Monday, September 30, 2013

Math-y Monday & Freebie!

Today's math intervention game is:  Fill 20

Materials: Game Board (click the picture to download a game board), number cube, counters

If your students are working on counting to 20, follow these directions:
1. Get a game board and bag of counters for you and a partner
2. Student 1 rolls the number cube and puts that many counters on the game board.
3. Student 1 tells partner how many counters are on the game board altogether.
4. Partners take turns
5. Players tell partners how many counters are on your game board after each time new counters are added.
6. The first player to fill a game board wins.

If your students are working on adding two groups of numbers that will have a sum less than 20, follow these directions:
1. Get a game board, bag of counters, and a cover (this could be a piece of cloth)
2. On the first turn, player 1 rolls the number cube and puts that many counters on the game board.
Player 1 tells the partner how many counters are on the game board and then cover the board.
3. Student 2 does the same.
4. On the next turn, player 1 rolls the number cube and makes a prediction on how many counters
will be on the board altogether when the rolled number of counters is added.
5. Take the cover off game board, put the counters on, and check the prediction.
6. Student 2 takes a turn
7. The first player to fill a game board wins!

If your student is working on subtracting within 20, then follow these directions:
*For this one you will need a number cube numbered (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2)
1. Get a game board and bag of counters for each player
2. Fill the game board with 20 counters.
3. Player 1 rolls the number cube.
4. Player 1 tells the  partner how many counters will be on the board after player 1 either adds or
subtracts the number rolled.
5. Add or remove the amount of counters from the roll and see if the answer is correct.
6. Player 2 takes a turn.
7. The first player to empty a game board wins!

This is a picture of Fill 20 in action!

These recording sheets are the way I track student progress (with anecdotal notes).  We do activities for structuring (making 5 or 10), addition and subtractions, numeral identification, and forward and backward number word sequence each week.  I take formative assessment notes on each activity and corresponding day, so I remember how certain students do on certain days.  This helps me to know if I need to keep with a certain activity, go back in the progression of skills, or if my students are ready to move on.  This has been extremely helpful for me this year!

Remember to link up your fun math activities!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Linky=Math-y Monday

I am a math convert.  I used to hate math, I mean really hate math.  I was never good at math and when I was in school I always dreaded math.  I had a hard time understanding the concepts and would be totally confused if someone understood math in a different way and tried to show me in any other way other than the way my teacher had shown me.  Then two years ago now, it happened, I found a love for math.  I participated in a yearlong math professional development and it lead to a whole new understanding to math for me.  I could finally see how to do those different techniques teachers would try to teach me and I could finally understand all of the ways to teach math.  I became certified in a program call Add + Vantage Math-Math Recovery through the Kentucky Center for Mathematics.  The whole time I was learning a new way to learn and teach math, I always thought, "Why didn't someone teach me to teach math this way when I was in college?"  In a new blog series, Math-y Mondays, I will be sharing with you some of the intervention techniques and activities that I have learned and implemented with success to my math resource students.
Without further ado, I introduce to you:

My intervention/game for this week is all about forward and backward number sequence.
*PS-You will see a theme develop with my posts.  The strands that are introduced and taught in AVMR are Forward and Backward Number word sequence, Numeral Identification, Addition and Subtraction, and Structuring.*

Math Scrabble
Materials:  100 board/chart
number tiles (1-100)

Place up to 10 tiles on the hundreds board
Put remaining tiles in a container (I used a drawstring bag that students couldn't see through)

How to play:

  1. Each student draws 7 tiles from container
  2. Direct the students by saying, "You are looking for the (number before or number after--you decide beforehand what you need to work on) and placing the number tile on the board (in front of or after) the number tiles that are already on place on the board.  You're goal is to place all of your tiles before the other players."
  3. Students take turns placing number tiles in appropriate places on the hundreds board.
  4. When a student places a tile in the correct position, have the student count back or count up to the next tile on the board.  For example, when I play this game with my students we are working on backward number sequence.  If the number tile on the board is 53 and the student lays down 52, then they are correct and they count back from 52 down to 45 (if that is the next tile up on the board).  Depending on your students you can cover the board with a cloth to cover the numbers so they have to count back without support from the manipulatives.
  5. When a student does not have a tile that will work, the student draws a new tile and play is passed on to the next person.
  6. Continue following directions from step 3 on.
  7. Play ceases when a player runs out of tiles or the board is full. 
My students loved this game and ask to play it everyday!  That is success right there!!  Fourth and fifth grader love something = awesome!! :)  You could adapt this for younger grades that are not fluent to 100, by using only numbers to 30.  

