Browsing Category

Language Arts

Incorporating Multisensory Activities in Handwriting to Strengthen Fine Motor Development

Motor development is a huge part of kindergarten! Fine motor skills are important because we use them in our writing, coloring, cutting and more. When a student has poor motor skills, they’re often embarrassed and feel less successful when completing assignments. I’ve even had students cry because they couldn’t do something that comes easily for their peers. That’s why, when I was getting my masters in education, I wanted to know the most effective way to improve students’ fine motor. I wanted a way to help students that came to my class with inefficient fine motor skills, so they could feel confident in all they did in my room. Through my research, I found that multisensory handwriting activities help students develop their fine motor.

Do you have students who need to strengthen their fine motor? Check out these multisensory activities you can use during handwriting to improve students' fine motor skills!

The best way to engage students is through hands on, whole body learning. We’ve learned this in school, through student teaching and by observing our own students year after year. Multisensory activities are just that! Read on to find the multisensory activities I use during handwriting.

Multisensory Activities to Incorporate During Handwriting

  1. Paint Bags – For this activity, ziplock bags are filled with paint. Students use their fingers to practice writing letters on top of the bag. I used painters tape to create a dotted line on the paint bags so students could practice uppercase and lowercase letters using the line.*Tip: tape your bags shut so you don’t have any big paint messes!
  2. Sand Paper – Grab different types of sand paper (not too rough) and with a sharpie, make a dotted line. Students can use their fingers to practice writing letters. Another way to do this is to use sharpie to write the letters on the sand paper. That way, students just trace over the letters with their fingers. Do you have students who need to strengthen their fine motor? Check out these multisensory activities you can use during handwriting to improve students' fine motor skills!
  3. Puff Paint – Use puff paint to write letters on a piece of paper. When the puff paint dries, it will be a raised letter for students to use their finger to trace over.
  4. Shaving cream – Spray shaving cream evenly in a tin. Students use their finger to write their letters in the shaving cream.
  5. Sand Table – I am fortunate enough to have a sand table in my room. Students flatten the sand and then practice writing their letters with their finger. If you do not have a sand table, you can make sand trays. Here’s an example from Pocket of Preschool.
  6. Play dough – Students make the letters out of play dough and then trace with their fingers over the raised dough. Students can also flatten the dough and use a toothpick to write the letters in the dough. Do you have students who need to strengthen their fine motor? Check out these multisensory activities you can use during handwriting to improve students' fine motor skills!
  7. Pokey thing – I have students use a pushpin to poke around letters (or sight words) that have been flipped around or mirrored. Using a pushpin strengthens their fine motor. Once they’ve poked all around the letters or sight word, they can trace the opposite side with their finger.

What activities do you incorporate in your classroom to strengthen your students’ fine motor?

Tips for Using Interactive Notebooks in Kindergarten

I love seeing all the creative ways teachers use interactive notebooks in their classrooms but I’ve always felt that they’re more for older students because of all the different pieces and specific places to glue. (If you’ve ever used glue with kindergarten, you know what I’m talking about – total mess!) But this year, I was determined to make interactive notebooks work for my kindergarten class. For my first interactive notebook experience, I chose to use them in science however, these tips would work in any subject!

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

Tips to Making Interactive Notebooks Work in Kindergarten

Setting Up Your Interactive Notebooks

  • Use a full-page label sheet to for the front cover. (This tip comes from Ashley at Teach Create Motivate.) I designed my cover to say Science Notebook with two scientists and a place for students to write their name. When I was ready to put these covers on my student’s notebooks, I printed them on these full-page labels which you put in your printer just like a regular paper. Then I trimmed the sides to fit and stuck it on the front, just like a giant sticker!
  • Glue a front cover for every unit or sub topic. My science curriculum has multiple units so each unit has different cover inside the notebook and that’s how we know everything after that cover page belongs to that unit. Some teachers use tabs to separate units or subtopics. I don’t do this because once we’re done with a science unit we don’t come back to it so there’s no need for students to tab back.

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

General Tips

  • Trim the actual interactive notebook pages that go in the notebook. This makes one less step for students and saves a ton of time!
  • Give your students one page at a time. If you give them the background page plus any other pages where you need to cut and glue or fold, things get jumbled and at least one kiddo is going to cut something that shouldn’t be cut.

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

 

  • Model, model, model! Of course this goes for literally everything in kindergarten but especially for the tricky interactive notebook pages.
  • Help your students find the next page. You wouldn’t believe how many interactive notebook pages I’ve had to pull out because a student just opened his notebook and plopped it down wherever it opened.

