Thursday, August 15, 2013

K12 Language Arts, with a focus on Grade 1.

I've been working, off and on, trying to "getting ahead".  Many people have asked me "How much prep time do you plan for?"  I hesitate to tell them just how much prep time I put into this schooling at home.  I really don't want to discourage them.  I know that I don't fall in the "typical" category.  You can definitely use K12 curriculum as it is and your student will do just fine.  However, I do have a bit of an educational background and this type of thing is something I've always enjoyed doing.  I tweak things all the time.  :-)  
 I've always been big on preparation...that's what works best with my own personality. 5-6 kiddos in a small's necessary.  One thing that I found last year was that if I wasn't completely prepared we didn't go into details as much as we could have...especially in Language Arts.  I'd get an idea in my mind and then wouldn't have time to really do it right at that moment...then forget it...we never got to it.  Sound familiar? 

Another thing that I confirmed was just how much younger children are visual learners.  I found with K12 LA, there was a LOT of talking on my part and a lot of listening on their part (especially with LA2, which LA1 takes the same format this year) and so I would find myself grabbing the white board and drawing out a thinking map or something to that effect.  However, that isn't my favorite route to go because plain and simple...I have bad penmanship...especially at a white board!  And really, there wasn't an easy way to document everything we did.  

As I was going through the awesome new Language Arts 1 Lesson Guide, it reinforced that I wanted to do things ready for the visuals...have as many as possible right there at my fingertips.  Nothing fancy...just have the stuff ready to go...then we also have documentation of what we did.   So I started going through the lesson guide asking myself, can I turn at least one of these activities into a visual.  You bet, most times I could find multiple ways but I didn't want to overwhelm myself or the student so I tried to limit what I prepared.

Yes, there are post it notes all through to the mid-semester checkpoint, that's how far I got yesterday.  :-)  Reminders to me of what I had prepared or notes about art projects we could do along with it.  I've got a good portion of 2nd grade done already also.  Haven't received 3rd grade's yet...I hear it might be a new "course" and that is why it's being held up.  We'll see.  Once I get everyone prepped up to mid-semester I'll start going at it again and go to semester, etc.

I had already decided to do the "binder route" with Language Arts for 1st and 2nd grade.  No loose papers!!!  Everything right ready to go.   This allows for us to go back and look at past materials with out searching through the filing cabinet.  ☺ This works well for putting in some "extras".  I just hole punched and pop it at the correct spot in the binder.
So my own "creations" plus the pages from the Activity Guide.
Repetition is so necessary at the younger grades that this one thing I love about the new LA1.  They definitely repeat information from one lesson to the next...not in a tiring way...just frequently enough that the children are getting "review".  One aspect of reading comprehension they are doing a lot of is "making predictions".  I made a page similar to the one on the left above for each book.  They ask us to "jot" down the child's predictions at certain spots in the book and later refer back to them so why not have it in an organizer.  It's a great way to reinforce that sometimes our predictions are incorrect but that is okay!  For K12 individuals, I have a picture for each book they ask us to do this prediction activity, up to Mid-Semester checkpoint...I also included a blank page for those that may wish to use this very simple prediction page with a different book.
You can get it HERE.

Another "repeat" activity, compare two books.  These are actually optional activities throughout the book, but I like them and I have found that most of the books they suggest we get from the library can also be found read on You Tube so that's the route we'll go.  The venn diagram organizer can be found HERE.  I added a spot for her to complete the sentence "My favorite book is _____________ because...."

Another thing they do is have us copy a poem on a white board or sheet of paper and discuss the specific structure and such of it.  It makes sense to review it before we start into the actual lesson.  They want us to find the rhyming words, talk about stanzas, where's the repetition, personification, etc.  Again, my handwriting is awful and really, I don't have the time during a lesson to do copy a poem on the whiteboard so I'm preparing these by typing the poems up and printing them.  Then the child can use highlighters, colored pencils and such to find the parts of the poem they are asking and most times I'm leaving white space so we can add stickers, drawings, or fingerprint animals around them.

Making Inferences printable was shared by Tales from Outside the Classroom.
There are a few verbal activities where we are asking the children what they think about certain parts of the story.  They are encouraging the children to use text clues and their schema (own knowledge) to come up with an inference.  Here I jotted down on a half of small post-it the question, etc and placed it in the My Inference column.  Yes, written pretty small but that is for me to remember what questions I wanted to be sure to ask.  :-) We can lift it a bit and write their conclusion down and also fill in the chart with what the story said/showed and their own knowledge.

Up to Mid-Semester Checkpoint, lessons titled
Introduce The Woodpecker, Turtle, and Deer
Introduce Stone Soup
Introduce Budulinek
Introduce Issun Boshi

The kids and I worked with "inferring" a lot last year and it made a big difference in their ability to "think through" things in their practical life.  Can't say they really spend much time on teaching what schema, inferring, etc really meant at our brick and mortar.  I think it must be a Common Core thing.  I expect they'll be doing more of it.  That's one aspect of Common Core that I like...LOTS of active teaching of vocabulary!

