there is a lucy calkins unit in the kindergarten units of study for reading, called “Super Readers Have Super Powers”. this unit can obviously be used in kindergarten classrooms, but it can also be used by first grade teachers.
when teachers college put together the units of study, they intentionally left gaps in the year. while they hope that you teach the units intended for your specific grade level, they also wanted the flexibility for teachers to double back if they have a struggling group, or to use some of the “if, then units” depending on the needs of those specific students.
in this “super readers” unit, kindergartners are introduced to the many strategies that readers need to use when they are learning to read and having to decode unknown words. there are so many cute lessons in this unit, but the kick off dubs all the readers with super powers and they are told about a super hero called “super reader”. there is even a lesson on multisyllabic words being like the kryptonite for readers and that true super readers must not be stopped by the kryptonite words.
like most units in the lucy units, a celebration occurs at the end to highlight all that they have learned. making the cape was NOT part of the celebration, however many of us in our school created these “no sew” capes.
½ yard of felt for each cape.
contrasting felt to be used for the letter, or star or insignia on the back of the capes.
fabric glue or iron on interfacing.
cut rectangles (we made each cape ½ yard in length) and left the width as is
cut the slits along the top. these will be used to weave a ribbon or the contrasting felt strip along the top to tie the cape closed when being worn.
measure down about 1 inch from the top to begin your slits. make 1-2 inch long slits every 2 or so inches apart.
make and cut your insignia that will be attached via fabric glue or iron on interfacing to the middle back of your capes.
you will see the sample cape has a star, but for our classrooms we decided to make the first letter of each readers’ name (see photo). other ideas could be a shield, an eye, etc.
gift each super reader in your classroom with their new super reading cape. host a celebration and invite parents, or classroom buddies or another grade level to visit so your readers can show off their new capes and reading skills.
after finishing the unit, learning about the world: reading nonfiction, the first grade lucy calkins' unit, one of our classes needed a change of pace from the routine of the workshop so we decided to explore nonfiction book clubs.
inspired by kathy collins' reading for realand jennifer seravallo's the reading strategies book, we mapped out lessons introducing students to how book clubs can work. we considered the classroom library for appropriate books levels and a variety of topics. we assembled baskets of books on dogs, frogs, cats, transportation and ladybugs.
kathy's book gives tips on reading clubs for grades k-3
reading partners chose their three favorite topics and were guaranteed one of their three topics for their book clubs. we then assigned groupings based on available text levels. students "discovered" their club on monday morning and embarked on a week long adventure with their baskets of books. our first lesson was to teach students to make a plan with their partners (see below). once they had a plan, the fun began! we teachers made the rounds of the groups to hear their plans and to encourage them to use post its to jot notes about ideas, noticings, and wonderings.
we were surprised that many student pairs decided to read independently first rather than reading with their partner first and our reading workshop had a new shot of excitement to it! in the next post, we will tell you what happened during the rest of the week.