Category Archives: Reading | Writing

Reading, Phonics, Comprehension, Word Work, and Writing

Balanced Literacy

In a Balanced Literacy Classroom, the Guided Reading table is THE COMMAND Center.

What is YOUR favorite time of the day?
Before lunch?
Recess?
 
Mine is…

GUIDED   READING!

 
guided reading table

The MAGIC happens at the Guided Reading Table

In a BALANCED LITERACY classroom,  

this is the place where “MAGIC” happens!
The “AHA!”..the lightbulb…whatever you want to call it.
 
Last year I got rid of my 
TEACHER  DESK.
 

This is my 

Guided Reading

CENTRAL COMMAND.

 
 
 
The guided reading table where I do small group reading as part of my balanced literacy.

Guided Reading Table

 
Then I added stools from IKEA.
My kiddos LOVE IT!
 
I use flexible seating stools at the guided reading table.

The central area of any Balanced Literacy classroom…the guided reading table!

 

My next favorite

Guided Reading”accessory”

from by

BFF…

AMAZON!

 

Brewster Wall Pops 

WPE99065 Peel & Stick Calypso Dry-Erase Dots

 with Marker

 
Vinyl clings make seating areas The guided reading table where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

Dry erase dots!

 
I put  BIG teal dots on my table!
 

 

Vinyl clings make seating areas The guided reading table where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

We write on our dry erase dots during guided reading,

 
My kids write on them!
 
 

 

Vinyl clings make seating areas where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

Using dry erase dots on our guided reading table for word work, comprehension, and vocabulary.

 
After we read… then
we write questions on them
 and then change seats to answer them!
Musical Chairs!
 
 
Vinyl clings make seating areas where I do small group reading as part of balanced literacy.

Students are highly engaged during guided reading.

 
They LOVE it!
Write & WIPE! 
 
The BEST!
 

I use my 

BALANCED LITERACY BINDER

for Guided Reading Resources.

 
ALL of the elements needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom in one resource.

Balanced Literacy Resource Binder. ALL of YOUR Guided Reading resources in ONE BINDER

 

ALL of the elements needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom in one resource.

The components of Balanced Literacy.

 
I use it
to assess kids reading levels,
 to group them with like skills,
 and to teach them AT THEIR LEVEL.

Guided Reading 101

 
Now a couple of things I have learned “on the way”…
The reading strategy element needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

Teaching reading strategies is vital to a Balanced Literacy reading program.

1.  Guided Reading is NOT independent reading time!
They read to themselves (READ TO SELF) at a different time of the day.. we do it after lunch.
 
2. Guided Reading is NOT a time for a LONG teacher LESSON!
 I only have them for 15-20 min.
  Always give them a skill or strategy they can use NOW!
 
Your goal is to create INDEPENDENT READERS… do not enable them to wait for YOU to do the reading.
 
3. You DO NOT have to read a BOOK every day!
 This is not the time for HOW MANY BOOKS have you read?
 
  My lowest reading group needs PHONEMIC AWARENESS. If you don’t know your letter sounds…it’s really HARD to read.
 
My “bubble” kids ( those that have some skills, but need support and practice to move over the “BUBBLE” into INDEPENDENT READERS) need phonics support to be able to solve reading problems, independently!
 
So Guided reading should be called
 

GUIDED  LITERACY

 
Meet them at their level.
Give them a “take away” that they can use TODAY.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

 
I also use FRIDAYS for assessments ONLY.
 
NO GROUPS!
 
Student assessment recording sheet needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

Assessment drives the guided reading groups.

 

Student assessment recording sheet needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

Teacher “HOW TO” pages for guided reading assessment.

Student assessment recording sheet needed for a Balanced Literacy classroom.

Assessing skills for guided reading groups.

I do one-to-one RUNNING RECORDS.
I do fluency assessments.
I do letter, spelling, word family, & phonics assessments.
BUT…
 
Don’t  “DAWDLE”…
don't dawdle...run fast

Turtle and rabbit running FAST!

 
Make it quick. Not a “story” time.
Try to get the most BANG for your buck.
 
Suggestion:
 
Start with your middle groups.
The “BUBBLE” kids.
They will be moving the fastest.
 