Want to use interactive notebooks but stuck with getting started? Check out these tips to using interactive notebooks in a kindergarten classroom.

Although interactive notebooks can be tricky to navigate with the younger students, it’s totally possible with these tips and tricks! What would you add to this list?

You may need…

The Benefits of a Themed Library System in Kindergarten

When I first started teaching, I was stuck on how to organize my library. Some teachers organize by reading level, others by theme, some by genre and I wasn’t sure what would be the best way to organize for my kindergarten classroom. After thinking about it, I decided to organize my library by theme and I am so grateful I did because it’s been the perfect system for my room. Here are the benefits I’ve found to having a themed library system in kindergarten.

The Benefits of a Themed Library System in Kindergarten

Students Search by Interests

When your library is arranged by theme, students pick out books that look interesting to them. In kindergarten, most students can’t read so they pick books to look at the pictures. By organizing books by theme, kinder students find reading to be fun because they’re not worried about the words but what the picture shows. This way of organizing can spark a student’s curiosity to the world of reading. There’s a lot of power in choice and arranging your library by theme gives them many choices!

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

They’re Exposed to Many Different Words and Vocabulary

Organizing by theme exposes students to many different words and vocabulary. When books are arranged by level, a student who reads at an “A” might only see words like The cat sat on the mat. This is great when students are starting to decode and recognize sight words but it’s not great for vocabulary. Early on in the year, I teach my students how to read through pictures. I also teach them that in a story the pictures match the words. So a student interested in volcanos might pick a book with a volcano on the front cover and be able to match that the word is volcano because it starts with a “v” sound. A themed library gives students of all levels a chance to broaden their vocabulary.

Eliminates Competition

A library organized by theme eliminates competition in reading. I absolutely do not support telling kindergarten students their reading levels. This can make low readers feel horrible about themselves and high readers feel like their better than their peers. With such a reading range in the lower grades, it’s best to keep their reading levels between the teacher and the parents. When you organize books by theme, it doesn’t matter if an “A” level book is in with the “G” level. It also doesn’t matter if an “A” level reader picks the “G” level book. In kindergarten, I believe it’s so important to just get them exposed to books and words. There’s a time and a place for leveled reading (guided reading/literacy centers) but your library is not one.

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

Tips to Organizing Your Library

Color Code Your Themes

I put colored stickers on all my books as well as the bin that those books go in. This makes it so kindergarten students are able to keep the books organized. Each week, a student gets to be the librarian. When they’re the librarian, they take the books from our purple bin (where students put books their done with) and put them away according to their colored sticker. Students love a chance to help and kindergarten students are very capable of keeping things organized, you just have to give them the tools!

Separate Non-Fiction and Fiction

Non-fiction and fiction is something we talk about often in kindergarten. Students learn about real stories and fantasy. I find that it’s best to separate these types of books since they are very different.  I  have non-fiction bins for animals, science, social studies and math books.

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

Save Seasonal Books for the Season

To add excitement in your library, only put your seasonal or holiday books out when the holiday is near. My students love when I change our seasonal books. They know right away because I have a hanging bookshelf that holds all those holiday books. I put them on top of our bookcases as well. This puts them on display and makes them special.

 

There are many ways to organize your classroom library but I’ve found so many benefits to arranging my library by theme. How is your library organized for your students?

Are you having trouble figuring out how to organize your library? Read here to find out why it's beneficial to arrange your classroom library by theme.

You may also be interested in…

How to Organize Seasonal Materials in Your Classroom

Tips to Be a More Productive Planner for a Smooth Week of Teaching

 

No Stress Valentine’s Day Language Arts Lesson Plan Ideas

I have mixed feelings about celebrating Valentine’s day in the classroom (mostly because it’s all chocolate and sugar) but I do like the concept of friendship and love for one another. Since all holidays in the classroom are filled with a bit of chaos, I’m sending a no stress Valentine’s Day language arts lesson plan your way!

Need inspiration for a Valentine's Day language arts lesson? Look no further! Read here for a super engaging, no stress Valentine's Day language arts lesson plan.

No Stress Valentine’s Day Language Arts Lesson Plan

I’m sure other primary teachers can agree that it’s always nice to find a book where our students can relate to the characters. I love when a character has a problem that my kids might have. Then, I can talk about how the character solved their problem and can refer back to them if I ever find my students in the same problem.

