Reading Comprehension Website and Task Cards

I honestly cannot believe that our state testing starts on Monday.  Where did the school year go?  I try not to teach to the test, but some of our class activities go in that direction.  Since this is my last week to try and teach the kids before the test, I decided to take a look at some of the data I have about them.  One reading skill that came up as needing review was sequencing.  So that is what I was going to teach this week.   Sunday night I was working on my plans and feeling really tired and not very creative.

So, I went to a site that love to use ….

www.readworks.org.

Have you ever checked out this site?  I love it for many different reasons.  Here are my top 5.

#1 – It’s free!  All you need to do is register and you have full access to the articles and lessons.

#2 – You can look up lessons by state standards and grade level.

#3 – The lesson plan format is “I Do, We Do, You Do.”  I know so many of us use this format in our classrooms.

#4 – There are a lot of informational text articles and we all know that is big with the Common Core.

#5 – The lessons can easily be broken down into short sessions.  This week I taught mini-lessons with my small groups and then they went to finish the work on their own.  Later in the week we came together to review our work.  It was a great assessment for me to see who still was having a hard time with sequencing.

There are more reasons to use this site, but I’ll let you discover them on your own.

Another thing I love, besides this website and my family, are task cards.  I’m always trying to figure out how to use them in my room.  This week we are working on area and perimeter of rectangles.  In my mind, and I’m sure in the minds’ of my third graders, this is boring.  Both are good skills to know, but don’t really relate to a third grader.

So…I decided to make some task cards for us to use.

area and perimeter 1

area and perimeter 2

I know my class prefers to be moving around, a lot!  So these will work great for us.  I’m going to post them around the room and then let the kids get going.  Once everyone is finished, we will go over the problems together and I can use the results as an assessement.  Or maybe I will have the kids go over the problems in small groups.  We’ll see how the day is going.

Do you use task cards in your room?

Do you  have any ideas for helping a third grader relate to area and perimeter?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

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Making Inferences

Making inferences is always a skill that can be difficult for students.  The answer isn’t stated in their reading and they actually have to do some deeper thinking.  I enjoy teaching this topic because there are so many fun activities to use and the answer isn’t right in the book.  Last week I tried a new making inferences activity with my kids.

Before the lesson started, I cut out a bunch of magazine pictures.  I cut the pictures so that very little background was showing.  To start the lesson, I showed one of the pictures.  It was a picture of two girls playing soccer.  I asked the kids where they thought the girls were playing soccer.  Of course, they all thought it was a soccer field and we discussed why that was the choice.  We were making inferences based on what was shown in the picture and what we knew about soccer.  Then I asked them, where would the girls not be playing soccer.  I heard a swimming pool, Mars, the desert and many more.  The kids thought it was so funny.  I repeated the activity using a picture of a man running.  I saw many hands being raised during this activity.

Once I knew the kids understood the activity, I sent them to work on their own picture.  First they chose one of the magazine pictures that I had cut out and placed it on a piece of white paper.  Then several students were given an opportunity to share their inference about where the picture was taking place.  Once they shared, the students then had to think where the activity was not happening.  That became the background of their picture.  I saw some volcanoes, swimming pools, train tracks and clouds.  The one change I would make is to not allow the students to share their ideas with other students.  I saw about 4 with volcanoes and 3 with swimming pools.  I’d love to see everyone’s own creations.  Either way, the kids loved it and some even asked for a second picture.  The kids in the gifted reading program came back from their class and they wanted to join in on the fun.

Here are some pictures of the kids at work.

A kid eating macaroni and cheese in the desert.
A kid eating macaroni and cheese in the desert.
A truck in the water.
A truck in the water.

A fish on train tracks.
A fish on train tracks.

What are some fun activities you have used with making inferences? 

Spelling and Grammar Practice

I’ll admit it…I’m not a big fan of the weekly spelling lists. We all know how it goes. The kids study the words, ace the test and then forget how to spell the words the next week. I wish I could teach spelling patterns/rules throughout the year and not have a weekly test. My district’s report card has a space for grading spelling tests, so I have to do them.

Last year, my team and I changed our spelling program and I think it makes it a little better. Some of our units last for two weeks so that we have more time to work on the patterns. Also, each student has their own high frequency words during the unit. My students are supposed to practice their words at home every night. I usually send home some activities for them to use, but I don’t collect the work. I really am not looking for more papers to be turned in to me. During the week, I do like to have a few lessons about the spelling pattern. We do lots of sorts, work on whiteboards and even task cards.  I’m always looking for new and meaningful ways to work on spelling.

A colleague of mine introduced me to a spelling activity last year. The activities incorporate grammar with spelling.  Each week the students work on two grammar skills using their spelling words. For example, this week my students were working on singular/plural and past tense.

spelling blog

I love these activities because my kids are learning to spell their words, but working on grammar skills with the words.  They are great little assessments as well.  After the kids turned in their work, I realized that many of them didn’t understand the concept of singular/plural.  They simple wrote their spelling words and then added an “s.”

Singular: unusual  Plural: unusuals

Guess what we are working on next week?

Another reason these activities are great is because each skill is only practiced four or five times each.  When we work on nouns, they write five of their spelling words that are nouns.  The practice and quick and meaningful.  I can tell if they get it from those five examples.  Some of the skills we practice are: synonyms, antonyms, rhymes, abc order, endings, nouns, adjectives, verbs, prefixes, suffixes and syllables.

Last year, my students did all their work on lined paper.  They needed to learn to label and number the paper.  To save time labeling, erasing, forgetting how to number the paper, I decided to just make the sheets on the computer.  Now I can pull a sheet, copy it and work on those skills for the week.  Now I feel a bit better about the weekly spelling lists because they students have a purpose for using their words.  If you’re interested, feel free to check out the whole package on Tpt.

It has been wonderful seeing so many visitors from 4th Grade Frolics.  My way of thanking you for coming over is to put these on SALE! 

spelling blog

I’d love to hear your thoughts about practicing spelling words.

Enjoy your weekend!

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