I do a lot of "prep" work but I do very little creating on my own because 

1)  there are many resources online.  Awesome teachers that share their hard work for free!  Why recreate the wheel?

2) I don't have access to the clipart and such to make it "cute" like I typically like.  :-)

But, mainly, why make more work for me? Pinterest and Teachers Pays Teachers are where I go to first when I'm looking for something in particular.
They really only introduce 1st person point of view with 1st and 2nd graders but never have I had a conversation with the kids that only included 1st person.  We almost always put an example of 3rd person in there...mainly because I have older students here also.  So this is a very sweet and simple poster set shared by The Idea Gal.  

Tip:  print them smaller than full page to save on ink.  It's perfect for 1:1/homeschooling/binders, etc.

I printed a LOT of posters and etc.  Why?  Last year I ended up printing them and then we set them down and they got misplaced and then I wanted them again.  Visual reminders for the kids.  This way we won't lose them!  They'll be right in the binder and we can go back whenever the kiddos need a reminder of a definition or a technique.
Another example of posters printed smaller than original document to be put in a binder.  In LA1, they spend a good portion of the time retelling a story.  Having a visual makes retelling a whole lot easier.  This poster set was shared by First Grade Wow.  She also provided pieces you could laminate and slip onto a piece of yarn or string to make a personal retelling rope.  :-)

All grades work on the Story Elements at different levels.  One thing I learned was that I could not assume they knew something.  :-)  This year I'll have a sister/brother combo for 1st and 2nd grade.  They will cover some of the same things so I wanted something "different" for each one.  This was easily made possible by the abundance of free posters available!  This particular poster set (printed 4 to a page to get this size) was shared by Ladybug's Teacher's Files.

This is a very simple page that will be a "work in progress".  Poetry/Figurative Language Vocabulary posters.  I printed 16 to a page of this poster set shared by Everything Just So's TPT store.  Very simple definitions of vocabulary they teach regarding poetry.  Though I'm not a big poetry fan, personally...I love how much poetry they are introduced to!  We will cut apart the ones we learn and glue them to the paper as we learn them.  Then we'll come back to this page if we get stuck on what something means.

Anchor Charts
These are "BIG" in the elementary classroom these days.  I LOVE them!  Goes back to how many kids are visual learners!  However, I do not have the time or the ability to make awesome anchor charts for the kids and yes, I cheated a bit...some I just saved image and added it to a page, similar to above, with the wording and "tips" that K12 use in their lessons.  This is for personal use only.  The Prediction Anchor chart example was shared by Stories From Second.  However, I can't find it when I look for it.  This was a Pinterest find.  

Another example of "cheating" and just printing the person's picture...again...please don't claim the idea as your own if you do this!  Don't want to get you in trouble!  

Alliteration anchor chart was just a I can't give credit to who it belongs too.  :-/

I added the little alliteration sentence that they use in the lesson so she can highlight the s's.

Fact vs. Opinion VERY CUTE anchor chart :-)


This is hard to see but it is a simple foldable I created when I couldn't find what I wanted.  It's for the cause and effect activity during the Sylvester and the Magic Pebble lesson.  I actually took pictures from the book as visuals for the "cause".  Obviously this is a work in progress.  She'll cut the top layer on the line to make flaps and inside she'll right the effect of what happened and perhaps draw a picture.  This was a verbal "ask question" activity.  This makes a nice way of remember what we did as there is nothing in the activity guide to go with the Sylvester story.  :-)    Here's a little closer up of it...
You can get it HERE.

Before we get into the actual Cause and Effect of the lesson, we'll go through a bit of another packet a teacher so nicely shared!  You can find this one at Mrs. Patmore's TPT store.  'Tis free!

A few other simple printables that go with LA1.

Up to Mid-Semester Checkpoint
Can be used with lessons titled:
Explore Bedtime for Frances
Explore The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Explore King Midas
Explore Strong Wind's Bride
Explore Stone Soup
Explore Issun Boshi

Used with lesson titled, Explore Table Manners

Some of the other freebies I'll have in the binder available to us because of some wonderful teachers willing to share their hard work.  :-)

A simple sort for beginning of school year.  They can "INFER" what will be a fiction book and what will be a non-fiction book by the pictures and title.  :-)  This freebie was shared by Second Grade Freebies.

Non Fiction Text Features
Shared by Primary Punch.
I like these because they are simple.  In the packet you get 16 feature posters!  I printed them 9 to a page and will be laminating them an putting them in a pocket inside of the binder.

 We are looking forward to a lovely school year...hope you all are as well!

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