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Strategies That Work
Old 02-06-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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Yesterday I thought I was in CHP 2. I picked up the book to read more before going to sleep and I was actually in CHP 4. Where did the time go? Or my mind?
I really need some help with beginning a unit of study on "questioning." Where did you all begin?


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questioning
Old 02-06-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Well... we discuss meaningful questions vs. ones that aren't. Again I use the toolkit to introduce it. There's a great lesson on the Mystery of the Mary Celeste, a mystery like the Titanic where the ship sinks. There's a GO that is broken down into three sections. Questions/ Answers/ Strategies for finding the answers. It's a great way to begin because the book has many unanswered questions, it's non fiction and it can lead to further research, it also has vocab or a mini glossary of ship terms and is a story within a story. It really helps the kids focus on meaningful questions and why a good reader always wants to question the text as they go through it.

After that, we usually are in October- we do a whole mystery theme. Lends itself to introduce inferring- since it's an on going concept they all struggle with. I read outloud Chasing Vermeer and we made a large chart of post it questions as I read. If we later found or learned an answer to one of our questions, we added the answers. In the end, we revisited our class questions and discussed which ones had more meaning and why.

Glad STW is such an enjoyable easy read. I often find myself going back to my notes on it. Extremely useful for me and suites my style.
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Toolkit
Old 02-07-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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Thanks Gitt! I'd like to order that toolkit. Can you tell me precisely what the name is so I can look on Amazon?
We too did a genre study of 'mystery' in October! This may be a great addition to my resources.

You teach 4th, would you think a 'balanced diet' of 3 non-fiction and two other genres would be appropriate to suggest that the students have on hand at any given time? In the room, the children can choose from National Geographic for Kids, Weekly Readers in both SS and Science, Scholastic News, Ranger Rick, Nick, Puzzle mania and what's in the classroom library. I think I'd like to look into Cobblestone and Muse as well. How do you make recommendations of what the children should always have on hand as far as literature is concerned?

Also:
I need to curb those that are constantly getting up to switch out books and reading materials. They aren't necessarily 'diving in' to what they are choosing as much as a few of them appear to be going through the surface motions of looking like they are reading meaningfully. I'm thinking the morning time 7:15-8:00 might be a time to try allowing them to peruse. Specific kids on specific days. Small, small room with lots of kids.

I did try floating as bookmuncher recommended during RW. I stopped calling it DEAR time. I was able to get to 5 children within 15 minutes. Took notes on a sticky & board....then transferred them to my binder. Those 5 had made use the last weeks' recommendation to try a new fix-up strategy in a very effective way. The fact that they could explain why the strategy they used was the best one to use and how it helped them figure out words like "or'nry", "barracks", and another I can't think of right now showed growth. What's even better, is that they were then able to make a connection once they knew the meaning of the word. Little milestones! Floating is definitely working!

(Oh, one of the boys used two strategies. First he used "Do other words in the text give me clues?" and then he used "What do I already know that is like what the author is saying?") Progress
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at home sick :(
Old 02-08-2007, 08:50 AM
 
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CurlyQ,
I'm home sick... I knew it would catch up with me. Feel lousy but I'll try to answer your questions.

The Comprehension Toolkit Grades 3-6 by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis (Language and Lessons for Active Literacy) Published by Firsthand Heinemann; copyright 2005. It includes 6 strategy cluster books, a source book of short text, a resource book, teacher's guide, and cd. Probably expensive!!! Our reading specialist ordered it last year for all 3-5th teachers.

I read your other post about a 'balanced diet'. We do a lot with book selections back in September. We discuss the genres and my book shelves are set up by genres and popular authors. Please visit my website at http://kingston.cherryhill.k12.nj.us/schafle/dawn.htm to see pictures- sounds like I have more space then you. Anyway, I use a graphic organizer bookmarks for the kids to have a few book titles recorded as just right and wanting to read. Try to float or hold a book conference once a week. I hit tables at a time- so even if I don't talk directly to one student, I know they pick up from what I discuss with neighbors. They keep a log of the books they read and have to track the genres. We have book bins on windowsill but they also tend to have a few on or about their desks. I do push the nonfiction- and we do TFK weekly.

Okay, dizzy. I'll try to write more later but it sounds like you're jumping right in and the kids are making fantastic progress!
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That time...
Old 02-08-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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of year! January and February we hold our breath knowing what's inevitable. We'll catch something or too many children will miss too much instruction from being absent.
I hope you get to feeling better soon.
Thanks for the information! I'll look into that book and see what the price is first. Maybe our media center will order it for the teachers.
Wonderful site! I love picture tours! I have half the space that you have.
Survivor is on tonight! I've passed out the names of contestants at work and we are playing along. I pulled the name "Boo" - which really worried me to begin with - what a name!


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Love all things reality!
Old 02-08-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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I know it's wrong to encourage 'gambling' but each survivor my kids and I poll who we think will be the last survivor. We read Island of the Blue Dolphins and compare/contrast what we think one would really need to survive vs. tv version. Also kids want to do amazing race and american idol. I have a karokee (sp?) machine and we have our own classroom idol at the end of state testing (letting off a little steam)! But trully funny to see what motivates the kids... we'll write or hold a debate regarding a reality star's character or lack of, we'll write an appeal why we think someone should get a second chance. It just cracks me up how much we all get out of it. Personally, I'm also a Lost fan but can't make it until 11, so I just watched it today. Still reeling on how good it was!

I feel a bit better. Already called in for tomorrow. Think the stress factor and lack of sleep is not helping right now. You're right about the time of year- my kids keep dropping around me!

I like my room... when I taught second- I had less kids and 1/3 more room. I can't tell you how freeing it was to leave all the primary stuff behind to a new teacher. Like I said before, I am a bit anal. I love my labels and try to make the most out of every inch of space. I try to create nooks and provide the kids with areas. Have clipboards will travel!

Okay have to help my daughter with a book project. Will it never end?!
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LOL Never End
Old 02-10-2007, 08:46 AM
 
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Oh, it continues. Your daughter is still interested in reading which I envy. My two middle school sons are professing a strong dislike for it right now. It makes me wonder if this is a strategy on their behalf to keep me off their backs. If I back off, I hope they will rediscover an interest in time. I have a hard time with this right now because every few weeks I order books for my classroom library and I always include a selection tailored to my own children's' interests. I just bought the 6 packs of "Al Capone Does My Shirts", "Loser", and "Missing May" as well as the individual title "Caught by the Sea" and three pack "Holocaust Pack". I'm hoping that if I place them in a variety of places around the house, they might pick one up and enjoy it! Of course they wouldn't be seen enjoying it around me! That's just inviting conversation from me that they do not want to engage in right now. Argh...........please give me some hope that this is just a phase.

Hope your Friday off was just what you needed! Did you do any reading?

LOST is a great show. I haven't been able to see it for a long while now because of the same reason. That time slot is past my bedtime. I'm aging too quickly!

Your talent show interests me. After testing, close to the last few weeks of school, that seems like something that would be fun to try!

The co-worker that drew "Jessica" from Survivor (Jessica voted off Thursday) thought she drew a lucky name. We both did since her own daughter is named Jessica. No such luck! Another coworker drew "Anthony" and her husband, son, and grandson are named Anthony. I'm getting a lot of flack about how big, tough body builder "Boo" (my contestant) has so many mishaps next week.

I love how you used "Island of the Blue Dolphins" and survival skills. How often do you get to work in reading aloud from a chapter book? For how many minutes daily?
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Balanced Diet
Old 02-10-2007, 10:55 AM
 
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Bookmuncher recently introduced me to the term "balanced diet". In CHP 5 or 6 I finally came across the term she referred to and was able to become more familiar with it.
I also liked her term "escape books" as she referred to some picture books. I guess since 4th graders still like the "I Spy" books and some "How to Draw" books as well as comics, these would be the "escape" books for them.?.?.? Just thinking about some of the literature items I see some of them enjoying as I float around the room.
I'd like to do a mini-lesson (anchor) on this concept to reiterate the importance of mindfully choosing reading material.
Here's a GO I created for the students to bring home this point. Let me know your thoughts please.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Balanced Reading Diet Pyramid.doc (29.0 KB, 450 views)
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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Poor Boo- he looks very accident prone! Can't wait to see next week. Takes very little for me to get hooked. Will they switch beaches with each reward challenge; depending on winner? What about their personal belongings? That wasn't clear was it?

Wasn't planning on watching Lost, but then I watched the hour catch up before and I was hooked all over again. The two producers were on talking about the significance of the flashbacks, relationships between characters, etc... Got insight into things I hadn't previously seen. Had to watch and so glad I did.

Feel so much better. Of course my "lunch bunch" friends called to tell me I had this one sub who everyone depises. She thinks very highly of herself and totally ignores your plans. I am sure my kids ate her alive. They are not good for subs! One of the reasons I love them so much this year- they are extremely opinionated and love our relationship. They get upset with me if I have a brief meeting and have to leave the room. (Truth be told- I got my nails done and watched soap operas!!!)

2 teenage sons- I feel for you! I absolutely dread the teenage years. Isn't every day a phase??? My daughter- almost 11 called me last week. Apparently she went to the nurse during her violin concert. Left the stage crying and holding her stomach. The nurse said it was probably stage fright but she wanted me to come get her. Turns out, the boy she "loves" waved at her from the audience and she was so embarrassed she ran off stage. Nice right??? My husband and I were speechless. My friends think it's the best Morganne story yet. Guess you have to take the good with the bad and just sit back and buckle in for the ride of your life- parenthood; no one could have prepared you, right?

The kids and I always have a brief class meeting right after lunch on the rug. There we discuss any lunch situations, good home news, answer ?s, and discuss any big projects, etc. Then I read outloud from a chapter book for another 15 minutes. This chapter book, I usually read pretty quickly and we do not use it as much for strategies; more for just enjoyment. Currently reading the Bridge to Tarabitha (a bit over their heads and very sad), but we have a movie date scheduled for the weekend after it comes out, and I enjoy seeing them outside of school. Plan to read a light fun book next: The Truth About Teachers.

I loved your GO re a 'Balanced Diet'. My daughter always has a stack of chapter books she's reading. I've tried to get her to focus on just one but she along with quite a few of my students are inbetween several. Not me, I read one book at a time. I think the parents would appreciate seeing it. Have you tried doing any kind of current events piece in your room? That too will bring in more nonfiction.

Lastly, boy this is longer than I thought, my kids enjoy my I Spy books (saved them from my 2nd grade days) but often I find them taking out old yearbooks from our school library. They are absolutely engrossed in these. We also have joke books, magazines, logic puzzles, sudoku puzzles, etc for when they opt out of traditional reading. TTYS
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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I totally missed the part about personal belongings! But I do have company over weekly to watch the show and we could have been talking when this was referred to on the show. Seems like the loser will to the barren beach each time. We wondered just how cushy they could make it without the other tribe being able to access their cosiness? Maybe hide their materials?

One of my favorite aspects of LOST is the use of flashbacks & foreshadowing. They have the episode sets in Movie Gallery available for rental.

Nails & Soaps eh? Sounds like an indulging moment. I was just joking w/ my principal on Friday that some of us were not above taking a day off just for the sake of it........her reply was that 'neither was I when I was a classroom teacher'! You didn't end up needing any antibiotics did you? We've had soooooooo many children out with one thing or another recently. I wish someone would develop a "January/February" inoculation!

Awwwww what a cute thing to have happen (your daughter). I can see where it's definitely a story to share with friends! 5th grade right? I love that age, yet they cram so many of them into classrooms these days. Sad to say, but now if she's given the writing topic of a most embarrassing moment, she has some BK to draw from. Hope she's recuperated.

I've lost some CHP book reading time to my added anchor and min-lessons since January 3rd. I need so much more time during the day than I currently have.....I would be so satisfied if the district would lengthen the school day for an extra hour! (Maybe not how I would feel on another day though. ) Right to be selective has been engaged! Let's just go to a 4 day school week of 8:00-4:00. Fridays being teacher planning 8:00-12:00 or 11:00-3:00. Offer some flexibility to the teachers. Overlap the 1 hour for weekly staff meetings or the WFSG's. If I'm going to whine, at least I'd better have a solution in mind.

What current event pieces would you suggest?

This week here are my reading plans (now that I've read through the end of CHP 7):
1. Re-visit a schema lesson.
2. Do a 'purpose for reading' lesson.
3. Do a 'how to select a book' lesson. (based on purposes for reading)
4. Do a T-S Connection lesson based using "Owen" & bring in my 'stuffed animal puppy' from elementary age and my 'green tattered sweatshirt' from high school age to show how I connect to the character who doesn't want to get rid of his special item and signify the importance of meaningful connections that are more than 'reminders'. I'm so glad they touched on connections that can fit into different categories and coding them!!!!!!!

Then I'll spend a few weeks on questioning using two and three column charts. Still developing resources for this.

BTW.....using the ispell checker it scanned WFSG's and asked me if I wanted to substitute a truly tacky name!


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Old 02-10-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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Indulging- guilty... but I had already called out. So, I thought I would take advantage of the quiet time. Never enough of that!

We are fortunate that our principal is very flexible about thinking outside the box. He encourages us to not be restricted to time frames and to use our judgement as to what and how long we teach something. Typically, I have 3 hours in the am for language arts. I try to overlap whenever possible. Currently my children (groups of 5 at a time) bring in an article every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I think by sharing they are not only exposed to more nonfiction but become more aware of the world around them- building citizenship. We change out a bulletin board with their articles twice a month. We work on a strategy with a model lesson and I always try to give them reader's workshop time. My school encourages AR tests, so they can take them too. Then we move onto Writer's Notebooks. Our unit of study is writing memoirs using crafting techniques and then later we study all forms of poetry. I also incorporate our core lit books and later lit circles into this time. Can't do everything- lots of times the core lit gets pushed aside for the toolkit lessons for deeper comprehension.

I read aloud in the afternoons. Just can't imagine not sharing my love of reading with them. Think it's so important that they hear me read classics, or more challenging texts, or ones with slow beginnings that a reader needs to invest into rather than abandoning the book, etc... My daughter complains all the time that she never has choice read time or that her teacher doesn't read outloud to them. I think it's just so valuable. I then typically have math for probably 1.5 hours. Lastly I alternate between science and social studies units a couple of times a week (also, the subject that gets pushed aside at busy times).

We have an hour a week for grade level collaborative time built into our specials. So when two of us have gym together the third has another prep such as art and we are required to collaborate. We use this time to share info, strategies, write units, etc. Usually principal, reading specialist or math coach sits in with us. On that day we have another prep period- 6 per week; we have 1 art, 1 music, 1 library, 2 gyms, and 1 spanish. We only meet as a faculty once a month before school. It's a bit hectic but, as a staff we voted on it.

Love your Owen idea. Henkes is one of my favorite picture book authors. Did you ever read Olive's Ocean? Sad, but touching. Have you connected it to writing? The kids bring in a special item from home that 'triggers' a strong memory and write about it.

I can check when I get back to school Monday what GOs the Toolkit suggests for questioning. I'll see if there's anything I think you could use.

Since there's nothing on tv and I'm in tonight. Supposed to be typing editing lessons for class. Better go and get some work done.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:49 AM
 
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You're wonderful for checking the kit to see if there are any questioning ideas I might be able to use next week! Very generous!
I mentioned the purchase to our media specialist who is checking into it.

I feel compelled to clarify 'indulging' was meant in a lighthearted manner.

Before Christmas break, I had been reading Tuck Everlasting to the students. It's still on my projection table and I need to pick up back up after Bridge to Tarabithia.

Seems like I've heard about Olive's Ocean? Not sure though. Tell me more about it?

I really like the idea of having the students bring in an item from home that triggers a strong emotional connection to go along with my Owen lesson (writing extension). If you were doing this lesson, would you have them bring it in for the day of the lesson or the day after the anchor lesson? What do you think about setting a purpose for the writing such as: Role (point of view - ?desperation?), (Audience - parents), (Format - letter), (Topic - an explanation of why the student does not wish to part with the special item), (Strong Verb - persuade the parents to allow the child to keep the item for an unspecified amount of time)?