Enjoy!  Link up below and share your favorite math games!!  I hope you join in on some new weekly fun!

Here are the ground rules:
1.  Grab my Math-y Monday button and add it to your math game post
2.  Link up your math game post
2.  Make a new friend!  Check out the link before and after yours and leave a friendly comment :)
3.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this new linky! :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Look Inside: Resource Reading-Organization

This is the last post in this series.  Sad day! :(  I've really enjoyed actually posting 5 days in a row!  This is something that usually does not happen during the school year!  I'm trying to do better, friends! :)

Finally, we have made it to organization.  After all of the lessons are planned, interventions are put in place and schedules are created and followed the next important piece of this reading resource puzzle is monitoring and organization.

Here is what I monitor weekly for each student in each area:
Fluency: A fluency chart is used so the students can see their progress.  The beginning of the week WPM is graphed on Monday and then on Friday the student graphs the WPM for that day.

Comprehension: I take a score on the comprehension quiz provided with the guided reading lesson on Reading A-Z.  If I didn't use one of these lessons for the week I would create 10 comprehension questions based on what we are reading at the time.

Basic Skills/Accuracy:  I take a score/percentage on the sight word from week.  I also take a score on the sound/sounds they are working on for the week.  For example, if they are working on long e sound I would give them several words with the long e sound in them and see if they can sound out the words.

All of this information is then put in one of two places.
1.  I record the percentages in a data graph.
2.  The work samples are kept in hanging file folder box.

Lastly, I keep a reading binder on my entire reading resource group.  It includes:
1.  A literacy assessment profile
2.  Student group planning page (based on IEP goals)
3.  Guided reading planning pages
4.  Reading conference log

I have complied these resources and many other ideas into a handy Guided Reading for the Resource Classroom guide for you that is available on TPT.

This guide is chock full of resource to help assess, guide, plan, and instruct students that receive reading services in the resource classroom or reading intervention.

Literacy Assessment Profile
Reading Interest Inventory

Guided Reading planning page
Student Reading Group Planning (Based on IEP goal)
Example group planning page
Reading Conference Log

Word Work ideas
Intervention How-To ideas
Time Delay Data
Time Delay Data Example
Cue Cards for word attack skills
Comprehension Graphic Organizers
Check for Understanding
Main Idea
Visualizing Map
KWL Chart
Story Map

For the Kids:
Reading Log
Vocabulary Catcher

I hope you have found this series of blog post helpful and I also hope that you check out my guided reading resource.
Check out the whole series of posts:

I'm linking up these Guided Reading series of blog posts with The Teacher's Cauldron!  Stop by her blog to see some other great guided reading tools and ideas!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Look Inside: Resource Reading-Management

Planning is complete!  Right?  Well, not-so-much!  Now that instruction is planned the next step is to set up and manage the instruction and instructional activities.  I think the best way for me to explain to you what my classroom looks like is to go through my schedule with you.

I have a resource reading group for grades 3, 4, and 5 for one hour.  It began with me having the kids for 40 minutes for reading and then at a later time having most of them back for 20 minutes for writing.  Then one day I had an epiphany!  If I combined both of these times it would be liking killing two birds with one stone!  I could service the students for reading and writing in one larger block of time and tie together reading and writing with my guided lessons and form literacy groups.

Perfect!  So, with little tweaking of the schedule I now have 9 kids for one hour for reading and writing.  While it is true that some of these friends do not have writing goals, they could still use the extra support in writing.  I make a point that my students with writing goals that when I meet with those students during teacher time that we address writing specific goals and they finish the writing center work for my monitoring purposes.

My schedule goes like this:

15 minutes-Whole group guided reading lesson
     (during this time the students are actively engaged with me and we are working on the reading strategy for the week and comprehension strategies)

15 minutes-Students go to their first rotation
Some will go to word work or the writing center, some will buddy read, and the others will go to the listening center.  All of this goes on while I pull one on one (or sometimes groups of 2 or 3) for direct instruction/intervention in their greatest area of need.  I work with them on fluency, basic reading strategies, Corrective Reading, or sight word recognition.

15 minutes-Students go to 2nd rotation
Again students do one of the three groups as stated above or they are coming to me.

10-15 minutes-Students will go to final rotation
This rotation often includes silent reading or read to self time.  By this rotation, students have finished the work that needs to be completed in the centers.  I may still be meeting with a few students to finish up one on one time.

The last 5 minutes is a wrap up time.  Students have a time to tell me what they have learned during that day and how they are doing on the target for the day/week.

Side Notes:  If a student finishes in a rotation before time is up, then the student may silent read, practice sight words silently, or reread their fluency passage for the week.
The student know which rotation they are going to do daily because it is programmed on their individual visual schedules that I posted about yesterday.

Each day my students are required to do fluency practice and work with teacher time.  The teacher time though is not necessarily a rotation, but instead happens as I call them over.
I am really enjoying the literacy stations so far.  This is giving my students some independence and making them responsible for their learning.  The students are engaged and doing work they enjoy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Look Inside: Resource Reading-Interventions

Day 3: Intervention

Assessments are complete, lesson planning for the overall reading strategy and the story of the week has been chosen, but planning is not over yet.  Like I said yesterday, the most important part of resource reading is meeting individual needs and monitoring those IEP goals.  

Meeting individual goals of 8-10 kids at a time is not an easy task.  Everyone of the students needs me just as much as the next kid and they are all struggling with some part of reading.  Here is where interventions and having a very structured schedule come into play.  I'll begin with the interventions:

1.  Reading Fluency:
On Monday of each week my students "cold" read (this means they have never seen or read the passage before Monday) a passage.  The students are timed for one minute and we record their words per minute on their fluency graph.  Each day each student has the opportunity to listen to weekly passage being read aloud to them, timing their reading with a buddy, recording themselves reading into the iPad, and rereading and rereading this passage.  I read the passage daily with them as well, to make sure they can read all of the words and to work on accuracy strategies.  On Friday, each student does a one minute "hot" read of the passage and the words per minute are recorded on the graph next to the "cold" read words per minute.
The students also have a chance to choose books of their own interest to read during a read to self time/silent reading time.  The students keep the same books all week and reread the books to gain familiarity and become more fluent readers.  I do use the Daily 5 strategies in my classroom, but I do not always stick exactly to the plan.  I have modified it to make it work for my resource classroom.  

2.  Accuracy/Basic Reading:
After completing the FRY Informal Assessments, I give my students the words from the sight word list that they did not know.  They have 10 words a week.  The students come to me once a day and practice their sight words by using the time delay strategy.  Students also work on these words during Word Work time.  They become fluent with the pronunciation and spelling of the words during this time while working kinesthetically on the words to learn them.

I also do reading conferences during teacher time.  I read one on one with each student (at least weekly from a book of my choosing or their choosing).  During this time we work on reading strategies such as chunking the sounds in words to sound out a word, employing phonetic principles, and other strategies for learning to read words.

With some of my students I use SRA Corrective Reading.  This program helps the students relearn the phonics that they may have missed or didn't understand the first time around.  The program is very structured.  I do not use it with everyone, as they do not all need the intensiveness of this program.  I do use the program daily with the students that need it.

3.  Comprehension:
Our main comprehension lessons come from the weekly book and guided reading lesson.  We work on one comprehension strategy weekly.  I use an assortment of graphic organizers with the students to help them gain better understanding of the text they read.

These are the main interventions that I use weekly.  Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but it does give a general idea of what I use.  Something you may be thinking now is, "How does she get this all in in one hour?"

My answer...literacy groups!
Just like in Daily 5 the students are going to cycle through stations.  We may not get to 5 stations daily, but throughout the week the students will do all stations.

