During our Reading Intervention block, I am blessed to have a speech teacher and special education para "pushing in" for the first half hour, and a special education teacher and a literacy specialist "pushing in" for the second half hour. I am fortunate enough to be able to see each of my five reading groups during this time, although it takes a little scheduling finesse to grab them when they are not needed elsewhere.
Even though I have so many helpers this year, what to do with the students who are NOT working with an adult is always a major topic to consider. My students always have a written assignment to complete daily as part of our Imagine It program. Sometimes I also give them an additional assignment that reinforces what we are working on or gives them extra practice in reading and writing. When they have finished with the assignments, turned them in to my "turn in tray", and checked their "purple folders" to be sure they don't have anything to catch up on, they move on to our "Word Work Rainbow Cart", which is a 10 drawer storage system (all different colors, hence the "Rainbow") that got from Michael's (on sale and with a coupon!). Each drawer has an activity to help students focus on spelling patterns, sight words, and decoding skills. (There is one repeat because the materials for "Stamp it out" physically didn't fit in one drawer.) Here are my labels for the drawers.
I am all about long range activities I don't have to prep for constantly. All students use the same activities, but the word lists are differentiated. I have created sight word and decodable lists to go along with our Imagine It sound of the day. These words were taken right out of the Phonemic Awareness initial/final sounds sections or from the daily "lines" in the Phonics section for each lesson in each unit. As the year progresses, I hope to add word lists for each unit! And perhaps next year, I will differentiate even further with basic/challenge versions of the lists.
Here is a description of each activity, which have been compiled and adapted from other fabulous teachers across the world wide web:
Stamp it out: students stamp the words on their list using mini-stamps I bought from Michael's (also on sale and with a coupon!), a stamp pad shamelessly begged from our school's art teacher, and a legal pad donated from Staples.
Letter Tiles: These are magnetic squares with letters on them (vowels are red), set up on a magnetic board with a big blank space at the bottom of the board to build your words. Each board with a complete set of alphabet tiles is in its own plastic envelope, but I leave a set of "extra letters" in drawer of the cart for those words who have repeat letters.
Banana Grams: This is a game purchased at Target or other stores. Students just love that the little letter tiles come in a banana (be prepare for "Hey look! (unzip the banana) It's a banana split!" lol...every year!!!) Use the tiles to spell their words on their list.
Word Art: This changes more frequently. Give students a chance to do the activity. Then when most of them have had a chance, swap it out. I provide a sample in the drawer (and introduce it to the students as I am changing it up), then let them go! Examples: Q-tip painting words, an awesome spider sight words craftivity on pinterist, etc.
Play-doh Words & Sandy Words: You can use word mats if you choose (or if you find a wonderful freebie!). I teach my kiddos that there are two ways to use Play-doh or Kinetic Sand in Word Word--they can use it to make each letter in the word or they can make a big flat surface of the dough/sand and use a tool to write their words into the material.
:Say it-Build it-Write It: This is a template where the kids put the word card or Popsicle stick in the first box, use magnetic letters to build it in the second, and use dry erase markers to write it on the laminated page in the third box.
Word wall activity: This also changes more frequently (every couple weeks). There are lots of "Word Wall Activity" results from a Google search that ask students to look at the classroom word wall and hunt for specific things such as staring with a particular letter/blend, or having a certain number of sounds/syllables, etc.
Spelling Practice: This is a spelling menu that we offer for extra credit "homework"... they are supposed to make a "Tic-Tac-Toe" using their words. Options are things such as "Rainbow Words" (writing in different colors), stairway spelling (writing a new letter each line: c, ca, cat), Vowels in a different color, etc.
I should also note that I rotate everyone through our "Technology Center", which is two on computers using Lexia (our school has a subscription for EVERYONE grade K-2) and two on the CD player listening to a story on CD and responding to it in writing or drawing.
I hope this helps you! I'll try to post updates on our progress and how the management of the centers is working. Please e-mail if you have questions.... I do not claim to be an expert, but I'm happy to explain what is working this year, with these kiddos. :)
First Grade in Room 126
After teaching fourth grade for eight years with a year in fifth tossed in there, too, I have moved downstairs to first grade and absolutely LOVE it!