Friday, July 29, 2011

Up All Night

Well...Sugar, my dog, decided that she really didn't want to sleep last night and would rather play outside...thus leaving my husband and I to wait up for her to be ready to come in from the yard.  In the meantime, my mind was racing with all the new ideas I'd seen yesterday on so many wonderful blogs.  Specifically, I was thinking about Literacy Centers to use during small group reading time.  I have used the Daily 5 management system the last 3 years and LOVE it!  Since I'm moving from 3rd to 4th grade, I've got to revamp my independent work, which I call "Literacy Jobs." 

I got to thinking about all the things I want my kids to accomplish while I'm holding small group reading instruction.  The 3 things I definitely want them to do are: vocabulary work, a comprehension assignment to go along with the story of the week, and grammar.  For grammar, I use Mountain Language  I use the stand-alone chart as a center, but I believe you could also order the bulletin board set.  It is great because it focuses on ALL the skills they need to know.  It requires a lot of training in the beginning of the year, but it is well worth it.  I would advise that you exclude some of the questions in the beginning of the year and then build them in once you've covered that particular skill. 

Once the students complete the necessary literacy jobs (vocab, comprehension, grammar), I had to think of other jobs for them to work on--literacy based, of course.  While waiting up for Sugar, I thought about creating a literacy job sheet for the students to use as a checklist.  My idea is to require the vocab, comprehension, and grammar and make those assignments worth 25 pts. a piece--for a total of 75.  Then the students can choose other jobs worth certain points to complete during the week--after they finish the first 3 required jobs.  The jobs they get to choose from will have points, and they must choose jobs that are worth enough points to add to the original 75 (from the first 3 jobs) to equal 100 points. 

Here is what I was thinking for the jobs they can choose:

Reading Center (Listen to Reading, Read to Someone, Biography/Autobiography, Newspaper read & respond)

Word Work (Making words, 7 Little Words, Word Ladders, How much is it worth?)

Writing (Poetry center with task cards, Weekly Writing Prompt, Silly Stories, Picture Writing)

Computer (Typing practice, Spelling City, Pixie, Blog response or other weekly content-based assignment)

Descriptions of jobs:
-Biography/Autobiography: students will read a selected book about someone and will fill out a sheet to go along with the story

-Newspaper: we use VA Studies & Science Weekly and have questions that go along with each edition

-Making Words: give students a content-based work (Interdependency) and have them come up with words within the larger word--Example--find 5 verbs: eat, dip, enter, etc.

-7 Little Words: I discovered this as a game for the iPhone and will adapt it using content-area words

-Word Ladders: I have used the ones from Scholastic in the past and have them laminated for kids to use with a Vis-A-Vis and then they write their final answers on a sheet they turn in

-How much is it worth: assign each letter of the alphabet a numerical value (in the form of money) and have students use that as a key to add up the value of each letter in their spelling words

-Silly Stories: I came up with this idea last year and love it so much that I'm using it again in 4th--I have 3 index card boxes--1 for character, 1 for plot, and 1 for setting.  The kids pull 1 card from each box at random and have to write a story including all the information from the cards.  It makes for very interesting, silly stories.

As I continue to work through my ideas from last night, I'm going to create the literacy job checklist.  Once I have a version--since it will probably change--I'll post it on here to share with you.  I hope you'll gain some ideas from this post.  Maybe you've got some other ideas that would fit into this!  Please add a comment and share!  Enjoy your Friday!!



  1. Hey Amanda,
    Thanks for coming by...I would love to chat Daily me at

    4th Grade Frolics

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