Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SOAR Center Details! (Online Card Catalog)

Hi everyone!

As I'm going stir crazy with 2 "cold" days, where our school district ACTUALLY closed! Anyways, I thought I'd share details about my "SOAR" center. This could also be your "Destiny" center or "Online Card Catalog" center. Basically, I wanted students to use our online card catalog, called SOAR. After having a LOT of trouble last year with the 2nd graders accomplishing this, I needed a new tactic. I needed less kids at once, I needed more practice, I needed more computers, etc., etc., so I made it a center!

This also covers:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.5 Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.

When the students have to look for their own books, they have to be able to tell if it is nonfiction or fiction. As they find more of their own books, they have started to question some of the designations (why is a book about Bigfoot in nonfiction...then we talk about the designation, fascinating conversations for a 7 year old to feel like the experts =) We are also learning more about the Dewey #s, to reinforce the concept, we read Bob the Alien Discovers the Dewey Decimal System by Sandy Donovan. We also read Bored Bella Learns About Fiction and Nonfiction by Sandy Donovan and Karl and Carolina Uncover the Parts of a Book by Sandy Donovan. I recommend all of these to have great discussions. I may also make some kind of signs based on the Bob the Alien book to reiterate the Dewey Decimal system. 

ANYWAYS! This is the SOAR center sign:

This is the worksheet. For classes where I have limited time, I just print #1 - 5 and cut out the post it reflection activity.

We did this in increments in 2nd as a center. The first week, I just introduced it and had them try it out. Every week, we collected the papers to save paper (our students learn about saving the planet, and so they are used to this). The second week, we reviewed it and they tried it out again. The third week they went with a buddy to try and really look up a book. The fourth week, they did it again. the fifth week, they went by themselves after a review of what call numbers are and how to find things. I also had an extra volunteer to help students find their own books and feel successful. By the sixth week, I combined the Checkout and SOAR center and they now know to go to the computer to look up books if they need to, or to browse and checkout in one center. It has worked a 100 times better than the previous whole class instruction where many kids and myself were frustrated and book-less!

I also tried this out with one 1st grade classroom when there were 20 kids instead of 29. 

I made these partner cards (on TPT, they're free!), and printed out instructions (above) #1 -5 in miniature.

I pasted the instructions on the back, and laminated the whole thing. I also labeled each card with Computer 1, Computer 2, and the matching card with the same. 

So, for example, the  salt and pepper both had Computer # 10 on them. 

I passed out the cards, we read the directions together and did it on the SMARTboard. Then I had the students find their partner and try it out. It was chaos! But FUN chaos, they were really motivated! They really just explored because of time, but then after that we did it as a center with a buddy, etc. as above. Now that first grade class always uses SOAR and I'm going to probably start expanding to the other 5 first grade classes (but, that's a LOT of first graders, and I need to be sure I have volunteers on hand to help out!). It may not realistically happen until next school year. We'll see!

This will also become an eBook center:

We'll go over the instructions and then I'll have them do it with a partner, and then by themselves, just like the SOAR center above week by week. 

Thanks for reading! Please share how your centers are going in the comments or by email! I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! Thank you for your support!

Keep reading!
Ms. Dhruv

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome Chilly January! Let's Focus on Informational Text Features!

So I'm sure you're thinking, we go back to school Monday, I better have something fabulous in my coffee cup...wait, for my students! (although, true dat' to the coffee cup, our forecast for Monday is -8 degrees...balmy...? Then you look at the windchill and the real feel: -40 degrees! That's not nearly enough degrees!!! =) 

Anyways, after my frozen popsicles come to school, we will hit the ground running. I usually start nonfiction in November, and with book fair and the holidays, we just explore. Now, this is where we start focusing HARD on info text features.
Now we'll start looking and learning from them. We will also learn more about WHY and WHEN we use these. 

Weeks of January 6, 13
Photographs, illustrations, and captions

Weeks of January 20, 27
Table of Contents, Heading

Weeks of February 3, 10
Label, and Bold-faced word 

Weeks of February 17, 24
Index and Glossary

This goes along directly with the following Common Core standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

For all grades, the Reading Area will be where the students practice finding these features. For K and 1st, we will start reading Tumblebooks on the SMARTboard as one of the centers to look for these features. They will work together to reflect on the books they read. 

In 2nd grade, because they have learned how to use SOAR (the online card catalog), on the computers we will also learn how to go to the eBooks and to look for the features. I will also encourage students to checkout nonfiction to practice these skills at home. 

I would also recommend having the students do a pre and post assessment. It's editable, so I will change it to 9 above, plus title page and copyright page. This gives you some accountability, plus isn't so overwhelming to do it one on one with each child (which was driving me crazy). 

I will also change all the seats, and make new center groups. To do that, I'll pick 1 or 2 at each table to make small groups of 8 - 10. I will also assign partners within the small group so that we don't have a fight over who our buddies are, etc. This should make a whole bunch of logistical things a little easier. I usually use tables but I want to separate the students, so that they don't copy off each other when we do assessments...we'll see how it works out! 

I will also be adding a new iPad center...more to come! 

*** UPDATE *** I loved this PPT for the older kids

A bunch of great ideas on Mandy's Tips for Teachers Blog

I also used this GREAT Nonfiction Text Features Posters on TPT, and it's free! I printed them all out, changed the "cover" to Informational Text Features, and laminated them all. I posted them in the library to help kids remember. I also used many of these signs descriptions to make my anchor charts (that I will take pictures of when we finally go back tomorrow!). Hope it helps!