I asked my Grade 1s to share some of their favorite tools for learning! Here are their top picks:
This year I combined Inside Out lessons with our Bucket Filling, good/poor choices, and Zones of Regulation emotional programming. I have found that the students are more engaged with the lessons and are able to relate better.. (this could be because we watch the movie together with some delicious popcorn!?). The “Let’s Talk About” book series is also a learning tool that we utilize.
The Grade 1s enjoy Flashlight Fridays and using our slinkies to sound out words, our ropes to retell a story, and our mirrors to visualize our pronunciation of words and letter sounds!
Sight Word and Alphabet Learning:
The students love forming letters with magnets, salt, play dough, and shaving cream. Writing on our Buddha boards and chalkboards is always fun, too! Some alphabet and sight word games that they enjoy are: upper/lower match boxes with popsicle sticks, bowling, fishing, balloon pop, ball toss, golfing, toppling bunnies, scavenger hunts, fly swatter, cup stacking, bingo dabber, egg flip, and toppling towers sight word/alphabet games. We enjoy sounding out CVC words on our pool noodles and by jumping in our hula hoops. As a teacher, my favorites are the word walls and my Lakeshore rhyme and alphabet buckets with initial sound or word family toys/examples. The picture cards are also a great find! As always, I recommend the Florida Center for Reading Research for engaging, research-based phonics and phonological awareness games.
This year I had the opportunity to attend a Joyful Literacy Reading Summit in Saskatoon. We learned all about helping struggling readers thrive through a games-based approach. I spent the next couple months trying to implement my newfound knowledge into my teaching, as it positively applies to my work as a Student Support Teacher. So far the kids are loving the games and our Grade 1 reading scores are improving!
With my brain full of great ideas and seemingly not enough hours in a day, my first step was to read Putting on the Blitz by Janet Mort. The text offers ideas about setting up meaningful interventions and there are great game-based resources and examples to learn from. My task was to try and figure out how this would work for my students and within my environment with the resources allotted to me. The next step was to approach my room and resources with a different lens. I had to figure out what I already had in my room that could be used to create game-based phonics and phonological awareness interventions. Suddenly fly swatters were looking like tools for learning in our Sight Word Splat instead of for their intended use! However, I did also have to purchase resources and took advantage of great finds at the Dollar Store, as well as, the Teacher Tax Credit. It is amazing what resources you can find when you look at things with a different perspective.
With significantly less money in my pocket, my next step was to pull everything together and create a phonics and phonological awareness intervention year plan. This year plan utilizes the games that I have already created in my classroom, as well as, the Florida Center for Reading Research’s Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading curriculum. If you are a primary teacher and especially if you are a primary Student Support Teacher, I highly recommend taking the time to utilize this resource. It does take a lot of time to create – printing each game on cardstock, cutting, laminating, labeling the resources in Ziploc bags, and filing – but in the end you have hundreds of age-appropriate lessons, games, and assessments that focus on phonological awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. The best part is that it is research-based and the kids are highly engaged by the games! They ask me to play them again and again!
The intervention plan is flexible in regards to the proposed timelines and activities – the students’ understanding will dictate the speed in which you proceed or review concepts and your classroom resources and game creations will vary from my own but can easily be incorporated into this plan. There are Saskatchewan curriculum connections. And since reading intervention is one piece of the literacy pie for my Grade 1’s, I have included guided reading plans with reading strategies and resources.
I find that having this intervention plan posted in my room allows for easy planning in my Weekly Planner, which can also be adjusted to meet your planning needs. This planner helps when you need a substitute teacher due to an unforeseen event, such as illness. At a quick glance, my substitute teacher is informed about our daily activities, where to find the materials, who I am teaching at what time, and the behavior and academic needs of my learners. So far I am finding that the two resources work nicely together.
May your literacy and intervention planning be as joyous as your play-based teaching!
In ECMP 355 we have learned about many tools to facilitate 21st century education! From Blackboard to Pensieve to My Fitness Pal – it feels like we have covered it all. For my own benefit (and anyone else who is interested), here is an overview of what we have explored and some of my own favorites:
Below are the results of the best internship I could have ever imagined! I couldn’t have dreamt up a better placement, more supportive cooperating teachers, and a better learning experience. I am so happy to have experienced various subjects in all grades K-12. I have grown so much over the last four months (as shown by my well-rounded teacher visual). My ratings for Professional Development increased from 2.67, to 3 and finally 3.67. My Interactions with Learners increased since September from a 2.55, to a 2.82, and finally a 3.55. My Planning/Evaluating/Assessing rating increased from a 2.65, to a 3.8. My Instructional Competence rating increased from a 1.43, to a 2.4, and finally a 3.6 this December. My Teaching Strategies came in at a 4 (100%) from a 2.25. Professionalism went from a 3.56 to a 3.88. Therefore, I was able to carry out my goal of a 3.50 score or more in all areas by following my October plan for success (working on intense behaviors, differentiating, using technology, etc.). My strongest to weakest areas were as follows: Teaching Strategies, Professional Qualities, Planning/Evaluation/Assessment, Professional Development, Instructional Competence, and Interactions with Learners. Although my rating is very exceptional and well above my expectations, I know there is a lot of things I can continue to work on. You cannot be a teacher without being a lifelong learner. I will always have room to grow and lessons/plans will need to be adapted, especially in a student support role. I would like to continue my focus on using technology in the classroom, differentiating instruction, and handling intense behaviors appropriately. These goals are applicable as both a student support and classroom teacher (K-12). As this journey comes to a close, it is bittersweet but I know it is an end to a beginning of a long, happy career. I will miss this school, my colleagues, and all the lovely students! I cannot thank those at Mossbank school, the students, the staff, the community, and most importantly, my two wonderful cooperating teachers for such a terrific experience. Hopefully, Mossbank school and/or Prairie South will be a big part of my near future! Time sure flies when you are having fun! 🙂
At the midway point of internship (where has all the time gone!?) this is my current rating:
I have moved up in regards to Professional Competence and Development (2.67 to 3), Interactions with Learners (2.55 to 2.82), and Instructional Competence (1.43 to 2.4). I have maintained my ratings in Planning, Organization, Assessment, and Evaluation (2.6), Teaching Strategies, Skills, and Methods (2.25), and Professional Qualities (3.56). My goal is to increase Interactions with Learners, Instructional Competence, Planning, and Teaching Strategies to 3 (or more).
My goals are to work on classroom management (extreme behaviors), providing students with more choice, differentiating assignments (tiered lessons), and using more technology.