Plants First Grade Blogspot Homework

HOW do I start first grade fluency ? This is a really important question! As a matter of fact I am headed to Vegas to speak on fluency at the SDE iTeach1st Conference! That's how important fluency is to me and how much it benefits my students in the literacy growth.

Other super key questions are WHEN should I start fluency and WHAT materials should I use?
I am nobody’s boss, but let me share what I do.

In the fall we work really hard on sight word fluency. I want them to master 300 words by the end of the year. They are divided into groups of 10 (30 lists) and placed into daily homework folders. The sight words are very prominent in the set up. They are half sheets and become very well worn by the end of the school year! The fluency passage is right there next to the sight words, so that both can be read easily!
We practice them daily in class, during afternoon reading buddies, and for homework. We really hit them hard and play a lot of sight word games I  found on Pinterest.
After speaking at a kinder conference in the spring, it occurred to me that I should be doing single-passage fluency in the fall.  But how would I start? What would it look like? This might be how you are feeling too.

I hit the books, “Googled” it, talked to others and, honestly, I prayed. How and when would I introduce single-sheet passages to my firsties? Shouldn’t they be turning the pages of little books in the fall? Are their “reading eyes” too new for passages?  First graders are fragile and if you overwhelm them, they FREAK out. Oh my goodness could I really consider timing these babies on words per minute? Prayer, Google, Diebles, and Fran Kramer, Prayer, Google, Diebles, Fran Kramer REPEAT. This was how I spent my summer and I came up with a plan. Research told me first graders should not be timed until December or January. Shared reading is how I decided to start with a soft launch into passages.
This is my pocket chart. I know this looks like teaching from 1992, but this works. I wrote out the single sheet fluency passage onto sentence strips and created comprehension picture cards that go with the fluency.  I also wrote the fluency to have very readable and predictable text!
In this way (Pocket chart style) I begin to model fluency, 1 to 1 correlation, and vocal intonation, rate, and accuracy.

Then the kids take over the pointer and the real magic happens. I mean look at those babies! Hands in the air BEGGING to read. Be still my heart!

We pull picture cards off and put them back on to encourage comprehension. I hand out the cards and when you hear the line read that matches your card you get to come up and put it on the chart.
The kids LOVE getting up and reading off the “Big Chart”. We do a lot of echo reading at this point too!
Keeping it readable is key. I really think my job in this first trimester is to help the children see themselves as readers! Many of their skills are lying just under the surface and with a little practice, luck, and love those skills will come bursting through as will a confident and excited reader. So I wrote really easy, but engaging passages. They should be easily mastered within a few days so the kids can begin to build their fluent voices!

Passages come with and without numbers so that children can be timed or not.

You know that I believe art is important. There is no denying I am into making learning fun. Each passage has a darling art project and bulletin board lettering for you to display.  Does a pretty room equal smart kids? No. Does an engaged child equal a smart child? More often than not. I display the art we will create next to the fluency passage on my chart to get them excited and pumped up about the passage we are reading.

These go hand in hand!!! I LOVE having my students write about our fluency topic. The ideas are ones they are SO familiar with! By Friday, when we sit down to write, the ideas flow easily and they can concentrate a little more on conventions. Please, God, let them capitalize, punctuate, and use finger spaces. PLEASE!
I adore “processes of learning” maps, Thinking maps, or smart charts. Whatever you call them, they help the kids organize their thinking and I like that! Kids at this age level need that all year, not just in the fall! These are our Circle Maps for the healthy foods we like to eat!
FLUENCY MATERIALS- Informational Text
In my opinion the content read by kids in a fluency manner should be Social Studies and Science based! Kids are hungry to read about the real world. This is also a simple way to get informational reading into my day! If they are going to read a passage no less than 20 times, shouldn’t it be worth while? Shouldn’t it add to their schema? I think it should.

If you want to try some of the Fall units you can buy a few separately to get a taste of the goodness!

Plus, of course you get the comprehension pictures to go along with a pocket chart !

