I teach in a Title I school in a rural community in Colorado. Our student population ranges from pre-school through 5th grade. My students are first graders who are full of energy and love to become lost in adventures. I love the diversity in my classroom as I have students from farming families, military families, and urban families. The background experiences of these students range from a large percentage who have only visited neighborhood stores and family members who reside in the same town to some who have trekked across the U.S A. and had numerous experiences.
My students are inquisitive and eager to learn new things.
One of the best ways to bring this new learning into my classroom is through books. Read-aloud time is one of the favorite activities for my students and me alike. It is very fulfilling to watch my students light up as they lose themselves in story adventures, make personal connections to storybook characters, and become amazed when they learn exciting facts about topics such as animals, space, or weather. Our latest "cool" fact is that sloths' fur becomes covered in a green slime because they rarely clean themselves.
My goal is to incorporate daily read-aloud in my 1st grade classroom in a systematic fashion. I believe that all children love reading or listening to a good book. Books open a endless world of adventure and opportunity to children. These mentor texts will serve several purposes in my classroom. First, students will use the fiction books to build more complex vocabulary and learn comprehension strategies for identifying and describing characters and setting, sequencing story events, identifying the author's purpose, identifying main idea, comparing characters, and making connections. The non-fiction books will be used to introduce students to new topics, deepen their knowledge of already learned topics, allow them to explore, and utilize the components of non-fiction text.
Second, the students will also use these books to investigate how authors use rich vocabulary and varied sentence structure to engage their readers.
These writers' crafts will be explored during Writing time in the classroom. As young writers, 1st graders frequently struggle to transfer their ideas from thoughts to words on paper. Teaching good writing is much easier when children have access to quality writing that is engaging. These mentor texts will provide ideas for students to use a a springboard to begin their writing and will also provide lots of examples of appropriate vocabulary, sentence structure, and overall story structure for students to refer to as they are mastering their own writing.
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