5 Fluency Practice Ideas for the Digital Classroom

Thursday, June 17, 2021



We all know that students need to practice fluency to become better readers. Now, as teaching has gone digital, we need to think of creative ways to hear our students read. Here’s a list of ways you may want to try with your students to get some extra fluency practice in:

 

1.     Readers' Theater - Yep! While this is a fun fluency activity in the classroom, it can definitely be done remotely!  Most teachers have a way to interact with their students live, either via Zoom, Google Meets, or a variety of other platforms. Divide your students up into small groups (based on the number of parts in your script) and meet up! If you can get scripts to your students ahead of time, that’s perfect, but if you can’t, have the script up on your screen and SHARE YOUR SCREEN. It’s that easy. Your students will love the chance to read through the play together. (Check out the link below for a free Aesop's fable readers theater script!)

 

2.      Voice Mail – If you have a school voicemail set up where you’re able to retrieve your messages via your email, this is a PERFECT way to listen to your students read. Have them call your school phone number and read to you in a voice mail message. The time allowed in a message is short, so you’ll get a small window of their reading. I would rotate students on a weekly basis so you’re not sitting listening to all 30 kids in one day. But this can be a doable (and fun) option for you!

 

3.      Phone/Devise recording – Most phones and devices have recording options. Students can record themselves reading and send you an attachment. Students can upload their file and send it to you in Google Classroom or another platform that you may be using. Also, many of the parent communication apps that are used (we use ClassDoJo) have a student portfolio section, which would be a great place to upload these files!

 

4.      Fluency Timers – Timers always make a task more fun! Give them a passage with a timer. Tell them to read at a normal speed until the timer runs out. I have a bunch of hourglass timers in my classroom. If you are using digital timers, have them set the timer and read until time is up. Students can read to parents and/or other family members, babysitters, pets, stuffed animals, a favorite plant or object outside… the sky is the limit!

 

5.      Fluency Charts – No matter how you have your students practice, have a chart for them to fill out each time they do. Keep it simple – have them fill in the date, the title of the text they read, and how many words they read during their time. You may wish to number the words before giving students their passages so they don’t have to count.


Grab your FREE Aesop's Fables Readers' Theater Script from The Owl Spot! (Grades 3-5)

Here's your FREE Aesop's Fables Readers' Theater Script for primary grades!


How to Celebrate National Doughnut Day: A Little Freebie

Thursday, May 20, 2021
Are you looking for a good excuse to celebrate National Doughnut Day which happens every year on the first Friday in June? 

Here’s a free, easy to prepare donut graphing activity to help you get started. 

It’s a delicious way to focus on sorting, counting, graphing, and data interpretation with preschoolers, kindergarteners, first graders, and beginning second graders.


CHOICES TO MAKE

Start by making a few simple choices.

·       Select color or black/ white.

·       Choose a ready-to-use set with a predetermined number of donuts to graph or create your own unique sets.

·       Decide whether to glue the donut pictures on your graph or color the bar graph to match.


GET YOUR DONUT GRAPHS PREPARED

I promise. This donut activity is easy to prepare!

·       Print one copy of the graph and a set of donuts for each participant.

·       Use paper to print the sets of donuts if you are gluing them on the graph.

·       If you are coloring the bar graph to match, consider printing the donuts on card stock for easier handling by younger children.

·       Print copies of the graph questions for more advanced or older children.

·       Consider cutting the sets of donuts for young children. If you do, put each set in a baggie.

·       Provide scissors, glue, and crayons.


GET BUSY

Hand out the prepared materials. Then, have your students follow these steps.

·       Cut your set of donuts (or empty your baggie).

·       Sort your donuts by kind.

·       Count how many donuts are in each group.

·       Glue the donuts in the matching bars on your graph or

·       Color the same number in the matching bar.

·       Use your graph to answer the questions.


If you decide to create your own unique sets of donuts for the graph, you can either prepare them in advance or let your students create them. 


The graph questions are specific to the ready-made set of donuts. You can use them as a guide for asking oral questions with younger children. 


Click on the highlighted words to visit my website, Just Ask Judy, where you can download your free copy of the Delicious Donut Graph


What’s your favorite way to celebrate National Doughnut Day?




