ThreeRingsConnections.org October Posts

October posts can help kids learn at school & home

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

October posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of November, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

October’s Posts

October’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite October Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids
  • US State Capitals Trivia
  • Six Strategies to Raise Student Comprehension

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids

HLPs are the fundamentals of teaching

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) are a group of techniques developed by the Council for Exceptional Children and the CEEDAR Center. Designed originally as essential special education techniques, they are 22 techniques that all K-12 teachers should know and use across a variety of classroom contexts.

When using HLPs, teachers must consider the content they are teaching, the methodology and delivery of instruction. HLPs address four interrelated components of special education: collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavior practices, and instruction. 

Collaboration

HLP 1: Collaborate with professionals to increase student success.

HLP 2: Organize and facilitate effective meetings with professionals and families

HLP 3: Collaborate with families to support student learning and secure needed services.

Assessment

HLP 4: Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs.

HLP 5: Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs.

HLP 6: Use student assessment data analyzing instructional practices and make necessary adjustments that improve student outcomes.

Social/emotional/behavior

HLP 7: Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment.

HLP 8: Positive and constructive feedback is given to guide a students’ learning and behavior.

HLP 9: Teach social behaviors.

HLP 10: Conduct functional behavioral assessments to develop individual student behavior support plans.

Instructional

HLP 11: Identify and prioritize long- and short-term learning goals.

HLP 12: Systematically design instruction toward specific learning goals

HLP 13: Adapt curriculum tasks and materials for specific learning goals.

HLP 14: Teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies to support learning and independence.

HLP 15: Provide scaffolded supports.

HLP 16: Use explicit instruction.

HLP 17: Use flexible grouping.

HLP 18: Use strategies to promote active student engagement.

HLP 19: Use assistive and instructional technologies

HLP 20: Provide intensive instruction.

HLP 21: Teach students to maintain and generalize new learning across time and settings.

HLP 22: Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide students’ learning and behavior.

I believe HLPs are the fundamentals of teaching.  They are high leverage: not only because they matter to student learning but because they are basic for advanced skill in teaching. With expectations for student performance increasing over the years, it seems only common sense that (HLPs) can be effective for ALL students.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Great Resources for High Leverage Practices

Other posts related to this topic:

ThreeRingsConnections.org September Posts

September posts can help kids learn at school & home

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

September posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of October, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

September Posts

September’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite September Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • Brain Breaks in Learning
  • US State Flags Trivia: Part II
  • Stories with Holes
  • Fifth Grade Standards for Learning
  • Learning Games and Websites & Apps
  • Academic Vocabulary Grades 1,2, and 5

RACE to Answer the Question

Using the R.A.C.E strategy to answer the question.

The RACE strategy can help mid to upper grade elementary students write  thorough and meaningful responses when answering questions about a text.  In other words, writing about what they comprehended about what they just read.  Often, kids will read to get it done but when you ask questions about it…. they do not recall what happened.

Including this skill in a lesson came up last week when I was brainstorming strategies with a student teacher. After considering numerous ideas we chose the RACE strategy to help students scaffold their written responses with evidence from the text. The RACE (Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain) strategy helps students to break their responses into 4 parts.

  • Restate the question – Ask students to restate the question in their own words.  Often by removing the “Ask” word (who, what, where etc.) the restated question becomes the topic sentence.
  • Answer the question -Just the answer PLEASE.  Sometimes there may even be more than 1 questions but details or opinions are not needed. 
  • Cite text evidence – Students need to find evidence in the text to support the answer.  Teaching kids sentence starters like the author states, or the text says reminds kids that they are looking for evidence.  Teach them to think like a detective!
  • Explain and Extend – Finally, they get to make the connections between what they answered, and the evidence found. Teaching kids to start their “E – Explain and Extend with a sentence starter such as “In conclusion” is a great way for students to conclude their paragraph. 

The RACE acronym helps students remember which steps and in which order to write a constructed response. The RACE strategy is easy to teach and easy for kids to remember.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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9 Strategies to Help Readers

Research has outlined 9 strategies that all good readers use to help comprehension.  The 9 habits are organized around strategies to help comprehension before, during, and after reading a selection.

Check out 9 habits to improve comprehension.

Before You Read:

Check it out! Students should check out a selection before reading to develop a “road map” for the selection.  Students should look at titles preview headings and subheadings, examine illustrations and graphics and identify the kind of writing (genre).

