The Jan Plan, Part II

I'm back for another post about guided reading using Jan Richardson's book, The Next Step in Guided Reading. Her format really does help you get the most out of that short chunk of guided reading time. Today, I'm going to show you what an emergent reading lesson looks like. This is the format followed for levels A-C. The instructional focus will change depending on students' needs, but the overall organization and procedures will be the same.

Part One-Sight word review

We begin the lesson by doing a quick review of three previously taught sight words. Each time the students write a word correctly, I mark it down on a recording sheet. After the student has written the word independently several times, I am confident that it is a known word. You get good at figuring out who knows the word and who is averting their eyes to try to look at someone else's board. :)
Part Two- Book introduction and reading

Next, I introduce the story and any new vocabulary the students will need to know. We may quickly preview the story and make predictions, but we don't spend a ton of time before we get down to the nitty gritty business of reading. This is where it looks like your usual guided reading lesson. The students quietly read the story while I monitor and support if needed. I usually take a running record on a student at this time.
Before, during, and after reading, I encourage students to use our strategies to figure out unknown words. After reading, we discuss the strategies the students used and talk about any tricky parts we encountered. If there is enough meat to the story to discuss it, we will talk about the events and our connections to the story.

Part Three-Teach one new sight word

I ALWAYS have the students build a new sight word with magnetic letters. We may also play "mix and fix" where the students mix up the letters and put it back together, saying the letters in order each time. We also write the word on a white board and sometimes play "what's missing?" where I simply write the word on a white board missing one or two letters and the students have to fill them in.

I store the magnetic letters needed for the sight word in these little disposable Glad containers. They stack neatly and are the perfect size.
Part Four- word study

Finally, we do some quick word work. It may be a sort, Elkonin boxes, or making words with magnetic letters.
I keep the letters needed to make the day's word in these cups from the grocery store. Having a different container keeps me from mixing up the letters.
And that's the end of the emergent guided reading lesson...BUT WAIT! This is a two-day plan! On the second day, the students practice sight words, reread the story, and practice the new sight word much like day 1. But in place of word study, we do guided writing in their guided writing journals. This is usually a sentence that I dictate to the students.

I use these journals that I created, because I felt that giving the students a small place to draw a QUICK picture helps them to remember what was written...but a few blank sheets of paper stapled into a book is all you really need.
There sure is a lot of wood grain going on in these guided reading posts! I hope you found them useful. If you are not familiar with Jan Richardson's book The Next Step in Guided Reading, I highly recommend you check it out! Her website is also filled with great information and downloads, which you can get here.

One last thing... I have created some resources for getting started with guided reading in your classroom. I call them Guided Reading Essentials, and they can be found at my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you are interested! The guided writing notebooks are a FREEBIE! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. :)


Helpful Hints Linky Party

Today I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to share some helpful hints and ideas for classroom organization!
Now, I am not an organized person by nature. There are exactly five self-help books about organization on my Kindle as we speak. I've read three of them; still haven't gotten around to the other two ;). In fact, this cartoon is me to a tee.
But I have picked up some ideas that have made my life easier and kept my room neater.

1. My mailbox system. The one I use is from target. It has two sections to divide my mail. The bottom one is labeled "mail," and it holds general items that I need to file away or look at, but are not time sensitive. The top section, labeled "action," is for things that I need to deal with right away. That's the file that screams "Do not leave this classroom without putting your hands on these papers!" It's made my life easier because I don't have to sift through a giant stack to find important stuff.
2. The running to-do list on my smart phone. I use the notes app of my phone for everything, from keeping track of students I conference with to recording funny quotes from students I want to remember. On my phone, my to-do list is always with me. No worrying about it getting lost or thrown away. I can easily add and delete items that are finished. A daily check of my notes ensures that I have done everything I need to do for the day.
3. The work clip. Best thing I've ever done in my classroom. My big wall of student work is so much easier to fill now that I have these installed. Just slip it in, and you're good to go! No more stapling and worrying about getting everything straight.
4. The Sharpie paint pen. This thing has changed my life. I am officially done with label tape for a while. For years, I have searched the globe for an alternative to name plates that get picked-at, picked off, and just plain gross. Then, I came across this post about using Sharpie paint pens. My life will never be the same.
5. The drawing system for calling on students. This is nothing new by any means, but I haven't always used this system. That is a shame because I would have saved myself years of headache. Now, when someone complains that they "NEVER get a turn" I simply dangle the pail and say "the bucket doesn't lie!"
I hope that you find something here that is helpful to you in your classroom! Share your own tips in the comments, below!


Thanksgiving Fun

Over the years, I have learned that activating prior knowledge is an absolute must. This is particularly true when learning about Thanksgiving. Kids always remember everything about their last Christmas, down to every last stocking stuffer. But ask them about Thanksgiving? I find that there is a wide range of experiences here. I mean, who am I to say that your family doesn't eat sushi or hot dogs on Thanksgiving? But for the most part, I think that Thanksgiving is just not that memorable for most four year olds, and sometimes they sort of grasp at straws in order to have something to share.

So I'm hoping that this is the year that their Turkey Day memories will stick. In an effort to make it memorable and fun, I peruse the internet for cute craft ideas as usual. And that darn pinecone turkey keeps popping up all over Pinterest. My initial thought when I saw it was "adorable! I MUST do that!" But my second thought was... "ain't nobody got time for dat!" But in the end, I caved, and I'm so glad I did because they are adorable!

