March Literacy Centers and a freebie!

I just finished updating my March literacy menu and posted it on Teacher's Notebook and TPT. In my classroom we study fairy tales in the month of March. So, my menu has some fairy tale stuff included in it. However, I know that not everyone studies fairy tales so I decided to make two different menu options: one with some fairy tale stuff and one without. So basically, you get more centers to choose from. My indecisive nature is to your benefit. :) Below are the two versions:

Scroll down to see how the menus are different. 

2 versions of Read, think, match

2 versions of Read and Sequence

Rebuild a Poem: student sheet and sentence strips

Magic e: Students read word cards and decide if it needs a silent e or not (to make a real word). 

Rainbow flip book: make a flip book for your students to mix and match to make real words

Shamrock Words: Use the words in the center of the shamrock to make real words by substituting in different vowels.

Sorting Station: Read each leprechaun word card and decide what sound the U makes. 

mix a fairy tale: choose a good character card, "bad" character card, and setting card to make a mixed up fairy tale.

My Pet: choose an animal card and write about that animal as a potential pet (prompt)

How to...  2 versions: How to catch a leprechaun or How to make a PB & J sandwich
(3 different formats included)

Super Sentence: Build a super sentence by using the color-coordinated word cards

The (describing word) (who or what) (did what) (when) (where)

Sentence or Not: read the sentence cards and decide if it's a complete sentence or not. 

Word Endings: -er or -est

Sentence Scramblers: 4 included (one is shown below)

Post Office: Prompts for writing to fairy tale characters, or just a plain page for your students to choose who to write to.

Plus 5 extra graphic organizers to use with buddy reading for early finishers.

Inferring mini unit

We've been learning about inferences for the past two weeks. This is most in-depth I've ever gone with it, and I must say, it's been pretty fun to teach. I think they actually have an understanding of the concept, which is pretty cool considering it's such a tricky one! By the end of the week, the kids were actually saying stuff like, "I infer that..." So exciting! I love that when teaching comprehension skills, some of your struggling readers actually have the chance to shine. I have two kiddos who aren't the strongest with their phonics and fluency, but just have amazing comprehension skills when we do more guided lessons. Here are some of the things we've done:

First, I introduced the concept with this anchor chart. 
It's kind of hard to see here, but it says What I Know + Clues from the story= My Inference
The top two little signs are from Abbey's Snowy Investigation pack. They give examples of inferences. I used this chart with books we read. As I read aloud and found examples of times we could make an inference, I'd walk the class through it using this chart. We'd think about what we know (our schema) and point out the clues from the story and share our own inferences. Part of teaching this skill is helping kids to see how they came to their inferences. 

Then I had this idea to have the class make inferences about our morning schedule. So I wrote this morning message, giving clues about our day. They used their schema and to clues to infer our schedule. 
The blank white pages are laminated so I could use them over and over with different stories. THe one written in purple is an example of our schedule inferences. The bottom one is an inference we made from a story we read together. We used this format with several different stories.

Then we did some guided practice with this Snowy Inferences sheet. We read the short passage together and slowly walked through this. Then they did one on their own. 
Here's a snapshot of the actual page:

As a culminating activity we did Abbey's Snowy Investigation. It is fabulous! The kids has so much fun!!!

case file with evidence

 looking at some clues

Filling out evidence sheet with inferences

I made a mini-unit based on some of the activities I did in school. In this mini-pack you'll find...

Printout of the poster I used (here are two of the three)

4 Inference sheets for guided practice 

Inferring our Schedule: Choice of one page worksheet or as a center.

Inferring Sam's Vacation: read the clues to figure out what Sam did during his vacation. 
Choice of one page worksheet or as a center

Read Think Match (Above with the animal pictures)
Read the clues to infer which animal is being described. 

January Centers in action and a freebie

January centers are off to a great start. I've been taking note on the little things I do to make centers run smoothly, so I'll be posting those tips later this week. It's taken me years to find what works for me. For today though, just a visual of the centers. I always love to see other bloggers' work in action.

Make a Word: matching snowflakes to make real and nonsense words

Sorting words: oo or o  
Students looks at word/picture cards and decide if the vowel sound needs one o or two. 

Snow Sounds: This one is tricky! Students need to read the word, then decide how many sounds the word has. They sort on this sorting mat: three, four or five sounds. 

Sentence Building: Students choose word cards to make a complete sentence that makes sense. The mat underneath guides them.

Snow Globe writing: students choose a snow globe picture and write at least 3 sentences describing their snow globe. 

Read, Think Match: Read the sentences on the small strips and match to the pictures. They have to really read carefully to match them up correctly. 

At this center, students place the penguins in the correct igloo. If the word alone makes a real word, then they place it on the blank igloo. If the word needs a silent e to make a real word, then they put it on the e igloo.

Here, students read each sentence strip and put them in order. 

There are more, but I only had time to snap a few shots. This week I'll talk more about the organizational part of it. For a look at all the centers, click here.  I realized I never posted a freebie with the January centers, so here it is! Click here to get the January center freebie. Happy Sunday!

Clipart for this freebie is by Digiweb and scrappindoodles and graphics factory

Character analysis

Do you ever have those magical moments during guided reading? Today I worked on character analysis with an advanced reading group. All of the students in this group can read fluently and have good accuracy. So, we mostly focus on vocabulary and comprehension. We read a book called How Not to Babysit Your Brother.

The brothers are perfect to introduce this concept because they have pretty distinct personalities. First, we made a T chart using each brother. Then we went through a list of words that can be used to describe any character. We decided if each word fit the big brother, the little brother or neither.
After coming up with a few words to describe each character, we talked about finding evidence to back up these descriptions. We did this part orally at first, just having a conversation together and looking back in the book. We had to cross out some words because we couldn't find evidence to support our claim.

Finally, I modeled how I would write about this in our reader response notebooks. We'll practice this a few more times in this guided format, then I'll have them do a character analysis independently during daily 5.

In case you don't use reader response notebooks and would rather have a printable copy, I made these for you to download. You can get it here and here.

The adorable frames are from: