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Opinion Writing for kindergarten and first grade

Opinion writing in kindergarten is one of those things, in my opinion (see what I did there) is best done spirally.

We certainly introduce writing for a reason as a unit of study. However, we want the students' understanding of opinion writing to grow as their transcription skills grow.

Recently Deedee worked in a kindergarten class and tested our new Opinion writing unit!

She started by asking the question...
Students wrote their opinion on a slip of paper and placed it on the pocket chart.

She purposely showed invented spelling on her own card, since she is really pushing this crew to be FEARLESS spellers and just put the sounds they hear on the card.

She also introduced them to several anchor charts.  Here is one that is included in the unit.
Here is what they came up with!
The best way to get around is to ride a bike because I don't get as tired.

What is the best way to get around?  I think scooters are the best because it is fast and also has a handle [bar] and you sway on the scooter.   
I think running is the best because you can get to places fast.  That is the best way to get around.

What is the best way to get around on your own?  I think that a bike is the best way to get around because you go fast.  Bikes are the best way to get around.

You know why hover boards are the best? Because I never fall off and I like it. That's the best way to get around.
Here is what is included in the opinion writing unit.
This unit is perfect for kindergarten and first grade and it's on sale until Saturday at midnight!
Swing by Deedee's blog to see the rest of the samples!

Guided Reading! Getting Organized

Getting organized for guided reading can be a challenge.  In order for it to be effective, you need to keep your resources handy and all together.
 So I like to keep my guided reading books and lessons together in individual binders.

 Each binder is organized by level.
 and having the spine labeled helps be find the resource I need in seconds!
 Inside the binder is where a disaster can happen if you are not mindful!
Right inside the cover is where I put the sound boxes.  I slide them into a sheet protector so students can write on them with a dry erase marker.  As students progress to higher levels, they will have experiences with 3-4 phoneme words.  For Levels A & B students will simply work with 2 phoneme words.
Inside, I have placed 6 pocket dividers.  I have labeled each of the pocket dividers with the name of the text.  Each set comes with 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction texts.
Each level also has a black and white option.
As I turn the page, the back part of the pocket (the right side) houses the sentence work and any word work materials that will go with that book.  On the left are the lesson plans for day 1, lesson plans for day 2, and the running record recording pages.
Here is an example of the 2 day lesson plan for Elephants (from Level Text Set A).
Here is an example of the running record.  You will notice we added a table so you can easily determine their accuracy rate without having to do BIG MATH!   Ha!  

Frequently asked questions

Why do you have a 2 Day lesson plan?
By having a 2 day lesson plan, students are given an opportunity to engage more with the text.  On the second day of the lessons, students should demonstrate fluency with the text.  Additionally, the second day offers the chance to revisit the sight word from the previous lesson and it allows for guided writing.

EXAMPLE FROM LEVEL A:  
DAY 1:  The students will unscramble, read, and illustrate the mixed up sentence.
Day 2:  The students will use that sentence to write their own.  One word will be their a word of their choice.  Invented spelling is perfectly acceptable.  However, since the words look, at, and her are provided, those should be written conventionally.  This also gives you an opportunity to discuss print concepts and build positive writing habits from the start.

How are the books leveled?
These books were written with the Fountas and Pinnell guidelines in mind.  


How many levels do you plan to make?
We are committed to creating sets through level G... but we may go as high as level L.  It is our plan to have these completed before the start of the next school year.

Will you bundle these sets?
This was a hard decision for Deedee and I.  However, we have decided to not bundle them yet because we are not sure how high we will create them.   

Don't fret!  We want to reassure you... We will post each level at a 25% discount for the first 7 days.  This will exceed the discount you would have received with the bundle.  

You can find these leveled sets by clicking on the picture below.


Guiding Reading Planning & Instruction

In my classroom, I used a combination of whole group instruction (close reading, shared reading) and guided reading to teach reading.  With whole group instruction you focus your teaching towards the ability of your more proficient students' ability.  Then you scaffold and support those students who need it.

However, guided reading allows you to tailor your instruction to fit the needs of each individual student.  You bring your reading lessons to THEIR instructional level.  This is just another piece of the "learning to read" puzzle.  Guided reading is done in a small group with 4-6 students.   
You can find these pages in my Guided Reading 101 unit.
 

Even the simplest of texts require thoughtful planning.
 
 Then I use these lessons to plan my next steps with that group.
 

Running records are also important to document the reading.  Running records provide a reading diagnostic tool and helps you recall the strategies you observed and the teaching that took place during that lesson. This is an important step in reaching the needs of your learners.  You wouldn't want to see a medical doctor who does not take clinical notes!
 
  I keep my guiding reading lessons in a binder.  I place the running records under the tab for that group.

I am happy to announce that Deedee Wills and I have teamed up again!  This time we are creating leveled texts.  

These have been written with the Fountas and Pinnell text structure guidelines in mind.
Here is just a sample of what you will get with the Guided Reading Level A set.


We have also created a 2-Day guided reading lesson plan for you that covers: high-frequency word work, sentence work and dictation, and phonics work.
They also include a running record.


You can keep your sentence dictation and word work in a notebook.
Or you can work with blank pages. 
 Here is the table of contents for Guided Reading Level A

FAQ:   Are you going to bundle these leveled readers?
We will not bundle them at this time, perhaps once we have the entire series complete.  

Let me tell you why... we have not completely decided how high we will go with the text levels.  We KNOW we will write them until we get to level G, but we may go as high as level J.

Don't fret... here is what we will do.   Each set that comes out will be discounted by 25% for the first 7 days.  This will EXCEED any discount the  bundle would have offered you.  The price on Level A will go up tomorrow (since it has been out for 6 days already.)

Have a fabulous day!

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