Sunday, December 6, 2015

Close Reading with Teaching and Tapas

Hey all! I'm SO excited to be blogging about one of my favorite TPT creators, Alyssha Swanson of Teaching and Tapas!

Back in July, my friend Robin texted me about an awesome giveaway happening on Facebook - Alyssha (Teaching and Tapas) was giving away a fourth grade Close Reading Bundle. I pretty much look to Robin as my reading teacher guru. So when she told me I HAD to enter I listened... and I WON! WHAT! I was so excited!

The first time we used one of the Close Reading texts by Alyssha was in October. On the day before Halloween... I was a wee-bit nervous my kiddos would be cray and get nothing from the lesson (they were in COSTUMES for goodness' sake) but the day was SUPER successful! We started the day reading Stellaluna, then we followed up with a passage from the Informational Close Reading Set on bats.  The best part is I had put the kids in their guided reading groups and had given them LEVELED PASSAGES. How is that possible, you ask? Well, Alyssha has an EXTENSION SET that includes the SAME passages but at a lower level. Same questions, same skills, but two levels of text. GENIUS.

My favorite part of having the kiddos using these Close Reading texts is the TEXT DEPENDENT QUESTIONS. Why do kids hate to look for text evidence?? Seriously, I can't understand it. I mean, who doesn't like correct answers!! And how do you get them? By looking in the text!! To help combat the "I don't like looking in the text" issue, I made up a text-evidence "rap". It goes like this:

Me: What do we love?
Kids: Text Evidence!
Me: I can't hear you
Kids: Text Evidence!
Me: Let's find it!
Kids: Text Evidence!
Me: Dig in, y'all!
Kids: Text Evidence!

This goes on and on and on... We clap, we stomp, and I basically act like a fool to get my kids excited about and looking for TEXT EVIDENCE! The song helps.... but so does the way Alyssha has set up the questions for the passages. She has the KIDS CREATING TEXT DEPENDENT QUESTIONS. If you're looking for rigor for your students, look no further. CREATE is the highest level of Bloom's/ a Depth of Knowledge level 4. Boom!
For each passage, kids are writing 2-3 text dependent questions. And to make sure they're really using the text, there are instructions to underline the cited text with different colors. Easy to check for me and super meaningful for the kids. Not going to lie - the first time we did this the kid's minds were blown... But two months later they are creating text dependent questions like ROCKSTARS. Me = Proud teacher!

Along with the text dependent questions, there are a gazillion other skills covered. One page of questions is dedicated to grade level specific skills and the second page is a spiral of grade level skills. Specific skills and spiraled skills?? OMG FABULOUS.

As you can see, I am LOVING these Close Reading Packs.
And the Extension Packs are rocking my teaching world...
Oh Teaching and Tapas, let me COUNT THE AWESOMENESS!
She has 1st grade sets, 2nd grade sets, 3rd grade sets, 4th grade sets, and 5th grade sets!!

I know all teachers have a range of reading levels in their room. This year, my kiddos range from an A (kindergarten) to a Q (grade level). I have about 7 on level readers in my class, so they get the texts from the Fourth Grade set. I have about 12 kids on a 2nd or 3rd grade level, so they get the lower Lexile level text from the Extension pack. The 2 students who are on kindergarten levels also get the lower level text, but I read it to them or buddy them with one of my on grade level students.

Here's what the kids see:
The texts looks similar and contain the same information. The lower level text is just written at a lower Lexile level.
Both texts answer the same questions, so the rigor remains. The Extension Pack makes my heart happy because it allows my lower level readers to be successful with grade level skills.

I know I have made you GREEN with ENVY if you don't own these packs... But don't worry... Because you can WIN a set!! Merry Christmas to you!!

----> Are you a 3rd grade teacher?? You can win the 3rd Grade Literature and Informational BUNDLE and LITERATURE and INFORMATIONAL EXTENSION PACKS!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

----> Are you a 4th grade teacher?? You can win the 4th Grade Literature and Informational BUNDLE and LITERATURE and INFORMATIONAL EXTENSION PACKS!!

----> Are you a 5th grade teacher?? You can win the 5th Grade Literature and Informational BUNDLE and LITERATURE and INFORMATIONAL EXTENSION PACKS!! 

Best of luck, my friends!! Winner will be announced on Thursday, December 10th!

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