Daily each student does:
Whole group comprehension lesson
Teacher Time
Fluency (Listening to Reading or Buddy Read)

Weekly students do:
Word Work
Writing Work
Additional reteach of the comprehension lesson (I determine this if the students are not "testing" correctly on their comprehension exit slip)
iPad or other technology related center

Let me break it down to ya about what each station is about:
The whole group comprehension lesson is a guided reading lesson.  The topic for the lesson comes from the general education curriculum.  After each lesson students turn in an exit slip so that I can keep track of whether or not they are understanding the concept.

Teacher Time is the time that I meet with students individually or possibly in groups of two or three.  The students work on Corrective Reading (if needed), sight word practice, reading conferences, and reading their fluency passage.

Fluency stations include listen to reading.  The students may choose to listen to a recorded version of their passage or read with a buddy.  The buddy times the student that is reading and each time they read the student reading is trying to beat his best time.  

My word work comes from my guided reading lesson plus the sight words that my students are working on.  Sometimes I have students that test through their grade level sight word list.  If this happens we sometimes go to the next list, plus we add on words that they have made errors on during our reading conference time.  

Writing work also coincides with the guided reading lesson.  

I love incorporating technology anyway that I can, so iPad or technology is a center that we use very often.  The students all have Lexia Reading accounts and as a group we go to the computer lab to work on their program.  Lexia is a paid computer program that individualizes learning for each student.  It is a great resource to have!

I have created a Literacy Groups for the Resource Room pack that is available through TpT.  In this pack are visuals for each center, customizable schedules, and directions for each center.
Here are a few pictures of it at work in my classroom:

Read to Self and Buddy Reading
Both of these are in the same area, because students can choose where they sit for both activities.  I needed a space to put the posters so they could refer to the expectations and use the visual schedule cards.  This is right next to my library, so student are able to pick books if they need to do so.

Work with Teacher

Work on Writing Center

Sorry, I tried every which way, but I could not get this picture to stay turned!  :)  Anyway...these are the customizable visual schedules.  The students are given a schedule daily and match their visual cue with the large visual posters seen above.  As the student visits each center, he/she removes that visual and places it on the poster size visual to show that have been there that day.

If you would like a copy of the Literacy Groups Visuals, please visit my TPT store!

Enjoy! :)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Look Inside: Resource Reading-Assessment

Day 2:  Assessment 

Now that planning for the Common Core is out of the way, it's time to get down to what really matters to me the most in the resource classroom...meeting individual needs!  I begin my looking at each student's IEP and seeing what strengths and weaknesses each student has, particularly in the area of reading in this instance.  As mentioned in the previous post, my students that I work with for resource reading have difficulty in one or all three areas of reading, comprehension, accuracy (basic reading), and fluency.

After I determine which area the student is having difficulty in and what goals and benchmarks that I will need to monitor, I begin doing reading assessments.   I typically do assessments within the first week of school, so that I begin groups right away.  

Here is a list of assessments that I use to measure each area of reading (and this gives me great baseline data):
In no way have been paid to endorse, sponsor, or review these products.  I am just giving you the facts and letting you know what I personally like to use for assessing my students.

We give the MAP test from NWEA as our school-wide reading screener.  This test gives me an accurate depiction of the student in all areas of reading.  I use these scores and the data that comes from this test to determine groupings and to easily sees areas of weakness and strength.

Comprehension & Basic Reading Skills:
Dr. Fry's Informal Reading Assessment is my go-to book for assessment for reading skills!
This book has a silent reading test that measures comprehension.  Sometimes I read the test to the students that have greater difficulty with basic reading skills, but I do not prompt, cue or eliminate any answers.  Students must answer the questions on their own.  
The book also includes sight word assessment and benchmark passages to help determine instructional and frustration levels of reading.

I use SRA Corrective Reading with my students that are lacking in basic reading skills and accuracy of calling words.  This program is expensive, but I have seen the success of it with my own eyes! This program comes with its own assessment.  It assesses what the student knows and direct your instruction by placing the student in the correct level of book.  In the beginning it mainly focuses on basic reading skills and phonemic awareness, but eventually moves on to comprehension.