Next.
 Alternate assessments between your highs & lows.
 
Your highs probably will make continued growth with “less” support…they came in with strong foundations or they wouldn’t be HIGH!  
Don’t forget about them. Keep them connected with BOOK CLUBS,    Writing, and LOTS of COMPREHENSION.
 
My low babies. You can’t practice TOO MUCH.
When they become “done”…distracted, unable to focus, etc.
CHANGE IT UP.
Interactive writing, phonics games, reading with “finger pointers”, etc. etc.  
 Change the game…not the content.
 
Here is a Sight Word FREEBIE for YOU to get started !
FREE Sight Word game to practice reading

FREE sight word game for guided reading.

 

Remember…

1. Assess your students. Check data frequently.

2. Sort students into groups ( 4-6 student per group is perfect!)

3. Reteach skills and Strategies.

4. LET them READ! They need PRACTICE!

 
So I LOVE the guided reading table.
 
LOTS of learning goes on there.
 
BUT ALWAYS, ALWAYS, remember…
 
IT STARTS WITH

Sight Words for Word walls

Those CRAZY Word Walls!

WORD  WALLS

I can honestly say, in my 27 years in first grade,

I have “redone” my word wall

probably 26 times!

My dilemma is always the same…

How to put them on the wall so kids can

access them ( at ANY reading level!)?

At first, I thought “A..B..C” order.

Then, I thought “by curriculum unit..week 1..week 2, etc”.

Next, I thought ” phonics sounds ..short a..short e…etc”.

Last, I thought “they don’t even LOOK at IT!”

and so…

I WAS  FRUSTRATED!

What to do?  What to do?

ASK  THE  KIDS!!!

 

So what do THEY want?

What will THEY use?

What do THEY want it to look like?

And they TOLD ME!!

They helped me “SOLVE” our Word Wall “PROBLEM”!

Baby eyes wide open

WHAT? You want ME to help SOLVE our WORD WALL PROBLEM???

My Word Wall 

Now our word wall has sight words we use for 6 weeks

( 1 unit of our curriculum).

 

These words will be in our stories 

AND 

on our TESTS!

 

We study them EVERY day ( at Morning Meeting ) 

AND

we play I SPY with the words wall DAILY!

The kids practice with each other, too!

Partner Practice…yippee!

We use our chromebooks, write on our desks with whiteboard markers, flash cards to take home, and we play LOTS of word games!

 

My WORD WALL focus’ on sight words.

I teach vocabulary words, but those go on our focus wall for weekly connections. 

This year…I am adding personal word walls to their writer’s workshop folders. 

 

They will add words THEY need to use in THEIR writing.

 This was last year when we did WAY TOO many 

words at one time!

 

Now…LESS  IS MORE

"W" words on word wall

Word Wall by ABC order

word wall

Large Word Wall by ABC order

word games

Sight Word games from the Word Wall

Lots of games to practice our “words”.

I have some games and products

 to help with WORD WALLS.

Check them out!

So to Conclude…

When putting up word walls, fewer WORDS at one time is BEST!

Teach to MASTERY!  Review!  Practice!  Be consistent!

PINTEREST HAS A MULTITUDE of resources to help.

I found these:

To download the editable version of this product, Click Here!This free word wall is colorful, simple, and perfect for back-to-school! This download includes:- Word Wall Banner- Alphabet Letter Cards- Fry's First 100 Sight Word Cards- 10 Color Word Cards

         Especially Education  

Word Wall - Using magnets to make the word wall accessible to the students. Great for Writer's Workshop and other writing activities!

       All Students Can Shine

A Sunny Day in First Grade: Weekend Warriors: Moving Word Wall!

    A Sunny Day in First Grade

Grade 1 Word Wall... 222 Word CARDS!

222  SIGHT  WORDS from 1stgradefireworks

Here are MORE ways to help your students learn to READ

I hope this helps your students become BETTER readers and writers!

Leave me a comment. How are things going? Anything I can do to help?  🙂

Wendy   1stgradefireworks

 

How to get kids to Read At Home?

1. How do I get kids to Read at Home?

I am a BLOG STALKER!

