Monday, April 14, 2014

Author's Purpose Reference Cards Freebie!

Today, we practiced finding the author's purpose of a text. We practiced on lots of different texts, which I'm working on putting together is a small packet, but I wanted to go ahead and share a quick resource I created that really helped today. While my fifth graders are well aware of PIE and the different purposes, they need a little help being able to identify the key elements of certain texts that make the purpose to entertain or inform or persuade. I made these cards that have some helpful info that make it easy to refer to. 

I also used them to check for understanding. It was super easy to see who got it right by the color of the card. 

Click here to grab your copy of these reference cards.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Teaching Character Traits (and Tuck Everlasting!)

Last week, we talked a lot about character traits. My kids were having a lot of trouble giving specific traits to characters. We needed to expand our vocabulary and digger deeper to really analyze our characters. I did an activity in whole group that really helped, so I wanted to share with y'all.
We started off by reading a super simple text that provided great characters that we could easily analyze and give traits to.

We analyze the character of Princess Elizabeth and determined she was strong minded. We thought Prince Ronald was vain and shallow and found the dragon to be vicious. Then we backed up our traits with evidence from the text and recorded this on the recording sheet-I forgot to take a pic of this in action, but I did remember to take one later of a different character, but you get the idea!

Then we broke into groups and used passages from my Character Comprehension pack

Then it was time for individual practice! I complied a stack of picture books. Most of them were below level, but that was fine. The point of the activity was to identify character trait and practicing with an easier task allowed them to focus on analyze the character. Want to know the best part? My kids who were always the first to say they didn't like reading were the ones with the biggest smiles on their faces. They kept talking about remembering reading those books in kindergarten and 1st grade. They couldn't wait pick out a book and read it. 

You can find these activities in my Character Comprehension pack. Click here to check it out!

I've also uploaded my Tuck Everlasting unit. You can find it here.

Here's a little preview of what you'll see in it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Close Reading Passages

If you follow me on Instagram (msleslieann01) then you know what has pretty much consumed my life for the past few weeks. I've never worked harder on a unit and I can proudly say it's finally done!  I am so excited to finally be writing this post and show y'all what all is included in my newest creation: Closing Reading Passages featuring landmarks.
{Click here to get it on sale thru Thursday!}
Here's a little preview:

Remember! It's on sale thru Thursday! Click here to grab your copy! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Drawing Conclusions: Whole Group Lesson

Our comprehension skill this week is Drawing Conclusions, so I decided to also incorporate some close reading in with our whole group lessons. I've been LOVING this book. So many great ideas.

We use the Scott Foresman Reading Street series, which I'm still learning about so I can't give a full opinion of it yet. I've found some of the material to be useful and some not so great features of the program, but I'm still trying to learn what works best for me in 5th grade, so the jury's still out.
Our story this week is called The Gymnast, so we've been discussing the history of gymnastics and what all goes into training for the Olympics. The following passage is actually included in the students' books, but I always make a copy of it so they can highlight and write notes. The passages are fantastic, but they are so much better when the kids can actually interact with the text. This is eating away at my copies, but it's benefitting the kids. I try and keep that in mind when I see my remaining copies number dwindle down..

We "cold read" the paragraph first. "Cold Reading" is a neat little idea I learned from the fabulous Lyndsey from A Year of Many Firsts. After cold reading we take each paragraph and discuss. Sometimes I instruct them on what to write on the post it. Other times I simply have them jot down a question, thought, or connection. As they are doing this, I'm walking around to check their understanding of their reading. 

After this activity, we moved onto another passage that also had a graphic organizer with it so we could practice drawing conclusions. This passage actually came from the practice book, but I HATE the way the comprehension practice page is set up. They divide the passage into two parts, which is confusing when trying to number paragraphs and also just weird looking. I'm sure there is some reason as to why they displayed the passage this way, but I'm not getting it. So, I just typed it out and copied it for everyone so we could (you guessed it!) close it.