Changing Where We Begin

I am (I wish I could say was) the type of teacher who has all my plans figured out, activities created and expectations lined up before the students walk into the classroom.

This past summer, I have been thinking about creative ways to engage students in intervention groups, still giving the research based instruction, but teaching the children to love learning and the process.

I started working with my first group 2 weeks ago. These students need both literacy and math intervention and I am trying to integrate both into a 40 minute time period four times a week. I looked for some math aligned guided reading books and decided to start with a book a week and then create activities that are aligned with the book for the rest of the week. This plan was working well until we are now going onto our second week with the same book.

This is how it went… and is still going…

Day 1:

I started with reading “Looking for Numbers”.IMG_0022.JPG Page Example:

I gave the book to the students and let them look through the text and find the words that they knew as well as look at the pictures. The students automatically starting discussing the pictures with one another and pointing at the numbers in the book. We then read the text and time was up.

Day 2:

We discussed places that we could find numbers around our houses and in the school community. We read the book again and then looked at the numbers and identified what we noticed in the pictures.

Day 3:

The students had started to notice numbers on each others shirts and clothing. They also noted that there were numbers all over the school. This gave me an idea to use the iPads to go around the school to find the numbers. I was so impressed with how well the students knew how to use the iPads and they were helping one another. They were so excited to find the numbers and were actively engaged the whole time.

Day 4:

The students were begging to use the iPads again, so this time we used the App Show Me. It is an interactive whiteboard and video creator that lets the students represent and draw on the iPad. I taught the students how to take a photograph of a number in the hallway and then use the whiteboard to represent the number. They were so excited. I had to keep reminding them to slow down.

Day 5:

This is where my teaching is IMPROVING and I cannot say that I am nervous one bit about the positive changes. A year ago I would have followed up this activity with a fill in the blank sheet for my students to record the numbers that they had noticed around the school community.

The sheet would of looked something like this:Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 9.05.37 PM.png

And then there would of been a place for a picture. The booklet would of been put together with numerous pages for the students to fill in the blank.

After reading the comic book American Born Chinese and March: Book One I started to research and think about how to incorporate the comic book template into my classroom.

Here are some templates that I found: Teachers Pay Teachers – Comic Book Templates 

Today was an exciting day. I was excited about the work that my students created and the excitement that they showed during the lesson. I gave a quick two minute introduction of comic books (Binky the Space cat). I gave each student a comic strip template and the directions to show on the comic strip what they did to find numbers. I then took my own paper and started to sketch my comic. I did not look up for hands or question, I did not stop them from talking, but each student started working right away.

They were talking to each other, laughing, reminding me about finding numbers on their friends clothes. After a while, I prompted the students to add some writing. The writing could come from the mouth, it could be next to the character. Each one started writing and instead of asking for help spelling, they looked into their book, asked their friends and even tried to figure it out by themselves.

Here are some examples from today:

img_0015    img_0017  img_0018  img_0016   img_0020     img_0019

This is the most writing that I have seen from these students since school started and I am very excited about how proud they are about their work. I know it is just the first day of the writing, but I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Stay tuned to see the positive changes I am going to make, moving away from the old structure!!!


5 thoughts on “Changing Where We Begin

  1. thomasunc September 29, 2016 / 12:33 am

    Sounds like great work. I have a connection to literacy and math. This week I had my kids create a comic strip about “Rounding Man”. They had to explain how Rounding Man saved the day using rounding. From what I see in the pictures, you have young students. Maybe they could create a comic strip about “Adding Lady”, “Skip Counter”, or “Shape Man”. Just a thought.


    • ckllit17 October 23, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      That is a great idea! That connects to the idea of the nonfiction narrative. Students love to tell stories!


  2. leighahall October 1, 2016 / 11:10 pm

    This is amazing work! I love your honesty about how you have grown as a teacher. It was fascinating for me to hear about how you have taken the idea of graphic novels and found a way to apply it in your context.


    • ckllit17 October 23, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      I am looking forward to adding Meanwhile into my teaching. There are so many possibilities and I am noticing that my students have so much that they want to share!


  3. whitneyallred October 2, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Very cool! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

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