Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Adapted Dolch Sight Words

All of my students start out with the Fairview Adapted Dolch Words. For those of you unfamiliar with Fairview, Adapted Dolch words are the most common sight words, and many of which have multiple signs and meanings. Students learn all of the various signs for a word to increase their comprehension when reading. For example, the word "run" has 11 signs. Yes, 11! I have to run out the door. The students run at PE. I'm going to run some copies. The teacher runs the class. Obama runs for President. Etc, etc. So our Deaf/Hard of Hearing students learn the multiple signs and meanings for the Adapted Dolch sight words preprimer through third grade.
I have two sixth graders that have mastered the lists. The rest are all working at their own pace through the lists. (This is the part that I love about Fairview- all of our students are getting what they need at their level.) This is probably the most challenging part of the Dolch rotation during our Fairview time. Every single student has their own list they are working from. Luckily, my instructional assistant takes the lists I give her from my assessments with the students and then develops the word lists and homework for the week. We keep the student word lists and Adapted Dolch word lists in a binder at her table.
When a student arrives to her table they bring their FV word box with them. She introduces the new word. She explains and describes each sign and meaning. Many times this means using a picture to really give the students a mental image of the meaning. The students make a 5x8 index card with the word and number of signs/meanings on the front and a picture and sentence for each meaning on the back. Then she reviews all of the words the student has been working on. The younger students also make a sight word watch that they wear home for the day. They love to make these watches and it's a good reminder to practice their new sight word with their parents.
When I first started to use the Adapted Dolch word lists a few years ago, I decided to make file folders for each and every word. Yes, it was a lot of work, but in the end, it makes it so much easier to just pull out the files we need for the week. The files are in a crate out on the counter for easy access.
Within in the folder are all of the activities I've accumulated for that sight word. This includes the multiple signs for the word, sight word watches, writing practice, homework I've created, and other activities. I've been able to find a lot of fun activities like play dough sight words, sight word graphing, pokey pin sight words, and sight word practice pages online at Teachers Pay Teachers. These have made our center activities lots of fun for the students and are great practice using what we've learned. A lot of my students need repetition and practice to master their sight words.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading Assessment

For our Reading Assessment I mainly use the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA).  I like to assess the students at least once every trimester. Sometimes it's more often if the student is suddenly making outstanding progress and their current leveled books are too easy.
I've made several copies of each assessment and they are stored in the folders for easy access. This way if I need to go up, or down a level, the copies are already made and ready to go. I like the DRA because it includes a running record as well as a rubric for comprehension. Comprehension is where my students really struggle, so it's nice to have their progress documented by level.
Assessment results are recorded on the student's Guided Reading Log, and their DRA Continuum folders in their Student Portfolios. I like using the DRA Continuum folders because it can keep track of the student's progress all in one place. It's sometimes very slow progress and I want to make sure to really celebrate when progress happens!
Occasionally, when a student has read the same DRA assessment more than once I will use the Rigby Benchmark Assessment instead. The comprehension part is not as in-depth, that's why I prefer the DRA.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is the rotation that I run during our Fairview Rotation time. I see 13 students Mon-Thurs. The goal is that I see every student two times a week. 
When a student comes to me for reading they bring their binder, previously read books from their book boxes, their reading vocabulary box and their homework bag.  Now that we are a few months in, I don't have to give as many reminders on what to bring with them.
For Guided Reading I use a variety of sources for reading materials. This is our large Guided Reading  library that we have accumulated over the years. We have leveled readers, fiction and non-fiction in levels A-R. We use the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system. This allows us to level a variety of books in different genres.
Something new that I'm using this year is the SRA Multiple Skills Series Reading set. I've had this in the classroom for a while and was using it as additional homework for my higher level students. But one of the things that really struck home at the FV training I went to this summer is that my Guided Reading lessons should be short and sweet, 15-20 minutes (the length of our rotations). I couldn't even begin to wrap my head around how that would work with my level L+ kids. There is no way we could get through a book in a session, let alone hit the target skills necessary for each kid. That's were the Multiple Skills Series comes in.  I can use the higher level books for my higher level readers. We're able to read a 'true' passage and get through all of our skills in one session.  They are not as colorful and entertaining as our other books, but we get in a lot more reading this way. I've also added my own typed questions to go with each unit story for my readers that need additional practice reading and answering questions in a written format.
So what does a Guided Reading lesson look like?