I love Jen Jones and her blog and plethora of resources that she makes available.  For fluency this year I have downloaded her RTI: 60 Fluency Passages for Progress Monitoring Reading Skills and Interventions.  

I have used the passages from this document to assess baseline fluency targets.  I use the information from this assessment and find other fluency passages for the students to work on weekly.  My students may need to spend more time in grade level 1 passages than what is available in this resource, so I look for those extra passages at Reading A-Z.  You all know how much I love this website!!

After I have collected all my data, I set up monitoring sheets and for each area of need and then begin the fun work of...teaching!! :)

Until tomorrow...

PS-Click on the pictures for the links to each resource

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Look Inside: Resource Reading (Part 1-Planning Instruction)

One of my most popular posts is Lesson Planning (Sped Style) & Reading.  I guess there are a lot of special educators out there looking for ways to teach in the resource classroom.  Whether, it is that or just a super interesting post, I felt like it needed to be updated.  Since moving to my new school I have changed up some of the ways that I manage my resource reading group as well as the way I teach.  

I am going to give you a sneak peek into the way I plan and teach my resource reading class. This will be broken down into a series of posts. Today I bring you:

Part 1:  How in the world do I know what to teach?

This takes a lot of planning and organizing for me to decide what to teach and when to teach it.  Common Core Standards, IEPs goals, and staying caught up with what the regular education classes are doing makes teaching resource reading...well, complicated!  I teach special education to three grade levels (3rd, 4th, and 5th) and I have all of these grade levels at one time for resource.  I have always tried to keep up with what the teaches are teaching in the general classroom, but with 3 grade levels that becomes extremely tricky and difficult to manage. This year I am using the plans from our third grade reading teacher and teaching the same big idea (character traits, summarization, prior knowledge, etc) and teaching that concept in my resource class. I know that if I stay with what one grade level teaches that I will hit the content for all of the grade levels for reading. I do this because the students must be exposed to grade level content, yet they are at least 1-2 years below grade level and have to have extra support and research based intervention. I keep my kids for an hour for resource so they will typically miss their general education reading class or most of it, anyway. 

So, with the Common Core component out of the way, I must then look at the individual needs of my students. Each student I have for resource reading has one of three types of reading goals: basic reading, reading fluency, or comprehension, or some combination of the three. I use these goals to plan the groups and interventions I will use (more on that to come).  

Now that I know what aspects of common core I need to teach and what areas of weakness my students have I can take a look at gathering resources to teach the weekly unit. 

Let's take a look at what I use to teach the weekly unit. 

First of all, as mentioned earlier,  I use the general education teacher's lesson plan to decide which strategy for reading I need to teach and check out her resources. Sometimes I will use what she uses to help reinforce what they are doing in class, but other times the resources they use may be too difficult and I will need to modify the lesson delivery and the resources I use. 
Most of the time the general education class is reading a certain story from the basal or they are doing a novel study. I use that story or book during my listen to reading time, so the students are exposed to the story and will be able to take the weekly comprehension check in the classroom.  *side note-if I were only doing one grade level, I would use the same story the regular ed teacher is using, but since I do several grade levels at one time I use a book or story that will meet all of their needs and that we can all read and comprehend together. 

So where do I find my books and resources?  Most weeks, I use Reading A-Z to get my literature for the week. (This is a paid site, but most definitely worth the money)!  On Reading A-Z, you will find books based on guided reading levels, but are also leveled by grade level, Lexile levels, and Fountas & Pinnell.  This site makes my planning so easy by providing guided reading lesson plans, vocabulary, weekly comprehension focus, word work and writing suggestions, and comprehension quizzes. This is perfect for busy teachers. I do not want to recreate the wheel if I don't have to!  

A sample lesson plan for this week looks something like this:
Lesson focus: Character Traits
Book:  Harold the Dummy
Vocabulary: (list of vocabulary words for this book). These are posted at the front of the room, used in activities for word work, and put on the word wall at the end of the week. 
Reading Strategy:  Asking and answering questions 
Writing: During my reading resource I also work on writing. I combined the two times this year for easier schedule flow and ease of teaching the two literacy components at the same time. 

  1. Have students use the last page of the book to write why they would or would not like to have ermaline as a friend.  (This is one of the extension activities listed for the book).   