Or would a memoir be more appropriate for the children who've already had to part with their special item? I've never had them write a memoir. Can you think of any good picture books written in memoir format for a mini lesson lesson? Thanks a million! You have such wonderful ideas that have really helped me a lot! Have a relaxing Sunday.
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:21 AM
 
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Okay, for the trigger memory, I would have them bring it in their item the day after the trigger lesson and remind them not to make it valuable. I like the idea of setting a purpose for the writing. We use ours as an introduction to memoirs. They are to write about a special memory that item has for them. My anchor was a necklace, a family tree, my mother wore around her neck. My mother passed it on to me and it was my grandmother's. I wrote about watching my mother cook in the house I grew up in and always wearing that necklace. I brought in sensory images and tried to paint a picture of what my kitchen looked and smelled like, etc...

I explain to the kids that a memoir is a memory, nonfiction, where you illuminate a moment of time. Like shine a flashlight onto a scene from your past. Cynthia Rylant's pictures books pop into my head as good examples of this. Like the Day the Relatives Came or My Red Hair Rotten Brother, etc.

Olive's Ocean is by Henkes. It was written in 2003 and was a Newberry Honor for that year. I use it some years for it's beautiful language and flow. It's about a girl who has connections to another girl who tragically dies at the beginning of the book. It's a coming of age book between wanting to stay young and innocent and then the realization that we all grow and the world changes. Sad but again very well written.

I checked the kit. The three GOs they suggest for questioning are:
1) A chart divided into three columns: Questions/ Answers/ Strategies for Answering Questions
2) Post it Page
3) A chart divided into half: What We're Learning / What We're Wondering About

They focused on three units of study: questioning the text, read to discover answers, and ask questions to expand your thinking. Hope this helps! Better go, my kids are a bit chatty after having a sub for two days- serves me right!!
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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How wonderful your suggestions have been! I can not wait to give this a shot. I located 2 books at our school on the memoir topic as well. Your explanations paint a vivid picture in my mind for me to progress forward with!

I was out today. Sick son. However 1 visit to the doctor and 3 medications later, things are looking up.

I came across Olive's Ocean in some reading that I did today! Serendipity! I actually put it on a list for possible purchase to our media center specialist early this morning. As soon as I read the name, it occurred to me that it was the very same book you had mentioned. I think I saw it connected to one of the 6+1 writing traits anchor books? It may have been 'word choice' or 'fluency'?

In reading the 'determining importance' section of STW, I came across an idea that astounded me. I really was floored and had to take it in! "Non-fiction is one of the most accessible genres for reluctant and less experienced readers because the features scaffold the reader's understanding." I can think of many colleagues (and even myself) that I've heard explaining to parents (in meetings) how difficult non-fiction such as the science and SS text were to understand and become familiar with. I truly feel as if it was my misunderstanding! I was not aware of these strategies that if used in explicit anchor lessons, make the genre easily accessible! It makes perfect sense. Once I read that line, I could clearly see how the elements of non-fiction are the master keys to comprehension and all the kids needed was for me to teach them how to unlock the mystery in a series of anchor lessons. I've been using GO's of the elements of NF and we've talked about cut-aways and such, yet we have focused a lesson on them. Missing keyhole! OMG
Conundrum.(self-imposed naturally).........continue exclusively the Questioning Strategy plan during Reading, or add in Determining Importance at the same time?
I think this is TOO important to not address very soon. Perhaps start explicit anchor lessons during the SS & Science periods? Is this too much for the kids at one time? Can they handle 2 at once, yet at differing times daily? Can I handle it? This is a real balancing act.......I don't know if I'm this skilled.
Argh........thanks for all of your help, advice, and mentoring!
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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Really I get just as much from you as visa versa. It's wonderful to see things through your eyes.

Your self imposed conundrum made me laugh out loud! Wish I had all the answers, or there was some magic wand we could wave. I use determining importance when we are getting ready for state testing (now). I absolutely think you can focus on more than one at a time. Children have to be shown the features of nonfiction so they learn not to fear it and they learn how to get the most of it. Could you appeal to your librarian to work with you? Could they do supportive lessons on nonfiction features? Could they lend your classroom a cart of nonfiction materials for perusal and / or lessons?

Sorry to hear about your son. We had 1/3 of the upper grades- 5th and 4th graders out sick. I have this unrealistic fear of the whole stomach thing, so it was literally my worst nightmare today. Children, teachers, everyone was sick! The worst part is it's only Monday- not going to be a good week and of course I have made my hands raw washing them as to not (hopefully) bring it home! So stressed over this- can't really focus on other stuff of the day.

Anyway, 24 (on a happier note) another one of my favorite shows is two hours tonight. Have to go and watch Jack save the world! Let me know how it goes... and look at the toolkit for resources on DI tomorrow for you.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Ok.........after reviewing my post I admit (grudgingly) that I really sounded like a spaz. I just need to sort it all out and take things step by step. I have a very difficult time starting one thing without completing another first. I suppose that's very anal of me. Glad I provided some humor. Guess I need to laugh at myself too.

I've put in a request for more than 60 books to be sent down to my room from the media center (did this today while I was out/thinking on the same level as you apparently). I think our media center specialist is ready for me to take a break though. I also put in a literature purchase request for books to accompany the 6+1 writing traits lessons, as well as these skills from MOT and STW. A few co-workers even seem interested in the strategies and literature!

We'll be viewing 24 as well! My older son and I enjoy it. I missed something in his return from being kidnapped though. I'm trying to piece it together. I noticed that one of my favorite characters from 'Numbers' has joined the 24 cast. I really like him on Numbers too!

We recently had an in service on 6+1 writing. We were assigned to write a piece with a partner. I thought I'd share it for giggles. It was so much fun to work on, though we seriously deviated from the format which was supposed to be letter form (we preferred self-dialog). Guess our rubric grade would have indicated this!
Anyhow, enjoy!
Role: Plant
Audience: Rain
Format: Letter
Topic: Desire for Rain
Strong Verb: Desire/Desperation (inferred)
Air heavy with the weight of relief. Clouds restraining the release. I longingly chant "Here Come the Sun......" then "Here Comes the Rain..." as I pose postured like a marionette in angst. This dry soil can not stand the wait. Just release it! I know it's coming! All the signs have been revealed. Gray Clouds. Thunder Rolling. Oak Leaves Turned Upward. Cows Lazily Resting in the Grass. C-Mon already!
D-R-I-P
Oh, so thirsty. More please? Sing the tune again. Maybe that helped. "Here Comes the Rain....Little Darlin"
B-O-O-M
Ah, thank-you. Merci. Graci.
I stand tall. Look at me. Strikingly tall and show off proud. Reaching the clouds.
Where's Jack?

Oh, what fun we had writing this! We could have added so much more too. Chloroplasts aching. Counted the lightening & thunder differential. Hope you enjoyed as much as we did! Interestingly enough we were most impacted by how effectively fragments could be utilized in writing a piece like this. Who would have ever thought?
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I wouldn't say spaz :)
Old 02-13-2007, 05:24 AM
 
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Still laughing... not at you; only with! World can always use more laughter! Sick deathly looking teachers are back today. Kids don't come in for another 45 minutes but my dread is growing. 24 was so good last night! I like Jack's sister-in-law, she was on General Hospital, I think. Can't believe the Chad Lowe character!

My classroom is right next door to our library. So, I have made myself a thorn in her side. Can't get over that she makes almost 20,000 more than top salary teachers and has children only half the time. I always send children over for laptops, research, extra materials, slide show time, etc... think she would prefer a new neighbor!

Glad to hear you've inspire others. There is always so much to learn! Looking through DI for you now, this is what I have... it's broken down into 6 main themes: spotlight new thinking, record important ideas, target key information, determine what to remember, distinguish your thinking from the author's, and construct main ideas from supporting details.

GOs are 1. a three column chart labeled facts, questions, responses
2. a double column chart labeled lingering questins and questions to investigate
3. a three column chart labeled important information, interesting details, and my thinking
It also does a lot on text feautures and margin notes of importance.

Thank you so much for sharing your writing piece. Loved it! It's snowing here today- yuk! I normally wouldn't mind but today's the 100th day and tomorrow is Valentine's so I do not have time for snow or a possible snow day! Better go get ready for the worst... Hopefully parents will keep sick kids home with this weather; but who am I kidding?!
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Long Day
Old 02-13-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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"I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell!"

Long Day! I only had 1 absent, yet several teachers are sick, one with the fever. How's your group, including colleagues?

How wonderful to be located next door to the library. That's a pretty hefty income she makes huh? I've never really noticed if the media center specialist made more than the teachers in our state. One nice thing about it is no homework to grade each night. Pros & Cons everywhere.

24 didn't capture me last night. I think I missed more than one episode in the past though. I realized it was competing with Hero's, which we've also taken a liking to. Jack's father is some piece of work though! I wish she would have told Jack what was going on after she said "Goodbye Susan." Secrets carry the storyline.

I don't think I've inspired anyone as much as made them curious and stimulated some thoughtful conversations. Thanks for the thought though! Our system has so many new changes right now. Everyone is trying to maintain their heading right now. I just couldn't seem to make it through the rest of this year without using these strategies given how much of an impact they can make on young readers!

The toolkit has me immensely curious, yet without seeing it (very visual) I'm at a loss as to how to make use of the ideas. STW has examples in the appendices. Some of them match up to what you've mentioned. Mostly the GO's.

I officially have "Owen". I picked it up today! Do you read to your students from a picture book every day? I wasn't able to do that today, due to reviewing a historical fiction project. It seems as if a huge chunk of the day is missing when I can't read to them. We're also working on a poetry project too. And for the first time, I allowed the children to choose whether they wanted to write during reading. Half of them chose to write. Have you ever done this? I had recently done an anchor lesson on IDEAS and thought I'd offer the option as I floated around to see what they were reading or writing.

What would you suggest for a few students who do not understand adjectives?

Snow sounds wonderful. Of course someone who doesn't have to deal with it would say that eh? My parents had over 100 inches a few days ago. We've got lots or rain.
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snow day???
Old 02-14-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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Both my daughter's and husband's districts are closed already due to ice and snow mix. Mine isn't even delayed yet?! We have a new superintendent- he must be crazy; our parents will have a fit! Large district 12 elementaries, 3 middle and 2 high schools- that's a lot of buses. I'm calling out either way- there is no way I would drive in this.

I had 2 absent yesterday, but 6 more went home sick. I hate this! I don't know if it was in my head or not, but I made my husband sleep on the couch just in case last night. Probably losing my mind!

I taped Heroes- probably watch it today when I'm home. It reminds me a bit of the X Men movies.

I read probably 2-3 picture books per week, but I have a background in primary and own most of the books everyone references. I don't have a specific reading vs. writing time slots. I call it language arts and then combine whenever possible to save on time.

For adjectives I've had the kids bring in a mystery item in a brown sandwich bag. They need to write descriptive words, phrases, or adjectives on the bags. Then when they present their bag, they only read the descriptions and we have to guess what's in the bag. There is also a series of books: What is an Adjective?, What is a Noun, etc... they are good. William Streg has a few great picture books- there's one with a girl travelling through a storm- can't think of the name but it's great for adjectives and vivid verbs.

Your parents must be in NY. I can't imagine shovelling my roof or getting out of the house from the second floor! A little snow is fine... nothing like that for us! ALright better go and call out- there will never be enough subs so I'm not sure about plans... TTYS
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Old 02-17-2007, 05:36 AM
 
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Thanks for the adjectives idea. It worked! We also used take-out menus from local restaurants and worked in teams of 2 to highlight the descriptive adjectives. Then we taped them to a large piece of poster board paper in a 3 column chart. 1st column had highlighted appetizer adjectives, 2nd entrées, and 3rd desserts. We then played a game of "Meeting Aunt Ida" where one child was going to fly to Seattle to meet their Aunt Ida whom they've never met before and we used adjectives to describe their appearance so that Aunt Ida could easily identify them. Finally Friday we used your mystery item activity. Less children were choosing nouns by Friday when they were asked to identify the adjectives. Thanks again! Now we're working on application of comparative and superlative adjectives.

I'm feeling more comfortable with having combined the writing and reading time slot than I thought I would be to begin with.....writing in the content areas has been a practice of mine since year one, yet allowing the choice of writing during the reading slot is new. I will still have a lot of questions though! Here's one, how do you manage the balance as a recommendation to the children? For example, I have a few that would either read or write exclusively so I'll need to make a suggestion to them about balancing it......any ideas? It's new to them as well.

The "Owen" lesson went better than I could have expected. I was observed during the lesson as well. My AP's comments were supportive and complementary so thank-you VERY much for your help! One of the letters written showed so much VOICE (WOW) and we haven't even begun to study that trait yet, so I took the opportunity to introduce it using that particular letter and the GO of VOICE.

Since studying author's is also new to me, I collected about 6 Keven Henkes books and decided to give it a try. Friday we read "Chester's Way" and added it to our author study list with "Owen". What are some things you look for and discuss with the students when you do an author study? We looked for and discussed repetition and its purpose since it appeared in "Owen" just as it had "The Leaf Man". "The Leaf Man' is by Lois Ehlert, yet we recognized the repetition of certain phrases and pondered the purpose. It seemed to be foreshadowing a change in "Chester's Way". We discussed how his two characters Owen and Chester had either a special personal item or a special personality trait of being particularly habitual. And that change is generally avoided, yet everything actually turned out fine for both characters (overall theme) and the change was embraced. In both books, the character was an animal as well. I think the only other thing we noticed was that the parents were involved and supportive in both books. Is this in keeping with how to study an author? Any suggestions would be very helpful. Also, what kind of chart should I use for all of these observations? I'm at a loss on this.

How's the weather?
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Wow!
Old 02-17-2007, 06:18 AM
 
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Sounds like the lessons went so well! I wish everything we planned would work out like this.

Wednesday we FINALLY got the call- snow day. Thursday was a delayed opening and Friday was a scheduled inservice day. So hopefully, all those sickly children will have the time they need to get well and stop spreading those dreadful germs! We're expecting a bit more snow today and tomorrow, but so far it's cold but clear.

To support some of your questions: when studying an author, I usually start by visiting their bio website. Then I print their picture and the kids and I immerse ourselves into their "style". We borrow their books and create a poster on things we notice, i.e. reoccuring themes, focuses, voice, use of beautiful language, small moments, etc... Picture book authors I like to use are Henkes, Rylant, Van Allsburg, dePaola, Keats, Munsch, Giff, Carle, Polacco, Bunting, Brett, and Fox to name a few. I also focus on excerpts or novels from the following chapter book authors: Spinelli, Dahl, Clements, MacLachlan and Creech.

Balancing is a talent that I think comes with trial and error. It depends on the class and on you. Monitoring them I think will help let you know you needs stricter guidelines or less freedom to choose. I use a clip board assessment tool I purchased from Really Good Stuff. It holds index sized stickies that I record weekly observations and conferences. That way I can quickly size up who needs an extra push in a direction. No matter what though, we always write for at least 30 minutes a day. Typically I now choose from picture prompts, poetry prompts, reading responses, and memoirs (small moments). Can't do everything all the time, but I think writing is something that needs to be developed over a large period of time. I model extensively and feel children will rise to your expectations if given the right tools. I often retype an excerpt from one of our featured authors and we use highlighters or marginal notes to pick apart their piece. We look at their use of crafting elements such as voice, vivid verbs, use of dialogue, their openings and closings, etc... I also like to publish or showcase their pieces. We send our work out to publishers who are looking for kid pieces, as encouragement that we are infact real authors. By the end of this year, we will each have created our own picture books, that I bind and keep a copy (featuring our own style, of course) and I publish (and make copies) of assorted short stories and pieces of their poetry. Each year, these homemade books often tend to be the favorites of my new students. It is something they all look forward to doing.