I admit it.

This year I am trying to get my kids to 

Read at HOME.

I am ALWAYS trying to find the BEST,

 FASTEST, & EASIEST ways

to make my classroom run smoother

 & more effective while being 

academically successful.

Aren’t we ALL?

So each year I try to “change” 

a few things for the better.

NO THROWING THE BABY OUT 

WITH THE BATH WATER!

  

So here is something “NEW”

 ( or New to ME ) 

 that I am doing this year!

apple

2. Who chooses the students Read at Home Books?

I am NOT ( Ugh…),  NOT  

choosing the Student’s 

TAKE HOME BOOKS

 each week.

( Let it go! Let it go!)

I LET THEM!

The power is in the CHOICE. 

I thought if I chose reading books that were

 ON their reading level

THEY would MAGICALLY 

fall in LOVE with READING!

NOT!

3. How Do Their Books get HOME?

I have RAH ( Read AT Home ) envelopes…

Purchased at

REALLY GREAT STUFF

multicolor hook and loop plastic envelopes

BUT ANY envelope will do!

Each WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY

 they bring their RAH folder back.

I have them choose 2 books…

YES…2 books to put in their folder.

( I place a pile 20 or so, of books at each level …

*disclaimer…right now I have 5 Guided Reading groups…

I group their PILES of books

 at the Guided Reading group level…

So they really are taking home books

 at THEIR reading level.

Just a little teacher

 “nudge”

 in the right direction!

They choose two books,

 put them in their envelopes, 

and put them in their cubbies.

They keep them for 2 nights…

hence bringing them back WED. & FRI. 

We change them for two NEW books … 

and here we go again!

4.   How do I know if they REALLY read their Read at Home Books?

Some nights I add a 

READING RESPONSE 

page to their homework.

USE ONE OF YOUR RAH BOOKS!

( Your choice!)

You can get my READING RESPONSE Packet HERE

Read and Write Reading response pages

Reading Response forms for ANY Book. Read and Write.

Accountability?

I do have a paper…lined…for parents to sign each night.

DO ALL OF THEM SIGN IT?

 NO!

If YOU take a horse to water…

Can you FORCE it to drink it?

NO!

Let it go! Let it go!

Let It go!

5.  What happens if a parent doesn’t read at home
with a student?

If you have a parent 

who doesn’t support reading at home…

 READ, READ, READ at school.

YOU may be 

the ONLY adult 

who reads with

 “THAT CHILD”…

We ALL have “that child”.

Don’t fight it!

Don’t PUNISH the child.

IF he/she could read it BY THEMSELVES…

THEY WOULD!

They can’t.

So

Let it go! Let it go!

Let It go!

6. How do You REWARD students who do Read At Home?

I do REWARD

 those who make the continued effort

 to read at home

EVERY NIGHT!

When they bring their envelopes back,

 I check the paper.

IF the parent HAS NOT SIGNED…

I highlight in RED that date.

At the end of the MONTH..

I give a reward 

(and a SPECIAL BRAG TAG ) 

to those who have read

EVERY NIGHT!

I know…NOT fair for “that child”.

Fair is NOT Always EQUAL!

I want my kiddos who 

DO THE WORK

to know

I NOTICE!

And so my friends…

I keep stalking.

LOTS of great ideas out there in 

BLOGGY LAND.

And PINTEREST  LAND.

AND  INSTAGRAM LAND.

If you need some ideas…

Check out MY PINTEREST BOARDS.

1stgradefireworks logo

Happy  Reading my Friends

How to beat the 4th quarter DASH! Refresh those skills and strategies.

SPRING BREAK
is 
FINALLY  HERE!

Assessments, report cards, cleaning, paperwork, etc…
Third quarter done! YIPPEE!!
Though I really DO love this time of the year.
Kiddos are making TREMENDOUS progress!

Sniff…sniff…PROUD TEACHER!

So NOW we WORK.

We refresh ALL of those skills and strategies.

NO SUMMER SLIDE!

 We have the
4th Quarter DASH!

Catch everyone up to grade level standards
before they go to second grade!

Right?

Say this with a SMILE.

“YOU QUACK ME UP!” 

to be taken to my TPT store!

You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade table of contents
ELA: rhymes, Read the Room,
Sight Word Games, Grammar
MATH:  3 digit addition, Place Value, Guess My Number
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade rhyme game
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade Grammar
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade word work
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade story vocabulary
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade prefixes
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade prefixes
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade prefixes
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade task cards
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade Sight Word Game
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade 3 digit addition
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade 3 digit addition
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade Place Value
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade number game
You Quack Me Up ELA & Math for First grade number game
My kiddos LOVE LOVE LOVE this!

They are refreshing skills and strategies in a GAME!

So much fun going on in Room 3!
And NOW for the FREEBIE!
Click HERE
FREEBIE HFW GAME
This GMA wants some
GIGGLE  TIME! 
 
baby laughing

 

cowgirl sisters

 

smiling boy in John Deere Tshirt

 

little girl princess
 
 
 And so…
HERE  WE  GO! 🙂

Can reading be the #1 predictor of academic success?

First and Foremost,

Reading is the #1 predictor of academic success.


Consider this my DISCLAIMER…

I am NOT  A  College Professor.

I do NOT have a MASTERS ( or above ) 

in ANYTHING!

I am just a teacher.

A first-grade teacher.

A first-grade reading teacher.

A Veteran (27yrs ), a first-grade teacher,

in a TITLE 1 SCHOOL!

I have seen a LOT! Done a LOT!

Hear me ROAR!!!!!

 So, I repeat.

I am a teacher. I teach reading.

circle of students looking at books

(Aren’t they cute????)

I have been through:

Whole Language

Environmental Print

Interactive Writing

Phonemic Awareness

Leveled Readers ( DRA, GSP, AR, Lexile)

Phonics

Words Their Way

HFW

Sight Words

High-Interest Reading Books

SIPPS

Read Naturally

Daily 5

And 

A MULTITUDE OF PUBLISHER’S CURRICULUM!

New sets every 7 years!

Next, having said this…

1 thing most curriculum’s have in common :

READ!

READ A LOT!

And then…READ SOME MORE!

Young girl reading a book

So …

My little sisters…

YES…both of my LITTLE SISTER’S are 

PRIMARY TEACHERS!

We were discussing school.

Yes… we do that!

 We are trying to WRAP our minds around the

“READ…READ…READ more”

and they will 

“GET IT!”  (way of thinking.)

happy baby

Well, maybe

I  LOVE reading with kiddos!

See my post here about the

 GUIDED READING TABLE!

But then my concern is…

When I “release” them to read,

When I want them to become INDEPENDENT readers,

Where do they “learn” the skills to use when they “get stuck”?

Will they use strategies, when they don’t know what’s happening?

When a story isn’t making sense…do they keep reading?

If they keep reading…

Will all the skills and strategies come TOGETHER?

At a recent PD, my little sis said she understood the 

READ, READ, READ philosophy.

Integrate science, social studies, math, technology

INTO  literacy!

YES!

Writing and Reading

COMPLIMENT  and Coexist

WITH  each other!

You can’t have one without the other!

THEY NEED EACH OTHER!

BUT…

-Me  SPEAKING-

on my soapbox

There needs to be a BALANCE of:

Skills & Strategies

in conjunction with independent reading & writing!

THERE!

I said IT!

Reading & Writing SKILLS:

Letter Sounds

Blends

Vowels

Word Families

Chunks

Grammar

Punctuation

High-Frequency Words

Capitalization

Handwriting

and MORE!

Comprehension

Questioning

Summarizing

etc, etc, etc…

(I sound like my Education College Professors!)

I was listening!

ALL of these “lessons” MUST be taught

IN CONJUNCTION with 

Reading & Writing!

Yes…To be a better reader…

YOU  MUST  READ!

BUT…to be a better reader who UNDERSTANDS…

You must have skills and strategies  to use

WHEN  you read and write!

NOW…CAUTION!!!

baby with glasses

Unless you are teaching ADULTS in a COLLEGE CLASS…

A 40-minute LECTURE on diagramming sentences

IS NOT…I REPEAT…

NOT

the way to do it!