Think about what you know about the subject.  Think about what you already know so that you can use that information to make connections with what you read.

Decide what you need to know.  Having a purpose for reading provides a focus for comprehension and helps readers distinguish between important and less important information.

While You Read:

Stop and Ask, “how does it connect to what you know?” To comprehend, readers must connect what they read to what they know.

Stop and ask, “Does it make sense?” Good readers stop periodically and see if what they have read makes sense.

Stop and ask, “If it doesn’t make sense, what can I do?”  What separates good readers from those who struggle is the ability of good readers to try different strategies to fix their understanding when it breaks downs.  Readers can reread, use context clues, look at graphics or check out summaries for clarification to help understanding.

After You Read:

React to what you have read.  Good readers analyze what they have read and make connections between the text and their experiences.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

November Learning Activities

November learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out November  learning activities.

November 2020

3 Election Day (US) – Do a voting activity

9 The first giant panda was collected alive in China in 1927. – Look at the giant pandas through the live cam at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

11 Veterans Day (US) – Write a letter to a veteran to thank them for their service.

12 Elizabeth Cady Stanton born (woman’s rights advocate)1815 – Read a story about Stanton and talk about women voting

13 World Kindness Day – Write about an act of kindness or do an act of kindness.

15 America Recycles Day – Create an art piece out of recycled materials

18 Four standard time zones for the continental USA were introduced, 1883. -Research what they are and find them on a US map.

20 Universal Children’s Day – Draw a picture of what you think you will be doing in 2040

26 Thanksgiving (US) (4th Thursday in November) – Make some Thanksgiving placemats

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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SQ3R a Reading Strategy That Works

SQ3R strategy that is highly effective in the classroom and for homework

Recently, when coaching a student teacher, I shared the SQ3R strategy that is highly effective in the classroom and for homework.   The letters stand for a proven five-step process that makes study time more efficient and effective- Survey, Question, Read, Restate and Review.  Here is how this method works:

What is SQ3R?

Survey – Look over the material to see what it is about.  Check out the chapter heads.  Look at photos and graphs. Read the words in bold type.  This will give an idea of what is important.

Questions – Once your child knows the main idea, develop some questions that the assignment might answer.  Who is the main character?  What is the key idea?  Where does the story take place?

Read – Now read the assignment.  As your child reads, have her look for answers to the question she is already developed.

Review – Next, have your child tell you the story (or the important parts of the chapter) in her own words.   Ask her to tell you the most important ideas covered.

Review -Has your child found the answer to all his questions?  What else did she learn?  What surprised her?

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Riddles Are Fun for Young Kids

Riddles help kids practice reading comprehension

Riddles are a good way for kids to improve their reading comprehension. Kids quickly learn that they must pay attention to clues to figure out the answer. Check out the riddles below for “young riddle solvers”. Two good riddle solving strategies is to try to form a picture in your mind and ask yourself questions while connecting clues.

A very sour fruit,

And I start with L;

Add water and sugar,

And I taste just swell.

What am I? ____________

I can be very sharp,

And I start with P;

You can even erase,

What you wrote with me.

What am I? _____________

See me in the tree,

I do give a hoot;

I’m looking for mice,

My big eyes are cute.

What am I? ______________

My color means stop,

And I end in D;

And some fire engines,

Have been painted me.

What am I? _______________

I will be your friend,

And I start with D;

I will guard your house,

And I end with G.

What am I? ________________

The color of a juice

And I send with E;

A fruit that is quite sweet,

Is named for me.

What am I?  _______________

Feel like being an artist?  Why not draw a picture of the answer.  Have fun!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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NYS Museum: Online Resources

NYS Museum is now ONLINE. Visit and Learn

The NYS Museum has launched the Portal to Online Educational Resources & Activities that brings together many of the museum’s resources.  Check out the links to the popular virtual “filed trips,” digital collections, online resources, and many fun activities for kids.   The Portal provides opportunities for educators, caregivers, and students looking for engaging and educational activities to do at home.

The portal resources and activities will be updated often.  Also included on the site is NYS Learning Standards supporting online lessons and content-created publications.  Virtual activities are coming soon!  Check it Out!

NYS Museum Resources

  • 360 Degree Virtual Field Trips
  • Regents Room of the State Education Building
  • The Replica Liberty BellThe Rotunda Murals
  • Teacher Guides & Activities for Students
  • NYSM Women of Science Programming
  • Women’s Suffrage Resources
  • Fun Activities
  • NYSM Videos
  • The Rotunda at NYSED

Brain Breaks Help Everyone

Brain Breaks are effective in learning.