Technology:  This will be touched upon when I post about literacy groups...hang on for that!
Word Work:  Use recommended suffix lessons for this book

I also use many, many Teacher Pay Teacher products to help supplement curriculum. Thank goodness for TPT and the wonderful teachers and authors that have such incredible ideas that they are willing to share!
This week I am using this awesome pack for teaching Character Traits 

As, you can see a lot of time and planning comes in teaching the main lesson for the week, but special education is so much more than just adapting the regular curriculum.  Tomorrow I will share with you about assessing and choosing and using interventions.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up?

The first month of school is officially over!  The beginning of every new school year is so tough when you are trying to organize, learn new kids, and get all of the special ed paperwork under control.  I have made it though!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my new job?!  I have to say that I have worked at great schools and have had even more wonderful colleagues, but where I am right now couldn't be better.  The teachers, administration, parents and even the building itself makes the school I'm at so inviting, friendly and a joy to be at everyday.  This has definitely made the first month of school much easier!!

So...what have I been up to lately?  Mostly, I've been trying to get to know everyone (kids, other teachers, parents) and have been trying to find my groove.  I have already changed my schedule three times.  I think I have finally found the best fit (for now)!  My schedule is a mixture of resource and co-teaching in regular education classroom.  I honestly love both settings.  I love working right alongside other highly qualified educators and make the curriculum understandable and accessible to all students.  I also love teaching in the resource setting, because this is the place that I can really break down the information and meet my kids needs right where they are learning.  I teach resource for reading, writing, math, and social skills.  I co-teach in 3, 4, 5 grade math classes.

Right now I am working on putting together a special ed resource reading and math binder.  I have used binders in the past and do guided reading groups and math groups in resource.  However, I have not found the perfect guided reading or math group organization that works for me.  I am working on compiling some of my favorite resources and forms and combining them into my new resource group organization systems.  I hope to be sharing these with you very soon.  Reading is coming together nicely.  I'm also working on several blog posts about how I do resource, because several people have asked what I do to meet all of those different reading goals for student.

Well, friends...this is what I'm up to, in a nut shell!  I really hope to get back at blogging regularly!  I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel most days and am not overwhelmed by the first month of school anymore!

How are you holding up?  Is the first month of school the hardest for you?  How do you make it through the first month alive?


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Order of Operations BINGO

This week in fifth grade we have been working on Order of Operations in math and next week we will be reviewing for the chapter test.  In past years we have played an Order of Operation BINGO that the kids have loved.  I love it, the kids love it and I want you to love it!  Click the picture below to head over to my TPT store to download.

The students will fill in their BINGO game board and you will call out the mathematical expressions for the students to solve.  Students will cover their answers on the game board.  So fun!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Co-Teaching Brochure *FREEBIE*

Recently my principal asked me to fashion a pamphlet/handout to give teachers in my building that is all about co-teaching.  Thankfully, I already had something partially made and I only need to add small details and "pretty it up" a bit.  I handed it out at school today and so I thought I would pass it along to all of you as well!

This brochure has a front and back.  I printed them in color and on front and back and then folded each sheet like a brochure.   Click the picture above to be directed to my TPT store so you can download for FREE!

If you download, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!


I'm linking up with the Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently!

September is here!  Time for a new Currently with Farley!

Listening:  My kids are playing quietly and getting along!  Miracles do happen! :)

Loving:  I spent my Labor Day doing a little shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  My one main goal was to get a new Tervis mug...and I did!  I'm pretty pumped!

Thinking:  I love 3 day weekends, but they do make me want to be home longer.  I know we've only been in school a few weeks, but a Monday off always makes me happy.   I really love my new school, though, so I am anxious to get back at it tomorrow!

Wanting:  Well, of course like most teachers, one more day off would make me so happy.  I had plans to get so much accomplished this weekend and I really didn't.  I did catch up on laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, blogged, and worked on a new schedule.  When I write it out it seems like I really did get things done.  That's good, but with just one more day think of everything else I could do!!

Needing:  I would love to hire someone to do all of the meaningless tasks that I don't like to laundry and cleaning bathrooms :)