Friday, May 23, 2014

Deep Thinking from pictures to text

Teaching inferring can be challenging. I love using graphic novels and picture books for it. Kids will really get into looking closely and studying a picture. They notice things I miss sometimes, from the shading of the light, to a characters eye color being off due to something. If they can notice these details in pictures then we can transfer it to noticing things in the text, from mood, to the different connotations words can have, to inferring, using clues from the text and our own experiences and experiences from others. They think very deeply when looking at pictures but forget to do that when looking a words, sentences and then paragraphs and chapters. Reading is thinking, it does not matter if it is pictures or words. Teaching kids to tap into the pictures and feelings an authors words create is as important as pronouncing them correctly. There has been a lot push from lately for using short pieces of text,  mostly Non Fiction and justifiably so, but we also need to be working on building the stamina of readers to make it through chapter books. To make it through them with the ability to change their thinking and justify why, they have to have the ability to synthesize through longer texts as well.
This is from the book Amulet: Book One: The StoneKeeper by Kazu Kibuishi. My struggling readers love it, and it helps get them to transfer there deep thinking from pictures to the text.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Everything You do & say means something

I have seen this before, but it is just as meaningful each time a read it. Read and please pass it on. Pass it on the teacher that you know yells too much at their students. Ask your kids who the teachers who yell are in their school, they know! Everything we say and do our students read and pick up on and remember.
  Read this and share it

The Friend List
Author Unknown
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.
It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.
That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.
On Monday, she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much," were most of the comments.
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on...
Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.
The church was packed with his friends. One by one, those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.
As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."
After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.
"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."
Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.
“Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."
All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."
Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."
"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."
That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.
The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.
So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A bright idea for responding when kids say “I don’t know”

Great idea on what to do when kids say I don't know from the minds of many great educators.

If you did know, what would you say?

Variations on this include:
  • I understand you don’t know. What would you say if you did know?
  • What part do you know for sure?
  • Pretend you had a choice of answers: which one would you pick?
  • What would be your best guess if you did know?
  • What are the possibilities?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This was a thought provoking tweet, I found on Twitter.
Avoiding the Trap of "Q & A Teaching" | Edutopia

It makes sense to make model quick and to the point, with a clear purpose. There is a time and place for asking questions and clarifying. The asking of questions should often be done by the students with you clarify after the modeling is done and the skill has been practiced or when conferring with a small group or individual student. When you are modeling a skill you are often exposing kids to it for the first time and they need it modeled. A good use of the teacher asking questions would be when you give the whole class a problem to solve in any subject where you want them thinking and using creativity and problem solving skills. You can Q & A after giving them time to work on it and the skills needed to solve it have been modeled. Or if you are using the problem as a way to check and see what they know before introducing a new lesson. Q & A has it time and place, don't forget that. There are many places to use it and to avoid it. I am sure lots of you have examples. This was a good concept the think about and they gave some good ideas!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

This post from the Crazy Reading Ladies made me think of my youngest daughter. She decided to do karate this year. I have been wanting this for a while. She does it through Young Champions and her school. It is a very laid back approach to karate and they do not really make you work as hard as they should or could. They are not really pushing practice, hard work and focus. She enjoys it, but gets frustrated with all the above mentioned from time to time. I can tell she would like to be pushed hard and challenged more.  They gave out information for a karate tournament last month making a big deal about everyone getting a trophy just for showing up.  I did not want to pay $30 for her just to get a plastic trophy. she admitted to me that she just wanted to go for the trophy. Ugh! I want her to earn what she get and know the value of hard work and what it feels like when it pays off, and when it doesn't.

Crazy Reading Ladies: The Agony (and Ecstasy) of Defeat

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Here are a few quotes from the Divergence book series that relate to teaching!
“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
“But I will find new habits, new thoughts, new rules. I will become something else.”
“A brave (person) acknowledges the strength of others.”
“Politeness is deception in pretty packaging.”
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”