Monday, February 25, 2013

I blame it on the moon

You ever have one of those days where you go home, you have a splitting headache, you are exhausted, and you are just thinking, "What in the world got into my kids today?"  Silly questions right?  Oh boy did I have one of those days today.   Boys punching and tackling each other and getting sent to the office, out of control chattiness, extra lots of calling out, redirecting, annoying classmates, and Ms. G at 1:35 wishing the art teacher luck and I going to collapse in her room.  I'm a racking my brain thinking, "What in the world happened today?.. this is not normal.." Then it hits me.. yup... I BLAME IT ON THE MOON.. THE FULL MOON to be exact.  

I hate that full moon.  I don't really understand how it has an effect of the classroom or the kids.. and it's still even 3 days away (The day of our Seussical Performance ahhh!).. but boy was today exhausting.  I'm hoping the effects of the full moon have entered and exited my children's bodies, but a guess a girl can only hope.  

One of my kids comes up to me today & asks for a snack (We usually have some community snacks for those lovelies who forget or usually come without one).. Well, my snack cabinet is empty.  I mean cobwebs empty.  When I tell them I don't have any, one of my other loves comes up to me and says, "Well, I guess you better get yourself to the grocery store to get some.." Whaaat?  Where did my sweet little ones go? 

OK, off of my rant on the full moon... for now.  Onto some fluency chat!  How do you promote oral and silent reading fluency?  Did you know that around the age of 7 and 8, students are just gaining the ability to bring their eyes ahead in the text while reading the words they've already read?  Because I totally didn't.  Recently, my grade level team had a meeting with a woman who is head of a research study being conducted in our schools about Whole to Part instruction (info on this will come at a later date) .  She explained to us that children can read quite a significant number of words more fluently if they are doing silent reading as opposed to out loud and that constant out loud reading can have a deterred effect on their eye/reading coordination.. does that make sense?  And lets think about it... if they are reading out loud to your or someone all of the time, they are reading a significantly less number of words in just 15 minutes.  I'll have to look up the exact numbers, I can't remember.

Well, one way I promote both silent and oral reading fluency is by doing the following...

With my lowest kid who is in a group of his own, we read 1-2 passage a week that we also use to focus on word i.d. skills.  When he and I meet on the first day, I ask him to read the passage to himself silently and underline any words he doesn't know.  Most of the time, he can figure out the words after he's gone through the passage in it's entirety.  If there's one he doesn't know, we try to figure it out together.  Once we've figured it out, he reads the story again, silently to familiarize himself with it.  The third time, I ask him to read it out loud to me.  Then I ask him to illustrate the story to show his understanding.  The next day, he will read the story again, 1 time to himself, 2 times outloud to me.  The passages go in a binder with flashcards on the words we are working on and sent home each evening/ returned to school each day.  These then become part of his reading HW and he feels comfortable with it because hes already read the passages 6+ times.  Bonus: Seeing & Reading all those words over & over & over again is building his word i.d.  Now only if we could figure out his spelling....

For my other kids, we have been working on read aloud plays and oh my word do they L.O.V.E. it!  Currently we are working on Fairy tales and this has been their favorite.  When I make my groups, this is how they work.

Day 1: Give students the play, ask them to read the ENTIRE play silently to themselves 2x before we meet the next time.
Day 2: Talk about how the characters sound during each part and how they might be acting.  Practice together.
Day 3: Students read the play again to themselves, imagining how the characters sound in their head.  Maybe a whole group run through (Students are NOT assigned a part to memorize or know.. instead they are expected to know the whole play and each time we practice, they pick a character out of a hat)
Day 4: Whole group practice (Again pick out of a hat- students will most likely be a different character this time)
Day 5: Performance (Pick out of a hat for the performance- it keeps everyone accountable for reading and knowing the whole play and building their fluency for every single part!

And that's pretty much it.  Seriously  y'all, they really love these plays!  Here are some websites I've found that are great for finding and printing plays people have made from many many wonderful stories (Word of Warning- These plays are by no means "cute" but it's important that students practice with the typical 12 pt font.. this also builds their reading skills..)

Well- I guess that's all for today!  I hope you gained some ideas for building your students fluency in your room! :)  

Oh yea- What is the craziest thing that has ever happened in your room during a Full Moon?



  1. Hi Ashley,

    I hear ya! My kiddos were out of sorts today too - I like the idea of blaming the moon :)

    Thanks for the fluency information - we're working on that at the end of the week. I'll definitely check out the plays - thanks for sharing!

    Joy in the Journey

  2. From the research I've read, kiddos who read under 60 cwpm should be reading aloud because they're still working on decoding skills and prosody, etc. Those who read above 60 cwpm should be reading silently. This is all during their independent reading time on books at their reading level. Second grade is where we start seeing the divide in this cwpm.
    What I Have Learned

  3. I had some physical stuff with kids today at recess, maybe it's left over. I will have to reread this great post when I'm less tired. Lots of great info!

  4. If I ever have an extra crazy day I check to see if it's a full moon. Last Friday was like that for me, but it wasn't a full moon! ;)

  5. Really Helpful Information About Inspiring Teaching and Learning. How to be a Primary Teacher and what is it like to be a primary school teacher in the 21st century?

  6. Ashley, love the description of your intervention with the first student. So smart! Where are you getting your passages for this student? I would love to see pictures of this work, too (guess I could come down to your room :).