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Comment gérer vos fiches de lecture

I've been talking all about guided reading lately! If you are just joining me now, click here to read the rest of my posts!

Running records - fiches de lecture. Hopefully we all know what they are - a tool to use to help us notice student reading behaviours, and then guide our teaching. However, most teachers I know still have questions about running records - namely, how to do them, how to find the time to get them done, how often to do them, and what to do with the results.

I believe that running records are a super important component of good guided reading instruction. Sometimes, we think we know our students and their reading habits inside and out, but… when we actually sit down, listen to them read, and write down exactly what they say or do, we may find that we don’t know them quite as well as we thought. The data obtained from running records can help save so much planning time - what your students most need to work on is written right in front of you! Sounds great, right?? Read on to find out how reading records look in my classroom!

Because I am such a believer in running records, I make it a goal to do at least one per day. Yup, one per day! If I hit that goal, it keeps all of my student data current within three weeks. Sound too optimistic? Don’t worry - I will explain how I do that below. But, before I continue...

La Saint Patrick en maternelle

Hey guys!

Somehow, it is already almost Saint Patrick's Day! #whereisthisyeargoing?? Today, I will be taking a little break from talking about guided reading to share what we will be doing in my classroom this week to celebrate all things green and Irish!

This week is our last week before March Break, so we will be celebrating hard, as we don't actually have school on Saint Patrick's Day. Read on for a plethora of fun, simple, exciting ideas - and even some free ones! ;)

I will introduce Saint Patrick's Day to my students using Lucy from For French Immersion's fantastic, FREE slide share presentation! Just click on the image below to find it for yourself.

Art is my favourite, so we actually already got started with some leprechaun art last week! Look how cute their directed drawings are!

What my guided reading block looks like


I have been talking a bit about what guided reading looks like in my classroom lately. Last week on my blog, I talked about how I sort my students into their guided reading groups. But once you have your groups together... what exactly should you be doing with them?!

Guided reading blocks look different in just about every classroom. As always, I feel the secret to success is finding out what works for YOU, in your classroom! On my blog, I love showing you how I do things. But, I don't pretend for a second that I know everything! I only know what works for me - so feel free to give it a try, and adjust as needed for your own students :)

Today, I will share with you what my guided reading block looks like in my classroom, and what general activities I squeeze in with each group during that time.

I do guided reading from about 9:15-10:00am every morning. The rest of my class does centres at the same time, which really keeps me accountable - they LOVE centres and complain big-time if we miss them for anything! I do my best to see three groups per day, which only gives me about 15 minutes per group. However, if we get started late, I sometimes only get to see two groups - especially if they are reading higher-level books that are longer.

Here is our guided reading routine:

Putting my guided reading groups together


I am coming up to the end of our second term, and despite the plethora of snow days, being on work to rule here in Nova Scotia since December, protests and a (one-day) strike, I have been thinking a lot about guided reading lately. Work to rule means that we do exactly what our contract specifies - no extras!! -  and I had to really time-manage and prioritize in order to get all of the important things done.

And to me, guided reading is extremely important.

It is my favourite time of day, and when I see the most progress in my students. It is when I get time to work with them (mostly) undisturbed at an excellent ratio of 2:1 (two of them, one of me). It is when I get to teach them about books, and all of the funny and interesting things inside of them. It is when I get to teach them how to read!

I am currently meeting three groups of students a day, two students to a group. So, I get to read with six students each day. Work to rule meant no assemblies and no PD, so, aside from snow days, I actually got to meet with six students each day, since December 5th!! And their progress has been remarkable.

Since guided reading has been such a focus for me lately, and it seems to be something that many teachers are uncomfortable with or not quite sure how to do, I have decided to write a few blog posts about what we do in my classroom - starting with how I put my groups together.

My favourite French music to play in the classroom

Do you play mainstream French music in your classroom? Looking for some new songs to add to your Youtube playlist?

As you may know, I teach in a francophone school. We are in rural Nova Scotia, in a minority community - French is rarely spoken in our community and many students only experience French at school/school activities and sometimes at home. A HUGE part of our students' education involves helping them learn to become proud of their heritage and their "francophonie". My school hosts many concerts and events to help students celebrate their culture and feel pride that they are francophone, and we are expected within our classrooms to provide students with as many opportunities to learn about and experience French and Acadian culture as much as possible. One way that we can do this is by playing mainstream music in our classrooms - students may not always have the opportunity to listen to the radio in French at home.

Even if you teach immersion and not at a francophone school, I still feel that mainstream music is equally important for your students to hear! Music is fun, and it is wonderful for young students to see and hear examples of French celebrities and learn to sing along in their second language. They will be exposed to new vocabulary, and you will probably catch them singing along to a French song stuck in their head throughout the day. Being bilingual (or on their way to being bilingual) is very special! It is important to provide our students with opportunities to celebrate and appreciate their language-learning. They may even find a new favourite song!

I aim to play some mainstream music in my classroom every day - usually during Free Play, snack time, or when they are working on a quick worksheet. Generally, I play it during times it is okay to talk with our neighbours (I do play other types of music throughout the day, as well - instrumental music during writing time (or any time I want them especially quiet and focused), and we do comptines/nursery rhymes in the mornings during our morning meeting). I always try to carve out some time to play mainstream music each day!

Notre routine de calligraphie

Do you teach handwriting and proper letter formation to your kindergarten students? Kindergarteners need LOTS of practice correctly forming their letters! It may not seem like a big deal if your students start at the top or start at the bottom or form their letters exactly right, but... it is! Read on to find out why I think handwriting is so important to teach and practice, and how I do it in my classroom.

So, why is it that we want our students to form their letters correctly? Why does it matter if they start at the top or start at the bottom or somewhere in between? Well, the answer is actually pretty simple. There is a right way and a wrong way to print your letters, and the reason it is so important to me to teach my students the right way has to do with both efficiency and neatness.

First - efficiency. Our students are emergent writers. They are doing everything they can and stretching their little brains to the limit just to get their ideas down on paper. They are already thinking about what their story is, what sounds they have already written, what sounds they need to write, where to find a sight word on the word wall, where they are supposed to put spaces, when they are supposed to add punctuation, etc. etc. None of this is natural and automatic for them yet. The last thing we want is for them to get so caught up in thinking about how to write an "s" that they forget what they are trying to write all together! We want their printing to be automatic and efficient. If your students know how to write all their letters properly without having to think about it or look at a model, then their brains have more time and space to think about what is really important - their ideas! When a student is sounding out how to write a word, they need to get those sounds down as fast as possible, before they forget what they are trying to say! We also don't want it to take an hour or so to write one word or sentence. We want our kiddos to get their ideas on paper ASAP!

Second - neatness. I always am asking my students "why do we write?". And one big reason for writing is sharing. We want to share our stories with others, just like our favourite authors share their stories with us. And it is going to be a lot harder for someone else to read our stories if our writing is illegible. By teaching your students to correctly and carefully form their letters, and giving them time to practice, you will be helping their little finger muscles and fine motor skills develop, and their printing will become neater and easier for everyone (including you!) to read.

So, how does one teach students correct letter formation?

Lecture guidée - Utiliser la première lettre (prépare ta bouche avec la mouche)

Teaching students to read is a complicated process! There are sooo many things that need to be happening in their little brains in order for them to become successful, independent readers. We need our students to both learn and use a whole bunch of problem-solving strategies in order to figure out unknown words and make sense of the text that they are reading. These strategies are not automatic (at first) - we must explicitly teach them, and give our students opportunities to practice them.

I wrote a detailed blog post about the seven strategies I teach my students (using animals) last year. You can find it here if you missed it, along with a free reading strategies poster. I have been working on the second strategy (prépare ta bouche avec la mouche) with one of my on-level reading groups, and thought it might be interesting for others to see.

When our students don't know a word, the first thing that we want them to do is look at the picture. PLEASE don't hide the pictures, and PLEASE tell your students' parents to not hide the pictures. Even if they feel their child is just "memorizing". Memorizing is an important beginning strategy, and the pictures are there for a reason!! Get them to touch each word if they aren't looking at the page and are just "spouting". They will learn to sound out words later, and pictures will be a huge help when that time comes! So, make sure that your students have mastered Regarde partout avec le hibou (look at the picture) before getting started with this second strategy.

Once they are picture-detective experts, we want our students to transition into looking at the picture AND using the first letter or sound of the unknown word as clues as to what the unknown word could be. Sometimes there is more than one possibility that makes sense, and using the picture alone is often not enough. We also want our students to check and make sure their guess makes sense. That is an important step - don't leave it out! Here is how I do it.

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