June Literacy Center Menu

Now I know a lot of you are already done with school and sipping margaritas, relaxing in the sun. But there are some of us who are still in school mode for another few weeks. If you're one of those people, this is the perfect thing to get you through! Even if you haven't used the other monthly menus, this one could be used as a good "get through the last few weeks" activity. Since I usually only 2-3 weeks of school in June, I don't use this menu the same way I use my other menus. It becomes something my kids can work on while I do assessments, and when we have just that little bit of extra time. The first week of June is usually pretty normal, but after that our schedule is usually all over the place. This menu can be a life savor during those moments! Here's a preview:

Read, Visualize, Draw (2 included)
clipart by scrappindoodles and KPM doodles

Read and Comprehend: Reading passage with comprehension questions (not pictured)

Frames by Miss Tina and Fancy dog studios

Read and Sequence (2 versions included)

clip art by scrappindoodles

Read, Think, Match (2 included)

clipart by Thistlegirldesigns and Digiweb

Suffix Sort: Bird cards have base word; 4 Bird houses with suffixes

Sorting Station: ea words with short e and long e (like bread and meat)

Clip art by scrappindoodles; frames by sweetpickles

Sounds of Y: 

frames by Fancydog studios

Sounds of G (soft g and hard g picture cards and sorting mats)

Clip art by: scrappindoodles, Carrie's clip art (gorilla), Graphics factory (grapes and girl) and Thistlegirl (dragon)

Sentence puzzles: Mix and match puzzles pieces to make sentences

frame by fancydog studio; puzzle pieces by scrappindoodles

Sentence Scrambler

clip art by KPM doodles, scrappin doodles (sun) and Digiweb (fishing and tent)

Word Swap: sentence cards with two synonyms for each red word (like picture below) with student sheet (also pictured below)

frames by KPM doodles;

Super Sentence: sentence mat, word cards and student sheet

clip art by KPM doodles

Sequence and Write: Cut out picture cards and paste them to make a story

Frames by That Girl; clip art by Scrappindoodles

How to writing: 3 versions included (one with pictures in boxes, one with pictures to cut out and place in order, and one without pictures but with boxes to put transition words.

frames by That Girl; clipart by scrappindoodles

Picture Prompt: Use the "photo" to write about the boy's vacation with his grandpa

frames: from the pond

Sticker Story: 2 papers included

Frames by That Girl and 3am Teacher

Extra: Book report for early finishers

Frames by That Girl; clip art by scrappindoodles

You can get this at my TPT store and Teacher's Notebook store. Both are having a sale right now!

Teaching Questioning as a Comprehension Strategy

Teaching the questioning strategy for comprehension is always a tricky one. This year, I came up with a little game to motivate my students to use this strategy.

First, I introduced the strategy with this anchor chart (minus the sticky notes):

(that's supposed to be a track on the question mark...)

I modeled the strategy with "think alouds" as I read a story. After modeling the types of questions you could ask while reading (and how this helped my comprehension), I introduced the game. I called it Guess my Question. This got my more competitive kids paying attention! I read a book aloud, then stopped at certain places and said, "Guess my question." I would call on kids until they came up with a question that would make sense for that part in the story. This game got kids to really think about potential questions to ask while reading.

I made this for my students to record questions they had while reading.

click on the picture to download (3 choices of borders included by fancydogstudios 3am teacher and kpm doodles)

I chose the speech bubbles because they matched my sticky notes on my anchor chart.

You could use this as an independent activity for students, or you could use a more guided approach by using this with another read aloud. You could stop at places in the story, and have students write a possible question for that part (similar to the game, "Guess my Question"). This could also be used as an assessment to see how well your students are grasping this strategy.

I used this with my guided reading groups today. We read a book from readinga-z called The Cinnamon Bun Mystery. I stopped them occasionally and we brainstormed possible questions we may have. I encouraged them to find the answers to the questions we asked by reading on. For example, there is a place in the story where the main character gets to the bakery and a lady had just bought all of the cinnamon buns. Possible questions we came up with were: why would she buy all of them? who bought all of them? I wonder if she's going to eat all of them herself? After reading on, we found the answer to all of those questions. I reminded students that by questioning we kept our comprehension on track!

Teaching Editing using colored pencils

At this point in the year, my first graders are really taking off with their writing. But, I still get papers turned in with poor conventions. The thing is, it's sometimes from kids who DO understand the "rules of writing". They know where those periods go and they know where they're supposed to put capital letters. So, we started talking a lot about editing. I wrote this sample narrative and made some mistakes on purpose. I had the kids read it to themselves first, looking for ways to fix it. Then I had them whisper to their "neighbor" about places where I needed to add punctuation or capital letters.  They just love finding my mistakes! Then as a class we read through it and edited. I used a different color marker so our editing marks would be clear. When we were done, they wanted to go even further and add/change words so my story would "sound more interesting". (Don't you love when they start to talk like you?)

This week, we've been going back in our writing notebooks editing our past stories. I gave them a colored pencil so I could see ways they edited their work. It makes it more exciting to have a colored pencil for some reason! We're not going to take these stories to a published draft, but I wanted them to get in the habit of editing their work. The other day we wrote in our journals for a while, then we set the timer for 5 minutes and everyone had their colored pencil out to edit their work. I'm hoping this will encourage them to start to do it on their own. 

Here' s an example of a student using colored pencil to edit:

Eventually we want them just to edit their work with a regular pencil without being asked, right? Well, I'm hoping this is just getting us one step closer. :)

I'd been planning on posting about this today or yesterday, but I'm glad I waited because I saw Hadar's post this morning with SUCH a great idea. Click here to see her post about using bookmarks to help with conventions. LOVE it!

May Centers in Action (with a freebie)

I always love May. The weather is (semi) nice and the kids are working more independently. I almost wish it didn't have to end. We don't get out until the middle of June, so I have a bit more time to enjoy this stage. May centers are in full swing and the class is doing so well with them! Here are some pictures of May centers in action. 

Sorting Stations: How many e's 

Read, Think, Match 

Read and Comprehend: This is a great activity for the kids at this point in the year. The questions on the back really show whether or not a student is comprehending this passage. I had one student who is very fluent reader that did not do so well on the questions. It was great to sit down with him and go over the parts of this reading passage to see what went wrong. Turns out he was just rushing. It was good for both of us to sit down and go over this together.

Syllable Sort: 
(There are words on those frogs but you can't tell in this picture. Plus, I really should have cut those frogs out. I was a little lazy I guess!)

Sunshine Words: match the beginning with the ending to make words.

Sounds of C: Sorting soft and hard c words

Expand a Word (got this idea from 

What I know: nonfiction writing
I've really enjoyed reading these. The kids love writing nonfiction!

Sticker Story: 
This is the beginning of a student's sticker story. It's a little fuzzy. :(

Super Sentence:
 I'm looking to see how well students put the sentence together as well.  I also look for the period and a capital letter to begin the sentence. I still have kids who forget, which is so frustrating! I hand it back to them and ask them to edit it. If they still don't include capitals and punctuation, then I document that on the rubric at the end of the month.

 Fact vs. Opinion

Word Endings

Sentence Fillers: plugging in the correct verb and adjectives into these sentences

Sentence Scramblers

Be an Author: 
I've been encouraging my students to expand their sentences while writing their stories. 

If you are interested in these centers, you can click on the picture below to read the post with more information.

And I owe you a freebie from this packet. Click on the picture to download!

If you download, I'd love to hear from you. :)