Print Awareness

Wumbers

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Integrating Knowledge and Ideas, Letter / Number Knowledge, Logic Smart, Phonological Awareness, Print Awareness, Print Concepts | 0 comments

wumbers“What do you get when you combine a word with a number? A wumber!” Wumbers  is wri10 by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustr8ed by Tom Lichtenheld, the dynamic duo who made Duck! Rabbit! and other books I love passion8ly. With Wumbers, kids have 2 pay at10tion to the sound of the number word to figure out how to read the wumber. 1ce your students get the gist of it, they’ll want 2 make up wumbers of their own!

Because Wumbers focuses kids’ attention on the small sounds in words, it’s an ideal book to hit the CCSS of Phonological Awareness. Distinguishing the numbers from the letters in the words is part of Print Concepts. 1 book for 2 standards = gr8ful teacher and 4tunate students!

As you read Wumbers to your students, call at10tion first to the way the wumber looks. What number is mixed with letters to make a new word? 1ce students identify the number, say it out loud a few times, then blend the number name with the other letters slowly. Let kids have the thrill of calling out the wumber. It7ly! (Get it – it’s heavenly? Ok, I’m still working on a good one for 7.)

Before you let your students loose on reading and writing wumbers on their own, practice as a group. Choose a number, an easy one like 2 or 4 (because obviously 7 will pose challenges, even for those of us with plenty of wumber po10tial.) Write the number word and any phonological variations: 2 is two, to, too, tu, etc. Now, see if you can come up with words that have that to-tu sound in them.  Tuba becomes 2ba. Toothbrush becomes a 2thbrush. Because she is genius, Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a free activities kit available through her website: whoisamy.com. If you and your students come up with some 1derful wumbers, email me! 2gether we will celebr8 Wumbers!

For more about the illustrator, please visit tomlichtenheld.com.

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Words with Wings

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Fluency, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Print Awareness, Print Concepts, Print Motivation, Range of Reading, Self Smart | 0 comments

wordswithwings

This novel-in-verse is for the daydreamers and for the teachers who want to guide, not squash, those who have such vivid imaginations.

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes is one of those gorgeously-written books you can read aloud to your class for wonderful group discussions and then watch them eagerly grab it to read independently. (Novels-in-verse are not only a great way to immerse your students in poetry, but it hits both Range of Reading and Fluency for Core Standards. Woohoo!) Imagine yourself reading aloud this page to your students and knowing that for some kids, it will hit home:

First Day
I duck down in the seat
of my new class.
To these kids,
I’m not Gabby yet.
I’m just Shy Girl
Who Lives
Inside Her Head.
No one even knocks
on the door
for a visit.
They don’t know
it’s beautiful
in here.

Gabby is a daydreamer, which sometimes causes problems in school and at home. But how can she help daydreaming, when words have wings? Some of the poems would make for great writing prompts in your classroom, like this one:

Waterfall
Say “waterfall”
and the dreary winter rain
outside my classroom window
turns to liquid thunder,
pounding into a clear pool
miles below,
and I can’t wait
to dive in.

To my absolute delight, Nikki Grimes named the teacher in this book Mr. Spicer after one of the coolest teachers I’ve ever meet, Ed Spicer. He teaches first grade here in Michigan and he is committed to giving his students time to daydream. Sometimes he plays music, sometimes it’s quiet. Sometimes he asks his students to write about their daydreams, or turn and talk about them, or daydream on a particular topic, like a science concept they are studying. I love the power of daydreaming and I adore Ed Spicer for encouraging his students to take a few moments to let their minds wander. Follow him on Facebook for more about his classroom because he is a wealth of amazing ideas.

So share Words with Wings with your students. For a quick Craft & Structure lesson, talk about the words Nikki Grimes chose that have “wings” for Gabby. Why did she choose these words? What words have wings for you? Give your students a few minutes just to daydream, wonder and imagine. It may become a favorite break in your classroom.

Happy September, everyone!

For more information about the author, please visit: nikkigrimes.com.

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This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Fluency, Logic Smart, Math Tie-In, Print Awareness, Print Concepts, Self Smart | 2 comments

This Plus ThatNot only is this week’s picture book a fun way to teach some of the Common Core State Standards in Reading, it is also the best inspiration for your “welcome back to school” classroom bulletin board.

This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace is sheer brilliance. It starts with:

1 + 1 = us

I love it! Not only will your students know how to read math symbols after sharing this book, but they’ll look at math much more creatively.

Smile + wave = hello
Smile + ocean wave = beach

Some are compare and contrast (I love what does and does not equal a sincere apology!), some are stand-alone sentences. Most are addition, but other math ideas come into play as well:
cozy + smell of pancakes – alarm clock = weekend

This would be fun to pair with 1 + 1 = 5 by David La Rochelle and Brenda Sexton if you’d like to hit Integrating Knowledge & Ideas, but all on its own This Plus That teaches Print Concepts and works beautifully to build Fluency.

After you share This Plus That, brainstorm and write equations with your students. In the book:

leaves + hot soup = fall

What things add up to fall for your students? And I’d love to make a welcoming bulletin board with:

1 + 1 = us    and       Joe + Gabriel + Julia + Matt…. = our class

This Plus That + your students = a whole new way of writing with math symbols!

For more information about the author, please visit whoisamy.com.

For more information about the illustrator, please visit jencorace.com.

 

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Banana!

Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 in Early Learning, Fluency, Nature Smart, Print Awareness, Print Concepts, Readers' Theater | 0 comments

Want a book that every kid in your class can read with expression and enjoyment? Try Ed Vere’s nearly wordless picture book, Banana! I love using wordless and nearly wordless books with young readers. (If you want the myriad of reasons why wordless books are great for building narrative skills, fluency, top-down processing, etc., check out this article by the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement or this one from Education Week.) The facial expressions on the two monkeys are so engaging, and the text is limited to two words: banana and please with either question marks or exclamation points. As you read, point out how the exclamation mark and question mark change the way we read the words. (Print Concepts mini-lesson? Check!)

Banana!  is perfect for young readers’ theater. After reading the book to your students, split them into pairs. The kids can make their own monkey masks or hats or puppets. Give students time to practice their lines (nailing that Common Core State Standard of Fluency). Then, kids take turns performing for the class, reading their lines as you hold up the book and turn the pages.

You can make a silly spin-off book called “Apple!” Take photos of two teachers arguing over who gets to eat the apple and lay them out like Ed Vere’s pages. You can make lots of little class books like this if you have a digital camera – let your students be the stars of the book, arguing over and eventually sharing an orange, or a pencil, etc. Your students will go, well, bananas for this book!

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