Text Feature Walk (The Reading Teacher, 64- Kelley & Clausen-Grace)
This active reading strategy helps students use text features to activate schema, make connections, and set a purpose for reading nonfiction. It integrates reading instruction with content area instruction.
Link: It's like a picture walk- but uses nonfiction text features (title, table of contents, index, glossary, headings, bold words, sidebars, charts and graphs, maps, cutaways/cross-sections, inset photos, pictures and captions, labeled diagrams...) rather than pictures to get the kids thinking about the reading.
Also point out text organization (compare and contrast, sequence...) and text content (focus of lesson).
- Familiarize students with text-features. (ex. explore a textbook, introduce in a guided reading session using a nonfiction text, model at read aloud...)
- Ask students why an author would include a text feature (Identify text features in many books before analyzing...Use texts about content in which students are familiar.)
- Model text feature walks whole class. Create an anchor chart on "Directions for Text Feature Walk" together.
- Then, break students in small groups to explore texts. Give them focus questions/ copies of directions to discuss or features to compare and how the text feature is related to the main idea of the text. Directly teach new vocabulary and how to pronounce the words before discussion. (Note: Teach students a small group structure- How to take turns...)
- Read the text. (whole class, partners, small group, individually...)
- Reflect by having students tell how the text feature walk helped improve their comprehension/ reading experience.
Textbook Circles for Teaching Comprehension(The Reading Teacher, 64 (3), pp. 203-205 )
Textbook circles are temporary small groups of students that work with a piece of content-area text that you have selected (a page in a textbook, a magazine/newspaper article...) The goal of a Textbook Circle is reading comprehension, which is scaffolded by peer discussion. Thus, the groups need to be made by carefully by partnering children at different levels of reading ability. In addition, a protocol for valuable talk needs to be introduced. Here are some tips:
1. Text Selection: Is the text interesting and accessible? Is it well-written with visual support? Is it focused on the content you'd like them to learn?
2. Grouping: Try to have one student in each group that has background knowledge on the topic. Have the groups have a mix of willing and reluctant speakers.
3. Preview the Text: Set the purpose and build background knowledge before setting the groups loose. (ex activities: "Word ALert"- search the text for predetermined vocabulary. See Word Alert Think Sheet in Vocabulary Section. Before the reading, have the students fill in the first three columns. After the reading, have them discuss the words and any new words that arose...
4. Keep It Going: Circulate around the room to keep students engaged and on task.
1. Before Reading: Students skim pages and predict. They discuss features of the textbook that led them to their thoughts. They discuss connections and background knowledge.
2. During Reading: They read and take notes on topics for discussion: evidence confirming or not confirming their prediction...additional details/information... (use Word Alert, or Focus Questions, or another note-taking tool...)
3.After Reading: Discuss notes, pull in other resources to answer questions that arose..Teacher helps facilitate a whole class discussion at the end summarizing the reading.
Questions to Elicit Discussion
Attached is a series of questions to use during Reader's Workshop mini-lessons, book talks/clubs, or reading conferences.
Plan Questions (Beck, 1998):
- Identify the major understandings students should construct from a text and anticipate problems.
- Segment the text: decide where to stop reading and initiate a discussion.
- Develop queries: formulate initiating and follow-up queries that will promote construction of meaning. Link questions to your goals:
- Anticipate and plan for potential problems in a text (lack of clarity, density of information...)
- Teach strategies for making meaning (questioning, go back in the text, connections...)
To learn about and share their family histories, have students interview a family member. Have them gather photographs, recipes, artwork, and objects that represent their family member. If children are unable to interview a family member, guide them in finding another person to interview.
Students can write poetry, create collages, or write their interview questions and answers in order to share their research. Let them choose to write and present in the language of their choice.
Note: This activity is multi-modal (involving talk, reading, and writing) as well as based on student interest (provides choice, is personally relevant/ connects students' lives to classroom writing experiences, allows multiple viewpoints/stories to be shared).
Using Book Trailers
A book trailer is like a movie trailer. You can download them from YouTube (check Multicultural Book section: video), Kidlitbooktrailers.ning.com/, 60Second Recap, and other publishing sites. In the classroom, book trailers are a great way to:
1. Build excitement about an upcoming class read.
2. Use as a model of specific skills, like summarizing, foreshadowing, mood, pacing, tone...
3. Use as a scaffold to support students who need a visual (extra support for the storyline)
You can also build critical thinking skills. Students can compare the books to the trailers. Use focus questions: What feelings did the trailer evoke? Do the feelings match the mood of the book? Did the trailer leave out anything significant? Some books have multiple trailers. You can compare and contrast each for their strengths and weaknesses. For more ideas on using book trailers in the classroom, check out ReadingRockets.
Use the attached homophone list to create leveled games to use in a center or as children finish their tasks. Write the words on index cards and attach pictures from google images to help ELLs differentiate the word.
These cards can be used on a word wall, in a pocket chart, or to play word games like rummy or memory.
Two to six players
Object of the game: To use all the cards in your hand to make
homophone pairs and go out first.
1. Shuffle the deck and deal 7 cards to each player. (If working with two players, deal 8 or 9 cards to each.) Turn over the top card
and place it next to the deck. This will be the discard pile.
2. All players check their hands for pairs of homophones and place the pairs face up on the table.
3. Go around and have the players name their pairs. Players get credit for a pair only if they can give the meanings of both words
or correctly use each word in a sentence. (This rule applies throughout the game.) Another player may challenge the two
meanings given for a pair, and the players must use the Homophone List to check it. If the player has given an incorrect
meaning, that pair is removed from the game.