  • We quickly read their vocabulary cards from past lessons in their reading vocab boxes. If they know the word, I give them a star on the card. After 5 stars, they have 'mastered' the word and get to trash the card. They love to throw them away! It's a good motivator. 
  • We quickly re-read several of their past books. If they have read the book at least three times with me and they are fluent readers, then I send the book home for reading with their parents. (More on that later.)
  • We start our new reading book.  Many times they are teacher-selected texts. Sometimes I will let the student choose a new book from the appropriate leveled box.
  • We do a picture walk and I pick out new words for the students to locate on the page.
  • We predict what might happen and why.
  • Then we start our reading.
  • As the student reads, I jot down unknown words on their Guided Reading Book Log. (Which I need to redevelop to add more space for the unknown words, and new Bridge phrases.)
  • Occasionally, I will stop the student, cover up the words, and ask them to tell me about the page, looking for conceptually accurate signs and concepts.
  • After the student reads, I mark the Bridge phrases in the book (oh yes I do!) in pencil. For my higher level students that can bridge on their own, after the first read, I ask them to go back and bridge as much as they can on their own. (Bridge Phrases are English phrases requiring American Sign Language (ASL) translation for understanding.)
  • We go back and re-read the passage using the appropriate Bridge phrases and appropriate Adapted Dolch signs.
  • We talk about literary elements such as beginning, middle and end, problem and resolution. I ask for a re-telling of the story in their own words. (For some, this means page by page using the pictures as prompts.)
  • I ask the students to find specific words they didn't know the first time and they write these onto their new reading vocabulary cards. If there is time, they draw a picture on the other side. If there isn't enough time, that is one of the first things they do when they go to the centers rotation.
Usually by now our time is up... and I'm lucky if I made it through all these steps.
Reading homework is assigned as often as possible, and at least once a week. The students each have their own homework reading bag. Inside is a parent letter and chart where I fill in the book title and level. When the student takes it home and reads it with their parents, the parent signs off and the student returns the bag the next day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Basics

To get started using Fairview with your students they are going to need a few things. Having one central place in the classroom for all of the Fairview materials is helpful, but not necessary. This is our Fairview area of the classroom.  (The bulletin board above our boxes is actually my Literature board and the work displayed there changes with each new Literature book.)

First off, every student needs a binder to store all of their papers, and to keep the students organized. My students store their binders on the bookshelf so they are easy to find. The students carry their binders with them (and a pencil) to every rotation.

I added five-tabbed dividers to the binder for each Fairview rotation that the students visit.  There are tabs for Reading, Adapted Dolch Sight Words, Bridge Words (The younger students have a Bridge Word section, but do not yet visit Bridge), ASL Stories and Writing.  I'll show you what's in each section as we come to it.

The other necessities are a small 3x5 card box for reading vocabulary words and a larger 5x8 card box for Adapted Doch words. 

I used a big chunk of my classroom budget at the beginning of the school year to invest in these boxes and binders.  However, they are really sturdy and we will be able to re-use them year after year. Office Depot had the best prices for the larger 5x8 boxes and I found the little 3x5 boxes at.  I added the student names to the top and side of  each box so they would be easy to find.

When the students visit the Adapted Dolch Word rotation they know to bring their large box with them.  When they come to reading, they know to bring their small reading vocabulary box.

So a binder, large 5x8 card file box, and a smaller 3x5 card file box are the supplies your students will need to get started. Of course, you're going to need a large supply of the cards as well!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Now that you've seen the breakdown of our Fairview rotations, let's go a little bit more in depth on each part. I'm going to start with centers. I'm not going to lie, this is the most time consuming part of Fairview for me.(The rest of the rotations take little to no prep.) I'm working with 13 students in grades Kinder to 6th. That is a whole lot of differentiating for a lot of students. It takes time, but it's well worth it. It keeps the students busy when they are not working 1:1 with an adult at the other rotations.
Centers are meant to be independent activities which review and practice previously learned skills. Don't get me wrong, they are all not independent. This is especially true when working with the younger students that are not able to function independently yet. We have a signing instructional assistant that works with the students when they are in centers. She helps the students that need additional help and signs off on the activities when they are complete.
The centers are stored in Ziploc bags or large, laminated manila envelopes. Each center is labeled with the name of the task. They are leveled in boxes 1-6 and baskets 7-8. The baskets hold over sized items that will not fit in the Ziploc bags.
I have tried to group some of the students together for the center tasks to make my life easier. I have four groups: 1.) Students that are still working on learning the alphabet 2.) Preprimer sight word learners 3.) Basic sight word readers (Primer-1st) 4.) 2nd-3rd grade readers working on grammar skills and sentence building.
This year I have purchased a lot of my center activities from Teachers Pay Teachers. They also have a TON of free resources that you can download and print. Since this is the first year of structuring centers this way, I didn't have very many resources already created. We do a lot of printing, cutting and laminating. Next year I will have boxes and boxes of seasonal educational centers ready to use.
I make my list of students and center tasks. Each student has at least 5-6 centers to complete in that given week. Some of my students are mainstreamed for part of the Fairview time, so they only have 3 centers. I put the activities into the boxes, and fill out their Fairview Centers slip. This pink slip is what the students refer to all week in order to know which activities they have been assigned to complete. When they finish the task, the IA checks it over and initials the box on the slip. The student also removes that number card from the Fairview Center board and puts it into the "Finished activities" box on the right.
I created this chart in Word and then took the file to Office Depot to have it printed on poster size, and laminated. After the school year started, we decided to include the kinders, and I got a new student, so I had to add another chart to the bottom. (My type A personality doesn't love that it hangs over the board!) I added velcro to the large chart and printed cards with the centers numbers and also added velcro once they were laminated. 
I refer to the student's pink slips and put up the matching center numbers onto the board. The board helps the students and staff stay on track. It's an easy, visual way to see who has done what.  At about October I was frustrated every week when I changed the centers that I had to search through these tiny cards for the center numbers I needed. I quickly threw together this little box with cardstock numbered dividers. Now it's easy to find the cards I need quickly.