Again, hope this all helps. Enjoy the long weekend and Happy Presidents' Day! (Looking forward to some good sales this weekend!)
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Bio Website
Old 02-17-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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I love the idea of visiting the author's bio website! Sharing the picture of the author with the students too. Thanks for the suggestion.

How neat that you send some of the work to publishers! What an extension!

I saw that clipboard you referred to in my RGS catalog. I think now that I've got a purpose for it, I just might purchase it!

Wouldn't it just figure that as I'm reading The Daily 5, the scheduling suggestion is in chapter 1?! Have you read this book? I'll let you know what I learn.
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never
Old 02-18-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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read the Daily 5. I have a copy but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I am never sold on a program that highly suggests doing it exactly as they suggest and not making any personal modifications. Let me know what you think of it. I'm interested to see if you prefer it to other books you've read.

So far, shopping hasn't been that great. Snowed a little today and now I have to wait for our roads to be cleared some.
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Late
Old 02-18-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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I think it might be a bit late in the school year to try to implement the Daily 5. I do like the modeling they provide. It's similar to Mosaic in how user friendly it is too. I'm in CHP 4 or 5 now. The book doesn't come right out and say to follow the schedule without tweaking it, I read this suggestion somewhere (proteacher) who said the teachers that did not succeed with the literacy block were the ones that altered the major components.

One aspect that I do like about it thus far is the choices offered for the students and how there are 5 minute anchor lessons built in approximately every 30 or so minutes. Get up and stretch, review, introduce an anchor lesson or extending lesson. There are some impressive stats and research references in the book as well.

The authors prefer to stop everyone and call them back to a meeting area if even one student is off-task (in the beginning stages of teaching each step). They also suggest only positive reinforcement for repeated off-task behaviors. Don't know what I think of that?

My room is exactly 20' by 20' though. It's very difficult to create a meeting area with so little space. I did rearrange a bit today and was able to free up another reading (nook) area. I've even thought about getting rid of my desk.
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maybe a summer read
Old 02-18-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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for me... I like to read professionally over breaks and plan out how I would impliment it. (Anal, I know!) It sounds interesting though, I'll have to look around for my copy. Since we've moved some things are difficult to put my hands on. Did I send you the correct email address? I didn't receive an email, so I'll send you a private message- sorry probably my mistake. I'm not a great proofreader, when it's not for school!
Any other professional books you really enjoyed? I love to model, so Daily 5 intrigues me a bit.
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professional books
Old 02-19-2007, 06:16 AM
 
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The book quotes Janet Allen Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading 4-12 "......We watched them use the tapes for support as they chose increasingly difficult texts, thereby compensating for the difference between their listening and reading vocabularies." in CHP 5. (Also that audiotapes serve as helpful support for ELL students.) I found this intriguing. I'm curious as to whether this book would be more appropriate for me being an intermediate teacher? I'm also pondering an idea and wonder what your thoughts are on it?
Remember me saying I had purchased 6-book sets recently? They've arrived. I had planned on using them for literature circles. They will be a bit challenging for some of the kids, yet I'm trying to nudge them on toward reading more challenging novels with deep moral dilemmas & lessons as well as encourage thought provoking conversations. I was thinking about going on line and purchasing the audiotapes to the books. Primarily as a support tool and secondarily as a method of engaging the kids since audiotapes are exciting. I'd like the lit circles to use the tapes. Ever try this? What do you think?

Is Debbie Miller for intermediate level teachers? What about Ralph Fletcher?

This book seems mostly primary, yet has provided sound structural ideas. I have yet to read where they (authors) keep the kids from stampeding to each one of the 5 choices daily though. The stampede idea surfaced in only the 'listening' choice section. I can see where this would have to be modeled and structured from the 'get go' in my classroom!
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listening centers
Old 02-19-2007, 06:48 AM
 
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After 12 years of second grade I used both guided reading w/ language arts centers and more of a traditional structure- basils. I am inclined towards centers and leveled literature but I feel one needs a strong background of what skills need to be mastered and introduced. I never found my children stampeding towards the listening center. I had an extensive collection of materials- but they preferred the computer center, poetry center, creatvie writing center and the drama center. I had a much larger room and the children moved around using preselected groups by ability. I set up a magnet board with rotating centers and they visited three centers a day. At our third grade level they still use listening centers to build fluency, but lean more towards core lit (lit circles) and reader's theater. I think Miller's ideas are more for primary and Fletcher's are more upper. If you get a chance, check out his book on Crafting. I guess it depends on your personal situation though. My current class would be bored with tapes. I use United Streaming online for videos but sometimes they don't even like those.

Which books did you end up buying? Let me know how it goes.
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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laugh! I let a co-worker borrow the book (The Daily 5) and forgot to get my sticky note of 'books to buy' out of it! I'm dying here! No reading material. Well, I do have One to One............guess I'll get cracking at that one.

I did put Fletcher's Crafting book on the list though. Thanks for the suggestion.

Overall I thought the book had a lot of great suggestions and the modeling was very supportive. It was as easy of a read as Mosaic. It wasn't until the last page that the intermediate suggestion was made by the author's though. I took lots of notes and made lots of additions to the lists the author's had recommended for word work and a few other things. Their dependable and kid-friendly management ideas were core to the effectiveness of their program (IMHO). One thing they never touched on though.....(unless I overlooked it)........if a teacher uses the Daily 5 and has a substitute, what would the day look like? Would the plans be the same? If so, does that mean the subs are well trained in this method and know how to carry it out? If the plans would not be the same for the sub, what would the day with the sub look like? In terms of lesson plans and student work? Their Q & A section was good.

Your state has United Streaming as well? I didn't realize other states had access to it......yet it is PBS. Never really thought about it.

I like your point
Quote:
I feel one needs a strong background of what skills need to be mastered and introduced
and believe more than ever that I'm learning what really matters in literacy instruction. Yet as the saying goes I have "many miles to go". Would you believe I haven't used a story from the basil since January? Yet I have so much evidence of learning. Who would've ever thought....

The fever is back. My son can't seem to shake this thing. He finished the antibiotics Friday. Things any better for the sick in your area?

On a lighter note, my application packet for post-grad school (doctorate) arrived Saturday!

Have a wonderful week!
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Olive's Ocean
Old 02-20-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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I bought it as well as the audiotape! Need to buy Amazon stock now.
Bought several Kevin Henkes books to build my own personal collection of pictures books for anchor lessons. I had been borrowing from the library and still will for many more picture book lessons. I think I even picked up some Cynthia Rylant books and poetry too.

The Bio lesson went well. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I had no idea how much there was to learn from doing an author study!
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Old 02-20-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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dedicated! I feel a bit burnt out right now. I hate preparing for our state tests... lessons tend to be dry and redundant!

Sorry to hear about your son... I am a bit of a germaphobic. Only three absent today- much better. Of course, today , our nurse was out. It was bound to happen.

I had high hopes for the guys on American Idol, but have been very disappointmented by all but three.

So glad you see the benefits without the basils. I loathed using them and can't imagine going back after all these years. There is so much great literature out there to pull from. Proteacher is an incredible learning and sharing tool, I am so glad I stumbled across it. I am a huge fan of yard sales- I buy tons of books at them (of course I hide the receipts from B&N, Amazin, EBay, etc.. from my husband)!!! My motto is one can never have too many books!

Hope you're family is up and about quickly, and happy short week!
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It's the...
Old 02-21-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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FLU. Positive test today.....yet wasn't positive last week or before that either. They also took blood to check on mono since this has been going on for 5 weeks now. We'll know more tomorrow. He's got even more medicine and resting. We're trying to keep on top of the homework though. I say we because I keep encouraging him to get some done every few hours. He can't go back until Monday.

He's aggravated because I bought a 6 book pack of "Missing May" for his teacher as a gift. Ugh....the age of 'no public display of affection' and 'don't draw attention to me' MOM! My other son is enjoying "Al Capone Does my Shirts" so I got his teacher a set as well. He doesn't seem to mind, yet I know it won't be long......... I've got to take a break from ordering books. And I think I have an overdue fine at the library.

I've heard that two of my students have the flu and have been out all this week. Things get better w/ your attendance today? It's bad when even the nurse it out. I would like one of those surgery masks for the month of February!

Do you use the basil at all during the year? Have you heard of "Grandpa's Face" & "The Other Side of the Fence"? I'm going to use them for a writing lesson. The first as a stem-off memoir and the second as an Inference anchor. ?????
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I absolutely love
Old 02-21-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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Eloise Greenfield! Floyd Cooper, the illustrator, visited our school a few years ago. Not familiar with The Other Side of the Fence- who is it by?

I never use our old basil. Since this is only my second year in fourth- I am not even sure what's in it. Can't miss what you don't know? Again, there is so much great literature out there. If you know the strands that need to be taught- one can definitely find examples. I think the children react better to discussing excerpts or chapters from books or authors they have now come to know. The books are so meaningful. My biggest problem tends to be the ones who get fixed on one author or one genre... mostly the realistic fiction seems to be the genre I need them to move away from.

Sorry to hear about your son. It really is a difficult time of year. I only had three out again but now they're out with strep. I made a joke the other day that I was going to invest in masks- but only part of me was joking. Monday is still a few days away- that's a long time to be confined to home. Good luck!

I'm much happier watching the girls from AI tonight. Need to tape Lost- just too tired. Re the books and spending money, we have our tax appointment next week. I'm going to have to quietly slip our accountant my receipts without my husband looking! Anyway, let me know how your lessons go and hope all are well soon!
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books
Old 02-23-2007, 03:59 AM
 
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ooops....it's actually not "The Other Side of the Fence" ....it is
"The Other Side" is by Jacqueline Woodson and E. B. Lewis. It's a wonderful book that portrays a young girl's view of segregation. It's perfect for inference and symbolism! It makes a great addition to a classroom library as well as teacher resource!

I bought a few new books (for myself).
* Ralph Fletcher's Craft Lessons
*Intervention Strategies to Follow Informal Reading Inventory Assessment: So What Do I Do Now? by Caldwell
*What Really Matters for Struggling Readers (2nd Ed.) by Allington (Would you be interested in reading this one along with me?)

I was wondering what your thoughts are on these two books?
*The Fluent Reader by Rasinski
* Non-fiction Crafft Lessons by Portalupi

I agree with you on the AI girls! Three of them are certain to be America's top choices in the entire lot! Especially the last one of the evening......WOW! (And the somewhat shy one....don't you think?)

Have a great FRIDAY!
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book bins
Old 02-23-2007, 04:01 AM
 
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I forgot to ask the name of that book bin site I think you had mentioned a long time ago on the 4th grade board. At least I think it was you?
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How's your son?
Old 02-23-2007, 08:37 AM
 
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Wasn't me re the bins- but both the reading lady and beth newingham's sites have a label area.

You went book buying crazy again! I am not familiar with The Other Side but it sounds great for Black History Month too! I'll have to put that on my wishlist. I own the three books you purchased but I am not familiar with the other two. Fluency really doesn't seem to be a huge issue for me, I tend to focus on nonfiction strategies or ones that promote active reading.

Couldn't watch AI results because it conflicted with Survivor. But the radio station spoiled the results anyway, with some AI phone line. They were right 100% last year and they were 75% correct last night. Just can't listen in the mornings anymore.

Have a great weekend. My class and I are meeting to see Bridge to Terabithia tomorrow. Should be fun! TTYS
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Movies
Old 02-23-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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Have fun at the movies!

What do you make of the sex reference in Olive's Ocean? Martha and her brother refer to their parent's appearance one morning as the 'just had sex look'. Also my son and are are in CHP 23 and the word damn has been used 4 times. Generally this can be explained as the author developing the father's character (being that he seemed frustrated writing his novel and desiring to go back to work). I like Henkes way of stimulating visualization and sensory images! Awesome!
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bad words
Old 02-23-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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I use the book as a read aloud, so the afterglow- I gloss over with my own words about sleeping well, or something. The kids and I discuss that several books we read or authors choose to use "bad words" for emphasis. However, I tell them in advance that as a professional, I choose not to read them aloud. Bridge to Terabithia uses 'hell' a lot. I think it is significant in the story but I will say as I read, "the opposite of heaven". The kids know I change the words at times. I just think it's more politically correct- and I tell them when they're adults and writing, they can make their own decisions re what words to use. Love the story though, so I just adjust to fit my needs. He really is a mastor crafter!
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Crafting
Old 02-23-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I'll learn more about crafting as soon as I get Fletcher's book. I feel like I have somewhat of a beginning, yet 'many miles to go' again. I should change my login to manymiles2GO. or ONtheROADagn

I don't know what I'll do about this CD then. I wanted to use it with my upper group as a listen to reading segment.

Would you mind giving me an idea of what your RW looks like in schedule format? I feel like I'm still developing my skills here and would love to see how you do it! Since I read The Daily 5, I can really see the benefit of several mini lessons over the almost 2 hour reading block that I am able to work with............

Also, when do you work in explicit practice with C/C, Sequence, Main I & D, C/E.....? Would it damage the sanctity of the RW/Daily 5 to include mini lessons on this daily? I wouldn't think so?

I know I've asked a lot of questions.
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thoughts
Old 02-25-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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I think RW should involve mini lessons but I tend to maintain them as just the Keene strategies and then sometimes I'll bring in the author's purpose, theme, cause & effect, etc.. into our core literature. Rarely do they mix unless the children bring it up... Funny, never really thought about it but for me RW is all about reading for meaning strategies not the mechanics of reading so much.

On another note- the movie was fantastic! Several times my stomach tightened when the characters discuss heaven and hell and also the word damn was used. It was very true to the book, touching, most of my parents had tissues. 75% of my class showed and my daughter and husband also enjoyed it. I thought the actors- especially the one who played May Belle were incredible for their age.

Have a ton of work to do today. Might snow tonight. Probably won't be enough to close or delay school. It will just be enough to make my commute a nightmare!
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Mechanics
Old 02-25-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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I guess I am still trying to get myself out of that mechanics phase. It's all the discussion among my co-workers.

I agree the movie was fantastic! Leslie was exactly as we had envisioned her. Jess' home situation seemed a little different than we had pictured it as far as the relationship between him and his father. One of my student's leaned over to me and said "I think his father relates to his daughter's better than he does to Jess." hmmmmmm
May Belle reminds me of another talented young actress. I can't think of who she is, but she's also brunette. Trigger anything?

We shared tissues too. My son had to go out to the concession stand and get us some more.

Check out this link:
http://quest.carnegiefoundation.org/...opapproach.htm#
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Thanks for the link!
Old 02-25-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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I enjoyed that site. I love how reflective you are. I enjoy reading your conversations. Makes me think about myself!
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Old 02-25-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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What a great site! I love when teachers take pictures- I am definitely a visual learner.

Did you catch Amazing Race... not a great one but I loved the coming attractions. I hate when teams start playing dirty.

Not sure which actress you have in mind. (Reminds me a bit of 2- the Pepsi girl in their commercials and the actress from Little Miss Sunshine and my husband thinks she looks like a young Drew Barrymore) I too enjoyed how the father favored the girls. Thought the movie could have showed how caddy/materialistic the two older sisters were and where was Miss Bessie? My favorite parts involved when they were in Terabithia and the "creatures" were all the bullies from school. Can't wait to discuss it over with the class. Think we need to do some kind of comparison and discuss why we think the movie made the changes it did.

As far as the mechanics... That's a tough one for balancing but I think it works it's way naturally into the conferences without becoming a mini lesson at this age. The kids are all at different levels but they have all be exposed to the lessons in previous grades. So why not teach to the individual? I wouldn't compare myself or put much faith in what others say. You're a conscientious teacher always striving to improve yourself by immerging yourself into so many different credited professionals. I only wish I had some of the drive you have!
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Somebody Slap Me
Old 02-25-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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I'm getting ready to buy more books! Is there a name for this ailment? I've got it, whatever it is!