I love the book The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll because my students can relate to the characters’ problem. For those who haven’t read, this book is about two students (mice) who want to make a valentine for their teacher (Mrs. Mousely). As they’re making their valentine, the two start fighting because they don’t like the way the other is contributing. So, they go home and try to make their own valentine but find that something is missing because they can’t make part of the valentine like their friend could. The next day, they come back together and decide to try again. They end up making the biggest, most beautiful valentine for their teacher and her and the class love it!

Need inspiration for a Valentine's Day language arts lesson? Look no further! Read here for a super engaging, no stress Valentine's Day language arts lesson plan.

This book is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s day and refresh your student’s on what it means to be a good friend and working together.

Activities to go with The Biggest Valentine Ever

The Biggest Valentine Ever Book Companion

This book companion comes with 6 language arts activities and a craftivity (pictured above). With this resource your students will sequence the story, identify the problem and solution, compare and contrast the main characters and write using 3 different prompts.

Need inspiration for a Valentine's Day language arts lesson? Look no further! Read here for a super engaging, no stress Valentine's Day language arts lesson plan.

Check out the freebie version of this product here!

Challenge your students to work together to create one valentine

Pair your students up (or let them choose their own partner) and tell them they must create one valentine together like Desmond and Clayton.

Reenact the story

Break your students into groups. Have each group sequence the story and then turn it into a play to reenact for their classmates!

Make a valentine out of something other than paper

Students search the classroom to create a valentine out of something other than paper such as play-doh, legos, on a whiteboard etc. You could even take your class outside and so they can make a valentine out of leaves or sticks!

Need inspiration for a Valentine's Day language arts lesson? Look no further! Read here for a super engaging, no stress Valentine's Day language arts lesson plan.

What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Day activities?

How to Create the Perfect Guided Reading Lesson

Guided reading is one of my favorite times during the day because I love that I can differentiate for each student. However, the prep for guided reading can be challenging and sometimes I flat-out avoid it until the last second. Tailoring different lessons to different levels is a huge task and can be pretty overwhelming if you’re just starting out. That’s why I’ve created a step by step plan for you to get the perfect guided reading lesson each time and for any level.

Do you love differentiating for your students but get overwhelmed thinking of lessons for each level? Check out my steps to creating the perfect guided reading lesson! These steps can be used for any level!

 

How to Create the Perfect Guided Reading Lesson

Before you create your perfect guided reading lesson, you need to do a couple of things first!

Assess Students to Find Their Levels

First of all, you need to know your student’s levels. My school uses the Fountas and Pinnell guided reading assessments so I use this at the beginning of the year to find their level. I also assess them mid-year and at the end of the year. I send their end of the year assessments to the first grade teacher so she can group them in her class.

Create Your Guided Reading Groups

Once you know your students’ levels you can break them into appropriate groups and you’ll know what kinds of books to use. Fountas and Pinnell uses an alphabet scale so normally my kids are reading at an AA (pre-reading) through D/E. The level will depend on what system you use. You can even find some guided reading curriculum on TpT.

Do you love differentiating for your students but get overwhelmed thinking of lessons for each level? Check out my steps to creating the perfect guided reading lesson! These steps can be used for any level!

Steps to Creating a Perfect Guided Reading Lesson

1. Choose a book at the group’s level.

As I’ve mentioned above, I use Fountas and Pinnell so I have a set curriculum and books that I can choose from. I organize what group has read what book by highlighting the book name from a list that I have for each group. For example, my groups are colors so if the purple group reads Worm is Hot, I highlight it on the purple list so I know they’ve already read this book when I choose their book in future lessons.

2. Pick out sight words or vocabulary words from the book that you want to frontload.

Before we dive into our book, I preface our story by showing any sight or vocabulary words that may be tricky for students to read or that students may not know. That way, when they get to the word, they’ve already seen it and will know what it means.

2A. (Optional) Find a pre-reading activity.

I like to use a pre-reading activity mostly for my lower groups. Sometimes, I pick out words from the book that students can phonetically sound out and we practice sounding out these words before reading. Then, when they come to the word in their book, they’ve seen it and have practiced sounding it out so it’s not as intimidating.

Do you love differentiating for your students but get overwhelmed thinking of lessons for each level? Check out my steps to creating the perfect guided reading lesson! These steps can be used for any level!