4. Choose who goes first. Player 1 either draws the showing (discarded) card or draws from the deck, trying to make a
homophone match with a card in hand. If player 1 can make a pair, player 1 gets to lay down the pair, giving the homophones’
meaning, and then discard. If not, player 1 can only discard, and the turn is over; player 2 gets to take a turn.
5. Play continues until one player has no more cards in hand. All the players count their pairs. The winner is the player with the
Two or more players
Additional materials: lined paper folded lengthwise, pencil, dictionary
1. The players write their names at the top of the columns on the folded paper or sort grid. This will be a recording sheet.
2. Player 1 selects 5 or more homophone pairs and mixes up the cards. Player 1 holds up the cards with the backs facing player
2, and asks player 2 to pick a card.
3. Player 2 picks a card, turns it over, and reads the word aloud. Player 2 must say what the word means or use it in a
sentence. If it is the correct meaning of the word, player 2 gets to write the word in the column under player 2’s name. However,
players can challenge the meaning given. If the answer is wrong, player 2 does not get to write the word the column. If the
players disagree on the meaning, they can look up the word.
4. Player 1 sorts and puts back the homophone pairs, and player 2 gets to take a turn choosing pairs, shuffling them, and holding
them up for the next player.
5. The first player to fill every line in the column is the winner.
Reading Is Thinking: Strategy List for Upper Grades
The IRA/NCTE standards focus on the needs of all students, especially ELLs, to use strategies that actively engage them in thinking. In the upper grades, strategy use is complicated by the introduction of new genres, more technical text, and more challenging writing styles. Teachers can:
1. Use Demonstrations
2. Think ALouds
3. Strategy Mini-Lessons
4. Stress Enjoyment, Motivation and Engagement (allowing guided choice in reading material, providing access to magazines and a wide variety of genres at different levels)
5. Word Study (playful approaches to vocabulary)
6. Collaboration (talking about books, working in pairs and teams, inquiry groups, book clubs)
7. Time to Read (setting time in a workshop approach that allows students time to read books of their choice)
Check the website and ELL room for more detailed ideas. I am always available to work together/ demonstrate any strategy in which you are interested.
I have attached some graphic organizers that address some of the above topics.
Pronouncing "-ed" at the end of a word
Many ELs have trouble figuring out how to pronounce "-ed" at the end of a word. Does it sound like "duh" or "t" or "ed"? Here is a list of words for kids to practice.
What might appear as reading problems in young ELs can be pronunciation issues. Here are some tips:
1. Help children SEE what they cannot hear. Say "Look at me," while you emphasize the sound. Have students mimic while looking in a mirror.
2. Point out how the tongue, lips, teeth help form the sounds. Point out if the sound is voiced (b, g, d...) or unvoiced (p, k, t...).
3. Exaggerate using large gestures and big mouth movements.
Ancestor Graph (Patty Clendenin)
In Patty's second grade classroom, her children created a bar graph showing what continent each child's family originated (x axis-#children, y axis=continent). The children used the bar graph to create a map showing cities and countries.
Vocabulary for the lesson came from the social studies (Now and Long ago chapter) as well as books like Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say or Molly's Pilgrim or How Many Days to America (Eve Bunting). Please comment to add other books that would be appropriate.
This lesson also integrates EDM vocabulary and graphing/data concepts.
Memoir Study (timelines/ vignettes)
Interview a Family Member...
Using Sign Language with K's
I attached a ASL alphabet chart. Some teachers have been using this to attach movement to the letters to help students connect in another way. For children who love movement they can practice writing their name using the chart. By doing this, they will have to identify the letters in their name (you help attach the sound). Point out that this is another language (a connection to learning multiple languages) using an alphabet.
Move on to words.
Sign language is also great for blending because it naturally slows down the process, allowing children to blend the sounds and move simultaneously. Check K-1 videos for the alphabet song using ASL.
Fall Cultural Feast: K-5
Try a Fall Cultural Feast in November. I attached a family recipe sheet that I sent home for homework. Depending on the age, the children research a family recipe alone or with help. They return the recipe which was copied and collated into a family cookbook. On the day of the feast, the children and family members brought the recipe (enough for 22 SAMPLES rather than servings) in to share with the class. We started with savory recipes and ended with desserts. Before each recipe was sampled, the children and family shared the history and meaning behind the recipe.
All children were encouraged to try new things, unless they had dietary restrictions. In that case, they were taught polite phrases to decline. I took pictures of the families presenting and added those to the cookbook for a memorable keepsake.
Kindergarten Parent Letter in Eng/SP
This letter is from the website ColorinColorado. They have many resources in both languages. The site can be viewed in English or in Spanish.
Alphabet in Many Languages
Having the children realize that the world communicates in many languages and that some languages are alphabetic and others are not, sets the purpose for learning the English alphabet. It also allows for older students to review and compare the alphabet. In the past, I have made sure to include all the alphabets of the languages spoken in the class. I have involved the families and the students in creating and presenting home-made alphabets to the class. I have samples in the ELL room for check-out. Many of the languages that were once character-based, now have phonetic alphabets! I have attached several that I found online.
How I Got My Name...
Start the year by creating a class picture book. Send the attached form home for homework, As the pictures and stories start coming in, put them in page sleeves and share them with the class. You will learn a lot about the children and their families, you'll be creating a shared sense of community, and it will become your students favorite book!