If you WANT to spend 40 minutes discussing grammar…

CHUNK IT!

Read a little.

Discuss it.

Let it soak in.

And do it again. And again. and again!

READ!

Do 2-3 MINILESSONS over a few days…

Let it SINK IN!

Show  kiddos:

  What it looks like.

Where to find it.

How to use it.

Why we use it.

When to ask for help.

Kinder-Grade 1-Grade 2 teachers…

UNITE!

Mini-Lessons with a WORKSHOP!

Use SMALL Groups for STRATEGY & Skill Groups!

Let kiddos have a chance to PRACTICE

what YOU have taught them!

Let it SINK IN!

And Then…

LET  THEM  READ!

and 

READ!

and

READ!

and then

WRITE…and write, some more!

2 kids reading books

readl to self

independent reading

small group reading

Skills, Strategies, Reading, Writing

They will become “BETTER”…

and isn’t that what we ALL want to be?

BETTER!

Need some HELP?

My friend, Alison, at 

Learning at The Primary Pond

 

Button from Learning at The Primary Pond

learningattheprimarypond.com

has a great post about

What Does Reading Workshop Look Like In The Primary Grades?

what does reading workshop loolk like in the primary grades?

Here are some “HELPERS” for YOU!

go to: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/1stgradefireworks

Click HERE for more reading & writing products!

   

  

Young children love to read during Reading Workshop

How to Prepare for a Successful Reading Workshop in First Grade

Reading Workshop

“Creating a Community of Readers”

via…LUCY  CAULKINS!

This is my newest FAVORITE thing!

I LOVE Lucy Caulkin’s

READING, WRITING,

&

COMPREHENSION LESSONS

If you get a chance to hear her, see her, and/or youtube her…

DO IT!

When I teach reading, I don’t want my students to stop and ask for help.

I want them to have skills to be independent readers.

I want them to be problem-solvers.

So, I am…

Making a Community of Readers

How to create a community of readers

 How?

Before reading, take a sneak peek!

What do you do BEFORE reading?

 Take a picture walk.Cover the words.

Make them use the visual cues in the story.

Frontload any vocabulary that may change thinking,

distort comprehension, or unfamiliar to them.

Have them make predictions PRIOR to reading.

After reading, check their predictions.

After reading, think about it!

When you finish reading, do something!

 I LOVE this!

After reading..then what? DO SOMETHING!

Reread it for NEW information. Retell it to yourself or a friend. We use our 3 fingers retell. I love this part…DIGEST IT! Just as a good meal…when you are finished, appreciate it. Think about it.

 ENJOY IT!

When you finish readin,g read it AGAIN!

Read MORE!

 You are NEVER done!

When you finish…read more! My kiddos love to stack ALL of their books on the left..as

they finish reading a book…place it in a pile on their right. Keep reading! Their goal is to

read more every day! STAMINA! Reading MATS are used to make goals.

Our goals are to read MORE!

Read with your eyes. No need for fingers.

Use your eyes to read…not your fingers.

 We want kids to quit using their fingers to read.
Good readers use their EYES!

“SCOOP” up words (phrases) with your eyes. When reading, put 3-4 words together

and read the phrases! GREAT time to teach prepositions & prepositional phrases!

When reading, always reread the text for comprehension.

Always reread text

 Always, always…reread!
You will see more, read more, and understand more when you reread a story. Read it to a partner, a
parent, a friend. The same book can sound new when you are reading it the second or third time!
Lucy Caulkins Units of Study

Lucy Caulkins Thank You

A HUGE THANK YOU to Lucy Caulkins!

So there you are..

GET  READING!

Remember….

When in doubt…

ALWAYS make it

BALANCED  LITERACY

What part of a Balanced Literacy Classroom is reading?

For more early literacy reading and writing resources

Check out

 1stgradefireworks

Don’t Blink..YOU Just Might Miss IT

IS IT SPRING BREAK YET? 

DON’T BLINK..

FREEBIE..

