Saturday, April 27, 2013

Read, Discuss, Repeat

We do a ton of independent or partner reading during English but often times students would finish and start talking about what they did over the weekend.

Enter Anchor Chart: we are now referencing this poster all the time during reading and when a group gets to an off topic conversation I gently remind them to redirect back to the questions and starters on the poster. Easy peesy lemon squeezy!

How do you keep kids on task during reading groups?

Reading Strategies - Super Six!!!

The Super Six reading strategies were something I heard about my first year of teaching and it's still around but often gets called a million other names. I've been to inservices on these same strategies and recently created this anchor chart to reference in the classroom.

While I do teach middle school, kids never seem to have enough explicit instruction on how to read books or text. Some kids do these steps instinctively but others need a coach. Enter me. We've been talking about the comments students make and how they are actually reading strategies and aide in comprehension. Way to go class! (Pardon my really horrible drawing of a man. People are really not my thing.)

Are you using these same skills in your class? Have a book to suggest reading on the topic?

Hungry for the Hunger Games!

When I got pneumonia last spring I was stuck at home, alone, for a week. Nobody wanted to get me more sick and nobody wanted to catch what I had. So after a few days of trashy TV shows I turned to the books. I hadn't read the Hunger Games and really care to. I didn't think I'd like them so I just passed.

I started in on book one around 10am and finished it later that night. Book two went just as fast and book three... well if you read them you probably know that book three dragged on a bit. BUT! I just knew that my students would LOVE the first book. After an unsuccessful project on DonorsChoose wasn't funded, a dear friend's husband purchased an entire class set for me. Score! And thank you (you know who you are).

The Hunger Games (2012) Poster We began reading the Hunger Games in March and here we at the end of April with about 10 chapter to go. In class of course we read through things more slowly, doing activities and talking a lot about the character's motivation, etc. Because we were working with this one text for so long, I decided to create a PowerPoint for each day's lesson and activities  What started out as something just for my class ended up becoming a labor of love and something I spent hours and hours modifying and creating.

You are welcome to check it out here Hunger Games PowerPoint, and if you use it while teaching the Hunger Games in your classroom let me know how things go. I don't know too many teachers who've taught with this text and it's certainly very popular right now.
It's all Common Core aligned with speaking and listening, writing and reading standards.

Close Reading - Common Core Alligned

There has been lots of talk about close reading at my school site but there haven't been many people actually doing it. I tried it out after seeing another teacher's anchor chart and got up the courage to try something new in the classroom...once again. Seems like there's always something new doesn't it?

Anyway, my class and I were doing a close reading of a section in our history textbook. There are so many opportunities to incorporate reading strategies to all core content areas! So we took a stab at it (and idiom, I know) and came up with this anchor chart and even found standards that aligned to our work in the classroom that day. The kids had a great experience reading more deeply and I was pushing the work on to them. That's the idea...have them work harder than me. I already passed 7th grade! Have you tried close reading? What type of training have you received on it?

Telling Time in the Classroom

Even though I teach upper grade, some students never mastered telling time on an analog clock. Of course they swear that when they "grow up" there won't be clocks like these (yeah, I thought the same thing kiddo) so why bother learning to tell time on such an ancient device. Well, truth be told, there are lots of old clocks around and in places like schools and offices you just never know if you might need this skill.
So, in order to help my students learn this second grade standard... I created this clock with just some simple sticky notes and the minute increments on them. Of course some kids balked at the idea that they needed help, while others simply nodded with a slight approval and went back to their reading (I don't teach math, but am happy to find little spaces in our day or classroom to meet the ever growing needs of my students). Here it is! Have any of your students not mastered this skill? Anyone just given up on teaching this type of clock reading? I'd love to heard your thoughts!


About Me

I'm a traveler, learner, and eternal explorer.