3. Choose any reading strategies you want to reinforce.

I use the popular animal reading strategies: eagle eye, lips the fish, stretchy snake, chunky monkey, tryin’ lion, skippy frog and flippy dolphin. I like to introduce them one at a time and I decide which to introduce based on the kinds of words in the book.

4. Think of at least 3 comprehension questions you want to ask once the group has read the book a few times through.

Once students have read through the book at least two or three times, I ask them comprehension questions. To prepare for this part of the lesson, I write some out before hand. Check out my freebie below for a list of comprehension questions you could ask!

Want comprehension questions you can use for any guided reading book FOR FREE?

Sign up for my email list and get this awesome freebie!

Your information is safe with me. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

4A. (Optional) Decide on an extension activity they can do (depending on the level).

Mostly, my high groups get extension activities to complete once we’ve finished guided reading. I like to connect our extension activities to our skill of the week in language arts (I use Reading Street) that way they get more exposure to the comprehension skill. My high students can handle the extra challenge and benefit from the opportunity to transfer the learned skill to another story.

 

What steps do you take in creating your perfect guided reading lesson?

Check out this resource for everything you need for guided reading in your classroom.

You may also be interested in…

Guided Reading: The Ins and Outs

Classroom DIY: Guided Reading Caddies

5 Key Benefits of Using Write the Room in Your Classroom

Don’t you love finding activities that get your students up and moving? I do too! That’s why I absolutely love Write the Room activities. This simple idea of putting words up around the classroom and having students write them on a recording sheet is so engaging and can be a great learning tool. I use Write the Room during all sorts of subjects – math, writing, language arts and more! I’ve found that there are many advantages to using this activity. Here are the 5 key benefits of using Write the Room in your classroom.

Don't you love finding hands on activities for your students? I do too! Read about the 5 key benefits of using Write the Room activities in your classroom.

Write the Room Benefits

 

1. Not just another worksheet

Although in reality this activity requires a worksheet (recording sheet), this is not just another typical, paper and pencil, do at your seat worksheet. Students have to move their bodies all around the room to search for the words they need to record. I use this activity during the holidays to get students excited for the upcoming season or as a review of something we’ve learned recently.

2. Handwriting Practice

This activity gets students to practice their writing and handwriting. My kindergarteners benefit from constantly observing the right way to write, tracing words and letters, and practicing writing on their own in order for them to be able to communicate through writing. We focus on handwriting a few times a week and the proper way to write the letters and numbers. Write the Room is an awesome way for them to practice their handwriting without making them trace and write the same letter for a whole page.

Don't you love finding hands on activities for your students? I do too! Read about the 5 key benefits of using Write the Room activities in your classroom.

3. Beginning Letter Recognition

In kindergarten, it’s important for students to learn their letter sounds as it makes reading and sounding out easier. Write the Room helps students focus on beginning letters and sounds. Along with all the themed words in a certain Write the Room resource, there is a picture that matches. When students find a word, they must look on their recording sheet for the beginning letter. As they write the word, they are thinking of the picture and are able to practice sounding out the word.

4. Builds Vocabulary

Write the Room is a good way to build your students vocabulary. You could use this activity to begin your science or social studies unit using key vocabulary as the Write the Room words. Sign up for my newsletter and receive a Community Helpers Write the Room FREEBIE! I also use Write the Room to build vocabulary around the holidays. Students match the picture to the word during this activity and then notice the word in our seasonal books. Students feel so proud when they know how to read a fancy word!

Community Helper Freebie!

Subscribe to my newsletter to get your Community Helper Write the Room Freebie!

Your information is safe with me. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

5. Review Activity or Assessment

This activity can be utilized as a review activity or assessment. After I teach nouns for a few weeks, students show me what they know by completing a write the room (nouns edition). In kindergarten, we learn what a noun is and students practice distinguishing between the different kinds of nouns. During this Write the Room, students find a noun card and have to decide if it is a person, place, thing or animal. Through this activity, we review what they’ve learned and I can decide if I need to continue to work on nouns or if we can move on to something else.

Don't you love finding hands on activities for your students? I do too! Read about the 5 key benefits of using Write the Room activities in your classroom.

Have you used Write the Room in your classroom? How does it benefit your students? Leave a comment below!

