 seconds every couple of days to take a picture of something and write a sentence.  During "break" weeks I plan on typing out these HUGE blog posts.  :)
@LaSotadanielle <-------- Twitter :) 
I finally feel hip.  :)


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