Monday, September 22, 2014

A Peek At Our Week: Characterization and Text Structure

Hello, friends! I hope that everyone had a great Monday!  Last week was our first full week of the Daily Five and overall it went really well.  Of course we have a few things we need to work on but I know we will be pros before too long!

I changed up my rotation board and some of the things my students will be doing during the Daily Five a bit this year.  I purchased my new rotation cards from Jessica, aka The TeacherTalk.  I loved all the different options; you can find them in here store {here}.

This year I added a vocabulary station, a journaling station, and a task card station.  So I guess you could say that my Daily Five block has more of a workstation vibe this year. 

This reason for adding the additional stations was because I wanted to provide my students with additional exposures to our vocabulary words/skills and I also wanted to give them additional opportunities to work on some of the anchor standards and skills that are often on our end of the unit/year assessments.  Including these two stations has made a difference already. 
Responding to reading is huge part of our PBA PARCC assessments, so I wanted to make sure we all got a head start when it came to responding to our reading. I just started introducing responding to reading to some of my groups and I'll share more of what my students do later in the year.  

Last week our task card station had my students reviewing main idea.  Most groups used {these} task cards, which you will see below, and my below level/IEP students used {these} task cards. 

Since I have a large number of IEP students this year, I knew additional exposures to our vocabulary words would help them better understand our anchor text and allow them to be more successful on our biweekly comprehension tests.  This week our vocabulary station had my students reviewing the meanings of our Treasures vocabulary words for The Raft.  My students played vocabulary memory, vocabulary dominoes, filled out a crossword and then wrote sentences with our vocabulary words.  I somehow forgot to take pictures of this station but I think you get the gist of how our vocabulary station works/functions.  

As the year progresses, my students will do more with Greek/Latin roots and figurative language for their vocabulary station work but this certainly works for now! 

My students always love our word work workstations, which I use for my spelling stations.  I use parts of Amanda’s Words Galore pack and other materials that I’ve collected throughout the years.  Their favorites this year are sign language, sandpaper words and magnet words.

During our reading rotations I focused on characterization and informational text structure with my students.  I got lucky last week because the main selection from our basal,The Raft,  is a great book to use for characterization because the main character, Nicky, makes such a drastic change from the beginning to end of the book. 

On Monday, I modeled how to use a character’s actions, thoughts/feelings and words when choosing his/her character traits.  I used the following anchor chart, no judging, and passage for this mini lesson. 

In small groups, we examined Nicky’s thoughts/feelings, words and actions from the first half of the book carefully in our small groups to choose character traits that best described him the first time we met.  I sadly don't have a picture of this activity but I did use of the character graphic organizers from this pack

We finished the book as a whole class later in the week and discussed how Nicky’s character changed during the story. 

I noticed while meeting with my small groups, many of my students wanted to use words like “not nice” or “mad” to describe Nicky.  Which was true BUT weren’t the best words to describe him.  We used several of Rachel’s characterization task cards as a whole class to practice choosing good fit character traits throughout the week.  I had my students work with their shoulder partner to choose character traits to describe the characters in the passages I showed on the Smartboard.   With lots of practice, they got much better as the week went on.

The students that needed a little bit more practice with choosing good character traits worked with me later in the week.  I used these task cards from Teaching With a Mountain View! I love that these cards are good context clue practice as well!

If you use Treasures, you know the third text of the week is always nonfiction.  I’ve been trying to use these more and more, especially to help teach different text structures.  In our second round of small groups this week, we read a passage called Into the Swamp.  We identified its text structure, completed a graphic organizer, and also learned how maps can be helpful text features. 

We also reviewed the types of sentences this past week because I had noticed that so many of my students needed review with ending punctuation.  We started by watching the following Brainpop Junior video, which was fantastic!

We also took notes on the four main sentence types with the flip book from my Types of Sentences Activity pack.  

Later in the week, we also did the types of sentences graffiti wall activity from my Types of Sentences pack as well.  I had a meeting before school that day, so I wasn't able to to prep the actual templates from my pack like I would have liked to because I teach writing/grammar first thing in the morning.  However, they still really LOVED the modified version. :)

Well I think that recaps our week! :)  We were certainly busy but we sure did have fun and learned a lot too! 


  1. Hi Lisa! I love your blog and ideas. I am not familiar with the daily 5, and am having trouble picturing the flow of your week. How long is your reading block, and how often/for how long do you meet with each of your groups. I noticed that you have 4 groups and 3 rotations....

    1. Meredith, I am wondering the same thing! I have always wanted to implement the daily 5, but I still am trying to find what works best while meeting with my small groups. My first problem is making sure I have enough worthwhile extension activities for my high level group and enough support for my low level students. I meet with my low level group first, then with my on grade level group, and lastly, I meet with my high group. I don't want to deny my low level students the opportunity to go to centers, however, they will rush through their seat work so that they can go to centers and I often don't get to check their work until I'm done meeting with my on grade level group. At that point they've already gone to the center and there isn't enough time for them to go back and fix the seat work that they didn't do well. I also want students to be accountable for the work that they do at centers and stations but if they don't finish the activity or get to it I'm not sure how that would be assessed.

      Lastly, our leveled readers are often long and difficult to get through so we read it together but it's used as a follow up to the whole group story basically. Sometimes I feel like I would rather not even include the leveled readers. What do you use? We use Reading Street.

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  4. I love your blog. I am curious what is Vocabulary dominoes?




  5. نستخدم افضل ادوات تنظيف و غسيل الخزانات لاننا افضل شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة و عمال مدروبون وحاصلون على شهادة صحية فقط اتصل بنا لتحصل على افضل خدمة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة


  6. أطمئن الآن، فنحن شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف نقدم لك الحل الأمثل لمشكلات الأثاث من الألف للياء وذلك بعد حصر المشكلات والعقبات التي تقابل الأفراد عن نقل الأثاث،  حيث يقدم لك خبراء نقل الأثاث خدمة نقل العفش داخل الدمام وخارجها  شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل
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    يمكنك أن تحصل على جميع خدمات نقل الأثاث بالضمان شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل نوفر لك ميزة الضمان لما أظهرته نتائج استطلاعات الرأي من  تخوف الأشخاص من الاستعانة بالشركات بسبب عدم تقديم ضمان يضمن سلامة وآمن مقنتياتهم، لذلك فإنك سوف تجد جميع خدمات نقل الأثاث هن شركة نقل عفش بالخبر

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