September Literacy Centers for First Grade

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I managed my literacy centers. This system is literally the best thing I ever did as a first grade teacher. It made things so much easier for me in the long run. You can read more about it HERE.

September feels far away, but it will be here before you know it. I finally took photographs of my September centers to show you all. I have these monthly centers for every month except July. I train the kids in September, reinforce in October and it is smooth sailing for the rest of the year. The centers change theme and they get more difficult, but the routines are the same and the menu structure allows for smooth monthly changes.

 Just in case, here is a quick explanation about how it works:

These folder holders hold all of the centers. The only exception is the Rebuild a Poem because it is in a pocket chart (but the student recording sheets are still in the folder). When I first created these, I needed something that would work for a tiny room. I had very little shelf space, so I wanted my centers to fit together nicely. This solved that! It only takes up a small space on a shelf. Students know to go here to get all of their centers. You could also spread them out around the room so there isn't a traffic jam. ;)

The folder holders have labels that match the center menu's heading. There are four centers under each heading every month. The headings do not change. 

Inside each folder are all the contents of that center. The picture on the cover matches the picture on the menu.  See below, under Sentence Building is the "Sentence Match" center. The picture on the menu matches the picture on that folder. Also, the heading (Sentence Building) is also on the folder in the top corner, so the student can quickly return it to the correct folder holder. 

One of the things I love about these centers is the storage situation! When I taught first grade, I had very little room for anything, especially storage. Each month's centers fit in a magazine holder. When I need a new month's centers, I grab that magazine holder and empty out all of the folders and then move them to colored magazine folders shown above for students to use. When I'm done, they go back into their monthly holder. 

September Centers

Another update is that I made a black-and-white menu. Every student gets a menu at the beginning of the month. They keep it in their center/reading workshop folder all month long. They keep track of the centers they finish by coloring in the squares with that center. Below are pictures of all of the centers.

You can find my September literacy centers HERE

This is a link to all of my 1st grade literacy centers:

I also have 2nd grade:

Writing Rubrics for Common Core

Hi Everyone! Last week I updated my writing rubrics pack again. This update includes all new rubrics with the common core standards right on them. The other rubrics were not grade-specific, but these ones are. I added rubrics for kindergarten through third grade. For each grade there is a conventions rubric and narrative, opinion, and informative rubrics.

Here is a little preview of the additional rubrics. 
(Don't forget this is only the additions to the already huge pack of rubrics!)

I also included a "key" for each genre and grade level. I decide what my scale is going to be before I start grading. I think about what my expectations are for meeting standards for that point in the year and I go from there. Then I use the key to help me determine each students final score: Developing, meeting, or exceeding.  

There is also a blank template for you to create your own rubrics!

You can find these HERE.

Parent's Guide to Learning to Read

Hi everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your summers. This summer I'm taking two online classes and one of the assignments is to plan a family literacy night. Although I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, I haven't. So, I'm glad that I'm getting that push to do it! One thing I have always wanted to create for a family literacy night is a beginning reading guide for parents. Keep in mind I work at a school with a lot of parent involvement. I get asked a lot what they can do at home. I'm so lucky and so are their children! I find that, while giving ideas about what to do at home, I feel the need to give background knowledge about reading. It's hard to give tips and ideas when parents do not have any general information about the process of learning to read. I have handed out separate resources before, but I never put it all together in one nice, neat packet. Until now!

I thought about the main things that went into learning to read and tried to break it down. If you've followed me for a while, you know I love anything with tabs. Ha! Keep in mind that I made this one pretty with colored bright paper, but you wouldn't have to! I also made a version without tabs so you just print and staple or bind. That one is a little more convenience. ;) 

Here is a little peak inside:

The colored pages are the tab pages. They have basic information for parents about that area of reading. After each tab page, there is a page with ideas for parents to use at home.

You can find resources and information about teaching the alphabet HERE.

Please note: The ideas in the phonemic awareness section come from my Phonemic Awareness Take-home kit.   You can find a TON of information about phonemic awareness in these old posts HERE and HERE.

 I added in a link to a phonetic word list! I wish I would've made that one years ago!

You can find an old post about sight words HERE.

You can find an old, but very detailed blog post about reading strategies HERE.

You can find a huge post about comprehension HERE.

This resource is perfect for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade teachers. I will be using it as a resource for my intervention students' families. 

This is all based on years of experience and research. I realize there are many differing philosophies and beliefs about what is best when teaching children to read. This is what works for me and is based on a lot of research. Much of the research for the alphabet, phonemic awareness, and phonics is summarized HERE in this report from the National Reading Panel. I acknowledge and respect different views and beliefs and by no means discredit other ways of teaching. If these ideas do not reflect your teaching practices and beliefs, then this probably isn't for you. ;)  

So there you have it! You can find this resource HERE.