Text to Self Connections with Me and My Family Guided Reading with a Purpose


On week three in first grade we begin to make connections with literature. The is key to getting children to love, relate, and engage in books. The first connections we make are text to self connections. The perfect unit to teach this concept is family.  Above you can see some of the anchor texts I use throughout this unit. This is right around Grandparent's Day so we like to integrate that into our unit as well.  We begin by reading Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon. This book teaches students to be proud of who they are and stand up for themselves. I follow the same steps each day with each story. After reading, we share our connections and I post them on sticky notes. After we have shared, they go and write their own idea on paper pencil and add an illustration. For writing on this day I like to also read, I Like Myself. It is a really quick read and helps us get our ideas flowing for our writing. We make a self portrait and a tall writing piece on this day and make a list of characteristics about ourselves. They are really cute up on their lockers.


 I also like to begin our family portraits on this day by having the students create themselves. We put them in a baggy and add to them each day.

On Day 2 we read "What Mommies and Daddies do Best" by Laura Numeroff. Then we share connections about our parents or guardians.  I also love to read Weird Parents by Wood. This is a funny story about parents who love to embarrass their children. (one of my favorite things to do) After reading and connecting, we make our parents and/or guardians. We also do this sort below with Parent/Children or Both.


On the third day we discuss siblings and what that word means. We read What Brothers and Sisters Do Best by Laura Numeroff.  Of course there are also children who have no siblings. We make sure to make them feel included by also discussing cousins and close friendships.  On this day we follow the same format and then we create our siblings and or pets. If it is an only child, they can make someone else special in there family. Below you can see how we glue them on black paper and how adorable they turn out. 


On Thursday we read my favorite story, "The Family Book". This book addresses the concept that all families look different. It provides a variety of examples of different families which will make any child feel like their family is special.  I like to do the word sort below that shows characteristics of some and all families. This year the children were amazed at how long the "some" side was. To lead into our writing for the day, we do the can, have and are chart. Then we go back and write about our own families. 


As a fun culminating project, we make these family rainbows. They are very easy to make, and it really brings home the idea that not all families look the same. It is a glyph activity and each color represents someone different in their family.  They are super pretty in the hallway too.


On the last day we discuss grandparents. We read What Grandmas & Grandpas Do Best by Numeroff. I also like to read  How to Babysit Grandma or Grandpa by Reagan for the text to self connection too. I change it up from year to year. We work on all of our grandparent's day activities and make our grandparents. They always turn out so cute. Then we invite grandparents in for lunch. We ask the parents to send in cookie donations. During our lunch, I introduce myself and I do a quick slide show of things the children wrote about their grandparents. Then I give out awards. There is an cupcake (anniversary award) for being married the longest, a gas card (traveled the farthest) and a picture frame (most grandchildren). This was all in place when I came to this school, I can't take credit for these ideas. The children love having them visit their classroom, and I love making a connection to there families.



 Another fun activity we did last year was the family trees. We ran out of time this year but they turn out super cute too.




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Friendship & Retelling GRP Week 2

On week two of Guided Reading with a Purpose we move onto the theme friendship. We need to build new friends within our classroom and learn the right way to treat one another without leaving anyone out. During this week our focus shifts to retelling. Eventually, our retelling will become more detailed. As we begin, we focus on three main parts; beginning, middle, and end.

The featured stories I picked are shown below.


We began the week with a little activity called Guess that Story. I read a beginning, middle and end from the cards I created and they have to guess the story. I have 2 sets, one for Goldilocks and the Three Bears and then one for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (You can see them below on the green chart) Next, I tell them a very vague beginning, middle, and end which they will NOT be able to guess. This brings up the discussion about retelling and including the most important details.

After the introduction, we begin our first story Peanut Butter and Cupcake.  This story is one of my favorites because it is so funny...lots of puns. I love to discuss the title with the class. I always ask them why Terry Border didn't call the story Peanut Butter and Jelly. This year one of my kiddos hit it spot on! She said, "That would give the story away!" Once we read the story, we reviewed the characters and setting, went over the discussion questions and then began retelling the story. 


Back at our seats we work on a picture retell. You can see that before cutting out the parts, I read them to the class and we labeled them B, M, or E. Then we glued them in order. We also discuss that the middle is  "most" of the story and will always have more details. For writing, you can see I modeled three sentences as my retell. Then we did our own retells and made either peanut butter or jelly. Also above I have some sorting cards. I always have these on hand for early finishers. They come up to the chart and we do these activities together while others finish up...this keeps behavior problems to a minimum.


On day two we read Nugget and Fang. It is a great story of an unlikely friendship. We focus on never judging a book by its cover.  I love this story, the illustrations are amazing. Below you can see the retelling cards and a fun opposite sort. We also review characters and setting too. I keep the routine pretty similar, children love routines.



For writing, we wrote about how Fang saved the day. We basically retold just the ending of the story. Of course, we had to make Nugget and Fang.


On the third day we read Chester's Way. This is my very favorite Kevin Henkes story. This story talks about accepting others differences and making new friendships. Also, Lilly is in this story and she is so much fun. Here are a few pictures from this unit. We sorted the different things the characters like in this story since it is a huge part of the story.




Day 4 is a little extra special because we have a yummy treat.  Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun is a story of a little girl who gets picked on by a boy in the class. One day that boy finds himself stuck and Lucy comes and helps to overlook how he has treated her. In the end, she was the bigger person and gained a new friend. It also brings up the idea that life would be boring if we were all same. Lucy loves spaghetti in a hot dog bun.   This was an easy thing to prep for my class. I made 1 box of noodles and added the sauce. I cut the buns in half and warmed it up in a microwave. It was a lot of fun and we did a little tally graphing too.


We also discussed other things that might taste good in a hot dog bun. We created our own ideas and wrote about them.  A little text to self-connection. 


On our final day, we read Do Unto Otters. This story is soooo adorable. We do a little picture and label retell and look closely at some of the key vocabulary. This vocabulary basically sums up the qualities of a good friend. Perfect to end our week on friendship.


As a class we each added a sticky note of what we would like from a friend. We made our cute little otters and they are hung out in the hallway.  


Finally, we ended the week with a fun culminating activity. Students got into groups of three. They picked a book from the week or one that we had read this year. Each person took either the beginning middle or end. Then they presented the story with words and pictures. This was a fun way to celebrate what we had learned plus they were able to work in groups and collaborate.


Here is a sneak peek at some of the fun crafts included. Of course, we don't have time to do them all. I like to change it up from year to year too.





If you are interested in checking out this unit, click below.



If you would like to look at my entire year-long GRP bundle click below.



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