How can I make learning engaging, and make sure I’m teaching all of the common core standards?
Don’t skip the minilesson! I love balanced literacy, and the routine that comes with literacy centers. My school does not follow a language arts curriculum, so the common core standards truly guide my lessons. It’s my daily minilesson that keeps my students focused on the task at hand.
I write down all of the skills I need to cover each year. I make sure that I plan to spend enough time on each standard as it is written. Then, once my students have mastered that standard I can spiral it back into my teaching later in the school year – but with more complex tasks incorporated (so that I am still challenging my students). I use the outline to guide the minilessons which I should cover each week. This keeps me focused.
Once I have my outline, I like to create daily PowerPoints which cover the skill I’m teaching. If I create the PowerPoint, I still have time and flexibility for all of those teachable moments – without ever forgetting to hit an important note about a skill I’m teaching. I also like the PowerPoints because I can go back to them the following year, or later in the school year when we’re reviewing a concept. Here is a sample image from one of my PowerPoints:
How can I keep my students from becoming bored?
Once again, don’t skip the minilesson! There is a nice routine which comes from daily centers. Your minilesson is the most important part of your literacy instruction. It is what determines how the daily routine of centers will change. It is what wakes your students up. This is the time each day, that students should look forward to the most. Your minilessons allow you to keep the structure, but change what students are learning and practicing.
During the course of a school year, I am constantly pulling out new centers and putting away ones we’ve recently used too much. Your minilessons (and your students) will let you know when it’s time to incorporate a new center.
My students love my 2nd grade PowerPoint lessons because they are fun and interactive. I love them, because they keep me focused on the skill I’m teaching. This free PowerPoint lesson on RL 2.1 Asking and Answering Questions is an example of the daily lessons I create. I hope you enjoy it.