I like to choose stories in a series because my students can compare key details in them. The stories being in a sequence provides familiarity which allows struggling readers to feel more comfortable. The repetition also helps students pull from their background knowledge and make connections.
I refer to our chart that we started yesterday, the fiction chart, and ask students what are some key details that we keep track of when reading a story. To activate their prior knowledge about the Miss Nelson series I ask students to retell the key details from the story Miss Nelson is Missing.
Throughout the story I ask about each of the story elements (characters, setting, words that describe the characters and setting, interesting words, problem, solution, and theme) and add the answers to our story elements chart. (Here is a closeup.) Citing specific textual evidence in their answers is part of the Common Core Standard, so I am constantly asking them, "How do you know?" and "Where in the story does it tell you that?"
While reading I stop and check for understanding. I stop after a few pages or even a few lines to ask myself what is going on. Sometimes I will say the wrong thing to see if my students are paying attention, and to see if they know what is going on. I have previously taught this strategy to my students as a strategy good readers use. As I do this I ask about the story elements and key details in the story. I model how to use specific parts of the text to justify my answer. "I think ____ because in the story it says ________." "I know _______ because the character does _________ in the story."
As I continue reading, I stop and ask students to tell me what is going on in the story and about specific story elements. I coach them to use the text to justify their answers. I remind them how I used the word "because" to tell where in the story I got my answer from.
During centers I allow my students to work on independent activities while I meet with reading groups. I meet with reading groups every fifteen minutes. Students can work on an activity for as long as they need, but know that they must finish all the activities for the day. They know the expectation is that each activity shouldn't take them longer than the time I am meeting with a group, but if it does then they need to work faster.
I choose my literature centers to reflect what we are working on in class. I choose activities that are similar to ones we have completed during guided practice.
Character Trait Sort
To review character traits, I found this character trait sort and Miss Nelson Matching Game where students can sort traits for Miss Nelson and Viola Swamp. Due to many of my students reading below grade level, I allow them to choose a partner to complete this sort
I have 4 desktop computers and 2 tablets for my students to use. So today as one of their activities I included an online quiz about the book. I have included the link.
Key Details Chart
To review what we have done today I have students partner up. The chart chart they completed on their independent book yesterday, they are going to share with their partner. They are going to check their partner, make suggestions, and make corrections if they think they are necessary. This student-led learning and correcting allows students to take more responsibility for their learning. Common Core wants students to be more independent with their learning. Even though they are working with partners, they are monitoring their work and critiquing other student's work. This will help them gain more insight towards being correct with their own answers in future endeavors.
There are many ways you can have students choose partners or you can choose partners for your students. I aim to maintain a safe environment in my classroom where we have our reading and math levels displayed in the room. I have had many conversations and role playing sessions about choosing proper partners. Students know just as well as I do who will be a good partner for them in different activities. They understand when to choose a partner on their level, or a partner that is above or below them. In this instance I let them choose their own partners, and have their partner write their name on the back of their partner's paper. This way if I need to meet with the students I can meet with them both.
There are only three activities because I meet with each of my groups everyday. So the next 15 minutes they are meeting with me. During this time I work with groups on certain foundational skills they are weakest in. Each group is composed of students who all need work on that skill. Some groups are working on different phonics skills while others are working on comprehension or decoding strategies. I choose the skills and groups based on tests and read-alouds that the students do.
Students use an exit slip (post-it note) to write one key detail from the story and one question they would like to ask the author. Many students like to write the interesting word they learned or the character traits on the post-its. We have been working on writing sentences, RF1.1A, so students are required to write in compete sentences.