Here’s a little re-cap of my week:
My 4th grade group has been working with a program called Read Naturally to help improve their fluency and comprehension. I’ve gone to the ends of the earth and back to try to organize and implement this program so that every student is being challenged at their level and meeting with success (this has made up many of my late nights at school - I’ll tell you more about this in a later post). We’ve been working with this program for a couple weeks now and I’m seeing some great improvement in my students’ accuracy and rate. However, I’m noticing that quite a few of my students are too heavily focused on trying to increase their words read per minute and completely forget how they sound when they read. So, this week, I decided to take a break from Read Naturally and take things on a different route. We were going to be doing Reader’s Theatre!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Reader’s Theatre, you find a script that is at your students’ independent reading level, read through it and discuss it as a class, assign parts, practice, and perform. The main focus is on reading with expression (or “making your words lively” as one of my students put it – love it!). I came across this wonderful script titled “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch (the words were taken from his book and made into a play). I wasn’t sure what my kids would think of it, but they absolutely positively LOVED it! J
My class knows me all too well… they predicted that I would write a poem about my childhood dog, Brandy. Since my class all knew about Brandy from the stories I’ve shared and the pictures they’ve seen of her, I decided that this would be a great opportunity for some guided practice. I started by brainstorming a list of Brandy’s traits that I wanted to describe (much like in the poem “Delilah” that we had read). I wrote adjectives to describe each of her listed traits (eg. nose = cold and wet, eyes = beautiful and brown, tail = white-tip, ears = floppy, bark = happy, etc.). Then, we re-visited “Delilah” to look at the author’s use of similes. At this moment, I could see the light bulbs turning on!
We went through the list of Brandy’s traits and adjectives that I had brainstormed and turned them into similes. I had the students think/pair/share with others at their table group to come up with similes. The class did an amazing job with this task! This was our final product:
We are going to turn our poems into a class book for everyone to read! Hooray!