Pocket Chart:

Obviously pocket chart, holder, or sentence strips are not included. I am pretty sure I don’t have to say that, but you never know….

Bulletin Board Lettering and Art Masters:

  Great blog post on how to start teaching fluency at the start of first grade

Bonus Free Resource Links and Pocket Chart Pictures:

Bulletin Board Lettering and Art Masters:


Pocket Chart Pictures:


Bulletin Board Lettering and Art Masters:

Not pictured since the kids do the art on Tuesday! I promise to update this post for sure when they complete the art!



Each packet comes with easy to read lesson plans and explanations for how I run my successful program. It’s a very common sense approach. 20 minutes of your school day will turn into the most powerful minutes of your day for building comprehension and fluency!

If you are hungry for more games, strategies, and materials I wrote a 101 post {here}.

Check out the newsletter {here} where I got to share a little fluency tip!

 Comprehension and Fluency
I really love fluency and just cannot help but share that passion! If you have any questions, inspirations, or ah-ha moments I'd LOVE to hear them! You can always email me or leave a comment!

See Ya'll in Vegas.

Part of me has always wanted to try interactive notebooks.  But being a first grade teacher and now kindergarten teacher I just know I do not have the time to dedicate and really be able to feel as though it's not time wasted on cutting and gluing.  The management of interactive notebooking seems like more than I want to bite off with my little learners.  I can just picture my class cutting things all wrong and having pages all stuck together.  

On the other hand, when they are done correctly don't they just look so cute and fun.  I'm positive there are teachers out there who rock at INB's.  Unfortunately I don't think I am one of those teachers, at least not yet.  Maybe in the future.  

For now though, I've discovered and fallen in love with lapbooks.  These are a smaller version of interactive notebooks that focus on one topic or theme.  They seemed much more manageable for me and I really loved the final product.  After seeing a few of these out there, I decided to make one for us to use for our plants unit.  

This was so much fun to create, and even more fun for both my students and me to work through together.  I tied each piece of this lapbook into a fun picture book to guide our lesson.  Essentially this project takes about 6 days and was definitely appropriate for my little kiddos.  

First, we read the book Splat the Cat: Oopsie Daisy by Rob Scotton.  I love Splat books and this one is a nice quick intro to plants and what they need to grow.  We used this quick foldable to list the things they need.  This was an easy way to get the project started.  

By the way, I think I forgot to say that I used colored file folders for this project.  Before we began I folded all of the folders so they were ready to go.  You could also use 11 x 14" construction to make these too. I like the folders because they are more sturdy and can stand up to be displayed if you want to.

The next day we read the book The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and then created this little flip book to put inside our lapbook.  There are a couple different options of the stages on the life cycle depending on how you'd like to teach it to your students.  The students color, cut, and put the stages in order before we staple them together into the lapbooks.  

On Day 3, we jumped into learning the parts of a plant by first reading From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons.  We then completed this foldable where the children had to cut out labels for each part and then fill in the purpose of each part to glue under the flaps.  

On the 4th day we read this adorable book called Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens.  The kids loved this book the most I think!  Then we started talking about how we all eat plants even if we didn't realize we do and how we eat all the different parts of the plant too.  I made this chart to help them in their thinking when they completed this flower-shaped foldable.  

For Day 5 we finished by thinking of plants and flowers of all the different colors of a rainbow.  Again I read a great book called Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert and made a chart to keep track of what we came up with. I had the children choose one plant for each color, write it under the flap and draw a quick picture too.  We colored the rainbow on the front of it before making any of the cuts - just a quick tip since it's harder to color when the cuts are there. 

Finally on Day 6 we added the cover pieces.  You could choose to do this part first if you'd like.  There are boy and girl pieces for the cover for you to choose from for your students.  

I loved this so much that I really want to try to find or make more lapbooks for my class to use.  It was such a fun and interactive (obviously ;) way to teach.  If you want to try it out in your classroom, click on the picture below to head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  

And maybe someday I will be ready to jump into the world of interactive notebooks.  But for now, I'm loving lapbooks!

Hope you enjoy it too!

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