We all know that we sometimes need just a few minutes to take a short break to help us get focused.  Sometimes, it is for a cup of coffee, a cookie or to check our phones.  It helps us catch our breath and gives us another opportunity to start again. Did you know that your breaks are call Brain Breaks? 

Smart teachers know that kids need short breaks in learning.  Sometimes, called Brain Breaks, they are short, physical activities that are interspersed with periods of focused academic work.  Research shows that shorter blocks of instruction are more effective for many kids, with younger kids maxing out after about 10 minutes and older kids lasting up to a half-hour or more. Adding short breaks can help improve students’ attention, retention of information, creativity, and efficiency.  Adding some breaks can be fun, make them a definite MUST in every classroom.

6 Benefits of Brain Breaks

  1. Improves focus by lessening frustration and boredom
  2. Provides physical activity
  3. Adds some fun into learning
  4. Gives a sense of accomplishment by completing an assignment
  5. Helps use up extra energy
  6. Give kids (and adults) something to look forward to

Brain Breaks and Remote Learning

Now that many schools have started remote learning once again, there is even more reason to give kids some much needed breaks from computer screens.  Since kids are missing the physical activity of a classroom, Brain Breaks are must.  Think simple.  Try jumping jacks, stretches, yoga poses or jogging in place for a short quick break.  If you want to extend your break a few more minutes add a dance party, take a short walk, play a boardgame or do a household chore.

Although short breaks during classwork or homework are beneficial be sure to plan carefully. Be sure your breaks are not too much fun or too lengthy or you might have kids not want to get back to work!

The length of Brain Breaks and the topics depends on your child’s age and interest levels.  So, choose things that YOUR child wants to do as a Brain Break.  Create a list of ideas so that you or your child can choose their own Brain Break.  Do not be afraid to let your child add to the list (of course with parent approved)

Remote learning is creating many challenges for parents, teachers, and students.  Why not add some Brain Breaks into your schedule to make learning easier and less stressful? Teach your child that you too, need Brain Breaks.  Show them that being able to drink a HOT cup of coffee is what makes you happy.  Enjoy your Brain Break!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Lesson Fillers in the Classroom
  • Lesson Filler Activities

Learning Games for Kids

Education games can be great review activities for kids.

I am not a big fan of kids on the computer, so you can guess my thoughts on remote teaching this semester! However, we are all learning to adjust in these pandemic times. There are, however, some great review and reinforcement learning games that will keep kids engaged and having fun. Check out the games that I listed below. They are teacher-created, and Grandchildren approved.

5 Great Learning Games

PBS Kids Games

I have recommended this site in different posts, but it is worth the mention again.  Games are organized by subject area and have many popular literature characters included.  Who does not like Curious George or The Cat in the Hat?

Funbrain

Created for kids ages preschool through grade 8.  Interactive games that develop skills in reading, math, and literacy. 

Academic Skill Builders

Online educational video games in language arts, vocabulary, thinking skills and math. Repetitive, timed learning drills that give scores. 

Mr. Nussbaum

Greg Nussbaum, a teacher created the site with a wide variety of learning games that are organized by subject area and grade level.  Although it looks like there are no games for preschoolers, there are!  Filter to the lowest level.  I found some alphabet games that are appropriate for kids as young as 2!  Teachers it can be used on a tablet and is a great resource for interactive whiteboards.  

ABCYa.com

Educational games and activities for elementary students (lower grades) to learn language arts and math.   Teacher-created and recommended by New York Times.

National Geographic Kids

Over 100 fun, engaging and interactive science games and quizzes. 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Fillers in the Classroom

Lesson filler activities Part II for all ages

In the classroom, it is important to make every minute count.  In the remote teaching world, it is important to give the “teacher” a few minutes of downtime to catch her breath or a sip of coffee.  So, lesson fillers can be used to keep  kids engaged, learning, and having fun. 

Classroom Filler activities are dependent on the age and interest of the kids.  So, having a variety of activities ready to go is ideal.  Many of the activities can be adjusted to be repeated multiple times with a few small changes.

More Lesson Fillers

Pass the ______- Give the class a topic and ask each student to add to the answers without any repeats (Ex: Name a state, name a color). Give the answering child something to hold when the answer and then pass the item to the next child that answers.