Resources

Check out the different Write the Room resources I have in my TpT store. *Save a TON by purchasing my Seasonal Write the Room Growing Bundle!*

Seasonal Write the Room Growing Bundle

You may also be interested in…

The Benefits of Morning Work

The Benefits of Having a Class Travel Buddy

 

 

Why You Should be Differentiating in Your Classroom

Differentiated instruction is such an important aspect of a successful classroom. In any grade, there is always a range of students’ capabilities. Some students flourish in some areas and need support during others. Some students need hand-holding throughout all subjects and others need a challenge. Differentiation can give students the extra support or challenge they need to never stop learning and never give up.

Do you have students ranging in levels and capabilities? You need to start differentiating in your classroom. Read here to find out why.

Differentiation: An Overview

By definition, differentiation is the “development from the one to the many, the simple to the complex” – Merriam Webster dictionary.

When teachers differentiate instruction, they tailor the lesson to the students’ needs by taking a concept they want their students to learn and providing support to lower students or a challenge to higher students.

Helping your Struggling Students

Your struggling students benefit a ton when you differentiate instruction because they are the ones who need extra help. They’re the kids who seem to be lost, don’t know the instructions, or guess to try to get by. There’s nothing wrong with this type of student, they just need you to hand-hold a little more.

How to help your lower students

  1. Model more than you would for the average student
  2. Do more examples together
  3. Work in a small group (with students at a similar level)
  4. Take the content and make it simpler
  5. Make it hands on

Differentiating in the Classroom

Challenging your High Students

Your high students can greatly benefit from differentiating instruction because they need a challenge to continue to grow. These are the kids who are raising their hands, know what to do before you tell them and could easily get bored because they already know everything you’re going to say. These kiddos need a push to reach a higher level.

How to challenge your high students

  1. Give higher level thinking assignments
  2. Talk less, model less, give less examples – set them free to work on their own
  3. Work in a small group (with students at a similar level)
  4. Let them be helpers to students who have trouble – sometimes students learn more from peers
  5. Make it hands on

Differentiating in the Classroom

When to Differentiate

Differentiating is tough, I’m not gonna lie. Taking a concept and splitting it up so it’s taught at all students’ levels seems like a lot of work and honestly, it is. That’s why I’ve chosen to focus on differentiating during reading and math.

 

My lower school team uses guided reading as a way to teach reading. I learned this teaching strategy when I got my credential so I was familiar and comfortable when I started teaching kindergarten. If you have a strong program (we use Fountas and Pinnel) and materials then it’ll be simple enough. Now, guided math is a different beast. This is my first year using guided math and I am just starting to get the hang of it. (That’ll be another post for another time.) What I’m learning this year while using a guided math is to differentiate by tweaking the curriculum program we have so I’m not making more work for myself.

 

Differentiating is such a magical tool that can really help students grow and flourish if you put the time in to set up a system, create the lessons and work with your kiddos in small group settings.

 

Do you differentiate in your classrooms? What tips would you give a beginning differentiator?

Differentiating in the Classroom

Similar Posts

Guided Reading: The Ins and Outs

Guided Reading Groups: How to Set up Your Groups in the Beginning of the Year

Classroom DIY: Guided Reading Caddies

More to come on Guided Math!

 

Projects: An Alternative to Homework

Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class.

Calling all teachers: do you give homework? I’ve been giving weekly packets since I became a kindergarten teacher 4 year ago. I do like that while students are doing their homework, they are practicing what we’ve been learning in class and are given an opportunity to show their parents what they’ve learned or what they struggle with. However, I feel that students should be exploring the world and using their hands to learn instead of completing worksheet after worksheet. That’s why this year, I’m sending home monthly projects.

Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class.

Monthly Projects

Monthly projects are given in place of one of my weekly homework packets. They are designed to reinforce certain skills or concepts we’re learning but in a hands on way and so parents get involved. After each project, students present to their classmates about what they did and what they learned. It’s so precious to see kindergarten students get excited about their learning and put on their grown up voices to share what they did with their friends.

Projects By Theme

I created these projects to go along with a theme depending on which month the project is assigned in. For example, this September, my students completed an “All About Me” project so we could get to know each other on a deeper level.

This chart shows the name of the project, theme and what content area students are working on while doing the project.

Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class.

Projects and Family Involvement

What I love most about projects is that they involve my students’ families. In our “All About Me” project, parents helped their child by finding pictures of them as a baby or as a family. During the “Great Candy Investigation”, families worked with their child on different activities revolving around candy. This type of “homework” is more engaging than the typical pencil and paper work. It’s something students will remember as they grow older. They won’t remember the worksheet, they’ll remember the activity.

Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class.