The students store all of their completed center activities in their Fairview box (blue Lakeshore boxes). Also in the Fairview box they have their Fairview binder, schedule, pink centers slip, Guided Reading books, and Adapted Dolch word signing dictionaries. They store everything in here so the papers do not get lost in the desk and everything is in one place.  By the end of the week, the boxes are pretty crazy. You can tell there was a lot of hard work going on!
On Friday afternoons I go through each of the Fairview boxes and staple all of the centers work together. This work is sent home in their Friday folders. And then I do it all again for the next week!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fairview Learning in Our Classroom

This summer I attended the Fairview Learning Regional Training in Las Vegas. It was a three day intensive training. (I happened to also have a blast with my sister in the evenings!) I've attended the basic Fairview training in the past, but really didn't have a good grasp on how to really implement the full five components in my classroom. 
After the regional training, was ready to go and excited to fully implement it in my classroom.  I've "used" the Adapted Dolch words in my classroom for two years. But that's not enough to really see growth and progress in your students. If you want to see true progress in language arts with your students, you need to implement and use all five components. I know it seems like a lot of time out of your day. It is.  But let's get real. If your students have difficulty reading and writing, then all those other subjects are not going to mean very much to your students. They need a strong language base first.
We've been using all the components of Fairview Learning since August. In six short months we have seen AMAZING growth in all of our students. It's totally worth the time and energy it takes to implement the components. It will make your job easier as a teacher in the long run!
So here's what our schedule looks like. We run Fairview Monday-Thursday afternoons from 12:40-2:25. The students each have their own color coded schedules that they follow. It took a little bit of training, but now it's a well-oiled machine. The students rotate to their next activity every 15-20 minutes. We have pooled our resources with the Pre/K teacher and share all of our students & staff. Combined, we have 13 D/HH students in grades K-6 doing Fairview.
Here are our rotations:

Adapted Dolch- Signing Instructional Assistant
Bridge Phrases- Educational Interpreter
Guided Reading- 1-6 teacher (myself)
Guided Writing- Pre/K teacher
ASL- Educational Interpreter (also a CODA)
Centers- Signing Instructional Assistant
The goal was that every child would visit reading, writing and ASL at least twice a week. Students visit Adapted Dolch everyday until they master all levels. Some students that have passed all the Adapted Dolch words only work on Bridge Phrases now.
Whenever the students are not working 1:1 with an adult they are working independently at centers. One staff member assists the students and signs off as they finish their centers.
That's the "nuts and bolts" of our Fairview Learning program and what it looks like in our classroom.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meet the Teacher

So here's a little about me. I've been going back and forth about creating this little blog for a while. I've been reading teacher blogs for over a year and have been scouring the Internet for blogs about Deaf/Hard of Hearing classrooms. I haven't had much luck. So the only way to get information, is to share information. This is my way of connecting with other teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing. I want to know about your classrooms and what you're doing with your students. I'm nervous about putting myself out there and sharing what we're doing in my classroom. It's just little ol' me. What do I know that other people want to know about? Who knows where this will go... but I'll give it a try.
My name is Kelly. Currently I teach Deaf/Hard of Hearing students in grades 1-6 in a Special Day Class. This is my 15th year of teaching. In the past I have taught preschool, did itinerant for a little while and then I settled into the upper grades 3rd-6th D/HH SDC. Due to declining enrollment we downsized our classrooms from three D/HH classes to just two. Teaching grades 1-6 is NOT ideal by any means. It's down right hard and time consuming. I'm hoping that we'll go back to three classes soon.
I have 11 Deaf/Hard of Hearing students in my classroom. We are a Total Communication program... the true meaning of TC. My students are mainstreamed into the general education classes with educational interpreters whenever possible.
I truly enjoy my job. Every single day is different than the day before. I'm always on my toes and ready for a new challenge. I love to see the light bulb go on when a student finally gets a new concept. Watching their progress is truly fulfilling to me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Classroom Tour

Welcome to my classroom. I teach a Special Day Class for Deaf/Hard of Hearing students in grades 1-6. These photos were taken a few days before school started. This was before our classroom was well lived in, and student work all around the classroom.

Feel free to take a tour of my classroom and leave a comment to say hello.

360 degree view of the room from the door.

Library area.
View from the library. Word wall above Guided Reading table.
Guided Reading Library.
Teacher desk, storage and work area.
Student desks, ELMO document camera in the main teaching area.
Small group teaching area.

Calendar area, job chart, schedules, class rules and behavior chart.
Math teaching area. I started the year off with a Math Workshop and centers. My students were just on too many levels to do math "workshop" style. We still use the baskets for centers for extended practice on math skills.

Fairview Learning student storage boxes, FV binders, small vocabulary reading boxes, large Adapted Dolch word boxes, and centers 1-8 boxes.

Fairview Learning Centers board.

I'm linking up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for her Show and Tell Tuesday- Your Room.