Line Up – Ask students to line up by a characteristic (birthday, color shoes, # on house) 

Hot Seat – A student stands with their back to the whiteboard.  Another student writes a word on the board that was taught in class (you may want to give them a word list) and the first student tries to guess the word by asking questions with “yes” or “no” answers. Give a maximum amount of questions that can be asked.

How long is 1 minute? – Ask students to close their eyes and when they think 1 minute has gone by to raise their hand. This gives students practice in the dimension of time.  Vary times as students’ progress.  

Silly Story – Challenge students to take turns making up a story. Have them sit in a circle, and one by one add a sentence to the story. For example, the first student would say, “Once upon a time there was a little girl that went to school, then she…” Then the next student would continue the story. Encourage children to stay on task and use appropriate words. This activity is the perfect opportunity for students to develop and use their imagination and creativity. This can also be turned into a longer project in which students collaborate on a digital project.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Lesson Filler Activities

October Learning Activities


October learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out October learning activities.

October 2020

5 World Teachers Day – Write a description on what you would do if you were a teacher.

12 Columbus Day (US) (2nd Monday in October) – Read a story about Columbus and/or draw a picture of his 3 ships.

15 National Grouch Day – Draw a picture of a grouchy animal or person.

16 World Food Day – Draw and write about your favorite food.

20 National Fruit Day – Describe your favorite food.  

26 International School Library Day (4th Monday in October) – Create a book jacket of a book you have read recently.  Be sure to include 5 facts about the book.

27 Make a Difference Day – What can you do in your house to help someone that would make a difference?

28 State of Liberty dedicated, 1886 – Find a picture of the Statue of Liberty and try to draw it yourself.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Best ELA Apps & Websites


Best ELA Apps & Websites

High School students need to develop analytical skills in all subject areas. In the ELA classroom students need to learn to be independent thinkers, encourage appreciation for literature and express their opinions through writing and discussion. Finding resources to get your secondary students excited about English is important.  But, when it also makes your life easier, it is a goldmine!

6 Best ELA apps and websites

  1. New York Times – NYT and Verizon have teamed up to offer every high school student in the U.S. free access to the New York Times. Students can educate themselves to better understand the pandemic and other events going on in the world. Resources are up to date and available in all subject areas.
  2. Newsela – Newsela is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Users can choose a free account (which just features news and current events) or paid subscriptions that include daily news story updates and subject-specific products for ELA, social studies, science, and SEL.
  3. CommonLit – CommonLit is a free digital library of leveled texts: news articles, poems, short stories, and historical documents. Articles can be filtered by collections by grade level, Lexile level, theme, genre, literary device, even Common Core State Standards. There are over 2,000 high-quality free reading passages for grades 3-12 that also include aligned assessments.  
  4. Teaching Tolerance – Teaching Tolerance is “a place where educators who care about diversity, equity and justice can find news, suggestions, conversation and support.” This is a great resource to include social awareness. 
  5. Purdue OWL – Great site for clarification in grammar, style, or proper citations to develop good writers. Includes printable and online practice.  It was my “go to” site for my dissertation. 
  6. UNC Writing Center – Handouts and videos for many writing issues. Extensive resources that are easy to use and ready to start today.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Filler Activities

Lesson filler activities can be FUN!

Lesson filler activities are great learning opportunities whether a lesson finishes early or our students just need a Brain Break.  Finding ones that engage students that require little little or no preparation is great.  But finding ones that are FUN…. even better!  Check out these ideas:

10 Lesson Filler Activities

Mystery BoxHave a shoebox ready with some items that can be put in for students to guess what is inside.  Limit the number of questions that students can ask and be sure that the questions can only be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Encourage them to use all their senses. Once they figure out what the item is, open the box and let them see it.

Sticky NotesCreate sticky note “pairs” by writing pairs of words (opposites, compound words, vocabulary word and meaning, math problems) on post its. Distribute a post-it to each child and have students find their “match”.  An alternative activity is to distribute the post-its around the room and have one student match all the pairs.  Add a timer to add to the challenge.  

Current Events – Read a headline aloud and ask the child what they think the story was about.  Adaptations is reading the headline independently and/or working with a partner to discuss the story possibilities.

Sign Language – Kids love learning sign language.  Show kids some basic signs and have them practice with each other.  Need link

Follow the Directions – Create a list of 3-5 step directions.  Read a set of directions aloud and then ask children to do the activities in order.  Ex. Stand up, say Happy Birthday, touch your head, turn around, sit down.  Be sure that you write the directions down because they are easy to forget! 