Free Spanish Interpretive Listening Activity: ¿Qué Tiempo Hace?

Monday, May 10, 2021

In my 12 years of teaching secondary Spanish, I always found it challenging to find authentic yet comprehensible audio resources for my novice learners.  I didn't want my students' only source of input to be me, but I struggled to find resources that I thought my novice students would understand.  Then, one of my colleagues gave me a life-changing piece of advice: "Change the task, not the input."  She explained that students of various proficiency levels can interact with the same source of input, but at different levels.  Mind. Blown!  

With this new mindset, I found it much easier to incorporate authentic materials into my classroom, including articles and audios meant for native Spanish speakers by native Spanish speakers, as long as I kept the tasks appropriate for the proficiency level of my students.  Let's say I have an audio or an article that I want to use with both novices and intermediates.  When creating activities, I would provide my novice students with multiple-choice and true/false questions, whereas I would have my intermediate students answer open-ended questions.  Both groups are able to meaningfully interact with the source in a level-appropriate way!  

If you're interested in using authentic resources in your novice-level class, see this free resource about the weather.  Students listen to two native Spanish speakers talk about the weather where they are and students answer true/false questions to show what they have understood.



If you liked this resource, check out my other listening activities here.  Also, you can follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers to be notified about new resources, freebies, and updates!





One Practical Way to Provide Support for Decoding CVC Words

Monday, May 3, 2021
Do you have students who are constantly searching your classroom walls to find a picture that will help them figure out what sound a letter stands for so they can decode CVC words?

Do you realize how much time and energy they expend just to decode a single three-letter CVC word?

Think about how this disrupts the process of blending sounds to decode that word.

It’s likely you have a set of alphabet cards with letter-sound relationships posted on your wall. Perhaps, you have phonics posters easily viewed from your guided reading table.

I also used key word picture cards to teach, practice, and review letter-sound relationships. I even made folders with key word pictures for common vowel patterns that were handy to pull out during reading instruction. But still, so much work for some of my students.

So, why not give them what they need right at their fingertips? I created Blend to Read CVC Words with Key Word Pictures to do just that!


These word cards are designed to support beginning or struggling readers as they learn to decode CVC words in kindergarten and first grade.

This resource is ideal for those students who still require a key word picture to recall a letter name and/or its corresponding sound. 

It also provides a great springboard for beginning readers to make connections between letters, their corresponding sounds, and how to decode CVC words, with it all at their fingertips.

Use these cards as part of your direct phonics instruction in your small guided, intervention, and resource groups.

Try out a free sample to decide if this resource is a good fit for your students.

Click on the highlighted words to download this free sample, Blend to Read Short A Words with Key Word Pictures, directly from my TpT store or visit my website, Just Ask Judy, to learn more.



Free Logic Puzzles

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Are you wanting to make your kids think? My students always loved logic puzzles and had a great sense of accomplishment when they finally found the solution. To get advice on teaching students how to solve logic puzzles, visit this link.


Once your kids get the hang of logic, puzzles make great centers, work for early finishers, home school, or just a fun and challenging reward for the students. Logic puzzles involve higher level or critical thinking skills and may be worked independently or in cooperative groups. Also, we all know the boy or girl in class who is brilliant, finishes everything early, and needs something to do, so here you go!


If you'd like a free logic puzzle to try out your students' skills, I have a lot at my store. 


Here is a great FREE puzzle for grades 3 - 6!


Teach critical thinking skills through logic puzzles for 3rd, 4th, 5th grade or 6th grade on Teacher Pay Teachers for schools first. #teaching #teacherblog #iteach345 #teachersfollowteachers #teacherlife



Enjoy this puzzle for your K - 2 students!

Teach critical thinking and problem solving to primary students through logic puzzles and brain teasers at home or in the classroom on Teacher Pay Teachers Easel documents for virtual learning. #teachersteaching #blog #teach #iteachmath #iteachgt



I also sell many logic bundles: Click HERE to find logic bundles!


All of my new resources sell for 1/2 off for the first 24 hours. If you would like to be notified of these products, follow Catch My Products by clicking here.



The Spanish Writing Activity That Students Love!

Friday, April 23, 2021

If your students are anything like mine, they moan and groan when it’s time to practice writing in Spanish. It often seems like they spend more energy trying to convince me that they don’t know enough Spanish or that they aren’t creative enough to write than they put into simply giving it a try.


That's why I love using "cuentos al revés" with my students! This activity provides students with the scaffolded support they need to feel confident that they are able to write in Spanish, while being fun enough that they want to. 


So how does it work? First, you come up with a list of questions in the style of a traditional reading comprehension activity. (I usually do 10 questions, but you can adjust the number according to your specific needs.) For example, you might ask “What did Maria need to buy at the store?” or “How many people are there at Juan’s birthday party?” (But in Spanish, of course!) You'll want to make sure that the questions you come up with correlate to the grammar and vocabulary of your current unit. Personally, I like to get really silly with the questions, throwing increasingly wacky situations at them as they go. (Why did Mariana’s grandparents have a tiger in their kitchen?!?) Students use their imagination to answer the questions as if they have found the information in a reading passage. Then, they write the corresponding story, using their answers as a starting point and adding as many other details as possible.


The activity is fabulous because it speaks to all of the complaints students often have about writing. For those who don't think they know enough Spanish to write, the questions provide excellent scaffolded support by modeling the target grammar and vocabulary. For those who complain about not being creative, the questions give them inspiration, so that by the time they are ready to write the story, all of the ideas are already right there on the page. And by introducing those wacky twists and turns, you'll get even your most reluctant students to admit they're having fun! (Well, maybe they won't admit it, but the looks on their faces will show you how they really feel!)


"Cuentos al revés" are also incredibly versatile! Here's a few ways you can use them:

  • Review activities

  • Formative/summative writing assessments

  • Enrichment activities

  • Stations

  • Sub plans


If you’re unsure of how to start, you can check out all of the “cuentos al revés” I have available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. They’re a great way to save yourself some prep time! You can also try a free mini "cuento al revés" in my TPT store!

The Spanish Writing Activity that Students Love!

Click here for your free "cuento al revés" activity!

Washing Hands Experiment with Glitter

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Teaching kids all about germs is one fun (and sometimes gross) escapade. Did you know that you can pull a simple germy hands experiment in under 5 minutes? This super simple and fun Washing Hands Experiment with Glitter will be a hit with your preschool and kindergarten kids! What's more... It also includes printable cut and paste activities with it! 

Pick up the printable pack in the link below!

Teaching kids all about germs is one fun (and sometimes gross) escapade. Did you know that you can pull a simple germy hands experiment in under 5 minutes? This super simple and fun Washing Hands Experiment with Glitter will be a hit with your preschool and kindergarten kids! What's more... It also includes printable cut and paste activities with it!

Super Simple Germ Experiments

Teach kids how germs linger on their hands with this glitter science activity. Instructions are included within the pack. 

Grab your copy from the link over at Sea of Knowledge



One Fantastic Freebie for Teaching the Silent E Pattern

 Do your students need more practice decoding words with the silent e pattern?

If so, get them rolling and reading with this free game-like resource. What a fun way to increase their speed and fluency!


This is a great activity to use in your small groups, in a literacy center, or with an assistant or volunteer. Consider sending it home or leaving it for a sub. 

There are four pages to choose from. Pick the ones that best meet your students’ instructional needs.

  1. More familiar silent e words without consonant blends and digraphs; each row has a single vowel sound
  2. Less familiar words without consonant blends and digraphs; each row has a single vowel sound
  3. Silent e words with consonant blends and digraphs; a single vowel sound in each row
  4. Silent e words with and without consonant blends and digraphs; a mix of vowels in each row 

Just print, add dice, and go!

Click the highlighted words to find out more and to download your free copy of Roll & Read Silent E






I Am Poem

Integrating poetry with reading and history is an integral way to push your students to higher levels of thinking. Use this I Am Poem Template to help your students understand deeper levels of characterization in a novel, literature story, history unit about famous people, or even in science and math when discussing people who contributed much to their fields of study. Or, use this in writing to have students express ideas about themselves, family members and/or friends. Great for Back to School, the start of a new quarter, a student of the day/week activity, or any other time you wish to focus on your amazing students.




