Monday, October 20, 2014

Retelling is such an important skill for students to master.  Teaching kindergarten we would always begin with just telling the basic facts- the characters, the setting, then problem and the solution. Then we would progress to telling a beginning detail, a middle detail and an end detail.  You would think that since students have been retelling stories since they were in Kindergarten, by 3rd grade they would have it mastered- right?  Well, they don't- at least many of them don't.  They tell too much of the story or they choose details that aren't important, or they don't tell enough about the problem and solution.
I've used this strategy- for years in one variation or another.  I love it because, if they do it correctly, it tells all the important parts.  Somebody (the main character) wants (this gets to the action of the story before the conflict) but (here's where the conflict come in) so (what does the character do to solve the problem) then (what's the resolution- how does the story end) Right now we are in middle of summarizing fictional text and I use that strategy all the time to get the students to quickly summarize a story without telling every single detail.  I made this Flip Book- it's a freebie on TpT.  You can use it in an interactive notebook, at a retelling station, or as independent work. The good thing about it is that it doesn't have a lot of intricate cutting so it's a quick cutting job.
Hope it's something that you might be able to use. :) Happy Retelling!

Monday, October 6, 2014

National Symbols Informational Text

After teaching national symbols for years in Kindergarten, I really thought I was done with it.   I thought I wouldn't have to teach about the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty etc... anymore because they learned all about it in Kindergarten and again in 1st grade.  But, apparently the powers that be think that we need another year of it.  Should I get out my craft activities that I used to do from Deanna Jump's American symbol unit?  No!  Although I am sure that the Statue of Liberty craft has to be easier with 3rd graders than it was with Kindergarteners!
Because our social studies text books are completely about communities and there is no mention of national symbols in the book, I felt the need to create some informational text that is close to the 2nd-3rd grade lexile band.  And, here it is free to you!  I included bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, the White House, American flag, America the Beautiful, Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the U.S. Capitol building You can download it here for free. American Symbol Informational Text

I am going to use them paired with Reading A-Z Close Reading pack "How does something become a symbol?"  Do you know about Reading A-Z??? It's a paid subscription but they have hundreds of leveled readers and lots of close reading/common core resources. Hope this is something you might be able to use.