I have a Number – Prepare a setof cards from 1 to 50 with math problems and 50 different answers.  Examples:   I have a 5, who has this number plus 10.  The child with 15 says, I have 15.  Who has my number minus 12?  I have 3.  Who has my number plus 25?  I have 28.  Who has my number minus 2?  I have 26.  Who has my number plus 20? 

The Price is RightHave them play the popular game show by guessing how much an item costs.  Show them a flyer with items and cover the cost. For younger students you may have to give them a range that it could cost until they understand prices.

What’s My Number?  Write a number on a piece of paper and tell students you are thinking of a number between ____ and _______.  For younger students, using a number line to add their guesses will help them understand greater than and less than.

Give me FiveChallenge students to name five things that are alike.  Choose a student to answer and if they get the 5 items, they can call on the next person to try another challenge.  For students playing alone, set a timer to see how fast they can do it.

__Things Found on a ____Name a place that students are familiar and ask them to name things they would find there.  Ex:  Things on a boat, on a farm, at the zoo, in the kitchen etc.

Next Month: 10 more lesson filler activities

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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First Grade Reading Overview

First Grade Reading

First grade reading and writing curricula looks different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas that can be used to support learning.

Building reading skills is an essential part of a first grader’s learning process and academic success down the road. Even when students are not specifically learning “reading,” they are constantly using this skill to learn other subjects—which is why it is crucial for your child’s success in all subjects. As first graders develop their reading comprehension, they will talk more about certain topics and gain a deeper understanding of what they read. 

14 Skills for First Grade Reading

  1. Knows the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
  2. Compares different characters, events, or texts.
  3. Discusses books with an understanding of plot, characters, and important ideas.
  4. Identifies sentence features (i.e. punctuation, capitalization).
  5. Recognizes the spelling and sound of two letters that represent one sound, such as thchwh (these are also known as digraphs).
  6. Can read sight words in isolation and in text.
  7. Reads regularly spelled one-syllable words.
  8. Understands how an “e” at the end of a word changes a vowel within the word.
  9. Talks about and answers questions about the text they read.
  10. Reads texts aloud at an appropriate speed and with expression. This is called fluency.
  11. Breaks up longer words into syllables to read them.
  12. Grade-level words with “irregular” spellings are included in their reading vocabulary.
  13. Understands the purpose of and uses common features in a book, such as headings, tables of contents, and glossaries.
  14. Begins to read grade-appropriate poetry and identifies words and phrases that relate to emotions and the senses.

First Grade Reading Activities

Poetry Recitals: Read small and simple poems together and talk about the feelings they convey. Allow, your first grader to try writing their own poems about people, places, or things. Allow their creativity to shine.

Put on a Show: Encouraging your child to read a favorite story or poem using different voices for characters is both beneficial and fun. Do not be surprised that you might have some “actors in your classroom.”

Create A Personal Dictionary: Keep track of your child’s new words in their own notebook.  They can write the word, add an illustration and the meaning.  They can also add a sentence using the word.  Each of these additions can be added to the dictionary at different times.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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First Grade Learning Standards

First Grade Learning Standards

This resource consolidates all New York State first grade learning standards into one document (2019). It was intended to be used as a reference tool by teachers, specialists, and administrators responsible for designing programs for second grade students. However, during the current COVID-19 crisis, it is helpful for homeschooling families and parents supporting remote learning.

The Learning Standards are end of year expectations rather than a curriculum, assessment, or a set of teaching strategies. The resource provides a uniform format for learning standards in all content areas to make it easier for users to read and understand. Users that are looking for a higher level of detail can find it at New York State Education Department’s website. The site provides additional background information and shows learning progressions across grades.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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First Grade Writing Overview

First Grade Writing

Reading and writing curricula look different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas in first grade writing that can be used to support learning.

Once first graders master writing their letter and some basic words; it is time to watch the writing begin! First grade writers write longer pieces and try out new spelling words in a variety of subjects. This Septembers, remote learning settings will give first graders more opportunities to use technology rather than handwriting. This may help develop great writers who would otherwise be hesitant to write because of the extra work involved in handwriting. In first grade, students will be using their writing skills in all subject areas.

First Grade Writing Skills

  1. Writes with structure, including an introductory sentence, supporting or accurate details, and some sense of closure.
  2. Writes a variety of texts including, narratives, informational pieces, how to’s and opinion pieces.
  3. Contributes to a group writing with teacher help. 

