Thursday, August 30, 2018

Are We All Speaking the Same Language?

We've seen the power of ALL using the language of the Thinking Strategies K-5. We know the gains students can make when they already know the meaning of the words we say and how to put that "word" into action. We know the excitement we feel and the confidence the students can display when we have something familiar to build upon.

It might go something like this: Students say, "I know what it means to use my schema!"  (and you learn that they really do). So then our next thought might be, "Yes! Now we can learn even more about HOW to use our schema AND we can do that with complex and unfamiliar text!" 

The reality of common language fostering movement toward deeper and more efficient learning  displays itself again and again. Think about the Phonics Dance, the BES version of StopLight Paragraphing, Fluency components, Bear Essentials, Share Square, Math Practices, Equations and "No Naked Numbers", even Workshop Model! Again and again students reap the rewards of familiar common schoolwide language that we build upon as they move through the content learning and grade levels.
Two sides of the multi-page desk ring that offers tools for reading, writing, and math.

So, my offering to you today is the content on a Desk Ring* that Kindergarten students are taught to use independently. It includes the Phonics Dance Hunks and Chunks, a Fab 5 writing rubric ALL K's have used as writers (of anything) throughout the year, and the reading decoding and math strategies. While some of this language may phase out between 2nd and 3rd, it's important that we, as teachers, understand what students are familiar with and support them as they build their understanding and maybe new language or expectations. There is much to gain when we all "speak the same language." How might this tools' content support you and/or your students?

*The fabulous Mindy McKinney made this terrific tool for K, but I thought you may want it as a tool to reference yourself. Please don't think that I am asking you to copy it and use it with all of your students. 

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