This week we are working on the word ‘today.’ We are focusing on using that word in context in both our reading and writing, as it is part of our language arts curriculum. It is also part of our Common Core foundational skills.
Each day we review our sight words as students are seated whole group with me on the carpet. I have the words on flashcards and I go through the words. If there are words that students are struggling with, I will help them work through the word either by using letter sounds or by chunking the word. At this time of year, their fluency with the words is fairly established, so it is a fast process.
I always put our new word(s) at the end of the stack of words. When we get to ‘today’, we stop and discuss its parts and what it means. I mention that this is a ‘compound word’ and we can chunk it to help us read it faster.
We then watch this fantastic video on American Symbols. I pause the video and do step aside
discussions as necessary.
I have students go to their seats and put their names on their emergent reader book. I have my book on the document camera and model the reading for the students.
Our purpose today will be to read the book and also highlight the word of the week ‘today.’ This gives my students practice with sight word fluency. I like to read the entire book first. This gives the kids contextual understanding of the word’s usage. I am also focusing on our unit’s topic this month of American Symbols. So students are also reinforcing that learning and understanding.
We read the title together. I say: Boys and girls, what is that first word? We know that one. It is a sight word. (The)
The next word is not a sight word, so let’s sound that one out together. What sound for the letter ‘s?’ (/s/) Good. The ‘y’ in this word makes the /i/ sound. Students then say ‘Si.’ What sound for ‘m?’ (/m/) What sound for ‘b?’ (/b/) We then blend together up to that point in the word (s-y-m-b) By this time students are usually working their way through the last two letters and some will blend the word ‘symbols.’
This is not a common word for my second language learners to know in English, but we have been discussing American symbols, so many of them will get it What is the word? (symbols) Everybody say “The Symbols” (students echo)
We then work through the rest of the title fairly quickly because it is sight words and an abbreviation, which I do stop and discuss quickly. We have been discussing this abbreviation (USA) in class, so I don’t spend too much time on it.
We work through each page of the reader in a similar fashion. I stop and challenge students to read the sight words and help them through the non sight words as needed. By this time of year many of my students can sound out words.
We then go back to the cover and begin scanning the text for our word of the week ‘today.’ Students highlight ‘today’ with a yellow crayon when we find it. I say: Let’s look at the title on the front cover. Do you see our word ‘today’ in the title? (no) Ok. Turn the page. On page 1, do you see our word ‘today?’ (yes) Good. Let’s highlight that word. How do we highlight? (draw a yellow circle around it and color it in lightly) I model in my book as students highlight in their own book. I say: How do we spell the word today? (students chant: t-o-d-a-y) When you are done highlighting, turn to page 2 and touch the word ‘today’ if you see it. If you do not see it, show me with a ‘thumbs down.’ The word ‘today’ is on every page from here on out, so we highlight it quickly on each page, but I follow this same procedure for each page so that I can make sure all students are highlighting the correct word.
When we are done highlighting, students put their books in their book bags and come back to the carpet.
This is a very basic book that can really be used for anything. I am using it today for a word order and comprehension check. I model exactly what I want students to do, so they make sure they address each of the parts of the book. I used the sentence "This is the Washington Monument." as my sample, but you could use any sentence to model this.
There are basically four parts to this book:
**When the flap book is folded it should resemble a match book.**
I have students put their names on the flap first.
They then have to cut apart the words in their sentence and order them correctly. I make several sentences for students to cut and put in order. I do this so that students cannot copy each other and I have an accurate picture of what they can do. When they think they have their sentence in order, they raise their hand for me to check it. If it is ordered correctly, I tell them to go ahead and glue it. They can only glue their sentence when I have seen that it is correct.
After they glue, they have to copy the sentence on the bottom half of the inside cover. When they are done copying the sentence, my students raise their hand again and they have to read me their sentence. I check to see if they can track the words with their finger, as well as read the sight words and sound out the non sight words. I also like to hear them take a short breath when they get to the period. I teach my students to do that so when there is more than one sentence to read on a page they pause between sentences at the period, showing understanding and recognition of end punctuation.
The last thing that students do is illustrate their sentence on the front cover. This allows me to see what level of understanding they have as to what the sentence is telling them. As students are illustrating, I refer them to the reference and resource board to remind them to use real colors when working on their illustrations. For example, the bald eagle is brown, not purple.
As students are illustrating their front cover I sit with each student and have them read their sentence to me.