I didn't catch the Amazing Race.......was reading again. There was supposed to be somewhat of an altercation right?

I might be thinking of the girl from Little Miss Sunshine. Don't know for sure though. The bullies part of the movie was something we discussed too. Yet I like your take on it! We talked about how bullies are sometimes crying for attention and longing for what others have that they do not have...........how they are trying to complete themselves.........compensate.. .......that the bullying is a sign of something bothering the bully.

You are so supportive! Overdrive is more like it. I worry about it sometimes. There is such a thing as being over-focused. It falls in the ADD category.

Back to work tomorrow. Was out all last week w/ my son's flu. He's better, yet that cough that causes him to sing praises to the porcelain goddess is still lingering. The last of the fever was seen Saturday. I made a chart of all of his work and he got it complete yesterday and today. Friday was his worst day though. (feeling the worst and looking just horrible) Wish us luck!

Here's another GREAT link! LOVE IT!
http://www.providenceschools.org/dep...C79C5C52EF.pdf
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I've Got It!
Old 02-25-2007, 07:35 PM
 
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I know the movie & actress I'm thinking of....the one May Belle reminds me of is from the move with Ray Leotta & Whoopie Goldberg "Corrinne........?" That was Whoopie's character. Do you know which one I'm thinking of now> I haven't seen Little Miss Sunshine.

Also, the teacher in Bridge to Terabithia reminds me of the one in Frindle. That's how I picture her! Stern, yet when it counted, she was there for him.

Miccol71 - glad you liked the link. Feel free to join in the conversation anytime.
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Are you happy to be back? How's your son?
Old 02-26-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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Not enough snow here for even a delayed opening!!! Very dissapointing since I watched a majority of the Oscars and was pooped!

Can't believe you are buying more. Think it's readaholic syndrome! Not really an altercation on AR. Problems between Mirna, Charla, Kevin and Drew. Next week looks worse with Ian and Teri getting involved.

Frindle is one of my all time favorite books. Love Andrew Clements, although I've been disappointed with his last few. Love the reoccuring themes of that one special teacher who believes in you and thinking outside of the box.

Still not sure about the younger actress. Where do I know the music teacher from? She looked so familiar! My class couldn't stop talking about it today.

Do you order from Scholastic? April's order had some great resources for poetry month and for lit circles activities. Better go start dinner- the family might starve. TTYS
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Lol
Old 02-26-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Think it's readaholic syndrome!
Yes, scholastic! I bought the big poetry pack & a few lit circle packs, as well as Vietnam War book, WWII book, & a few others. You too?

Was it the music teacher's eyes? or persona? I know what you mean and yet for me she reminded me of one of my uncle Denny's girlfriend's when I was a kid. He's still a bachelor, yet always had to coolest and prettiest girlfriend's when I was younger!

Glad to be back? Kids were needing some structure. KWIM? Crazy. My window was open, I couldn't shut it. So I told the janitor, who said not to touch it........there had been a break-in and there might be fingerprints on it. The glass was in-tact, the metal was bent and broken. Nothing was missing, so I guess the detectives thought it was the 'point of entry'. We're fortunate.

My son is better thanks!
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Love Scholastic!
Old 02-27-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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I'm waiting for the kids' orders but I'll most definitely order something! I have the poetry pack but not the lit circle ideas... plus, I liked several of the sport books for the room. What other books did you end up buying?? When do you find the time and quiet to read as much as you do? I do a majority of reading over the summer or longer breaks. I like to sit and read a book usually in a day. If it's a professional book, I usually type notes as I read. You might be a readaholic but I am definitely a binder queen!

Glad your son is better. I didn't miss a day last week, and my class has been all out of sorts these past two days. I haven't had this many issues since September. It's depressing. Why given right and wrong- do children this age tend to think it's okay to do wrong? And why do the parents defend wrong? Uuuuhhmmm.. big sigh! Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

Getting ready for AI. Hope the boys are better than last week.

I had a break in once a few years ago. The police assumed it was teenagers because all they did was mess things up and tear a few things. Glad it wasn't more serious for you. Better go and pop some popcorn- love that Blake!
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popcorn
Old 03-01-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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Have you tried the ranch flavored popcorn? (ranch powder to sprinkle over the popcorn) oooohhhhhhhhh it's sinful!

Ok self-proclaimed binder queen! Come visit me and help me put things into perspective. I really can not sit still doing nothing, so I have books with me all the time and do read a great deal. I'll probably start a new thread with some Q's on these 3 new books. Fletcher's, Allington's, & Caldwell's.

I'm so excited about how much more I know about my students as readers since I've started using these strategies! I'm hard pressed to make the best use of descriptive adjectives is all!

I haven't been able to work in GR for several weeks though. However I know sooooo much about my children now and you wouldn't believe how many of my low/medium students have shown HUGE amounts of growth in their meta cognitive skills! Just today my young "S" (girl) said something profound in a conference. She was telling me that these skills and sticky notes have made her a better reader and the fix-up strategies have helped her because she knows which one to use for which problem she's having. Then she said "I knew my conference was coming up, so I wrote some notes about the fix-up strategies on a few sticky's about how I was using them, where I was using them, and how they helped me when I was reading." She showed me the problems she had encountered and which strategy she used and then explained how she realizes that she actually 'thinks' as she reads! How awesome is that! Our conference was about "questions", yet she was able to indicate strongly that she had achieved success in developing Q's as she reads as well. Now this young lady has been in my low group all year long. Then she was moved to the middle group in January, and now she's showing progress toward the upper group performance level!

I brought in my golden papered, leather bound copies of Moby Dick and Great Expectations to use in a mini lesson yesterday. I used a paragraph from each to demonstrate how other words in the text can serve as clues to help me figure out unknown words. Some of them are catching on so well it makes me feel like there is no limit to what they can achieve!

Still haven't gotten to non-fiction and text lifting, yet am looking forward to talking about that with you! I haven't done any explicit mini-lessons on 'inference' however some of my students have "I's" on their sticky notes. They want to talk about "I's" already. I started the year with them making predictions in the science & SS journals........and they have made this leap to "I" without me! I wonder if I should wrap up Q's and move on with them since they are indicating the desire? They are leading me. I'm not leading them. This is such a huge change.

AI was alright for the boys, however the females have it locked up thus far IMHO. Survivor is on.....gotta run........I write more about the classroom library books I ordered next time. Have a WONDERFUL FRIDAY! (glad your break-in wasn't devastating)
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avoiding my computer
Old 03-04-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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Hi CurlyQ. Sorry I have been avoiding my computer for a few days in hope to have some uninterrupted family time. My husband is a instrumental music teacher but he also works in several local symphonies and March is his busiest month... so, I feel guillty that I am consistantlly on this thing!

Anyway, he's out and AR is on at 8, so I thought I would catch up some. Believe it or not I have never tried ranch powder on my popcorn- it sounds like an outstanding idea though! A must add to the grocery list!

Thank God, we do not teach GR in fourth in my district. It was one of my least favorite things to do in second and I love reading!!! I just think it looses it's value by third grade. I think using comprehension strategies is so much more powerful for them. I loved your story of your "low S" reader- warms your heart when you know you've reached someone profoundly. She was ready to move on, but GR didn't provide her with the tools. One of my favorite books- Mistakes that Worked, a nonfiction book I often share with my class, lets you in on how some of the world's best products were actually mistakes- like the post it notes! I know I couldn't survivie without them!!

I use text lifting all the time. I like to also call it seed ideas when we take and lift a line from a creative or non fiction piece they have created. The kids have mini notebooks on their desks. I often have them record a quote or a blurted out thought that we all agree will make a good starting point for a new story. Do you have highlighting tape? I illustrate first with it, doesn't harm the text and highlights the words you plan to lift. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is a great picture book to use. I've made several copies of each page and attached labels with the title and line (they must lift and use in their story). I have laminated each of the pages and around Halloween I let them choose the picture or pictures that speak to them. They use it as a picture prompt of sorts, but they must include title and lifted line.

I love inferencing! It is amazing how quickly some of them get it! I would let them lead you; that's fantastic! I'm trying to attach our post it codes my kids use. I have it taped to their desks, hanging as a large poster and made into bookmarks. I've never sent an attachment here so I hope it goes through. Also, I created it in Print Shop 11 and converted it into Word for you- again keeping my fingers crossed it gets to you.

TTYS and I hope your weekend was enjoyable!
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Post-its
Old 03-07-2007, 09:26 AM
 
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I couldn't view the attachment in word from home, but I'll try to open it on a computer at school that has Print Shop. THANKS!

You are a lucky person in that you have access to wonderful music because of your husband's career!

Your explanation of lifting text gives me a start, yet I still feel like I need some modeled examples. I guess I've become dependent on the explicit modeling provided in these books I've read. I think STW had some examples I can refer back to though. Your steps help a lot!

I was wondering about something you said though......your GR comment. I take it you do not work in GR daily? I haven't been able to fit it in lately due to conferencing and some of the conferences had run long (5-10 min) due to modeling word attack strategies and having to have a few children return their books that were WAY ABOVE their level. Then I needed to reteach 'just right' using the bicycle analogy because they needed it badly! They know I want to hear the book is 'just right' when I conference with them so they are giving that to me. Yet when they read a paragraph aloud to me, they struggle more than they are aware so I had to model how I would think to myself if I was a 4th grader and I had come across so many bumps while reading and then model P & S along with 'chunking' as well as choosing the right book. They seem to be choosing based on their interests and not investing the necessary time into 'hmmmm is this really just right for me?'
Back to GR - The Allington book that I read was GREAT! In it he mentions that the most successful classrooms have a GR component in their daily schedule. If you like reading about research and having an easy read - check out this book. I learned a lot about Title I and the 'gag' NCLB faulty points. I can truly say I took more notes and used more stickies in this book than any other! The only thing about working in GR right now, for me, is I think I could only spare 15 minutes and I can't (or ?) devote it to my lowest group daily. Now that I'm using RW, and Allington suggests around 100 minutes of independent reading to make the most impact on these kids - I'm still looking for a way to fit it all in. The other groups deserve to be urged on and require help based on their needs as well. I can tinker with my math schedule and gain up to 20 minutes if I really want to. It would leave 50 minutes for math.

Sad realization: I get the Scholastic intermediate catalog and I need to request the primary one as well! I have a small handful of readers that really aren't finding what they want to read in my 500 book collection. I know it's small, yet it grows every month by 20-40 books.

Do you happen to know the codes for answering Q's? Maybe this is what you were trying to send me? T means answers by the text? W means still wondering? I means made an inference?......
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sorry the attachment didn't open
Old 03-07-2007, 02:34 PM
 
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If you want send me a private message with your email and I'll attach it to that address. Looks something like this: T-T (text-to-text), T-S (Text-to-Self), T-W (text-to-world), ?=Question, O=Opinion, I=Inference, BI= Big Idea, !=Wow, and L=Learned something new. I created mini charts for their desks and bookmarks for when I want them to record their metacognition.

My school has a Barnes & Noble Night next week, so I'll have to look for the Allington book. Sounds like a good Spring Break read.

I've been having anxiety over our upcoming state tests. We have so much pressure put upon us! Our district is very large and the schools all rank themselves; it's very unhealthy if you ask me. Around this time of year, my self doubt really kicks into high gear. Trying to keep it together and continue to let the powers that be roll off my shoulders.

In my district, I do not do GR at all in 4th grade. I did for 12 years in 2nd, but after 3rd it stops. We focus on STW, Keene's Strategies, the Toolkit, Core Literature and Lit Circles. I found GR didn't lend itself to the upper grades and the deeper level of comprehension we were trying to achieve. I literally teach language arts (reading & writing combined for 2-2.5 hours daily) and math for approx. 1.5 hours a day. I alternate science and ss units a few times a week.

Although I left 1,000s of primary books for a friend of mine who moved into my second grade classroom, I also gave my best ones to my nieces and saved around 100 for model lessons. I had read STW and other books prior to moving up and recalled just how many of the picture books they recommended. I keep those books on a separate bookshelf and have mini labels on each for which strategy I use it for.
Again anal, I know.... But it was difficult for me to part with some of my favorites. There is a real benefit to changing grade levels. I have a much more vast knowledge of children's authors then many I work with. I am familiar with all the picture book authors and now have enhanced my repetiore of young readers and short novels. My current collection is in the 1,000s- plus having a daughter this age doesn't hurt. She brings me books she thinks I should read aloud and often will preread a book I've been eyeing for me. She basically reads 5-6 books a week and tells me about each. It's cheating, I know, but it's a huge time saver.

I was extremely bored last night during AI. Having higher hopes for the girls tonight. It's a shame that there as to be 6 boys and 6 girls. It should be because of talent, not gender. Oh well, have to get to dinner. Let me know if you want me to email the attachment.
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Inferring
Old 03-12-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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Would you believe that I still haven't had a chance to open your post-its attachment at the school? I'm going to try real hard to get that done tomorrow.

Last week we had post-tests for the grading period and this week we have comprehensive tests for the whole year (not the state test, yet our county tests). These test are sooooooo long! More than 2 hours for a select few kiddos! On average 1 hour 15 minutes for the rest.

I love your idea about mini-labels on the lesson picture books. I plan to do the same thing. Thanks! I don't have much of a collection of lesson picture books, yet do borrow from the library frequently.

I'm wrapping up Questioning this week. We've been making enough progress to consider this skill 'attained'. My conference logs verify this and small group work with those still 'developing' will ensure they continue writing Q's as they read. If I can just get back to small group work with all this TESTING! We got an email during the test today saying to cover posters or take them down!!!!!! GET REAL!!!!! The test had already begun! Maybe that should have been expressed PREVIOUSLY? Last week maybe?

I'm ready to start 'Inferring' in model lessons. I'll begin Thursday. I have a few books, yet wonder a few things:
* What kind of chart would be a good anchor poster?
* Wouldn't this skill link directly to Schema? So should schema be discussed each time I model the inferring? Sort of like the files in the mind that are being accessed to 'figure things out'?
* Do you have any suggestions on Inferring?

How wonderful that your daughter is helping out with the books she reads and tips she offers!
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thoughts about inferring
Old 03-13-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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I introduce it as schema (or background knowledge) + context clues. (That's my chart) I tell them that inferring is what good authors want you to do. At their "advanced age and ability" good authors don't just write, "See the blue ball" and there's a picture of a blue ball. Good writers expect the reader to be actively thinking about the story, to be invested in the characters and to draw from their own life experiences as they read. Mental images, connections and context should all become like pieces of the puzzle. Their jobs as active readers is to read between the lines at what the author just doesn't come out and say. It's like a book's secrets. One of my favorite picture books that I use for this is Knots on a Counting Rope. (author?) I do not show the pictures, but have them try to visual and infer meaning on a mosaic board or graffiti board. It's about a native american boy who is blind- the author never comes out and says that he's blind. Beautiful story with great clues. We also discuss how much fun solving mysteries is. How no one wants an author to come right out and tell their readers who is guility or what happens. We want the story to unfold like a treasured quilt. Tell the story by how one interrupts it, via his or her schema. Hope this helps. When I'm back at school, I can look through my picture books for more model lessons if you want. Just let me know.
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Story
Old 03-13-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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I used that very story for visualizing! Why not go back to it for "Inferring"?! Great suggestion. I appreciate your explanation of how you introduce it. Gives me a great vantage point to work with. I'm also looking back through STW. Let me know what you find in your picture book collection.
I used to teach inferring as:
What the story says + What I already know = inference (Harcourt basal-reliant days.)
I'm seeing it is much more than that!
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loosing my mind
Old 03-17-2007, 04:00 AM
 
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Sorry CurlyQ! I totally am loosing my mind over our state testing. Yesterday, finally for fun we painted tshirts with inspirational messages... of course some missed the positive message component and wrote " ouch, my brain hurts, I didn't cheat, I just thought hard, etc" ... My principal got the grade level together and had made an overhead of last year's scores. Told them they were superstars- 3 out of 12 in the district and that he knew they would do just as well if not better. I was just shocked. Do we really need the kids to hear the comparisons or point more pressure on them?

