Wednesday, September 11, 2013

      If your school does not have a set phonics program you have to use these Beanie Baby strategy posters are really cool. They might be could to use for students receiving interventions or pull out support for reading as well. You just don't want to confuse kids with to many different things. You can order the actual Beanie Babies to go with them. There are also posters and Beanie Babies for comprehension strategies for older students. The strategies are the same as just about every program.  So the strategies should be the same and not so confusing for a lot of students.
I will be using the posters with some of my groups this year and will try to buy some of the beanies as well. I will post some videos when I do.

The Beanie Babies just might be the attention getter some kids needs.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I came across this blog post today during halftime of the Kansas City Chiefs game. I thought it was a good comparison of conferring. I might add that yes you must  listen to the student and let them lead the conference(you must train them to do this), but also know what your focus for the day is, and to check and see if the student can apply it to what they are reading. Conferring is a great informal assessment tool. You may or may not be able to ask a student to apply the days focus depending on what they are reading. That being the case you might want to send students off to finish reading and reflecting on a piece of text that you handpicked to practice the focus/skill before they dig into their book of choice. You can always ask the student to talk about that piece as well as their book of choice in your conference with them

Read, Write, Reflect: Lessons on Conferring

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hallmark Channel made a movie from the book The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. This is a good meaningful book, full of great language and vocabulary and a great story featuring the events of the time. Kids love the humor between family members as well as the storyline.  There is so much you can tie into this book!  It has a great opening paragraph & chapter that really hooks readers.

Here is a link to the Scholastic Book page with an video about the author.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham Scholastic page

My district is in full swing of implementing the Readers & Writers Workshop Model. I like the model as a reading teacher, but you have to remember there is no one program or model that reaches all students, a teacher does this by giving students what they need, when they need it. Sometimes that means steering off the roads, but being able to map where you are going still. Here is an example of some tips my principal emailed out today for the workshop model. These are good things to remember!

Tips for managing the workshop

Ø  Discuss what each component should look like 
Secondary Example:
·      Introduce learning targets
·      Build the “need to know” for the lesson
·      Finish bell work
·      Read learning targets or I can statements
Mini lesson
·      Reading
·      Writing
·      Thinking aloud
·      Modeling
·      Turn & Talk with partner
·      Listening
Work time
·      Conferring
·      Catch/Release
·      Reading
·      Thinking
·      Responding
·      Select students to share
·      Share what students did
·      Turn & Talk
·      Active Listening
·      Learning from others
·      Formative assessment
Ø  Take time to establish guidelines for productive, independent group work.  Include students in this process, for they are more apt to follow guidelines and goals they helped create. 
Include expectations for:
o   what to do if they finish early
o   what to do if you are conferring and they have a question or if they need to leave the room (i.e. go to the bathroom), what do to if they need supplies

*  Ask students to suggest behavior guidelines that will help groups discuss text, complete projects, and/or confer.  State guidelines in positive sentences so they understand what they can and should do, rather than what they shouldn’t do.

*Build students stamina to work through the entire work time. Include catch and releases as you see students off task throughout the time.  Set goals for the amount of time they will work before you pull them back together.

* Communicate how students will be assessed on the learning target that day; clear expectations for what they will need to accomplish by the end of the class-remind students of this as they begin their worktime.

* Routines and procedures may need to be revisited periodically to ensure all students are productive in a workshop environment.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

       Giving Running Record to ELL students can difficult when considering what you call an error. I had a teacher come to me today asking me what to count as errors and what not to when working with ELL students.
       I told her you are always told to take into consideration how they naturally speak and to not count off for dialect errors. Some students have a hard time producing certain sounds, or adding suffixes to words and using the correct form of the word. She showed me a running record where the student had made many errors where they left off the s or es at the end of the word. She just learning how administer the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment. It was an excellent concern. In some texts it could be 10-20 words.
      Should you count it as an error only once? Or should you mark them all as errors and note that their comprehension was good, so you continued on to the next level because you are taking into consideration that this is a common mistake among lots of ELL students and specifically this student. Also noting that when taking out all of the errors where the student left off an s or es, they would pass the level with accuracy and they passed with comprehension.  I have done the latter  many times and the student usually does not pass the next level.
     This teacher also commented that she had been told a few different ways on how to handle the situation. This really bothers me that even within or our we are not being consistent. Please share your own thoughts on this.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This is so true, you have to know your kids and makes decisions to help them grow. 

 Viewing children as individual learners and working with them in groups may seem at odds; however, no matter what size group we are working with, we always recognize that children are individuals and we do our best to tune into their individual strengths."

--Irene C. Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell, from the book Word Matters

By the end of 6th grade, Student “A” will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days.  Student “B” will have read only 12 school days.  Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?  Which student would you expect to be more successful in school?
(Nagy and Herman, 1987)