So I went home and glued a bunch of heads together... This was the part that was really not kid-friendly, as it involved hot glue. Let me tell you, heads were rolling! Ha!
Then, it was time to glue the heads onto the pinecones...
We then traced the students' hands and cut them out (we were running on a tight time for decapitated fingers today). We talked about some things that we are thankful for and wrote them on a chart. The students then wrote the ones they chose on their handprints, glued then in, and voila! Cute little thankful turkeys!

LOTS AND LOTS of turkeys!
We also did a little survey to see who likes turkey and who does not. Come on, everybody loves turkey!
We've also been doing a lot of the activities in my Thankful for Thanksgiving Math and Literacy packet. It is on sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store until Sunday if you are still looking for some fun, themed activities!
The fun is not over yet, of course. I will be back soon to share more of our Thanksgiving fun!


Why I Love "The Jan Plan"

Guided reading used to be a struggle for me. I understood the concepts, read the books on the subject, and implemented guided reading in my classroom, but I just felt like something was missing.

It kind of looked like this:
"I'm done with the book, Mrs. Brosig!"
" read it again! for the 99th time..."

"Let's talk about this eight-sentence book for 'comprehension' purposes for a a LONG while!"

"Hey! I found these worksheets on Reading A-Z so they must be great!" (not knocking Reading A-Z...I totally love that resource).

You see, what was missing from my guided reading lessons before was consistency... We might do a sort or some word work one day, others we'd just fill in a graphic organizer related to the story (at level A, not the best use of our time!), but the kids never really knew what to expect. Honestly, I disliked guided reading very much.

Enter Jan Richardson. The book that finally made it all click. I've been using The Next Steps in Guided Reading for three years now and I haven't strayed, because I find that it works for me better than any other system. I can honestly say that guided reading now runs like a well-oiled machine, and it is one of my favorite components of the day! So I thought I would post what guided reading lessons look like in my classroom, based on her plan. Today, I will be sharing a Pre-A lesson. Pre-A students are those who know fewer than 40 letters (counting both capital and lowercase). They need experience with print concepts suck as tracking print and identifying a letter vs. a word.

Full disclosure: The students who modeled this lesson for me are above a pre-a level. They were kind enough to roll with me before reading their own books for the day.

Part One: Working with Letters and Names (3-4 minutes)
  • When pre-a students come to my table, the very first thing they do is get their ABC charts and a baggie that holds all of the letter they know. They match the letters to the chart until time runs out (it goes quick!)
  • They may also sort the letters by color, match capital and lowercase letters, name a word that begins with letters in their baggies, or find a target letter on their chart (i.e. "find the letter that you hear at the beginning of car." At the very beginning of the year, we also do name puzzles until the students can write and identify the letters in their names.

  • We also spend a minute working on letter formation. The sheet protectors are great for that. They just write their letters down in the empty space on the chart.

Part Two: Working with Sounds (2-3 minutes)
  • At the pre-A level, we work on the phonological awareness skills of syllables, rhymes, and beginning sounds. We usually do a quick picture sort as a group.

Part Three: Working With Books (5 minutes)
  • The focus is here is oral language, print concepts, and book handling skills. We CHORAL read a simple level A book together. As we read, the students are encouraged to describe what is happening in the pictures. After reading, I ask the students to look for one word, the first word in a sentence, the last word in a sentence, the first letter of a word, a space, etc.

Part Four: Interactive Writing (5 minutes)
  • We share the pen, writing a sentence that follows the pattern of the story. I have the students write the dominant consonant sounds that they can hear. We then cut up the sentence and put it back together. One student  gets to take the cut-up sentence home.

And that, my friends, is the Pre-A procedure of "The Jan Plan." I highly recommend you read The Next Step in Guided Reading if you haven't. There is a ton of great information that helps your understanding of how to move the students through the skills and strategies of learning to read. I'll be back soon to post photos of an emergent guided reading lesson!


Here We Go!

Hello there! Time to do some BLOGGING! I want to start by giving a HUGE thank you to Becca Parro from Jumping Jax Designs, who designed this blog for me. It is everything I hoped it could be and more, and Becca is amazing! Is it weird that I keep this page up on my screen when I'm not using my laptop just so I can glance at it every so often?

So I suppose it's time to get some content on this bad boy! I've been out with a sick little boy for two days this week, so it's been a little hectic, but I was able to snap a couple photos today.

I love doing author studies with my students! We recently finished up an author study on David Shannon, and we're doing a little author study on Eric Carle right now. His books are so fun, and of course, the illustrations are the best. The kiddos always love him! Today we read the book Today is Monday. Here is a picture of us sequencing and retelling the story using food from our housekeeping station. I'm still singing the song!

Then, we made our own copycat versions of the story.

I also managed to snap a couple photos of kiddos doing activities from the ABC station. Here are some kids putting together beginning sound puzzles.

And here is a snapshot of my fall syllable mats. It's kind of hard to tell in the photo, but the pictures are laminated circles that the students place on the appropriate mat. Simplest thing ever, and they love it.

I guess that's all she wrote for tonight! Come back soon because there is so much more to come!


First *Real* Post

My first *official* blog post is coming soon! If you happen to stop by before then, you can hang out with Mr. Glowy here. We made him to sequence the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. He was the easiest scarecrow ever...he's not really stuffed; he's just a jack-o-lantern sitting on a desk behind a chair with clothes draped over it. Halloween is over (Thank you, Lord), but you can still make a scarecrow and read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! You don't even need a jack-o-lantern for that book... just stick some leaves on a pumpkin for the face!

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