Anyway, I totally forgot the inferencing picture books at school. I'll definitely write them down for you next week. Sorry for the delay! TTYS, I have a ton of shoveling to do- huge ice storn here yesterday and my husband is MIA with performances.
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Saw Stephanie Harvey
Old 03-17-2007, 03:50 PM
 
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at the Illinois Reading Conference yesterday. I've been lucky to see her before (actually came to the charter school I used to work at a few years ago and did a 2 hour workshop with our faculty) and I learn something new every time. She's very motivational. I also was lucky to see Mem Fox (speaks so poetically and reads like an actress), Robert Munsch, the 2 Sisters (Daily Five) among others. I am so excited to go back to school on Monday and try out some of this stuff I learned/relearned...
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Old 03-17-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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I am sooooooooooo jealous! This is the Perfect time of year to be reinspired too! Mem Fox is one of my all time favorites! Let us know if you try something that your in love with. Would love to hear new ideas from some of the greats!
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Wow!
Old 03-18-2007, 05:29 AM
 
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Ilun2nd - I too am envious! We could use some inspiration right now as well just having completed grading period post-tests which were quickly followed by system mandated comprehensive tests.......which by the way are posted on our system web page by individual teacher!
Gitt - I feel your anxiety and need to experience some non-tested instructional time! argh! T-shirts sounded like a perfect way to express personal thoughts. I actually loved the "ouch, my brain hurts" thought! Hope you were able to painlessly get out from under that ice-storm in one piece! It's shorts weather down here.....pedicure taken care of and open-toed shoes & Capri's are feeling GREAT!
Funny thing about the system reporting each schools' and individual teachers' results: We'd like them to post the voting results from each school re: the new Math textbook adoptions as well. You know, full disclosure for everything! Seems that a majority of the schools here chose Houghton Mifflin, yet for some truly strange reason, Harcourt has been chosen. Eliciting our gag reflex as well as a demand for FULL disclosure so that all the parents can actually see that the classroom experts were simply appeased by the "you get to choose" process, not actually listened to! Can you hear the song "Money, money, money..........honey....." playing?
To start the explicit modeling of inference, I chose the small passage from STW about dinosaurs (T-Rex & Apatasaurs) because it lent itself incredibly well to schema, sensory images, connections, & questions as well as inferring. I tried to scaffold the introduction in that order as a means of connecting all of the other skills. It's my anchor chart that we'll refer back to over the next 3 weeks. I did pick up:
Knots on a Counting Rope
Dandelion by Eve Bunting
The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg
Tight Times by Barbara Shook Hazen (money being tight)
The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor (societal caste system)
Now I'm trying to balance compare & contrast along with inference. No juggling skills either!
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Planning for Next Year
Old 03-18-2007, 07:52 AM
 
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In planning for next year, I created a few items for the students to keep in their reading binders. I don't know how feasible some of it will actually be? I don't want all of or a majority of their time to be devoted to the charts & logs. What do you think? I've attached three of them. Let me know your thoughts.

The "Intervention Strategies to Follow Informal Reading Inventory Assessment: So What do I do Now?" by Caldwell & Leslie is where the "Word in My Life" (WOW! WORDS) example comes from. They provided the mercenary example and I added the information on the left hand side of the example. The goal is to use effective vocabulary building strategies and tie them in to weekly independent reading.
I got the "What Kind of Reader was I?" rubric from thereadinglady site and adapted it into a daily checklist. (This is where I wonder if daily monitoring will be too time consuming, although it IS a part of their daily habits I want the children to be aware of.)
The "weekly reading plans" only has to be completed weekly. Yet it is meant to give a grading period picture of good reading habits. Each part of that sheet has a corresponding sheet in the binder.
What do your reading binders include?
Attached Files
File Type: doc MY WEEKLY READING PLANS LOG.doc (43.0 KB, 159 views)
File Type: doc WHAT KIND OF READER WAS I LOG.doc (67.5 KB, 139 views)
File Type: doc WOW WORDS LOG.doc (29.5 KB, 133 views)
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inferencing picture books
Old 03-19-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Okay sorry it took so long- brought the list home to type (it''s long too!)
Here it is:
George and Martha books
A Bag Full of Pups, Gackenbach
A Fairy Went A Marketing, Fyleman
Abby, Caines
Alexander books, Viorst
Anna Banan and Me, Blegvad
Big Al, Clements
Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring, Clifton
Charlie Anderson, Abercrombie (one of my favorites!)
Corduroy, Freeman
Dreamcatcher, Osofsky
Duckat, Gordon
Harry and the Terrible Whatzit, Gackenbach
Hattie and the Fox, Fox
The Hedgehog for Breakfast, Tuner
Hot Air Henry, Calhoun
I Wish I Had a Pirate Suit, Allen
In a Small, Small Pond, Fleming
In the Tall, Tall Grass, Fleming
The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau, Agee
Jim and the Beanstalk, Briggs
Loop the Loop, Dugan
Lunch, Fleming
May I Bring a Friend?, deRegniers
Miss Rumphius, Cooney
No Moon, No Milk!, Baccock
No Pease for Nellie, Demarest
The Noisy Book, Brown
Noisy Nora, Wells
Once Upon Macdonald's Farm, Gammell
Owen, Henkes
Rainbow Fish, Pfister
Seven Blind Mice, Young
The Snowy Day, Keats
Spinky Sulks, Steig
The Story of Jumping Mouse, Steptoe
The Stranger, Van Allsburg
Swimmy, Lionni
Teammates, Golenbock
The Third Story cat, Baker
This is the Key to the Kingdom, allison
Time for Bed, Fox
The Wednesday Surprise, Bunting
The Relatives Came, Rylant
Fly Away Home, Bunting
Cheyenne Again (another favorite- but can't remember the author)
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At Home Reading Binders
Old 03-19-2007, 01:17 PM
 
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I printed your attachments. I thought they were good! Attached my main page. I also include a bibliography page and a post it page. The kids are required to read for at least 20 minutes nightly and record their metacognition. I collect these every other week and score using a rubric.

Began the state tests today. Could have been worse- but I was trully bored! Have a difficult time motivating them to do anything else afterwards. We began our poetry unit and a new lit circle book to keep it light and fun. Tired now, going to get dinner ready before my husband leaves for another performance.
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What a list!
Old 03-20-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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THANK-YOU!!!!!!!! I love the at-home reading log as well! Good luck on your tests. I hope your students take their time and select answers using critical thinking.
I discussed the reading binder with a 3rd grade teacher yesterday. She agreed with my concerns that authentic reading take place daily in class as opposed to consuming time with charts, checklists, and the like. This really does seem more like something they could take home and work on 10 minutes or so each evening - even the weekends as you log indicates. Thanks for sharing. I guess it would actually have to become a part of their 3 inch binders instead of having a separate binder (losing it.......leaving it at home). They tend to keep up with the one binder much better than I suppose they would another 1 inch binder as well.??????????
Have a wonderful day!
PS My luck has run out with the media center specialist. I requested a few books and got a reply that she was too busy getting the yearbook together and I could come find them myself. She even has a parapro! And what's the reason she's there?
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You know I love my binders and labels!
Old 03-20-2007, 04:34 AM
 
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Since moving to fourth, I tried their at home log two ways- I've used plastic 1 inch 3 ring binders that I purchased during the summer at Staples for 10 cents each. Although I thought they would be more durable, they are difficult to take home and the kids are consistently tearing their pages. Last year I just used a 3 prong folder- it was flat, less tearing and lighter. I will look for plastic ones this summer, but I prefer them.

Sorry to hear about your luck- that's their job! Does she get a stipend for the yearbook? Or did she volunteer? Because, supporting the classrooms should be her first priority!

Gearing up for the longest testing day today! Drank my coffee, extra strong and now I am just relaxing before the storm ie kids come in!

Watched Dancing With the Stars last night. Did you catch it? Really liked Joey, Ian (although, I dislike Cheryl), Apollo, and the boxer (name?). At least that was some mindless entertainment. Had to tape 24, although I have been bored by it lately.

Alright better go kids are coming in any minute now. PS Totally jealous over your capri and flipflop weather. We hit 50 by Friday!!!! Still ice and snow here!!!
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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Hi, I love your log! I was wondering if you could share the post it code list that you created. My email is Liz1993@optonline.net

Liz
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Sure!
Old 03-20-2007, 03:04 PM
 
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No problem Liz. It's number 49 above, but I'll email it to you too! Hope it comes in handy.
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Go ahead and shoot me
Old 03-21-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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........I still haven't opened the post-its codes at school! The county computer tech. (head guy) was in my room today working on some pc problems and promising newer versions of pc's after spring break. Sounds good to me!
I didn't see the Dancing with the Stars show. We were reading Al Capone Does My Shirts. I got choked up when Mr. Flanagan cried and told his children how proud he was of them! awwwwwww I even grew to like Piper!
Not to rub in the good weather or anything () but my pedicure looks GREAT!
I have tinkered so much with my reading schedule this year. It has everything to do with trying to incorporate these new strategies I'm learning about. Lately my schedule has looked like this: 9:50-11:35 Reading. 9:50-10:05 explicitly modeled lesson - 10:05-11:35 independent reading and somewhere in between a 20 minute lesson (whole group) on the county and state assessed skills such as compare & contrast, cause & effect and so on. I'm somewhat bewildered as to where the time goes though. I hardly have time to pull GR groups like I did back in November & December. I devote much more time to individuals and conferences. I was doing alright in January with 5 minute conferences, yet now it seems to take 10 minutes per child and with 5 children per day.........how in the world can I recapture some GR time? The good thing is I know my readers so well. I know them better than I've ever know them in 6 years of whole group teaching! I love this. I love knowing each child's interests and gains or lack of gains on a weekly basis. I love showing them that they've read non-fiction 3 times in a row and maybe they need to consider balancing it out with some fiction. They see the conference log and notice things about themselves too. I don't want to give this up, yet need to figure something out.
I've attached the log I've been using. I adapted it from the readinglady site. At this point in the year, I'm asking them about schema, connections, questions, and now inferring (some had transitioned on to this more then a week ago and others this past week with explicit modeling). Is it possible that the conferences are so long because I'm asking about ALL of the skills and I should consider keeping out talks limited to Inferring? This might allow back 25 minutes for GR. However, all the skills are so connected and should be fresh all of the time. hhhhhhmmmmmm? What do you think? I could use this conference log once monthly and another, shorter version daily. In the comments section, I've been doing a daily modified running log. It comes from Allinton's book. Checks indicate correctly pronounced words and X's indicate incorrectly pronounced words. It's gives both me and the child a glance in about 30 seconds at their actual fluency. If it's 97% or higher, good. So says the book. Lower might be too difficult of a read for them.
The other positive aspect of how things have been going with such a large chunk of indep. reading time is the children have improved by leaps and bounds! My class fluency is high, their meta-cognitive skills are fully BLOOMING, and many of my low readers from Sept. are med/high now. Some might say, don't mess with what's working. This highly individualized method has really proven effective. Especially considering those that didn't need orthographic assistance and just needed to learn a technique like Point & Slide or PPPP. I know you don't do GR. Why am I so stuck on this idea that it's necessary?!
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Old 03-21-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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Oh duh!

Thanks, Liz
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why...
Old 03-24-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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worry so much about GR if you know the kids are doing better with the strategy lessons? I hate to feel we have to do something or teach a certain way when we see results another way!

On a happier note- we are done with state testing!!! Not sure how my kids did?! In three months my principal makes it a point to email scores and comparisons out to whole staff- very reassuring and professional if you ask me! But, we're done. I felt bad for the kids- 5 days is a long time.

So, now I am knee deep in my lesson plans. Starting all new books for literature circles, a huge poetry unit and the midwest states. Glad to be getting back into more fun areas than test prep.

How are things there? LIked Dacing with the Stars and finally caught up today on a few of the shows we taped. This week I have a ton of work and we are actually off the week before Easter not after. So one full week and then a week break. I have a ton of "projects" planned, we'll see just how ambitious I end up being. TTYS.
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Makes Sense....
Old 03-25-2007, 03:17 AM
 
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....to not worry about GR if this is working.

I'm glad you're testing is over and done! Our turn is coming around the corner and about 3 weeks.

It's been an interesting week of focusing on non-fiction. I had to nudge the whole class to focus in on it by making Scholastic GO non-fiction packets. They are really good GO's and packets that take connections into consideration as well as features on expository non-fiction. The class did a wonderful job showing their knowledge of cut-aways, captions, and selecting 2 feature sections for compare & contrast as well as retelling in a 5W chart. I wish Scholastic had included a rubric with them though.

My lit circle books have been entered into the database, so we can finally begin to use them! I have a few boys who are eager to begin "Code Talkers". One thing I really like about these lit circle books is that they have Bloom's Taxonomy leveled questions in the back. Which books will you be using?

Have a great week!
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I chose
Old 03-25-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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the lit circle books by their level from our vast bookroom of multicopy books. I gave each group of four three books to choose from. I only asked if someone in the group had read one of the books, for that group to choose another one. Only one group couldn't get all members to agree, where I had to step in. I was surprised by some of their selections, but I wanted ownership and invested interest, so I kept my mouth shut. The choices they made were: The Trouble with Tuck, Bunnicula, Loser, Harriet the Spy and Riding Freedom.

I had to read three of them this weekend because I hadn't read them before. I used a few GOs I adapted from the reading lady and my grade partner and I collaborated to make an annotated log. I also used my primary background to create recording sheets for me. I'm excited to begin. Want to do them 2-3 times per week.


Before our testing, I crammed nonfiction packets at them. Actually in class and for homework (I abandoned the log for 2 weeks), didn't use a rubric either. But I did use the classroom ones as grades- sometimes reading, ss, or science; depending on material. At first, they did extremely poor. They didn't consistently read the directions for each part. It drove me nuts! By testing though, they were pretty confident in themselves and hopefully their scores won't be too upsetting. It's difficult when there is so much pressure put on them and us. Last year, all my children did extremely well, but I fear this class just won't be as successful. It's hard not to take it personally, not to compare and not to blame yourself. Well at least it's over until our scores come back!

Better go Amazing Race is on in 5. Have a good week!
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Pictures
Old 03-25-2007, 04:42 PM
 
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I've tried to load some pictures of my conference logs (in progress logs), the just right poster (Bookmuncher - much better than 5 finger method - though I do like the Daily 5's I PICK), & one non-fiction project. I'm hoping that you will be able to click on them and enlarge them, yet don't know how well I'll do at it since it's my first try. I don't know how well they will show up either...........so I'm really flying with new wings here.

You're right, it's hard not to take it personal when the test results come in! I really don't know if I'll ever NOT take it personally. It would be a bad sign if I was indifferent though. I'm sure your students did GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are soooo knowledgeable!

I can't make any copies right now. I want to get some lit circle stuff together (got it from reading lady) .......yet we don't have any master rolls for the risograph machine and I'm out of copies on my ID# for the larger machine! My 250 copies allotment is DONE! I can let the secretary know, and she will reprogram it for another 250, yet that's all I will have until school is out. Too funny.
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More pics
Old 03-25-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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I could only do 5 pictures on the last post. Here are the last 3 pages of the non fiction packet. Sorry. They are blurry. I missed the photography course in college! Learning.
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the pics
Old 03-26-2007, 02:49 AM
 
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are great! I can click on them! I am totally copying your just right poster analogy of riding a bike for a class poster next year! I also recognized the reading lady's log- she's so good. I am adapting her self reflection piece but like I said created my own log for the lit circles. She definitely gives you good ideas though and some great posters!