I LOVE the Song by Kenny Chesney
“Don’t Blink”
Don’t blink
Just like that you’re six years old
 and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and 
your high school sweetheart
 becomes your wife


Don’t blink
You just might miss your babies growing 

like mine did
Turning into moms and dads 

next thing you know your “better half”
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend

 a hundred years 
goes faster than you think
So don’t blink…

Well…..  I  BLINKED!

I am still taking down Christmas Decor
and it’s almost MARCH!
Wait! Slow down! I AM NOT READY!

So…I am slowing things down in my classroom.
We are almost done with the third quarter
of first grade.
We have “phonemic awarenessed” 
ourselves daily.
We practice word families.
We have learned more grammar rules
 than I ever dreamed.
We write 1,2,3,4,5 times a day.
We read every half hour.
We know more math than our parents.
We know about Presidents, animals, 
weather conditions, 
We know HOW TO, Who, What,
When, Where, & Why

(Well…some most of us do)

We have TESTED & RETESTED…

And now…we are SSSlowing things down!

Time to take a breath & practice
 using ALL of this new first grade information!

My kiddos have come a LONG way.
Very proud of them!
As we finish the next 3 months..

DON’T BLINK!

It will be gone before you know it!

 PS…Is it SPRING BREAK yet?

Thanks for hanging in there 
all the way to HERE!!!
FREEBIE FOR YOU!



I Needed a KICK IN THE PANTS!

I can tell it’s SPRING…

I’m getting

LAZY!

Now ..I work 3 jobs…

I get up at 5:00AM and go to bed at 9:00PM.

I think I deserve some DOWN time!

BUT…

Then…I..get…really….complacent…

procrastinate…LAZY!

So every once in a while,

I need someone to give me a little

PUSH    SHOVE

KICK IN THE  PANTS!

Time to git ‘er DONE!

This has been one of those weeks!

So…

I have a packet I made that I use in my classroom

A  LOT!

If any of you already have this…

DO NOT FEAR!

Help is on its way!

Now,

MY KIDS LOVE THIS!

The packet is full of independent activities, comprehension questions, word work, etc

ALL related to the BOOK OF THEIR CHOICE!

I can use it with ANY book.

My independent readers can read a book

 and as a GROUP

( can we say COLLABORATE )

they can DISCUSS & complete the pack TOGETHER!

Now I don’t use it daily…maybe once every two weeks or so.

It takes them awhile &

I really want them to “get into it”.

Lots of rewards, positive notes, specials when completed.

It’s a GOOD THING!

BUT…

It’s OLD. Really OLD.

It was in need of “A LIFT” ( in all the right places ).

Sounds like me!

I DID IT!

I GOT ‘ER DONE!

And here she is.

ALL gussied up and purdy!

She has grown from 14 pages to 44!

She is ALL GROWED UP NOW!

I added a booklet style because

PAPER & INK ARE AT A PREMIUM!

So now…less paper… less ink… more productive teacher & students!

My Little LOVE…

Book Club

 is available

at my TPT store

1stgradefireworks

You will  LOVE this!

Flexible Seating: Stools, rockers, rugs, and seats…For READING??

Why flexible seating?
When I was in elementary school
( Way back in the DINOSAUR days )  
1970’s

flexible seating in the classroom

We sat in rows.
Many rows.
All of us looking straight ahead.
At the teacher, at all times!
No flexible seating, here.


flexible seating in the classroom
We kept our hands & feet to ourselves.
We kept our books in our desks.
And we read QUIETLY to ourselves.
Shhh…whisper!

We read.
Some people enjoyed it.
Some people just pretended.
Most did what we were told.
We didn’t ask…WHY?
or

Is there ANOTHER WAY?
How to bring flexible seating options into my classroom?

Because at home…

I would lay on my bed and read for HOURS!
flexible seating
(picture by Dreamstime.com)

And that is how I  LOVE TO READ!

I want my students to LOVE to read!

So I have “changed it up!”
I have added flexible seating options in my classroom for kids to 
read in a comfortable, relaxed, enjoyable experience.

Every day after lunch my first graders do

READ  TO  SELF.

If you have not read the book
The Daily 5

from “The 2  SISTERS”      YOU  NEED  TO!
My first graders read to themselves.

Not to me,
Not to a partner,
JUST TO THEMSELVES!

