I have taught Open Court in the classroom and also serve as an educational consultant for SRA Open Court Reading.
This page has lots of pictures because sometimes you just want to see what it looks like! There are also some extension activities and ideas that I have created that coordinate well with the program. Many of these ideas could be incorporated into any classroom.
I hope you will find them useful for your students!
If you have any Open Court questions, please email me at email@example.com
What were those alphabet books you were talking about?
Here are some great alphabet books to coordinate with Unit 1 Let's Read.
These are excellent teacher resource books for any teacher who teaches reading!
Setting up a Writing Center
Every classroom needs a warm and inviting corner for emerging authors. Here is my writing center from the 2007-2008 school year. It is located underneath my word wall. The pocket chart at the back contains all kinds of paper, stationary, adding machine tape and other materials to inspire the love of writing. There are also several different dictionaries and a board book of opposites. The pocket chart on the back of the book shelf contains writing choices. The bookcase is our classroom supply shelf where we keep crayons, scissors, glue, etc. The wall is decorated with writing samples such as letters, lists, invitations, five finger planners, etc.
Need some additional materials for Writers Workshop Time?
Download these dividers and use them to create Writers Notebooks.
Use these dividers to create notebook for each student. Place in a 3 ring binder or folder.
A spiral notebook could also be used.
This literature response form encourages students to use their five senses as they examine the setting of a story.
A literature response form designed to help students make connections from the text to their own experiences.
Inspire your students to become authors by creating these special writing folders! Students will have room to store their ideas, works in progress, and finished works. The folder also doubles as a privacy folder creating a special "office" for your students to create their stories and poems! They are inexpensive and easy to make!
Here are the materials you need:
Poster board per students
Labels for writing folders
Fold the bottom portion of the poster board up to create a folder. Apply a glue lightly on the open edges if desired. Laminate the poster board. Cut off any excess laminating film and fold the poster like a burrito (or a brochure) so that it has three sections. Use an exacto knife or box cutter to cut open 3 slits to make 3 pockets. Label the first pocket Ideas, the second pocket Works in Progress, and the third Published Works. Download labels for your folder below! Print them on 2 by 4 inch shipping labels.
Students wear brainstorming crowns during pre-writing to help "drain their brains"
before they begin writing their sloppy copies! The crowns can be purchased through SRA. They are usually listed with the kindergarten materials, but my first graders love them!
Professional Resources for Teaching Writing
Clues, Problems, and Wonderings Chart
So, what does that chart look like in a first grade classroom? Here are some from my classroom.
This chart was created about the story The Kite by Arnold Lobel. Clues always focuses on story elements. Who are the characters, what is the setting, what is the genre, can we guess what the main idea will be about etc. Problems are things the reader may encounter in the story and experience trouble with. Examples include vocabulary words, sentence structure, unusual illustrations etc. Wonderings encompasses anything the student is wondering about as he or she reads or browses the story. I always add a schema section at the to and encourage the kids to tell me what they already know about the topic. I also add a Purpose section and ask the kids why are we reading this story and why they think the author wrote this particular story. We create the majority of this chart as we browse the story and then add to it as we read and review the selections. We created a writing extension of this story by creating a kite divided into 4 sections. The students wrote and illustrated each of the four things Toad did to try and fly his kite.
Here is another chart about The Itsy Bitsy Spider:
Story Extension Activity:
I created a cloze activity using text from the story. Students created their own version of an itsy bitsy spider adventure at the end of the book. Cut the pages out and staple them into a book. Then, attach a spider ring to the book with yarn for a fun and interactive pointer for reading their new story! Download here: Itsy Bitsy Spider
The Garden by Arnold Lobel
Story Extension Activities
Help students make connections to the story using this literature response form: Seeds
Download the center of the flower for this activity: Literature Response Flower
Students trace and cut out petals. On each petal, the student writes the different ways Toad tried to help his seeds grow.
On the final petal, students write advice for Toad on how to grow seeds.
Students need daily opportunities to read to build confidence, fluency, reading rate, and expression.
Here are some pictures of my students reading their anthologies together! They love to read.
Here are my students reading in our classroom library on our bee beanbags!
There are always lots of books available for them to browse and enjoy!
The bulletin board above contains examples of literature response activities.
Here are pictures of students reading inside our classroom beehive. Its a cozy place to curl up with a book.
need help with Independent Work Time, please check out my
Centers page and my
Literacy Center page for ideas.
Tongue Twister Fact Family Fun Traveling Bags Morning Meetings Organization
Workshops Open Court Resources Units & Themes Christian Themes Contact Email