In the next couple of weeks my assignment is to get together my APR for my principal. It is a bit time consuming, data driven and I need to organize charts, excel sheets, etc for him and send it all electronically- less work for him. I've been putting it off, but it's now a reality.

We have Barnes & Noble Night tomorrow, so I am going in search of some Spring Break reading. I am definitely looking ofr Allington's book. Any other suggestions? Better go and get breakfast. I am moving at a snail's pace today!
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Old 03-26-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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Wow you two have had quite the awesome discussion going on!

I have finally had a time to sit and read up to Chapter 4 in "Strategies that Work." It may have been Curly who suggested buying the book a few months back...I'm not sure.

I love it and have been writing all sorts of notes in the margins and highlighting it (no post-its though...hee hee). I've already implemented the post-it strategy in my room. Even my lower level kids are doing well with it.

I'm now trying to figure out how to fit in some reader's workshop time into the required basal reading/groups/centers time. Do either of you run reader's workshop? Do you do that along with the Basal reading? I'm curious to know if it's doable.
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HI TeacherCarrie
Old 03-27-2007, 02:46 AM
 
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I do not use a basal. We use only literature books, or core literature approved for our grade level. I am supposed to do reader's workshop but I use my time mostly on Ellin Keene's comprehehnsion strategies and now we are immersed in lit circles. I am very fortunate that I have the flexibility to individualize my instruction as I see fit. So far GR has not come up to fourth and although we've all been trained in RW I have adapted it to fit my style and class- definitely not tradition sense. STW is a fantastic book- keep reading it, I think you will definitely find it invaluable to your teaching.
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Great!
Old 03-27-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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Hi TeacherCarrie!
I'm glad you are enjoying STW! Try the Allington book as well (2nd ed.) whenever you have some free reading time. That is if you like reading research stuff. I'm a junkie for that stuff!
Both Gitt and I use RW in the classroom daily. In January, I switched to RW from basal and GR. I believe it is doable to do both RW and the basal if you are required to teach the basal. It's really taken some tweaking to find what works with this particular group I have this year. I guess the art of 'conferring' has been one of the biggest factors for me personally and it's been tremendously exciting to learn how to teach through explicit modeling (mini-lessons). Gitt has been doing this for much longer than I have and has been enormously helpful!
Learning what works through STW and Mosaic as well as a few other books has been so rewarding.
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Thanks ladies!
Old 03-27-2007, 05:46 AM
 
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I actually have read Mosaic...it was for a class in college several years back. What is the Allington book that you mentioned?

I definitely can't stray away from the Basal. It's actually a good basal with lots of differentiated items. But I would love to try to fit in Reader's Workshop. I'm definitely going to begin using the short text and have the kids gather around the overhead projector while we work on it and break it apart. The post-its will continue to be used in my classroom.

I just want to figure out how to fit in reader's workshop. It will be much easier to do once state testing is done with in about two weeks. I won't need to do some test prep any more. I'll stick in my schedule here and then maybe you ladies can help me figure it out. Pretty please?

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Old 03-27-2007, 05:57 AM
 
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Here's my schedule. The ELL instruction can't be messed with at all b/c it's state mandated and has to be 30 minutes. The whole grade level does it at the same time b/c we switch students around. We all despise it a lot and it's the part of the day that we all do not look forward to. If it wasn't in there...we could be doing so much more...we all know it too.

Thanks for any ideas you may have. I think I have some ideas of where I can shove it in...but some outsider viewpoints might help as well.
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Wow!!!
Old 03-27-2007, 07:05 AM
 
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Your schedule is tight! Have you thought of overlapping/ or combining the reading and writing? Could they tie together (maybe they already do??) I find it easier and freeing to block off 2-2.5 hours a day to language arts and then depending on the lesson and the day they overlap and combine.

For example, on Mondays and Thursday we are currently involved in lit circles. I always include a writing assignment that we share when I conference with them. But at the same time, they are using post-its, questioning and interruption strategies, determining importance, etc... with their group.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays we are immersed in poetry. I am currently reading several poets to them and we are crafting at least 20 different types of poetry into our poetry notebooks- in the end, publishing several into our own poetry books. The children bring in their favorite poetry books, and we read and write/experiment daily.

On Fridays (now that state testing is done) I have cut back, but not forgotten nonfiction. We still report current events, read Time For Kids and use copied articles to focus on a deeper comprehension using nonfiction features.

Let me know if I can help anymore. The Allington book is What Really Matters for Struggling Readers (2nd edition).
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:04 AM
 
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I can't stand how tight my schedule is. But, I think it's a grand idea to combine writing with reading. This year my specials are so spread out that it has made my schedule very awkward.

After state testing, when I can focus my attention on not worrying about the test...I can sit and figure out hwo to combine writing wtih reading so that it will fit tight. Next year, I (luckily, I am the grade level rep) have already decided to push the ELL instruction into the afternoon...although I think we have all enjoyed getting it over with in the morning. But we'll see I guess.
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Wacky Schedule
Old 03-27-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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Wow! Your schedule is truly unusual, however I know this must be the case because of your location & ELL.

I agree with Gitt, my first thought was to combine the writing & reading into a LA block of time. Maybe this is something you can work on for next year since you are the grade level rep.? It looks like you would be able to get 2 1/2 hours of LA time if this is done. Would that be a correct observation?

I noticed the Tuesday poetry time from 9:30-10:00 and thought RW would fit in nicely there - - - just as Gitt mentioned she does this twice a week.

You have a 9:00-10:30 period of time on Wednesdays to work it in as well. Since you have to teach the basal, maybe tweak the time into 30 minutes of absolutely necessary basal instruction and then capitalize on the next hour with RW?

Is the Friday 8:15-10:00 period of time used primarily to TEST? This is a huge chunk of valuable RW time awaiting your tweaking as well. I haven't given a basal test since December. Not that I won't, if I find it necessary to I will. Yet I view the reading instruction differently now and know my readers better than I have ever known them in the past using whole group basal instruction.

This may be cruel (just a thought), but that Friday 1:00-1:30 time for Fun Friday adds up to over 2 and a half days of possible RW time over the course of the year in case you want to rethink that 30 minute segment of time.

Do you think you will be able to put all of the LA together next year? It may be broken up by EXTRAS, yet could still remain largely intact. Don't you love the MOSAIC book? If you loved that one, try The Daily 5. There are ideas for RW in there as well.
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Yes.
Old 03-28-2007, 05:35 AM
 
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That 8:15 - 10:00 block includes the basal test. But our principal requires us to give that basal test. I cannot skip out on that...it is annoying. We are in an urban area with scores that barely made it last year (due to reasons out of our control actually), so our principal is really sort of freaking out and wants that accountability. But I can play around with what we HAVE to do with the basal and fit in some RW components. I am tempted to tell her that I want to experiment with something new (RW) and that if my scores next year are high in reading...maybe she'll let me switch over. I don't know how plausible that would be...but I can dream right?

I really don't want to get rid of Fun Friday either. Not only do my kids who have done their work and turned it in all week get to play games, draw, read, etc. But I use it as a time for kids to play Homeworkopoly, pass out Cool Cash for the week, open the class store, etc.

The poetry block can be taken out if we cover it within Langugage Arts/RW.

If anything, the RW will have to wait till next year when I can shove the ELL (yuck yuck yuck) instruction to the afternoon. As long as none of us have early afternoon specials. It's such a pain.

I actually added the Daily 5 to my amazon list yesterday...it sounds great too! I am on Chapter 4 or maybe it is 5 in Strategies. I am reading up on the part about how to choose picture books. What did you ladies think about that portion of the book?
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we all dream, right?
Old 03-28-2007, 07:00 AM
 
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It's definitely good to look ahead and start arranging in your head, how you might adjust and tweak now.

I had to look back in STW, it's been awhile since I've read it, but chapter 5 is okay. I have 12 years of 2nd grade experience so I used it as a guideline as to which picture books I should keep and move with. I also consulted our reading specialist. I use picure books daily in my lessons. The kids love them still and they get my point across quickly and simply. By the end of this year, my children will take their favorite picture book author and create their own picture book in that author's style. It's a project they love to do!
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Love that!
Old 03-28-2007, 07:27 AM
 
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I love the idea of having kids create their own picture book in the style of their fav author. As a 4th grade teacher I read them picture books all the time. They love it and beg for it. We have our read-aloud corner and everything...they don't seem embarrassed what so ever. So, that project would be perfect for my class as well. Thank you for sharing!
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I love.....
Old 03-30-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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I love how a few of my students made skill connections in their non-fiction projects. The packet asked them to make connections and explain how they were able to understand elements of non-fiction and a few of them mentioned that they "visualized" from reading a word and were able to figure out the meaning of new words within a section of the text. Or how their visualization led them to a higher interest level. So proud! I remember how bookmuncher suggested linking the skills over the year and think of this and beam with pride. (Of course it was a good opportunity to show the rest of the class how things are connected.)

Sad news. The mother of one of my students passed away yesterday. We made the boy a book of letters from the other students. Talking with the children about loss was very emotional and their letters expressed their sadness and willingness to 'be there' for the boy in such a touching way. Her passing was somewhat sudden - complications from pheunomia.
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So sad...
Old 03-30-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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I had a student two years ago, in 2nd, and now again in 4th whose mother died of cancer. It was expected and she fought it. But it was extremely difficult. Our guidance counselor was out on medical leave and the child was told an hour before school (she was staying over a friend's house- because the family knew.) I was told around 20 minutes before school started and then just ten minutes later I was asked to come to the nurse's office because the dad had brought the 8 year old to school!!!! I was speechless... the kids and I sat in a circle that morning and just talked and cried. Eventually my principal showed up with the crisis counselor from the middle school because the older sister was also in school. But that was the afternoon.

The kids rallied around the child- it was very heartbreaking / warming. (And still do!) Most of the class, although young, went to the funeral. I bought her an angel necklace- she still wears it. Also recommended a camp called Camp Lost for children who have lost a parent. She still returns for a week each summer. I was never closer to a class then I was to them. I have the child again and several from that group. It changed her in subtle ways and changed me. I still miss the mom and think of her often.

Your student will always remember you for being there. I gave this child my home phone number and told her she could call me anytime. She did occasionally, and her older sister volunteers in my class. I have grown much more attached to this family and admire their strength. It is so difficult when they are so young. I'll be thinking of you.
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It does touch the class
Old 03-31-2007, 04:30 AM
 
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My students were somber when I told them. And like your group did, we talked about loss and cried for them. One of my girl's told everyone about when her father died and they reach out to her as well. In their letters, they empathized with him for his loss and wanted to share the letters with the entire class. One girl asked me to read her letter to everyone, by the time I was done, my tears were on it. The kids showed how much they know the boy through what they wrote. It was a window into their souls. The pictures the children drew spoke volumes as well. There were several angels ascending to heaven that looked like his mother. They all wrote their phone #'s on their letters to him. Eleven of them placed a note in the basket on my desk asking for his phone number. All of the letters were placed in individual plastic page protecting sleeves in the book/folder with the outer plastic cover decorated.

He was very excited to get some of the new books that I had bought to read over his spring break. I sent them out there with the counselor yesterday while we were in school. He loves WWII, Vietnam War, and Flighting/Flying Machines.......so I sent the books with her since the family requested work and reading material to do with him and his younger sister over their break. When I went out there in the afternoon, he was bounding around with joy and thanks for the titles.

He had mentioned to the counselor that he had heard of releasing balloons with messages into the sky, so one of my colleagues brought those out there after school as well.

Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry to hear about your young girl whose mother died of cancer. You sound deeply touched by that experience and have such compassion for her. I know what you mean about being so bonded to a group of kids. This group I have this year is so wonderful that I don't want to see them go. I think you characterized how I feel about this group in a nut shell.

I've got the song "Lean on Me" on CD and plan to make it our class song when we return. I also plan to look for book titles dealing with loss for the classroom library.

My first year of teaching the mother of one of my students died too. She was also a teacher at my school. Our whole school was devastated.
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we've all have the flu!!!
Old 04-03-2007, 05:06 AM
 
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It's actually my spring break this week. My family has off next week but we all have the flu and it sucks!

How's your student doing? The balloons sounded beautiful. I hope he followed through with it. Is he back yet?

My fourth year, one of our teacher's sons committed suicide. One month later (a week after school was out for the summer) she also took her own life. Then that September her husband took his life. Only their teenage daughter "survived", but has had a real troubled exsistance. I didn't know her that well, I had only worked at her school for a year and we were not in the same grade level but it changed our school. The teachers grew much closer and had much more personal involvement with each other's lives. Quite a few retired or transferred who were too close to the woman. There's a memorial in our library with her picture. It's not something one would expect from a teacher, especially when she had another child to live for.

On a happy note, I have been reading, reading, reading... Nothing great professionally. But a few fun books including several literature books my students suggested. Going back to bed now. Typing is making me a bit dizzy.
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I didn't know....
Old 04-03-2007, 05:38 AM
 
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I still had some tears in me after these past few days. That just made me fall apart! I'm so shaken.

I'm sorry about the flu hitting all of you. Bummer huh? We've been healthy for a few weeks now and our fingers are crossed and 'knocking on wood' sore! I hope you feel better soon. We're all getting the flu shot next year. NO DOUBTS. I got it this year because the health dept. came to our school. Both my boys and I will not miss it next year though. Feel better.

We're on spring break, so he's with his family who has come in from several states. I'm supposed to call them today though. The grandmother asked me to call.

Thanks for your support and sharing. It means a lot.

Are you interested in doing a book study this summer? There are a few of us tossing the idea around. Maybe "Growing Readers"?

PS...........I love your site! I wish I had a room as big & bright as yours!
Here's how you can get to mine. Silly I don't know the direct link. You'll have to go to my school site to get to it.
I'll PM it to you.

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2 healthy;
Old 04-04-2007, 05:01 AM
 
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and one still sick. Hoping after today, we'll all be back to normal. I had planned to go to Altantic City today, but have daughter here- that's a bummer. At least, I didn't have to take a sick day.

You are making me sick with your 80's weather! It is in the 50's here, raining and dropping down into the 40's the next couple of days. Yuk.

Would love to do a book study together. Who wrote Growing Readers? It sounds familiar, I will have to check when I get back to school that I didn't already read it.

Okay, forcing myself to work on my lesson plans today. Was planning to get them out of the way earlier this week. I did finish getting my APR ready- that was a lot of work, but it's done.

I went to your website. Loved the slide show, didn't know scholastic offers sites. Was it free? Loved the link where you recommend books- it looks so nice with the books right there. You would not be jealous of my room at all right now. Yes, it's biggish, but the kids totally take it over with instruments, pets, huge piles of stuff, etc... those pictures were taken before they got their hands on it. You would be shocked if you could see it now!

ttys, and let me know more about the book. Thanks!
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Day off
Old 04-04-2007, 05:16 AM
 
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Perfectly stated...........at least you do not have to take a day off. What a thing to have happen over spring break though!

The book study has started in this room. "Growing Readers" is the title. I ordered it yesterday. Ugh........was looking forward to more down time from reading so fervently since January. Back in the saddle though. I think it's Miller (author). A few of us are 4th grade teachers, so that will be a great help! (esp. if you are in on it)

Thanks about my site. I've taken pictures since year 1, and always have a camera handy to keep documenting the journey we take each year! I imagine we would consume each square foot of a large room if we had the space too. We always want what we don't have though. he he (pets - oh my )
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:28 AM
 
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Is your site posted? I'd like to look at it also.
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Scholastic
Old 04-04-2007, 09:08 AM
 
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Sorry gitt I forgot to say that Scholastic web pages are completely free and VERY easy to update - plain language all the way through. I had learned HTML back in 2001-2002 and built my web page using that...........then along came Scholastic with a much easier alternative! Yippee

The only thing is - you can not upload any power points you've created for your students or parents. I made a Jeopardy place value game in PPT and a multiplication facts review based on 2 types of research and couldn't even put it on my web page.

