Sunday, October 25, 2015

*Freebie* Kid-Friendly Reference Poster for Fluency

In my previous post, I shared the concept of using a "Never, ever" poster as a visual representation of phonics rules, which students may use as a reference for spelling. Today, I am sharing a version that may be used as a reference poster for fluent reading. 

I often discuss "robot reading" with my students. We call the expressionless, halting style of reading "Robot Reading" because, obviously, it sounds more like the voice of a robot than that of a fluent reader. In order to become fluent readers, students must learn to read with smooth, expressive voices -very much as though they are having a conversation with the text. 

We really have a lot of fun with this, and during one of my classes recently, a student eagerly said, "Mrs. Tally, that should be on our Never, Ever poster! Robot Reading!" So, with respect to her suggestion, I have designed a separate Never, ever poster that I will display in my fluency center. It is a very kid-friendly graphic, and I can't wait to share it with my classes this week. 
If you are interested in using this poster in your own classroom, you can access it for free here in the Tally Tales TPT store. I have added several freebies to the store recently, so feel free to look around and grab those. I try to share any TPT freebies here as well, but if you want to make sure you stay up-to-date on freebies and sales in the future, simply become a follower of the Tally Tales TPT store.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Using Rules Posters to Foster Student Learning

I try to provide a lot of visual reference materials throughout my classroom for my students. We use rules posters, thinking maps, and graphic organizers to display literacy rules and reminders throughout the room. Most of my students are so familiar with them that they know exactly where to look when they need to remember a particular spelling pattern or simply check the direction of their b or d. One of their favorite posters is my "Never, Ever" rules poster. I thought I would share it here with you today.

The concept for this poster is simple: it contains several frequent spelling errors or phonics patterns that students find to be particularly troublesome. I refer to it during instructional lessons, and students use it when they are writing independently as well. Obviously, my "Never, Ever" poster contains literacy-based content, but I'm sure this concept could easily be adapted to fit multiple other content areas.
What are some "Never, Ever" guidelines you could display as a reference for your students?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Monthly Freebie: Editable October Newsletter

Well, it's time for another monthly newsletter freebie! I am so excited that several of you have found these newsletters to be helpful over the past few months. There were a few glitches with the September newsletter, and I was grateful to those who brought that to my attention. I tried to get those issues resolved as quickly as possible. If you ever experience trouble downloading or using one of my products, please feel free to contact me! I am grateful for any feedback, especially if I need to make an adjustment or two! :)

You can now access a free, editable template for an October newsletter here.

See the template design for this month's newsletter below...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Extending Student Vocabulary: ABC Chart & Portable Word Wall *Freebie*

So, I am almost ashamed to share a post, considering that I haven't blogged consistently for a month or so now. Where did September go??? Anyway, while I haven't been blogging, I have been collecting pictures and ideas to share... as soon as time allowed me to actually create a post or two. *sigh*

This is a little update on one particular vocabulary exercise I have incorporated into my instruction with older students this year. I love this little Word of the Week center. I purchased it at the end of the year last year, so this is the first year I have actually used it into my classroom. As I began planning for it, I wanted to make sure that I provided multiple opportunities for my students to use these words frequently in my classroom. Ultimately, the goal is for students to carry these words outside the classroom as well.
We begin by reading the example and illustration, and then the students try to guess the meaning of the word. Once I share the actual definition, students map the word onto a bubble map as a group exercise. While I do love this vocabulary center, I needed a good space for students to accumulate the words as they learn them. With the center, you can only display the current word for the week. In order to provide a space for students to revisit all words as we go throughout the year, I created this small, simple ABC chart onto which students could transfer each week's vocabulary word and definition. 
The process is simple: we use folded post-it notes to create a lift-the-flap idea on the chart. First, the student writes the word on top of the post-it, and then he/she writes the definition on the inside. Once the word and definition are complete, they stick the word onto the chart under the appropriate letter.
I have to admit: The next step is probably my favorite part of the whole experience. After adding the word to the ABC chart, my students transfer their weekly vocabulary word onto their own portable word walls as well. This simple little word wall is a nifty personal reference tool for students to maintain as we explore new vocabulary terms. I have it available as a freebie in the Tally Tales TPT store. You can download it for free here, and then store it in student binders, folders, or even in a center as an easy place for students to document sight words, vocabulary terms or thematic terminology as needed. Younger students can certainly use this, but it is an ideal tool for older students to consistently extend alphabetic knowledge skills.