Resources

My Monthly Projects Resource is a growing bundle, meaning if you purchase now, you get a deal because it’s priced low and as I add more projects to the resource, the price goes up. Check out my Monthly Projects Resource here.

Or check out the Monthly Projects I’ve already created through clicking the pictures!

Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class. Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class. Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class. Need a more engaging way to get students working at home? Read here to find out how projects work in my kindergarten class.

Do you send home projects in your classroom? What types of projects would you and your students enjoy?

Guided Reading: The Ins and Outs

Guided Reading

Guided reading is one of my absolute favorite times of the day! I love that students are broken into groups, working at their level, being independent, and getting the individualized attention that they need.

The Curriculum

My school uses the Fountas and Pinnel program for guided reading, but there are many programs out there, including some on teacherspayteachers. The program I have includes different leveled books from A – E (because I teach kinder) and an easy way to assess what level students are at.

Guided Reading

Read about how I set up my guided reading groups here.

Structure

I incorporate my guided reading lessons into our literacy center time. During centers, two groups meet with teachers (I have a full-time assistant teacher), one group does word work, one group does listen to reading and sometimes I have groups working at our sand table. Other center ideas I’ve used are work on writing, read to self and read to someone.

Guided Reading Literacy Center Template

Check out my literacy center calendar template here!

Centers

  1. Guided Reading (Leveled Groups)
  2. Word Work – I have a variety of centers that students can complete during word work. In the beginning of the year, we focus on letter recognition and letter sounds. Once we hit about October, students are working on sight words. During the second half of the year, we transition from sight words to spelling words.
  3. Listen to Reading – I use a program on the iPads called Raz-Kids. This program is awesome because you can put in students’ reading levels. It also has an option to read the story to them or for them to read it to themselves. As the story reads to them, it highlights the word, giving the student more exposure to sight words.
  4. Sand table – Students complete different activities sorting through the sand looking for either letters or words.

Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template

Guided Reading Lessons

  • Before Reading – I use this time to introduce sight words that will be in the story and any vocabulary that students might not know.
  • During Reading – I have students read all at the same time but not together. (This will take some practice and time to get used to.) As they’re reading, I listen to each student and make any notes on the recording sheet. I make note of their fluency, accuracy and anything else that might come up as they’re reading.
  • After Reading – Once students have read through the book multiple times, I stop them and we discuss the book. I ask them comprehension questions such as recalling what happened, why something happened and any connections they have to the story.
  • Once our guided reading time is over, students put their books in their book bags and pick a sticker for their sticker book. They can read the books in their book bags during read to self or read to someone.

Be sure to check out my guided reading lesson plan template here!

Resources

Click the picture to check out this guided reading bundle!

Guided Reading Bundle

You might also be interested in reading about how I create my guided reading caddie and what I keep in it!

 

Guided Reading

The Benefits of Having a Class Travel Buddy

Having a class travel buddy is a special part of my kindergarten class. Nellie is a small stuffed cow that I had when I was a child. Now, she lives in a red barn and loves to document all her adventures with my students!

Class Travel Buddy

Class Travel Buddy

Each week, one student gets to take Nellie home and spend special time with her. Some students sleep with her, introduce her to their other toys, take her on playdates, some have even taken her on vacation! After the week is up, the student writes and draws about the time they had together. When the student returns Nellie, they share what they did with her and answer some questions that the other kiddos might have about their adventure.

Class Travel Buddy

Benefits of a Class Travel Buddy

  1. Students absolutely LOVE getting to take a buddy home. They feel so special when it’s their turn and the smile on their face is priceless.
  2. This activity is VERY low maintenance. Once I set up her book and make a schedule of when each child takes Nellie home, I barely even think about her.
  3. Families get involved in an easy way. Parents can help their child write about the fun time they had with Nellie.
  4. You get a glimpse of each child’s family life. You can find out what’s important to them and what they like to do as an individual or as a family.
  5. A travel buddy creates amazing memories for each child. Each student I’ve had loves Nellie so much! I’ve had some students cry when they have to give her back. Others have gone out and purchased their own “Nellie” stuffed cow. This year, one of my students asked about Nellie on the first day of school. I had his brother a couple of years ago and he remembered her and how much fun they had with her. As simple as this activity is, it is such a memorable experience to all (Nellie included)!

Resources

Check out this resource to help you create your own classroom travel buddy book!

You might need….

(affiliate links)

Do you send a travel buddy home with each student? What kind of buddy is in your class!?

Class Travel Buddy