All else is super easy to use on their site though.
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:11 AM
 
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email me @ rhondasonline@yahoo.com
I couldn't send you a PM since you are new.
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Free is always good!
Old 04-04-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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I used to be the webmaster for several years at my school, so I still maintain my site off the main server... a bit illegal but so easy for me.

I read above about Growing Readers, by Collins. Wouldn't have the time now. I'll just keep reading what you all think and then invest in it for the summer. So busy now, just can't add another pressure.

Everyone seems healthy now. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Of course now the dog has some itchy issues- have a vet appointment Friday. And, our classroom pet, Cinnamon- a dwarf hamster- is here for the week. Many of my kids bring in their small pets too. It's a mini zoo at times, and you should see my allergies- don't think I can smell anymore! But they are responsible for the creatures. And they love them!
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Collins not Miller
Old 04-04-2007, 03:23 PM
 
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Of course I had the author wrong. I thought I did!

You are BRAVE to have class pets. We once got to keep the guinea pig from my sons class. squirmish little critter. Time for Zyrtec huh? Good health to all of you.

I don't have the time either, and I don't think teachercarrie does.............this summer would be easier to be honest. I don't know why I went ahead and ordered it????? Go figure. I may just stop by the book chat here and there. A reading specialist friend of mine told me she thought I would really enjoy the book. She said I use something similar to Collins with my students - I have them turn & talk to one another to make sure they understand what they are supposed to be doing and share information with one another for clarification. I've never read her book, but sounds like I may be interested. Gotta get through this state testing. I have one more science unit to teach "light" and in SS we have to finish the Westward Expansion & begin the Civil War. Usually, I'm already done with these by this point in the year! Who are the dummies that give so many standards to 4th graders to learn?! They obviously DO NOT understand 180 days is all we have or anything else for that matter. I think the Fordham Foundation rates state standards nationally. Why does it seem like some states can improve in rankings just by sub-categorizing within standards multiple times? (Instead of having 87 SS standards, the state revamps and focuses in on 40 Essential Understandings, yet those 40 have 20 subcategories each!) UGH - on the brighter side of optimism "mile deep - inch wide" ..............grab on to hope wherever possible.

Did I tell you I was an extra in the Civil War movie "Andersonville"? What a tragedy - Andersonville.
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Allington Book
Old 04-04-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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I meant to share something with you from the Allington book. I plan to make a chart of this and thought you would like this.
In CHP 5, "Focusing Attention On Words", he points out the 4 types of clues that readers might be able to use to figure out the meanings of unknown words. (examples from book below - I've highlighted words they had in italics and even a few more that I might use in an explicit lesson and on a poster.)

1. definition clues
"Cowboys often wore leather chaps, leather trousers without a seat, over their pants to protect their legs from thorns."
2. restatement of information clues
" The soldiers looked haggard after the long march from Fredericksburg. General Hooker decided that these soldiers were too tired to being and assault on that day."
3. contrasting
"General Lee was fastidious about his personal appearance, but General Grant was something of a slob."
4. gist clues
"They had marched on dirt roads for three days straight with the sun, the hot July sun, beating down on them. Each man carrying not only his weapons, but his supplies as well. The sixty pounds of extra weight made the marching even more difficult. And this arduous journey was not yet over..................there was no sign of that heat going away."

I love how #4 "shows" the meaning of arduous rather than telling it! Also the adjective aspect of of #4 can not be ignored. I would try to bring LA into this one (#4) in particular! It makes me think of the 3/18/07 post above - "mercenary" example for the "word in my life" (WOW! WORDS). Great non-fiction extensions! Kids need to know not only how to figure out the meanings of unknown words, but also which method the author used to help them figure out the word............perfect for this non-fiction study we are still working on with inferring! Are you still using NF a lot right now?
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Thanks for the 4 steps!
Old 04-06-2007, 04:10 AM
 
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I've cut and pasted them to chart as well. Reminds me some of the toolkit's questioning strategies and of course inferencing section. Still doing nonfiction but maybe just once a week now. Testing is done and I am focusing on the lit circle groups, and immersion into poetry. They are really enjoying the change.

Daughter was sick again yesterday! It was the worst day yet. Doctor said she should only eat 1/2 a piece of dry toast or 1 cracker per hour to help regulate her digestion. She now cries that she doesn't want to go to sleep for fear of waking up violently ill. Killing us. She seems okay so far today. Hate to even get my hopes up a little.

Got to go, dog has a vet appointment for dry skin. When it rains it pours. Oh, it's cold about 40 degrees here, windy and dreary!
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Back to PLANNING w/ STW
Old 04-07-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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You're welcome!
I'm so sorry to hear that good health is keeping itself at bay for you all. That's just sad to hear that your daughter is afraid to go to sleep.
Doggie duty............ What kind of dog?

Back to the planning. I've devoted a great deal of time to my inferring unit and non-fiction over this past week. My principal just called me and before she said bye, she made sure to add that I'd better take some ME time and quit working! I plan to do just that now that I'm done planning.

I used STW CHP 8 and their book list, Allington's book, the Intervention Strategies book, the videos I saw on line, and some lessons I saw on line, and thereadinglady to formulate the 4 week plan. I left it flexible though. Leaving room for children's needs as they arise. I'm not so worried about how many minutes are spent here or there anymore. It's not about that. It's about depth and experiences. I found that we needed to go much more in-depth with this strategy. There are several ways I plan to guide the children into realizing they makes inferences from the dramatization approach, to the 5 senses, to non-fiction clues, and picture clues.........not to mention text. I saw the need for a more well thought out approach in more than 1/2 my class. They need more purposeful modeling and demonstration.

It looks like we will only get to Determining Importance this year. I'm alright with that since I went for depth rather than surface breadth. Learning experience.

I'll tell you a few things I've learned about all of these RW strategies this year though: I notice that Determining Importance and Summarizing, and non-fiction have a great deal in common. Our children are tested on summarizing, so I've reserved a flexible 20-30 minutes daily for explicit lesson on SKILLS (compare/contrast.......). It seems like I should be able to teach DI and Summarizing together next year. Another thing that strikes me is how closely visualizing and questioning are related to inferring. I'm hoping that next year, my students will see this on their own and they will point it out...............or at least facilitate the discovery rather than direct it.

I'm working on a natural way to work in the SKILLS from our benchmarks into each of the RW strategies that good readers utilize.

PS...........COLD front came through last night. Brrrrrrrrrrr Happy Easter
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Inferring Unit
Old 04-09-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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A few weeks ago, some of my students had started inferring on their own. We were studying/focusing on Questioning at the time. Their inferences branched off of their questions so naturally that I decided to allow them to explore it while others were still refining questioning strategies.
Some students prematurely made the leap because they saw their peers coding with "I" on their sticky notes. These students needed more explicit instruction in order to be successful though. My actual unit started today.
I found something called "The Me Box" on line that followed the gradual release of responsibility model and decided this would be the perfect starting point for my unit because my goal was to first help the students realize we make inferences daily from what we see, hear, taste, touch, and feel. I wanted them to connect to their sub conscientious and become more aware of their thought processes by linking schema, visualizing, and connections to inferring through our senses as a primary source of information.
I gathered the children on the carpet (I made room for this!) and introduced my "Me Box". I told them that we make inferences all day long and do not even realize that's what we are doing when it happens and that I would use items about me to help them see this is true. It was important to point out that they needed "Think Time" before they prematurely volunteered their inference.

Item 1: I pulled out two different frog figurines and displayed them in my hand for all students to see.
Student Response to Item 1: You like frogs.
My Response: Why do you think that?
Student Response: You wouldn't collect them if you didn't like them.
My Response: What makes you think I collect them or like them?
Student Response: My mother has a collection of angel figurines, so I think you collect them. She also takes good care of them and adds to her collection, so she must like them.
My Response: So you think I have a collection of frog figurines, and you think I like them. You are correct. How did your schema help you make that inference?
Student Response: I put what I saw in your hand, the frogs, with what you said about the "Me Box" being full of items that tell us about you with what I already knew about collecting figurines.
My Response: You used several strategies to make that inference. Do you know what they are?
At this point I had a spontaneous thought that all of the students should turn & talk to the person next to them about what strategies they thought he used. (about a 1 minute)
Student Response: My schema, I saw (visualized) my mother's collection, and I made a connection.

Here's the great part!

Another Student's Response: We decided that he (referring to the student above) made another inference. He said that she takes good care of them and adds to her collection and then inferred these are things people do when they collect things they like. (This is one of the girls that was ready to infer.)

I worked my way through several more items in the box. The entire mini-lesson took 15 minutes. Here's one that required several students to modify their schema and made many of us realize that we have different schema's. Surprise event that we learned from.

Item 4: I pulled out a ski vest and held it up for all of the students to see. Think Time
Student Response to Item 4: You like fishing! (hehehehe....I really didn't expect this!)
My Response: What makes you think I like fishing?
Student Response: I have to wear a life jacket when I go fishing and I like fishing.
My Response: Well, I see you have schema for the purpose of the vest, tell me more about your schema.
Student Response: It saves you from drowning in the water.
My Response: Good! Is there any other possible reason besides fishing that I might have one of these?
Another Student Response: Water Sports! (big and excited 'aha' from this kiddo) They are used by people on jet skis and water skis and other sports.
Yet Another Student Response: Surfing (weird looks from everyone on this one).
My Response: Let's explore the water sports. I should tell you that I do not use it for fishing, however your schema is correct, many people do use it for fishing as it relates to the water.
A Student Response: I don't see people wearing those when they are surfing and we go to the beach often. (several others chimed in their agreement)
My Response: Sometimes we have to modify our schema. (To the student who guessed surfing.) Do you think you might need to modify your schema?
Student Response: Yeah, I was thinking about the cord that connects the person to the board and their wet suit. But the wet suit may be sort of like the vest. (aha!)
My Response: What makes you think that?
Student Response: People sort of bob up and down in the water when they wear them like they do with the life jacket. I can see it in my mind.
My Response: So given the information everyone has provided about their schema, why do you think I own this item? And how do you know this?
Student Response: (original student for item 4) I think you like water sports since you don't use it for fishing, yet you do not use it to surf, so maybe you use it for skiing or something like that so that if you fall in the water, it will keep you floating.
My Response: GREAT! You are right. Now tell me what strategies you used to figure it out.
Student Response: I saw it in my mind (visualizing), and used what everyone said (their schema), it was like a puzzle.
My Response: Didn't you also use another strategy dealing with fishing?
Student Response: (it seemed to take forever) OH! I made a connection to me liking fishing, but my connection didn't mean it was the only use for it.
We then turned and talked to our partner about what we learned about making inferences from what we see and how we use many strategies to help us figure things out. It was a good opportunity to explore how we sometimes have to add to and take away from our schema as well. I hadn't even considered that someone would infer fishing and explained this to them so they could see how my thinking/schema needed this possibility added to it. (Which was like DUH for me since my sons wear the vest when they go fishing.)

Sorry it was so long! We'll do the 5 senses inferring lesson Wednesday. I hope to post how that went.
Do you see any areas where other possibilities could have been explored? I'm still learning, and probably will be for a very long time, how to encourage & probe without having an agenda other than to encourage deep thought and metacognitive reflection. Thoughts?

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Old 04-09-2007, 03:28 PM
 
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Thanks for the sharing! What a wonderful idea. Hope you don't mind me copying. I am reviewing all the strategies in preparation for our last month of school.
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Last month!!! Where are you???
Old 04-09-2007, 04:43 PM
 
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I counted today- we have 11 more weeks! Okay I am so jealous!

Curlyq, I too read up on the me box and think time from the site you posted. Unbelievable resource by the way! And I love the videos and plan to read a few of the titles I was unfamiliar with this summer. Your lesson was so well received. I definitely will copy it, and draw on it for years to come. It's amazing when given the tools what the kids are able to accomplish. You should definitely pat yourself on the back. Just think how you've affected them this year and what they will leave your class with!

Everyone, knock on wood, seems to be well here. Even our dog, a 2 year old shih tzu, we rescued from a family who became homeless after Hurricane Katrina- is better.

I am however sore. My husband and I began Bob Greene's Body for Life and for three days now (at least it's a start) we've gotten up at 5am to stretch, lift weights, and do aerobics. I am tired and sore but feet better, more upbeat, today with the kids. I'll keep you updated.

Going to bed soon, will have to tape 24 since 5am pretty much kills me! Let me know if your next lesson is as successful. I copied your unit plan and will use it as a reference. I can't get over how much time and effort you put into the details.... impressive. Wish I had your enthusiasm and energy. My kids have spring fever and to be honest I do a little too. I'm looking forward to some of the more fun activities I save for this time of year and I'm relieved that the summer is approaching. It is always bitter sweet. ttys, and thanks again for so generously sharing!
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Old 04-11-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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I have some news. Remember my two students that did an excel project organizing my classroom library.....they won 1st in district (tech competition) and 1st in state? We've been accepted to present at a national conference!
We are absolutely shocked and excited. WOW!

jeanneb - Thanks for your kind input. Feel free to use, adapt, or whatever. If it inspires another person, WONDERFUL. (I'm no expert by any means.)

gitt - Thanks so very much! I have been going back into the unit plan and writing in notes on how the lesson went (in red so it will stand out). We aren't actually finished with school until the end of the third week in May. I'll have to create a unit plan for Determining Importance in early May. I'll write it out for 5-6 weeks even though I'll only have a few weeks to teach it. I'm trying to stay focused and not allow anything to distract the implementation of the entire Inferring unit. We will do like you and get to literature circles the first week of May. I plan to allow 30 minutes twice a week for this, yet to infuse Inferring.

I'm glad to hear that everyone is healthy again and hope it stays that way! It's people like you and your family that really amaze me! You helped that dog! I've never heard of Bob Greene's book. I am wishing you both a great deal of success though! The soreness is a sign of progress.........as long as it doesn't incapacitate you. You are up before me. That strikes me because I'm an early riser, even in the summer. I generally get in 2 or so hours of reading each morning in the summer - before 8:00. Rah, rah, rah......I'm cheering you two on! (corny, I know) Keep me updated.

I'm quite disturbed with my 6th grade son's middle school right now. They tout AR as if it's the end-all solution to engaging children in a love of reading. My son told me that he got chewed-out because he didn't have enough AR points by this part of the last grading period and this was the LAST extension he would be given this year! (I'm mumbling a few adjectives and adverbs followed by select nouns & verbs under my breath.) I would like to go speak to the principal about my personal interpretation of reading and how AR flies in the face of fostering a life-long reader as it's currently being practiced at their school. I know I have every right to as a parent. Perhaps I could suggest an alternative solution to go along with my complaint? Many of these kids view AR as synonymous with lowering their reading grade and a pain in the neck. Wasn't it Allington who said that if you want a program to fail, make it mandatory? It will fail quickly. (My interpretation) Well, I'm sick of hearing AR. I'm sick of hearing "points". We've read "Al Capone Does MY Shirts", "Olive's Ocean", "Missing May" and now we are reading "Stuck in Neutral". His school only had 1 of the first three books (tests in AR) for him to test on. Yet, he was reading. Oh, he was discussing life lessons, making predictions, changing his schema, asking questions.......NO AR test can measure that! He even got his teacher's permission to read those books. (I own them.) They are sabotaging what I'm trying to accomplish and making him feel bad about reading. I guess I need a motrin.

On a lighter note, I'll try to post about the other inferring lessons later. There was one amazing moment that I can't wait to share! (good endorphins flowing again)
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AR - TO curly....
Old 04-11-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Curly -- I had to do AR in HS and it turned me OFF of reading for a very long time, until my senior year in college. I hated reading for the points and the books that truly interested me were not on the list. I hesitate to do AR with students because it turned me off reading so much. UGH!!!!!!!!!!

1st grade tests are like: The boat was __________. big, yellow, red, tiny.

WHat the heck is that?!?!?!?!?!
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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THANKS! I know I was venting, but thanks. You are confirming what I am afraid might happen with my own sons - if I don't have such a strong influence on them at home. Maybe, just maybe, I'll stack all of these books I've been reading at home into my arms and go in their armed with research and charts that could be used as alternatives for those of us (might be a really small group of us - maybe even just me) would prefer them to AR tests. Not to push my agenda on my kids or their teachers, just to say "Pay Attention" it's NOT working. His reading grade was a 99 and because he didn't meet his AR goal, it ended up being a 91. Like you said. "What the Heck?" How does that indicate how well he reads, if he can activate his schema, where he needs help? If anything, it screams "Lack of Relevant Assessment"! OK............THANKS. You were fortunate, you discovered a love of reading again! Which translates to lucky students who may catch the fever!
BTW.........that AR question you posted ......THIN as opposed to THICK. Good point.
My Miller, Collins, and Rasinski books arrived today.
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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We also have AR, however it is voluntary. How can they mandate it with only limited book tests?? That should be your approach... How did they come to purchase the tests they have? Are there a variety of genres? all Newberries? all levels? core literature? Why are they presenting these tests as the only gauge to the children's reading ability? Do they do any authenic assessments? I do not mean to get you any more fired up... but I would make your point and tell it as you see it. We have to be advocates for our children.

My problem with AR where I teach is that the reading specialist and librarian make a huge fuss over it. Points are posted and rewards are plenty. I think it has a place as an extra for those who want to take part, but it by no means determines their abilities or their quality of reading.

Exciting news about your students and the award! Post pictures if you can of the new and improved library and system. They must be bursting!

Our lit circles are going well. I had two groups who had issues with everyone's voice being heard, so we went to what I will call "my chip strategy". I give groups the option, to take five chips each. Then anytime they interject their thoughts, a question, etc. they put in a chip. Everyone must use all their chips and the group can get more if they feel the have more to say. Live and learn... didn't think I needed to do this, but first week I had two very upset groups. Working much better now. Really like a few of the resources from the reading lady that I adopted too. We won't finish these books until the beginning of June- must also do a presentation/ project. School doesn't end for us until June 21st. It seems everyone is done before us!

So far so good with the exercise routine. Think I had the wrong name of the book. He co wrote a book with Oprah. It's something like what I said. It was easy to read and very motivational. Anyway, I wake with more energy and I like that we are doing it together. It's an intensive 12 week program. That takes us til the end of June and then we will see. Hopefully it will have helped to jump start us to better health.

Good luck with your son's school. Let me know how it turns out.
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Mini Lessons
Old 04-11-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I didn't get to the 5 senses inferring lesson today. We did the "Spook House" and the "Move to Infer" lessons over the past two days.
Here's how the "Move to Infer" went:
I gathered the children around my carpet area (I'm loving that I made room for this!). We reviewed the anchor chart which has three columns for schema, visualizing, and connections (room to add Q's needed - the newbie in me didn't account for this). I told the children I was going to make movements and gestures without talking and they would have to make an inference about what I was doing as well as explain how they knew it.
1st Movement: I acted as if I was flossing my teeth.
Student Response: You are flossing your teeth.
My Response: How did you know that?
Student Response: You were moving your hands back and forth the way people do when they are flossing their teeth.
My Response: Was there any other clue that helped you figure that out? (perplexed look from this child)
Another Student Response: Take what he (1st student) said about the hand movements and put it with your OPEN mouth. You couldn't be flossing your teeth without opening your mouth first! And I think you had something stuck in your teeth because that's why people floss their teeth. I know this from personal experience.
My Response: Great! Now how did you come to know all of that information?
Student Response: Well, I have schema for flossing my teeth and I could almost see the floss in your hands, so I was visualizing, and it was a personal connection.
I also did the "Move to Infer" as a traffic cop.

The "Spook House" Inferring lesson went like this (my para pro assisted):
We told the children we were going to act something out like a game of charades. We wouldn't be doing anything by giving them clues to figure out where we were.
1st Movement: We acted as if we were clinging to one another, could not see (making comments about how dark it was), and were creeped out by the spooky sounds (saying "What was that sound! Did you hear that scream?! Let's get out of here!"), and like weird things were grabbing at us (jumping as if something strange touched us, tripping and stumbling, hiding in a corner - where she squished me up against the cabinet, hugging the walls as we walked) then we ran for the light "There's the exit door!"! The kids were in stitches, I really did trip and twist my left ankle (no acting for this fool) and they asked us to do it again. It really was a full minute of stupidity for learning.
Student Response: You were in the woods and it was dark and you were scared. I've got schema for that because that's how I felt going over to my friend's house at night.
My Response: (rubbing my ankle ) That's wonderful. You know exactly how we felt. Can you infer our feelings?
Student Response: Yeah, you were frightened and everything around you made it even worse.
Another Student Response: I think he (1st student) may have left out an important clue that would have helped him realize it was not the woods, it was actually a haunted house (YEAH!).
My Response: What's that clue?
Student Response: He overlooked the last thing you said "There's the exit door!". Why would there be a door in the woods? There wouldn't, unless it was Bridge to Terabithia. () I have schema for this because we went to a haunted house and I was VERY happy to exit the place! I could even see (visualizing) the creepy hand reaching out for you just like it did to me!
Another Student Response: I thought it might have been like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie (YIKES!), but now after hearing them (peers) I know I was wrong.
My Response: What made you initially think that?
Students Response: You appeared as freaked-out as the people in the movie did (a testament to my non-acting abilities, yet how young is this kid? to be watching this movie?).
My Response: You did a great job inferring the fear, yet had to modify your schema by using details. We do this as readers you know? Sometimes we overlook important information and have to re-read to make sense of everything. Turn & Talk to your friend about how schema, visualizing, and connections helped you make inferences today.
Lots of good reflections from the children.

During a science lesson on LIGHT we were completing a GO on translucent, opaque, and transparent. An exciting Inference surfaced. The children were discussing the terms and gathering data throughout the room - examples of each. A thought occurred to me about the word transparent. It's part of a figure of speech "Oh, she's so transparent." I told them I was going to try to stump them with a combination of a science vocabulary work, a figure of speech, and an inference. So I asked them what that meant - the figure of speech and how they knew it?
One young lady could barely contain herself "I have schema for that because my mother said that's how she and her friend's talked when they were in high school." She added "It means that someone is see-though......like you can figure out everything about them." I asked her "What would you infer about this type of comment....the intent." Her answer "Oh, it's an insult! You don't want everyone to be able to figure you out all the time!"

Thoughts? Suggestions? Opportunities missed?
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Old 04-12-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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Thanks for helping me clarify exactly what I should be inquiring about concerning this AR fiasco. I'm going to take some notes from your post and begin my inquiry. THANKS!

I love you 'chip' idea for managing the lit circles. Now I have something to utilize if I see the same thing happening.

I would love to know the name of the book you and your husband read. I'm curious! If you are getting up at 5:00, does that mean you are going to sleep around 9:00? (b/c you taped the 9:00 24 show) Or is 24 at 10:00? Not much TV viewing going on around here lately. Not much for 2 weeks now.

We did the "Feelings Cards" Inferring lesson today. I'm pleased with this approach to the beginning of the Inferring unit. Our anchor chart is the biggest chart we've made this year. The children are referring to it regularly. I do not think it's perfect, and plan to do a better job with it next year. I should have included Q's on the anchor chart, but have only included them on the personal charts. oops I'll try to get a picture of it & post it for your thoughts. BTW.....in reflecting on the "Spook House" lesson, something occurred to me. Should I have probed the child who thought we were in the woods to describe a few clues that would have indicated the woods.....like "Is it possible that we might have said something about plants, branches, and such?" I'm thinking no, but will wait to hear what you think before I go into why I think 'no'.

Today's Lesson:
Naturally we referred to the anchor chart. I asked a volunteer to explain what they had learned thus far and here's her response. "I've learned that in order to make an inference that's correct, I have to think about my schema for something, maybe even visualize it, and sometimes connect to it. Then I also have to realize that sometimes I overlook important details that could be major clues, so I have to read thoughtfully." (They know we are linking this week's lessons to reading because I constantly remind them that I have a purpose for the unusual methods. I've asked them to link each mini lesson to reading and infer the purpose of the lesson.)

"Feelings Cards"
A volunteer sat in front of the group (back to the group) with the word "lonely" taped on an index card to his back. I modeled how to start with "This is how I felt when both of my sons went away to camps at the same time last year." Then the children caught on and began volunteering.
Student 1: That's how I felt when I got left out of the kickball game.
Student 2: That's how I feel when I get grounded and have no one to play with.
Student 3: That's how I feel when my parents and my brother leave me alone at the house.
Student 4: That's how I feel when no one plays with me.
Student Wearing the Card Responded: I think it's lonely.
My Response: (We all clapped!) and I asked how they figured it out.
Student Wearing the Card: I have schema for being left alone and I didn't like it, it was lonely. The biggest clue was 'no one plays with me' and if you are with no one.........you are alone........that would be lonely. (Can't you see the scenario playing out in the child's mind?)

Next Student Volunteer wore "surprised" which turned out to be the most challenging word of all!

Student 1: I feel this way when I'm getting on a roller coaster.
Student 2: I feel this when when my parent gives me a birthday present.
Student 3: I felt this way when I got healies (sp?) as a gift and I wasn't supposed to get them.
Student 4: I felt that way when my teacher brought in a NASCAR book for me to read!
Student Wearing the Card: Is it excited?
Our Response: No. We need clues that are more specific to the word on her back and less 'excited'.
Student 5: (BIG GRIN) I feel this way when I'm given something that I want, yet I wasn't expecting it.
Student Wearing the Card: Is it surprised?
Our Response: YES!
Then we took some time to discriminate between the two words excited and surprised.
Student: I think student 1 gave a clue that was sort of excited instead of surprised because if you know you are getting on a roller coaster.......how is that surprising? (good point unless it's the 1st time)
Student: I know I'm going to get a birthday present each year, so student 2 should have probably said something different. (To which student 2 agreed.)
Student: (proud moment!) I think we did this lesson to understand that words make us feel certain ways and that when we read, we need to pause and connect to the words so we can relate to what's happening.
My Response: So we teachers have a method to our madness after all? (We all laughed together.)

We did one last card "Sad" and being the sap that I am, I won't go into it. Touching. My student whose mother died chimed in - - we were all speechless.

I wonder if there are a few more words that would provide the challenge that 'surprised' did? We really chewed on this one!
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Old 04-12-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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It's Bob Greene's Total Body Make Over. Really like what it says and my husband followed it back in September and lost 45 pounds! He's gain 5 back and now we are both doing it. I haven't lost any weight but it has definitely given me more energy and I feel better.

Let me know how the AR talk goes.

What about all those feelings words we use in the show, not tell lessons? Some that come to mind are depressed, scared, excited, nervous, etc. Sounds like they are really getting it.

We did tape Lost but I'm trying to make CSI tonight. Survivor was good- but I can't believe Michelle went over Stacey! Okay I'll write more later re inferring. I like the dialog you've created in your room. But, want to catch the show... my husband is already out!
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How exciting...
Old 04-13-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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that your husband lost so many pounds! The really impressive part is that he's only put back on 5 pounds of it. Given the propensity for so many programs to fail, I'd think that's a great tribute to Bob Green's program and of course your husband's efforts!!!!!!!!!! I'm so jealous at how much energy you have now. I had to take a nap when I got home today. You've probably lost inches though. Probably converting to muscle too.

This last week before testing starts - Monday - has me wiped out. We had a super cool Pep Rally today! Our first ever! The mayor came, the high school valedictorian and scholar athlete as well as the cheerleaders and band. It rocked! The two high achieving students spoke to the student body and they linked their success both academically and athletically to being a good student. The way they linked their success to doing well in school and on these tests (even thought they too got nervous) was marvelous. They told the kids that they knew it was a worth while experience or event to get nervous because everything that is worthwhile in life makes us a little bit nervous. SUPER!

OK, you mentioned the "show and not tell" lessons........thing is....I haven't read about 'show, not tell' in these books I've read. I know that when we studied Kevin Henkes, he did a lot of that as an author.............yet I'm wondering if maybe I'll get to this in the Miller and Collins books that arrived 2 days ago? I haven't had time to read them..............but I'm looking forward to it soon! This is something I really do want to learn more about. I guess that's been my goal all week, SHOW the children how we go about making inferences by modeling it happening in a variety of ways. I LOVE the words you suggested and am adding them in my unit plan (in red) for possibility next year. THANKS so much!

We completed this week of Inferring with the 5 Senses Inferring Lesson today. I'm so pleased with the 5 senses lesson being 5th in order because it was a great SUMMARY of the 'show, not tell' approach to inferring. The items I used were: sight-band aid being placed on a students arm in the back of the room (infer some sort of injury/schema), taste-snow caps chocolates (infer taste of chocolate/schema), touch-an orange (blindfolded 3 students and asked them to describe in the form of questions "Is it a fruit"? "Is it bumpy, yet almost smooth?"), sound-blowing a whistle outside the classroom (infer using schema & connections), smell-onion cut up inside a gift bag (infer using schema).

Funny thing happened. I placed my whistle outside the classroom so that no one in my class would see it. I put it on a container that's mounted to the wall right outside my door. When I took my student volunteer outside to explain what I wanted him to do (blow it after I went back in the room), it was GONE! Some little thief stole my whistle. I couldn't help but laugh! My volunteer looked perplexed because I hadn't even told him what he was going to do.............you know he thought "What's she up to now?".......he said "Did you want me to make an inference about something funny that happened and how I know it?" OOOL
I said "Can you?"

I won't go through the entire lesson, it's too long. The defining moment was after the turn & talk when a student said "I learned that words mean so much more than letters we say when we look at the word. It's like "Texas." It's not just a word on a page." We were all curious. Especially me and my para pro. "Texas makes me think of great steaks so that's taste, it makes me think of rodeos and the sounds of cowboys and bulls, then there's all the leather for hats, saddles so that's smell of leather and even touch, and there's the shape of the state on the map and how part of it is low land and other parts towards the west are higher with plateaus and that's sight. That's how I see Texas." I'm so proud! The kids were having super discussions after she said this! "Yeah.....and when I see the word......______.....I think of........."

I asked for volunteers to summarize what they had learned about making inferences to close the week. In just about 3 minutes, they were able to capture the essence of all the silly antics and unusual items using the idea mentioned above about words are so much more than print on a page.

I'll add one more inference that was made during social studies to illustrate that I really believe they understand inferring. I still have 4 weeks left to teach it, yet now we are ready to use picture books. We were learning about Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812. The children learned his nickname was "Old Hickory". One student said he'd like to make an inference about Jackson "Some of the food, like meat or charcoal, that we buy has hickory flavoring, so I'm guessing that's not such a bad nickname to have and hickory wood is very tough and strong............so he had a nickname that said a lot about him." He explained how he knew so much about hickory (big reader) and said it was his schema, plus he could see the tree in his mind.

Again, I'm pleased with this past week and plan to use this approach to introducing inferring again next year. I'll start next week with "Word Clues, Read Between the Lines" the lesson that I created from STW and Strategy Intervention combined, then we'll use the poems "The Last Touch", "The Secret Touch" and the book "June 29th, 1999 and the book "The Rag Coat." I want to use the 2 column chart and the F/Q/I chart I would like to use during social studies. It will still be guided practice though and maybe by Thursday or Friday, Independent. It's ironic how in the gradual release of responsibility model - independent practice is known as "You do, I Help" .......yet in the past I thought of independent practice as ALONE. Ever learning.
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Here's some pics...
Old 04-13-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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......of the students with objects from the "Me Box" lesson. They acted out their interpretation of schema, visualizing, and connections to each item.
One is schema for the Civil War (battling one another wearing Union & Confederate hats)
Another is connections (they said people wearing life jackets on jet skis always wave and give people on shore a 'thumbs-up')
The other one is two boys visualizing (their interpretation of me reading during RW)
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:55 AM