Monday, April 11, 2016

Building Connections Within Readers

When teaching students the importance of understanding their reading, lessons on making connections must take place.  As an adult reader, we constantly connect what we are reading to real-life events and topics.  These connections are what allow our brains to store the newly read information for immediate and future use.  How do we get young readers to do they same thing?
First off, as parents and educators we need to make sure that these readers are exposed to rich text, meaningful stories, and all around interesting topics.  I have found that Hameray Publishing offers a wide range of books that cover these three needs.  My students and I love that their books contain real photographs and cover interesting topics.
Second, we need a variety of books to support the strategy of making connections.  By reading nonfiction text and comparing it to the author's message/moral of the story in fables, young readers are able to grow their reading minds.  The connections that they are able to make between nonfiction and fiction helps to build the bridge to successful comprehension.  I feel that too often young readers focus only on text-to-self connections and the text-to-world connections fall to the wayside.  It is these text-to-world connections that strengthen our language skills and understanding of the world. 

The Fables and Nonfiction sets, from Hameray Publishing, are an incredible resource to use when teaching students about text-to-world, as well as text-to-text connections.  My kiddos not only love the nonfiction component, but they thoroughly enjoy discussing the moral of each fable.

What is your favorite resource for teaching connections?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Building Number Sense with Games: CHOMP

Number sense is critical for each and every child to have.  Many child acquire it at home as they explore and play.  Unfortunately, too many children now lack this vital skill.  As a primary teacher, I work diligently to build number sense with my kiddos.  Over the last decade I have learned that games make the biggest impact on mathematical knowledge.  This is because students are taking mathematical information and being forced to apply it to a real life/useful situation.  They are also building connections to math and the world.  These connections strengthen their brain thus enhancing their mathematical knowledge bank.
One of our favorite games right now is CHOMPCHOMP is designed to practice comparing numbers and place value.  The game can be played with either two or four players.  Here two of my kiddos are working together practicing their lanugae skills, while comparing numbers.
By playing games like CHOMP, students are able to apply number knowledge in an interactive means, thus strengthening their mathematical mind. 
You can grab a copy of CHOMP from my TPT store

I would love to see it in action with your kiddos.  Snap a picture or video of your kiddos playing and tag me in your pictures!  I love to see learning in action!!