Saturday, November 20, 2010

Looking for Literacy Gifts? Great Gadgets For Your Classroom?

If you want to get started right away with recycling old books into gifts, you might turn a book headed for Goodwill into aliterary clock instead. This is a craft project that requires very few skills. The only tool you need is a drill, and the materials for the clock face are from a clock kit found in craft stores or online.

Even if you don't pass this along to a friend, you could use it help your students tell time on an analog clock!

The Writer's Toolbox
This is a "game" that looks like it would be filled with fluffy story starters. Instead, it's got a wealth of creative and thoughtful ways into writing that can pique the interest of even the most reluctant writer. Many of the ideas can be adapted as minilessons, or for use in conferences with students who are stuck.

Click on the title and read the RAVE reviews from Very cool.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"CHIT- chat"- A cute acronym that gets to the heart of purposeful, effective, and complete conferences

Ever think, there's got to be a better way? I just don't feel like I am as effective of a conferring partner as I could be. You are not alone. :)
Below is a cute acronym that helps teachers remember to do ALL of the parts of an effective conference. Check out "CHIT- Chat" below and see if it helps you to have more purposeful, effective and complete conferences with your readers, writers, and thinkers.

CHIT-Chat” Conferring Anecdotal Note Technique

Check progress— Since last conference or mini-lesson. Name the area the student has been working on as a reader, writer, or thinker.

Have dialogue— How’s it going? What are you reading? What are you working to improve? Child reads orally to you as you listen for oral fluency and comprehension and monitor for a teaching point.

Instruct— Instruct student in their Next Step (i.e. breaking apart a word, using a pic. clue, etc., stopping to visualize and check for understanding) What will the student will try to implement?

Try-it—Let them try the instruction point with you before you move on.

Coming soon: A video of a conference using the "CHIT- Chat" technique.
Try it and share your comments below!
* Thanks to Amy Grimm who shared this technique with me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reading Like a Writer-WOW

Mrs. Coomer may be new to teaching, but she and her students are not new to reading like a writer! Check out her students' "Noticings of Feature Articles." For the past week, this Upper Primary class has been spending their time reading, coding/"marking up the text", and discussing model texts during their writing workshop. Each day they have taken the time to immerse themselves in this genre of writing to learn as much as they could about it before writing their own. It's something Katie Wood Ray, author of Wonderous Word: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom, promised would dramatically enhance our students' writing, and something teachers at BES find incredibly effective. What schema our little ones already have... and they  have yet to write their own!

What do you want to say about reading like a writer? Share  your comments below.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Videos and Resources To Enhance Your Reader's Workshops

The link above has it all! Richard Allington  and other Literacy Experts (teachers, too!) offer video clips and resources to remind us of best practices, enhance our own understandings, and offer alternatives to the ho-hum of teaching Reader's Workshop.

While the title states that it's geared towards "Grades 3-5" don't let it fool you. The best practices shown here have something for EVERYONE. I watched our dear "friend" Richard Allington's video, Workshop 2. Fluency and Word Study and had an ah-ha moment regarding what he calls Non-Interruptive Reading Strategy. You know those readers who read... Word. By. Word. They even stop to look around and check with you to see if it's right? Allington shared in this interview that this behavior is actually a learned behavior that we- teachers- have developed in our readers. Ahhhh! Not good. Never fear, we can break the cycle for ourselves and work with students to assist them in reading fluently... so they can better comprehend the texts they read.

To learn about how best to teach an understanding of:
Creating Contexts for Learning
Fluency and Word Study
Building Comprehension
New Literacies of the Internet
Teaching English Language Learners
Teaching Diverse Learners
Assessment and Accountability
Investigating Word Meaning
Fostering Book Discussions
Choosing Words Strategically
Revising for Clarity
Reading Across the Curriculum
Looking at Cause and Effect
Close Reading for Understanding
Summarizing Nonfiction

Reader's Theatre: Engaging Students in Improving Oral Fluency to Enhance Comprehension

Looking for ways to engage your readers? Ways to help those dysfluent readers improve their rate, accuracy, and expression so they can enhance their comprehension? Want to spark creativity, introduce drama, and offer novel activities for students to participate in withing your Reader's Workshop? Check out these sites which contain a plethora of Reader's Theater ideas, scrips, and tips. See what you think! How to start using Reader's Theater Instructionally in the Classroom, links to texts, and MORE! Free Reader's Theater Scripts and Plays Reading Rockets ALWAYS has great ideas and teaching tips to share Scholastic Books offers some ideas and links to get you started. Purchasing Reader's Theaters

Be sure to add your comments below to share how you work with students on improving oral fluency.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Going Deeper with Conventions

Thinking that you missed out on the "Going Deeper with Conventions" PD session? You can catch one major aspect in this short video clip. Three of your colleagues share in a jigsaw synthesizing session of Janet Angelillos' book, A Fresh Approach to Teaching Punctuation. Together they work to make meaning so they can create a Venn diagram of Best Practices for Teaching Conventions.
What do you do to go deeper with teaching conventions?