Have you seen these lying around your classroom? Or at your school?
As elementary teachers, we tend to have these little manipulatives coming out of our ears! We use them for math and they are everywhere!
Today, I’m going to give you a tip at the Guided Reading table that utilizes these red and yellow chips to your advantage.
We know that at the Guided Reading table students should be reading independently in a low whisper voice (or in their heads depending on their reading level). But THAT can be hard to manage when five little readers need support and are staring at you to come help them.
How do we build independence as the Guided Reading table and promote problem-solving?
We have to teach problem-solving strategies and have ways for our readers to keep track of their attempts. One way I do this is by introducing the red and yellow chip as a learning tool at the Guided Reading table.
Here’s what it sounds like when I first introduce these chips.
‘Readers, we know there will be tricky words in our books and it is up to us to solve those tricky parts. We don’t have time to wait for the teacher to come around and help us – we have to problem-solve on our own!
Everyone at the table will get a yellow chip to place next to their book. As you are reading and you get to a tricky word, I want you to turn the chip over to red. This signals you know this is a tricky word and you will not be tricked! Once you turn your chip to red, don’t stop! Use what you know about solving words to figure out the tricky part (look at the first sound, break the word into chunks you know, think about what makes sense, etc). Then, once you figured out the word, turn your chip back over to yellow to show you were not tricked!’
During the first few times students use these chips, I like to tally how many times students turn their chip BACK TO YELLOW to celebrate their problem-solving attempts. I make a big deal of this because I want my readers to take risk and solve words on their own. This will transfer to independence.
After students read the text, I make sure to talk about which words signaled a chip flip and what strategies students used to solve the word. The more conversation we have around this learning tool, the more likely they are to use it!
With young readers, it is important to help them understand that you can only turn the chip over if you get to a tricky part and solve the word. In the early days if I notice a student is just turning the chip because other students are turning theirs, I coach them on real reading vs. fake reading. I also only give tally marks to students who are solving words (and not just flipping for the sake of flipping!)
As we continue to use this learning tool, students become self reliant with problem-solving!
All readers are able to stay engaged with their text and I am able to coach readers one-on-one based on their individual needs and know who to help and when based on their chip color!
Everyone is WINNING!!!