Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Read, Visualize, Draw: Another Fun literacy center- freebie

Another center that is really popular in my class is Read, Visualize, Draw. It's a great way to practice visualizing while reading, which is such an important comprehension strategy! Make sure you've taught and modeled this strategy before introducing this center. Especially for those struggling reading, stopping to visualize can be so helpful.

I've been doing this center for years, but thanks to great clip art it now has a cuter look than it used to. :)
(clipart by scrappindoodles) 



Keep in mind that your students who do not like to draw probably will not be huge fans of this center, but I really don't put a lot of emphasis on drawing ability for this center. It's more about their ability to read text, make a picture in their minds of what they are reading and then communicate that visualization through drawing. Some kids who aren't the best artists (or think they aren't) like to label parts of their drawings so I know. Very sweet. :) 

While teaching this center, I tell them to first read it all the way through. Then I reread it and model the process of stopping to visualize. I think out loud so my students know what's going through my head while I read. When I finished reading, I start to draw. When I'm finished drawing, I reread a third time to check my drawing. 

Here are a few examples of this center from later in the year:

This is from my May literacy menu. It is a pond scene. Students read the description below and added to the pond scene. See how both look pretty unique, yet they both included everything.



 These are from our rainforest unit. (One of these days I'm going to complete my rainforest menu.) This is one of my favorites! The kids do such a nice job with these animals because we are studying the rainforest when they do it so they are really into the animals. The trees are the only thing that given to them, then they add the rest. It helps to have pictures of the animals available for them too.
 


 Here is an example of using Read, Visualize, Draw with a book of your choice. In this case, we were reading another version of Cinderella with our fairy tale unit. There was a part in the book Yeh Shen where they described the main character. It was the perfect opportunity to practice visualizing! I read it slowly and had them create a picture in their minds. Then I passed out the page and read it again as they drew.


 This was made while reading Jack and the Beanstalk. It's hard to see here because the top isn't colored, but this student drew details of what he visualized at the top of the beanstalk.

Have you ever had your students draw what they visualize? How do you teach this comprehension strategy?

Here's a freebie for you so you can try it out with your class. Click on the picture below to download.

You can download this at my Teacher's Notebook store or my TPT store (click on preview).

These are from my September literacy menu. There are four levels here so hopefully one will meet the needs of your students. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sticker Story Freebie- A favorite center among students

This is not my original idea and I can't remember for the life of me where I first heard of it, but I do know that my students LOVE to do Sticker Story. I love it too because it is so simple in terms of preparation. 

I collect stickers throughout the year and I also make stickers (I print off clipart on labels). At the beginning of the year, I ask all students to bring in stickers. (Keep in mind, I teach at a private school, so this may be easier for me.) I keep the stickers organized in my closet in a clear bin (animals, people, sports, seasonal, etc). Then I put out another bin of stickers for the kids to access while they do this story. In October I'll put out the Halloween/fall stickers then change them up the next month. I always have some generic stickers too.  I also give them a sticker limit so they don't go crazy with the stickers! After putting stickers on their picture, they draw around the stickers to add to the scene. 

Students choose their stickers and create a scene. Then they write about it. At the beginning of the year, most kids just write sentences about their picture. It can be as basic as "I see a cat." or "The cat has a ball." At this point, I would encourage them to describe their sticker scene as much as they can. Of course I also model, model, model! I often take someone's Sticker Story and generate more ideas from that as a class. As the year progresses, I encourage kids to start making their scenes into stories with a beginning, middle and end. This happens at different times for each child, depending on where they are as a writer. If I feel like they are ready to progress in this way, I often will do a short writing conference with them during writer's workshop. I'll bring a copy of one of their recent Sticker Stories and talk with them about how we could make it into a story with a beginning, middle and end. 

Here are some examples of Sticker Stories. I wish I would've taken more pictures over the years! I've been doing this forever but I only have a few pictures. 

Here's the first page to a whole story written by one of my students at the end of the year. We were learning about the rainforest so she wanted to make a rainforest story. Here she used a jaguar and parrot sticker and drew the trees and the rain to go with it. 

Here's another rainforest-themed story about monkeys in a rainforest sports center. How creative! Stickers used were monkeys and ball stickers.


The beginning of a rainforest story about an animal race. As you may be able to tell, these stickers were pictures I just put onto labels that he cut out.



This is a story about a princess going to the zoo:


The beginning of a frog family story.

 This is a good example of a first grader who is getting ready to create stories. This is somewhere in between a story (with the beginning, middle and end) and simply a description of stickers. This student has names the setting and characters and given the reader information about the characters. 

If you haven't done sticker story in your classroom, you should definitely start! It's a favorite in my room always and I enjoy the stories I read. As I grade them, I get a lot of ideas about how I can guide that student during for future writing. They are great for whole class shared writing and helps kids who have "writer's block". :) 

PS. You may do a couple minilessons about the problem with adding too many stickers. A good lesson is to put together a sticker scene with tons of random stickers. Then try to create a story during shared writing with your students. It will show your students how choosing stickers carefully can be important to their story!

You can download some Sticker Story paper free by clicking on the picture below!



I include this center with my literacy menus. You can check the September menu out here.

Hey look! Even 3 year olds love a good sticker story! :)

He was trying to make some letters here for his story:) He also made a railroad, a blue and brown sunshine (LOL) and a fast car (that's the car with the orange around it). 



He's cracking up here telling me his story so I had to include this pic!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

September literacy centers for Second and Third Grade!

Hi everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your summers. 

I've had some requests for literacy center menus for second and third graders. I looked over the common core standards for those grade levels and I did my best to adjust my menu to work for those grade levels. If you teach 2nd or 3rd grade, read through this longish post to see if they would work for you. I'd love to hear from you! 


Read, Visualize Draw:
I kept the easier one that I made for first grade and I also included a more challenging one.

Read and Sequence: 
I added two more with more difficult words.

 

Read, Think, Match:
There are 6 different choices here of varying levels of difficulty.

 

Read and Comprehend:
This replaces Rebuild a poem (although I left that in there too as an extra just in case). With this one, students will read the short story and answer the questions. The questions ask some literal questions and some inferential questions as well as a prediction question, using context clues to guess the meaning of a word, and sequencing the story.



Make a Word:
I added long vowels instead of short vowels for this one.


Word Family Bus: 
To make sure I met the needs of my buyers, I decided to make two different versions of this center. One version is just making words like pictured below. 


The other version is matching words with similar meaning. There are 6 buses with one word in each bus. Students will read word cards with synonyms and match to the correct bus.

 


 Apple Sort:
To make this more challenging for 2nd/3rd grade, I made the real and nonsense words into two syllable words.

 


Long and Short Sort:
Students will sort picture cards- long and short vowels. 


Match a Sentence:
Students will match the sentence parts to make sentences that make sense. Then, they will write the sentences and circle the verbs. 


Flip a Sentence: 
Students will flip the pages of the flip book to make a sentence that makes sense (choosing the correct adjectives and verbs phrases to go with each subject)


Sentence Scramblers: 
 

Word Endings:
Choosing between -es and -s  and adding it to the base word of each sentence.


 Summer stories: narrative writing



Spin and Write: 
Making stories with beginning, middle and end and/or practicing sentence writing.


 Sticker Story:


Be an Author: 
I included two version of this center
1. The school-themed one that I included in the first grade version
2. In the Sea (shown below): students use the diagram to help them write sentences about the picture. 


This pack also includes a rubric and a checklist


and labels


and directions




You can get this pack at my Teacher's Notebook store or TPT store.