Mrs. Rizza's Website
As we navigate through a new way of learning while we are out of school, I will provide information here for you to use as a resource. I want to start by saying that establishing a routine right away will not only help your child know that learning can still take place outside of school, but it will also help the adults by bringing some structure to an otherwise disrupted time. The physical, emotional and social health of your child (and of you!) is at the utmost of importance at a time like this. No one can focus on learning (or teaching) if they are uncomfortable for some reason. So, please take the time needed to take care of any underlying issues first. That being said, establishing a routine often helps people feel secure. So, easing into an academic routine with activities that are easy for your children will not only help them get back into learning but will also build their confidence.
A Little Bit About Me
I grew up in Massachusetts and spent a lot of my childhood outdoors which is why I have a great love for nature, animals and science. The photo above is one that I took when we went to Alaska! I also love to work in my flower gardens and I am experimenting with growing vegetable plants indoors so the deer don't eat them! I try to exercise everyday outside so I can get fresh air and sunshine which always makes me feel great! I am telling you this because over the next few weeks we are going to have opportunities to write back and forth to each other about anything you want to share with me.
Writing - 15 Minutes a day
Writing to Each Other
As we go through this time out of school together I am going to be emailing each student once a week to ask some general questions about what they have been doing to keep busy (favorite games to play, toys they like, something funny that happened that day, forts they are building...) to inspire them to write/type back to me. It would be best if they use a keyboard so they begin to get used to it and to see how spell check can help them. If this type of writing activity doesn't fit into your schedule, I understand and I'm not pushing for it to happen, I just wanted to provide a fun way for your child to engage in writing.
Writing in the Yellow Fundations Journal
This is the journal I put in your baggy which had a note on it explaining that you could write about anything you want. There is a picture box on each page if you want to include a picture that has something to do with what you are writing about. You will notice there are the same lines that your classroom teacher has shown you how to use to practice you best handwriting. In fact, if you want to just practice some of your more tricky letters instead of writing a sentence, you could do that for that day's writing time if you want.
Reading - 15 Minutes a day
Some of you may have more than one zip-lock bag of books from me at this point since I just dropped off another bag in your mailbox. Please keep all of the materials in one place in your house so items don't get lost. I need to collect all the books and word cards at the end of the year since they belong to the school. Once the books and word cards become really easy for you just let me know, put them in a baggy in your mailbox on a Sunday (so the post office doesn't pick them up by mistake!) and I will come to get them. At this time, I'm not sure I will be able to continue to deliver new materials to you since we just had a meeting and it was suggested that it would be safer not to pass physical materials around. I am checking on this and will give you an update when I get it.
Try to choose a time of day that you are calm and focused to do your reading since it requires all your attention to be able to figure out new words as you read. Remember, when you are trying to figure out a new word, the goal is to go all the way through the entire word, looking for pieces you know or rules to follow which help you sound out the word the best you can. Then read ahead a little bit to check to see if it makes sense or to get more clues from the rest of the sentence to make a better attempt at that tricky word! Some parents asked for more book logs because it makes it easier to keep track of what they worked on and kept their child accountable for their work. Use these if they help you but I will not be collecting them.
Reading to me over the phone!
If you have been practicing a book and want to read it, or part of it over the phone so I can hear how great you sound, just have your parents let me know you're ready to do this and we'll set up a time. I would love to hear your voice! This would also give your parents a few minutes to themselves while you are reading to me. Again, you don't have to do this. I'm just trying to provide as much human contact as possible and maintain the working relationship we developed at school. Some children may feel intimidated to do this and there is no judgement on my part if they would rather not "perform" over the phone!
This is an on-line resource that provides leveled books for your child to read and answer comprehension questions about. The children have already been using this resource at school and should have an account with a username and password from their classroom teacher. If your child has forgotten the password, please email their classroom teacher for this information since they did the origianl set-up at the beginning of the year. This is a free website and a great resource for a lot of leveled books. Please know that in order for your child to move up to the next level, the previous level must be completed first. If you feel the level is really easy for your child, you can email the classroom teacher and asked to be moved up since they have control of this particular program.
Click on the Raz-Kids picture below to go to the website.
Phonics/Word Work - 15 Minutes a day
I provided my current reading students with a booklet of worksheets in their baggy. (Students who already graduated from the reading program and who are just doing a Booktrade with me right now, do not have this booklet in their baggy because they finished it with me earlier in the year.) The pages are in order by their level of difficulty; easiest in the beginning and hardest toward the end. Some of the pages have already been done with me but it never hurts to review them to see if they really know it. Once you review a page or work on a page with your child, try to find one of their books that has a sentence with that particular phonetic rule and have them read it. The goal with this booklet is to do one page a day (or two if the same concept continues onto the next page) and then apply that concept to a real book so they make a connection. (example: OA together says the long o sound. Now read this sentence in this book: " The fox went for a ride in the boat." The booklet is not meant to be completed in a few days because you want them to have opportunities to find that rule in books they are reading so they can practice appying the skill which deepens their understanding of it and helps them to remember it.
This is an online program that only some of my reading students have been using at school to help them learn phonetic rules. If you have not been using this with me at school you can skip down to the next section about Lalilo. A couple of weeks before school was closed, I sent home an instruction sheet with their username and password. If you cannot get onto the program please let me know as soon as possible. This is an excellent program and we have been working very hard at school to help your child get to the end of their grade level by the end of the year. They can progress through the games on their own until they get stuck and then will need some guidance from you to work through concepts that are tricky for them. Students sometimes get frustrated with a game because they either don't understand the concept or they are just carelessly clicking without doing careful checking. The lady on the game only lets you make one mistake (some games don't allow any mistakes!) and then she keeps making you practice before allowing you to move to the next level. If you want to know how far along your child is in the grade level, you can call or email me and I can explain it to you.
Click on the Lexia Core 5 picture below to go to the website.
For those of you who are not using Lexia, I made an account for each of you on this online phonics and comprehension program. Check your classroom teacher's webpage first because many teachers have chosen to use this site and it would be best to use their account if they set one up for you. If they don't have it set up for you, just let me know and I will email you the access information.
This program starts with a placement assessment, then determines what phonetic skills need to be worked on to start you in the right place.
Click on the Lalilo picture below to go to the website.