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Showing posts with label best practices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label best practices. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Like to play Whack-a Mole?  Then you will love Whack-a-Groundhog.  And no, I am not promoting violence towards any poor groundhogs....but I am promoting single and double digit addition, problem solving strategies, and fair play!  Those poor groundhogs don't have a chance!

Gotta run!  There are more groundhogs to gather out there!   Go check out the game!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Continuum of Literacy for Prek-8th grade

The Continuum of Literacy for Prek-8th grade
 One goal I have is to share the resources I have found over the years that have helped me bring best practices into my classroom.  I have bought hundreds of dollars worth of books over the years <don’t tell my husband>.  Most of them are now sitting on the shelf, collecting dust.  However, there are a few that are among my most prized ‘teaching possessions’.  This book is one of them.

     The authors, Fountas and Pinnell, are among the forefront of education, and have been for the last 15 years at least.  They are among the movers and shakers that caused the education world to leave whole language and really begin to understand how to differentiate reading groups….thus, guided reading was born!

     I bought my copy of the book about 7 years ago.  My copy is worn, tattered, has notes stuck all through it, and looks very used!  This year, my school system ordered every teacher a copy of the newest version <there is not that much difference> and we are conducting professional development with it.   So, now, I leave my broken down copy at home for a quick reference when needed, and leave my new copy at school to use in meetings or conferences with parents! 

     The book has several sections of the book such as:  writing products using the 6 traits and writing about reading, reading aloud, shared reading, communication and technology, word work, and guided reading.

I highly recommend this book, also, because it tells you what expectations you should have for each level in guided reading, correlates necessary comprehensions skills as well as reading strategies, and even has a skill-based curriculum map to show how the skills correlate across the grade levels starting in Pre-Kindergarten and ending in 8th grade.

     There is much to be learned from this book as it categorizes teaching literacy into skills, products for students to create, lessons for ‘Within the Text’, ‘Beyond the Text, and ‘About the text’.  This has helped me rise to a much higher level of teaching in order to challenge my students thinking about literacy.  In fact, I planned my 3rd quarter literacy focus calendar using these categories and linked them to my state’s standards. 

Here is a snippet below:

Within the Text:  Self-correction of intonation, phrasing, and pausing while reading aloud
Beyond the Text:  Infer a character’s feelings or motivations as preparation for reading in the character’s voice
About the Text:  Recognize when texts are realistic, fantasy, or true informational texts and read them differently as appropriate
Comprehension:  Story Elements Map
Identify base words and suffixes (re, un)
Reading Strategy:  Model reading with intonation, phrasing, and pauses
Word Work:  Review Syllables (Center), short 3, long e (ee, ea)  <see Sort 27>

      If you live in a state that has moved to the ‘drop in evaluations’, this book is indispensible.  As long as you are using these categories and areas to plan and reflect on your teaching, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t do well.   So, as my students say in school, “We give this book a 2 thumbs up and 5 out of 5 stars!" 

     If you decide to order a book, or you already have one, leave a comment below and let me know what you think about it and how you use it! 

You may also want to take a look at these books by the same authors:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Syllable Sorting

I needed some things for centers this coming week to teach syllables.  I didn't have anything 'cutesy', so I made some sorting grids.  They turned out pretty nice, so I decided to share them as a freebie!  Enjoy!

This thumbnail is REALLY small!  Sorry!  Just get out your magnifying glass to click on it!  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Skylar Skunk's Birthday Party--Ordinal Number Task Cards

I am so excited about this activity!  As a semi-new blogger, I am finding that the graphics are the hardest part for me.  After years of working in inner-city schools where copies were limited and color ink was non-existant, I learned to cram as much information onto one page as I could and only use black ink.  But, these days, I am branching out guessed it....color graphics!  :::::::::applause:::::::::::    hehe  <Sorry, I amuse myself sometimes.>

The task cards in this activity are very colorful and the animal character cards are beautiful.   It is my hope that students will be able to use the picture representations that they create to gain a concrete understanding of ordinal numbers.

I am so excited to share this with you!  Click over to the right on little Skylar and go check out the file!


P.S.  The pictures from Skylar's birthday party just came back.  His mom sent these to me to remember the day!  Lots of fun were had by all of these guys AND my students!!!  Posted 12/30/2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

31 Card Contraction Scoot Game---In Color!

If you have never played Scoot, then you and your students are missing out!  My kids LOVE to play it.  In fact, they beg to play it.  They don't even mind playing it for a rainy day recess game.  They haven't figured out that they are thinking....or learning.....or may even be assessed!  To them, getting to move around the room quickly is a treat in itself.  And, it works, because the students move in a certain pattern, which prevents them from running willy-nilly around the room.  

So my recommendation for today:  Try scoot.  What the heck!  Tomorrow if Friday anyway!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

15 Task Cards for Any Author Study

While being home sick today, I worked on this file.  I have used these in my classroom and the kids love them!  I think that this file could be used in grades 2-5.  When you download it, please let me know what you think...the feedback can help me change the grade assignments.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Revised Sight Word Phrases with Games

Just wanted to add an update:

The sight word phrase cards discussed in an earlier post have been revised and games have been added!  I am using these with my guided reading groups and they are helping with sight word identification and phrase fluency. I am ecstatic!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can occupational therapy help in your classroom?

I am the lucky mom to two wonderful children. These are two wonderful children who suffered some setbacks at birth, and because of this, have developmentally delayed motor skills. Had you asked me three months ago which one, if any, of my children were developmentally delayed in that area, I could have definitely pointed out the child with delays. However, after discussing some mannerisms and behaviors evident at home and in the classroom, it quickly became apparent that both of my children need to work on their motor skills. I have since learned that developmental delays, in which the innate reflexes that we are born with, have not naturally dissapated, can cause a variety of challenges in the classroom such as a child slumping in his/her seat, changes in pencil grips, attention deficit behaviors, problems with listening skills--just to name a few. I can safely estimate that probably 8 out of the 20 kids in my classroom this year suffer from some sort of developmental delay. But how do I address this?

I have three students that I have been bold enough to suggest to their parents that they might want to see a pediatrician to discuss the behaviors and mannerisms that I have noticed in order to see if getting a referal for an occupational therapist is in their best interest. Be VERY careful that you are not diagnosing the child yourself--we are teachers, not therapists or doctors! Out of the three students that I have discussed this with, none of the parents have followed up. Which leaves me to wonder why...

I wonder if it is an inability by the parents to accept that their child may not be 'whole' and 'perfect'--or is it that I am a teacher and may be regarded as not being knowledgeable about this subject. I have no answers for this. I can simply hope that these parents make the best decisions for their child.

I have attached a sample of writing from my seven year old son. Testing by the occupational therapist shows that his motor skill function is that of a 4 year old. I think any Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher would agree that this is a good assessment of his writing product. As a result, the occupational therapist reccommended Neuro Net, a program used across the country, to help with large and small motor skills. It is interesting to note that Neuro Net (akin to Brain Gym) is being used in many classrooms in private schools as a way to exercise the brain and improve academic performance. I only wish our private schools would get on the band wagon with them!

If you would like to learn more about Neuronet, here is a link to their site!
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