Structuring a Literacy Block (for First Grade ELL's)

If you missed my post on structuring a 90 minute literacy block, click here to read it.  Today I'm going to be giving an overview of my 35 minute first grade ELL class.  This class varies widely in proficiency, as does my 4th/5th grade block.  I have students who are still in their silent period, and students who are near-native speakers.  Find out how I reach them all!

 My lesson sequence comes from our basal series; I use the ELL Leveled Readers for guided reading and supplement with mentor texts on the week's theme.  My weekly sequence usually looks like this:

No, that's not me in the picture.  Our VP stopped by one day this week so I had him help me out during morning meeting.  We meet on the rug every day to share what we did last night/last weekend.  Towards the middle of the year we will move to sharing the weather and writing what we did. 

 There are questions to ask on the poster, but I'm not exactly a Teacher's Guide kind of girl- I'm much better at making up my own questions based on student proficiency.  I use the poster mostly to keep in line with what the mainstream classroom teachers are using.  Below is an example of an anchor chart we worked on for our At School unit.  I have been writing the students' answers to the sentence frame for them but soon I'll be letting them write their own.

I choose a mentor text for the week based on the theme.  Our themes have been family, pets, neighborhood, and school (so far).  I may choose books I know the students have already read, which helps with bridging the vocabulary gap, or I may choose new books or non-fiction books.  The leveled readers are typically non-fiction, so I like to liven up our reading with a good children's lit book.

There are four High Frequency Words from the mainstream classroom, and usually two or three from our leveled reader.  For partner/group games, I use Reagan Tunstall's Sight Word Stick Centers, or on the tablets.  For whole group games, I use the pocket chart.  One of their favorites is "Say it like a..." and they say their word like a pirate, or a zombie or a grandpa.

 The literary elements posters come from Fabulous in First's Chrysanthemum pack which is so wonderful- I love that I can use the activities with almost any book.  On Fridays I will put up a sentence frame with word bank for students to write and/or draw about, or we will complete a vocabulary activity from the basal.

I really don't love using the basal so much, but I have these students first period, then they go right back to their first grade teacher who is using the basal.  So it helps to give them a little preview/background about what they'll be studying.  There are weeks when I'll deviate from the basal (my favorite weeks!) and use a unit from my store or someone else's.  I typically do that around holidays or when I want to do a reader's theater. 

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my classroom! How do you structure your reading block? Leave me a note in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing what you do with your ELLs. As a first grade ESOL teacher whose job is to focus on Guided Reading with my ELLs, it is helpful for me to see what you do. In my old district we had a basal and I found it helpful when planning my lessons. At least all the teachers were on the same page. In my new district, we don't use a basal. We use Lucy Caulkins reading & writing workshop and I don't think it is helpful for the ELLs (too unstructured).


Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate it.

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