Grab your free I Am Poem template HERE!







FREE Anti-Bullying Resource

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

When I needed a resource to handle bullying behaviors, I found two categories of products: 


  • Babyish resources for primary grades
  • Bullying in which someone commits suicide

Free social story about bullying in upper elementary school. #TEACHers #antibullying #teachersfollowteachers


This is NOT what I wanted, but all I could find; so, I wrote my own reading passage. My resource is about gateway behaviors to bullying. These are the common behaviors that lead to bullying but are questionable as to whether or not someone is actually being bullied. The purpose of my product is to nip bullying before it starts. Miriam's Story is organized so that the teacher discusses behaviors as they happen in the reading. 




Download this story for free at: 

Please leave a review and follow my store to receive notice of 1/2 off on new resources for 24 hours.

Thanks!
Joyce
The Gifted Department Store (Resources for Grades K - 12)

Spanish Family Interpersonal Writing Assessment

Monday, April 19, 2021

 Spanish Family Interpersonal Writing Assessment

It's never too early to have your Spanish students practice real-world tasks like interpersonal communication.  Yes, your Spanish 1 students are definitely capable!  A great task for them to complete is an email reply to practice interpersonal writing.  Have your students read a short, simple email full of comprehensible input on a topic that is familiar to them.  In the email, pose personal questions for your students to answer.  When students reply, they will respond to the questions.  Expect novice learners to use familiar vocabulary, simple structures, and repetition - this is appropriate for their proficiency level!  It's also important to remember that there will be grammatical mistakes.  That's okay.  It's part of the learning process.  Remember that your students are communicating in the target language, errors and all, and that is no small feat! 

One of my favorite topics to cover with my Spanish 1 students is family.  There are so many ways to make this topic personal to students, and therefore, to get your students interested and invested.  If you're interested in giving email replies a try with your Spanish 1 classes, I suggest starting with this theme!  Here is a free resource to get you started - email, student response sheet, and grading rubric!

Teaching Perseverance in Learning

Sunday, April 18, 2021

 If you are trying to encourage a growth mindset in your students, and would like them to persevere through learning tasks, this might just be the lesson you’ve been looking for! Real learning takes patience, confidence, and perseverance even when mistakes are made along the way. Try this free introductory lesson and then I hope you’ll take a look at the full unit that it is based on.  Just click on the image below to access your free lesson!

Visit this Rainbow City Learning Blog post to learn more about teaching perseverance through the arts!





Making Phonemic Awareness Instruction as EASY as possible!

Phonemic awareness is a crucial pre-reading skill that early primary educators need to explicitly teach.  However, if you are anything like I was, you didn't have resources, and you were constantly struggling to come up with words to use to practice.  Well, your struggles are over because my frustrations drove me to create word lists to tackle EVERY phonemic awareness skill.  Now I pull out one of my lists and use it anytime I have a chance.  It might be when lining up, transitioning between subjects or during a guided group or whole group.  


You can try these word lists out yourself by clicking on the image below or visiting this link:  Free Phonemic Awareness Word Lists.  

 


Preschool Graduation Ideas Name Crowns

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Having kids working on their names all year is a fun activity – having them write / build their names at the end of the year in preparation for their graduation party is even better. Preschool Graduation Ideas Name Crowns are a perfect addition to your end of year fun. 

Head to Sea of Knowledge here to read more about End of Year Ideas. 

Having kids working on their names all year is a fun activity – having them write / build their names at the end of the year in preparation for their graduation party is even better. Preschool Graduation Ideas Name Crowns are a perfect addition to your end of year fun.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

How to Practice Name Writing with Preschoolers

Monday, April 12, 2021

Looking for a way to practice name writing with preschoolers without giving up? It can be difficult to teach kids name writing, especially when you first start out. However, with the right tools and idea, you can be armed with activities to help ignite children's interest in the subject - and get them learning!! 

Preschool and kindergarten kids alike will love these Name Tracing Activities and Fine Motor Mats to learn all about letter formation, their name and more!