Therefore…READ  TO  SELF!

I set the BIG TIMER!

online reading timer


I use THIS one.

We start the year at 6 minutes.  Read.
We work on increasing our reading STAMINA.
 Read longer.
Today, we are at 18 minutes!

18 minutes of uninterrupted reading 
of books THEY choose!

BUT there is MORE!

They don’t sit in rows.
They don’t sit at their desk.

We have flexible seating choices for reading.

flexible seating reading rockers
READING  ROCKERS

flexible seating stools
TALL STOOLS

flexible seating short stools
SHORT  STOOLS

flexible seating chairs
SHORT  STOOLS  at  SHORT  TABLES
flexible seating

CHAIRS  by themselves

flexible seating rugs
READING  RUGS

flexible seating

CORNER  NOOKS

flexible seating floor
FLAT  OUT  ON  THE  FLOOR

And when we are done?
Stools under the tables.
Rockers stacked in baskets.
Rugs in the tub.
And chairs stacked.

flexible seating stools

flexible seating stools

flexible seating guided reading stools

flexible seating reading rockers

flexible seating chairs
They MOAN when the timer goes off. 

They ask during other times of the day
to Read in the Rockers.

THEY  WANT  TO  READ!

I have taught them to LOVE to READ..  

ANY HOW…ANY WHERE!
Flexible seating choices have made a HUGE difference
in the reading choices my students make.

They want harder books.
They want to read MORE!

It’s hard to walk into a first grade classroom

and hear…SILENCE.

But the “whispers” of reading are heard, daily!
UPDATE
More flexible seating CHOICES!

I won ..yes…won  these
4 AMAZING Stools at our recent
NorCAL Teachers Meet UP
in Pleasanton,CA!

Check out the fun at:
Instagram

flexible seating storage ottomans
I was the BIG..WINNER  WINNER! 🙂
Yes…I won ALL  4
WHOOP!  WHOOP!

flexible seating wooden rocking chairs
And these Bad boys…
They are wooden rocking chairs,, and they SQUEAK!
I love to hear the squeak, squeak as they rock & READ!
Thank You Donor’s Choose!

My “flexible seating” is complete!
Now to “arrange” it into 
WORKSTATIONS!


I absolutely LOVE IT!

( SO DO THE KIDDOS!)

Some of my “bloggy friends”
have also posted about
their experiences
with flexible seating.
Check them out.
How to fund and implement flexible seating

10 things to know about flexible seating

flexible seating

If you want to learn MORE about reading
check out these blog posts:

How to Make CHUNKY CRAYONS for your classroom.

Have YOU ever made
CHUNKY CRAYONS?
ALL kids LOVE to draw.
They LOVE big, chunky crayons!

MAKE THEM!

Use the broken crayons from your classroom…
AND
BEG OTHER TEACHERS FOR THEIRS!

Teachers LOVE to get rid of broken crayons.

Then …start searching stores ( including thrift stores, Goodwill, etc )
for silicone shaped candy molds!

If not… my BFF…AMAZON PRIME!
You are NOT making food…
They can be “recycled” …wink , wink!

I found some snowmen, trees, and gingerbreadmen 
at Goodwill for $1.00 !!

Now what?

Have the kids…
YES THE KIDS
…take off ALL the paper wrappers!

DON’T  TELL  THEM  WHY!  🙂

Paper wrappers …I did them MYSELF!

Should have had kids do them…
they would have ENJOYED IT! 🙂

Gingerbreadman

Christmas Trees

Lots DONE… FAST…EASY
If you don’t have a LOT (it takes a LOT) of broken crayons,
ask for donations from other teachers.

Bring the unwrapped, broken crayons home.

Break up the crayons into LITTLE  chucks!

Put them into the molds…press them down a little.

Place molds onto a cookie sheet.

 Bake 60 minutes (1 hour) at 200 degrees.

Take them out & let them cool.
If rushed…PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER!

(Don’t POP them out…until they are SOLID.)

POP them out…

and   VOILA!



I also made them in the SUMMER.

Check out this blog post.

More fun making CHUNKY  CRAYONS!

Have fun! 

Let me know if YOURS work or not.