First Grade Writing Activities

Write, Write, Write:  Find opportunities to allow your child to write.  Using their skills to label items, write directions, or draw a picture and write a sentence to explain their drawing are all great ways to practice writing.   Encourage them to read their writing to family and friends.  Practice, practice, practice.

Answer a Question: It is time to put your child to work to find the answers to their questions.  When a question comes up, encourage them to research the answer using a book or the computer.  They can share their answers verbally, draw a poster, or write a story.

Make Books:  Fold and cut 8.5 X 11 pages into halves and staple the pages together. Staple the left side of pages (3 staples: top, middle bottom) so that the pages can turn like a standard book.  4 full pages makes a book with a cover and back page and 14 pages to use for writing and/or illustrations. Add or delete pages as your child needs.  

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Grade 2 Writing Overview

Grade 2 Writing

Reading and writing curricula look different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas that can be used to support learning.

Second Grade Writers

Second graders write texts that are longer and include details which helps to refine their writing. They often use technology to publish their writing. Like reading, writing occurs throughout the day as students use it for a variety of subjects. 

4 Ways to Build Grade 2 Writing Skills

  1. Writes a variety of types of texts including:
    • Informative/Explanatory Pieces: Students introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a conclusion.
    • Opinion Pieces: Students state their opinions and provide reasons to support them, closing with a conclusion.
    • Narrative Pieces: Students write about an event, describing actions, thoughts, and feelings, and provide a conclusion.
  2. Research topics for individual writings or shared writing projects.
  3. Encourage revisions and edits to improve writing.
  4. Uses digital tools, with adult support, to publish writing.

Second Grade Writing Activities

Keep a Journal: Ask your child to write about their daily events.  Something special that happened, hopes, dreams, activities; anything that gets them writing.  Allow them to illustrate their entries. It sometimes reminds them of more details. On days where writing is difficult, they might try expanding one of their previous entries.

Give Your Opinion: Allow your child to express their opinions. Discuss with your child a topic and ask them their thoughts.  Explore their reasoning behind their thoughts and ask them to write their opinion.

Provide an Audience:  Who does not like to have an audience?  Ask your child to read their opinion piece out loud to an audience and take questions.  Of course, family members are perfect for being a “friendly audience. ”

 Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Grade 2 Reading Overview

Second grade reading and writing curricula looks different in different states, countries, and classrooms.  However, there are some basic expectations and ideas that can be used to support learning.

Grade 2 Reading

Second Grade Readers  

Second graders continue to develop their literacy skills as they learn more complex words and longer passages in different genres. Students can expand their reading comprehension skills by talking about what they read.  This helps them develop more advanced ideas around those topics. Kids get lots of reading opportunities throughout the school day by practicing their reading skills when learning other subjects.

11 Ways to Build Second Grade Reading Skills

  1. Self-corrects mistakes and re-reads when necessary
  2. Reads more complex words, such as two-syllable words.
  3. Begins to make connections within and between texts.
  4. Reads words with common prefixes and suffixes, for example: pre-re-un-, –able, –ad, and –er.
  5. Reads grade-appropriate, irregularly spelled words (consult your child’s teacher for a specific list of these words).
  6. Reads a variety of texts including fables, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
  7. Understands the structure of a story, specifically the purpose of beginnings (introducing the text) and endings (concluding the text).
  8. Understands the most important details of a text—its main purpose and the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.” (see activity below)
  9. Talks about characters’ responses, main events, lessons learned, and important ideas or concepts.
  10. Compares at least two different versions of the same story, such as two versions of a classic fairy tale.
  11. Reads at grade level with correct accuracy, pace, expression, and comprehension.

3 Grade 2 Reading Activities

Give Attention to Prefixes and Suffixes: When your child uses a word with a prefix or suffix, occasionally stop to talk about it. Break down the word and say what the prefix or suffix and root word mean when they are put together, and brainstorm other words that have the same suffix or prefix. 

Make a “W” Chart: While you and your child read books together, make a “W” chart. Fill out the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” of the book as your child discovers them.

Make Up Your Own Version of a Story: After your child reads a story, encourage new versions that your child may think make the story different. Perhaps they want to change the character, the setting or even the ending.  They may even want to use themselves or a family member be the main character. This activity helps them understand story structure and make comparisons.

 Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic: