Post #4 A Step by Step Guide

Before Reading

Teacher Will:

  • Introduce text ( sell it)
  • Introduce skill focus
  • Walk through gradual release model ( I do, we do, you do).
  • Picture walk with student
  • Read fro a purpose-state a question of what you want your students to look for while reading ( i.e. Why was the princess sad?, or What happened to the fish?, Who is the protagonists?”  etc) – suitable for reader level.

Student Will:

  • Examine Text
  • Listen to the skill focus lesson-ask questions if needed
  • participate in gradual release model
  • Predict/share ideas in picture walk

During Reading   

Teacher will:

  • Listen to individual students as they read. Make formative assessment notes and gather information that will help in further learning and guided reading sessions.
  • Help students when they are very stuck. Remind them of strategies learned to problem solve and De-code text.

Student will:

  • Read text quietly to self (Whisper Voice).
  • Read for purpose. Find the answer to the question stated at the beginning.
  • use strategies learned during mini lessons to help problem-solve and de-code text.

After Reading

Teacher Will: 

  • Prompt students with questions that contribute to a guided conversation about the story.
  • Try asking certain students questions about specific details, and inferencing of the text.
  • Make observational/ formative assessment notes.

Students will: 

  • Participate in conversation of the text.
  • Retell parts if the story.
  • Ask questions to rest of group to spark a conversation or clarify your own understanding.

– ** Guided reading is extra support for all students to help develop their individual skills. Benefits of guided reading shine when students feel engaged and have a positive attitude towards working collaborative, helping others in their group, and being open to learning from others in the group, Including the teacher.  Teaching conversation skills and positive language will make the comprehension conversation at the end so much more rich**.

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Post #4 A Step by Step Guide

Before Reading

Teacher Will:

  • Introduce text ( sell it)
  • Introduce skill focus
  • Walk through gradual release model ( I do, we do, you do).
  • Picture walk with student
  • Read fro a purpose-state a question of what you want your students to look for while reading ( i.e. Why was the princess sad?, or What happened to the fish?, Who is the protagonists?”  etc) – suitable for reader level.

Student Will:

  • Examine Text
  • Listen to the skill focus lesson-ask questions if needed
  • participate in gradual release model
  • Predict/share ideas in picture walk

During Reading   

Teacher will:

  • Listen to individual students as they read. Make formative assessment notes and gather information that will help in further learning and guided reading sessions.
  • Help students when they are very stuck. Remind them of strategies learned to problem solve and De-code text.

Student will:

  • Read text quietly to self (Whisper Voice).
  • Read for purpose. Find the answer to the question stated at the beginning.
  • use strategies learned during mini lessons to help problem-solve and de-code text.

After Reading

Teacher Will: 

  • Prompt students with questions that contribute to a guided conversation about the story.
  • Try asking certain students questions about specific details, and inferencing of the text.
  • Make observational/ formative assessment notes.

Students will: 

  • Participate in conversation of the text.
  • Retell parts if the story.
  • Ask questions to rest of group to spark a conversation or clarify your own understanding.

– ** Guided reading is extra support for all students to help develop their individual skills. Benefits of guided reading shine when students feel engaged and have a positive attitude towards working collaborative, helping others in their group, and being open to learning from others in the group, Including the teacher.  Teaching conversation skills and positive language will make the comprehension conversation at the end so much more rich**.

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To give or not to give

Throughout my practicum experiences and observations in numerous classrooms, I have noticed that there is quite a discrepancy amongst teachers whether or not homework has or does not have a benefit. I believe that it comes down to an abundance of components, not simply the grade level that the student is in. This is inquiry is mainly intermediate focused.

During my last practicum in a grade 4/5 classroom, my Sponsor Teacher did not believe in giving out homework, and she had a very solid argument as to why. However, I know of lots of teachers in grade 5 that do give out homework to their students, so I wanted to research it so that I can form my own opinion on the topic.

Today’s blog post is going to give an insight into the BENEFITS of giving out homework. Here is a list of 10 benefits to it:

10 Benefits of Homework

Homework teaches students about time management.
Homework teaches students how to set priorities.
Homework helps teachers determine how well the lessons and material are being understood by their students.
Homework teaches students how to problem solve.
Homework gives students another opportunity to review the class material.
Homework gives parents a chance to see what their child is learning in school.
Homework teaches students that they have to do things, even when they don’t want to.
Homework teaches students how to take responsibility for their part in the educational process.
Homework teaches students how to work independently.
Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.

 

10 Benefits of Homework

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Sharing Assessment with Parents

For my last post I just wanted to share a couple ways to share assessment with parents/guardians in effective ways!

Portfolios:

Portfolios are a great way to keep student’s work in one organized place. The teacher in this video gives each student their own binder where their work goes. She regularly goes through the binders with students and asks them to point out their favourite piece of work and asks why. I think that if your students were also doing peer and self assessment in some kind of written format they (or you) could also easily glue the slip of paper onto the back of the work as well to have everything in an organize place. This teacher also takes pictures of students doing play-based learning which I think is very helpful because I find it difficult to think of ways to assess play-based learning, outdoor learning and inquiry that might not have a product to show.  Another great thing about  having work in one place like this is that it allows for you, parents and students to see growth from the beginning to the end easily. Parents can look through these books and see how their kids are doing and teachers can give examples of things they are excelling at or needing more work on in one, organized place.

Recording students:

This is something that I saw a lot of in my practicum classroom last year. My sponsor teacher would have a few questions that she wanted students to be able to answer at the end of a unit and we would interview them at the end video it on the iPads and upload them onto fresh grade. It worked really well and the students thought it was fun to make videos for their parents/guardians!

This strategy that I found while researching was similar to the interviews but I think it would work well for students a bit older than lower primary. Once students feel that they understand a topic they get a dry erase board, make up a lesson and then record themselves giving the lesson. This seems like an awesome way for students to show their learning in a fun way and as far as I can tell from the video they are pretty independent which saves a lot of time for the teacher (the interviewing took quite a bit of time for us to do). This video also fits in really nicely with my learning because students assess themselves by watching the videos and taking notes on what they could improve on! Teachers can assess students by watching these videos at any time and parents get to see evidence of their children learning.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why aren’t all students successful readers?

Over the past few weeks I have researched my inquiry question on “Early intervention strategies to allow all students to have the ability to be successful in order to develop a love of reading.” Throughout my inquiry I will be using the book “Catching Readers Before They Fall” by Pat Johnson and Katie Keier to guide my research along with multiple other resources.

In order to dive deeper into this topic it is important that we have an understanding of  Why aren’t all students successful readers?

According to “Catching Readers Before They Fall” part of the problem is twofold.

  1. Struggling readers are not applying a reading process system in their minds to make meaning of what they are learning in other words they have not learned how to fix errors or even recognize when they have made one.
  2. Many teachers have not had the opportunity to understand how reading works, which is how a students creates a reading process system in their own minds.

This topic is controversial because oftentimes teachers believe that if MOST of their students are learning to read then they must have developed a successful reading program. Although through my research it is hard to be satisfied with most of our student’s when 20% are struggling. These students need us as educators to understand how to help them build an effective reading process system. We have the opportunity to do this by educating ourselves about the reading process and how to support children as they construct a network of strategies. Often times the problem is these students don’t realize that they have the ability to use different strategies to solve their own errors.

What is a reading process system? you may ask..

When we are reading we are constantly using strategies to make meaning of the text we may visualize what is happening at the same time as inferring about what the character is thinking or feeling. Several processes work together in cohesion to guide us as readers through a story or text. Below is a picture from “Catching Readers Before They Fall” that shows one way to describe the array of strategies that are essential for reading.

For my next blog post I will be focusing on early intervention for struggling readers and how to apply it in your classroom.

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Self-Regulation: Reset

There are so many different strategies and activities that may or may not work for your class. Of course, one of the joys of being a teacher is to make sure your bag of tricks is fully stocked because of the variety of classes come across. I have categorized these activities into three categories: Reset, transitions, and calming. I will be talking about these three strategies through this post and my next. I was curious and thought it would be  useful to know how to set a student up for success after a tantrum. I stumbled upon some activities to do after a student threw a tantrum to “reset”. These reset activities help students successfully regain their independence in a calm way. These activities sooth the student by giving them a task that constructive and soothes their hands. At first it didn’t make sense to me, and then I thought about the little activities that adults do to calm themselves down that involves their hands such as squeezing a  knitting, sewing, playing cards, gardening) . When a student has aggressive outburst and may display signs of dangerous behavior it is important for the teacher to analyze the situation in which is it safer to move the child to a quiet area, or to remove the other students from the classroom. Reset activities are to be used AFTER the student has calmed down or AFTER the situation as deescalated. Keep in mind these activities may not work for every particular incident or tantrum.

A few guidelines to follow and think about:

  1. Knowing when to use them
    • not to be used during a outburst/tantrum, but AFTER
    • the child completes the activity at their desk and then can return to the classroom or working area when the activity is complete
    • depending on the student, the teacher would follow the activity with some sort of verbal/visual reminder of what is expected of them
  2. Reset activities should be short and simple
    • no longer then 5 mins
  3. Setting students up for success
    • make sure the activity is easy enough to complete without your help
    • the goal is for students to successfully, independently, and calmly self regulate themselves
  4. Choosing neutral appeal activities
    • not meant to be a reward, this would only reinforce bad behavior
    • like the second step keep them simple and basic
  5. Clear ending activities
    • student when know the activity is completed
    • this gives the teacher a clear signal that the student is ready to join the others

Reset activity ideas

  • Fabric marble maze – with any kind of fabric create a maze for he student to complete by roll a  marble through
  • Bead sort – give the student a handful of beads, the student is to sort them into categories (color, size, shape)
  • Card sort – shuffle a deck of cards and get the students to organize them (lowest to highest, suits , red cards/black cards
  • Puzzles
  • Sorting a bag of assorted pens and pencils
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Lit Circles

I have decided to do my inquiry question on “How to run successful literature circles (lit circles) in a classroom.”  What are lit circles you may ask???  In lit circles “small groups of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students’ response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author’s craft, or personal experiences related to the story.”

Last year, I had the privilege to watch/ run lit circles in my practicum class.  They were already established in my classroom by my sponsor teacher and I thought her method would be great to share.  As well as some new resources I have found during my inquiry.    After some research and experience, I have decided to focus on four main aspects regarding lit circles:

  1. How to get lit circles started in the classroom
  2. How to run successful lit circles
  3. Ideas on how to assess
  4. Final project ideas

Here is a video of one way lit circles can be incorporated into the classroom.

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Top Strategies for the First Day of the Year

Hello – 

As I started to get ready to return to university this year, my brain couldn’t help but wander to thoughts of what it will be like to have our own classrooms and of what teachers all over the district were doing to prepare for the start of the year.  The more I thought about it, the more I started to panic! There is so much to think about and so much we don’t know! Thank goodness for the post-secondary education system and this assignment – which has led me to do research on this very thing…

For this blog post I will be focusing on the strategies that are the most recommended for the very first day of school. I have done lots of reading and listening to experts and experienced teachers on what they think are the most important steps to take on the first day to make an impression and to start off on the right foot. 

First of all, be very organized! Preparation, preparation, preparation!  The first day is all about setting routines and introducing the students to their classroom community. It’s very important that you establish rules and guidelines of the expectations you have for student’s behaviours. Whether you set the rules yourself or you develop class rules as a group, the guidelines will help students to feel calm and responsibility for their own actions.

Some routines you may want to introduce would be:

  • How you would like to students to move around the classroom.
  • Where they keep their belongings.
  • Hand raising procedures.
  • Where they can find supplies and what to do if they need anything.
  • Bathroom procedures.
  • Beginning/end of day routines.
  • How to move in the hallways/line up.
  • How you will get students attention during class time.

Secondly, the first few days of school are a very important time to begin making connections with your students. Take time during your day to do some “Getting to know each other” activities. Don’t assume all the kids in the class know each other, they need to get to know each other just as much as you need to get to know them. Setting up a safe and friendly environment will help you in the future with management and motivation.  Make your students feel welcome on the first day of school and help them to get to know you as well. Nothing makes a student feel more comfortable than knowing their teacher is excited to meet them and has prepared for their arrival.

Now that you’ve thought about your routines, getting to know your students and how you would like them to behave…..what about the school work?? When is the right time to start students on academic work? It is said that the very first day (second at the latest) is the right time to begin! If you are all fun the first week then that could set an expectation that there will not be any work and students could struggle to transition as well as they could have. Keep your lessons and classwork really simple. You can also use this time to address to students how you would like them to header their work and also where you would like them to hand in completed work. Make sure to have one really great lesson that shows the students what kind of teacher you are and how much fun you will be having together. The lesson doesn’t have to be science or math, try doing an activity that boosts moral in the classroom (diversity, community, respect, or anything from the core competencies). You can also add in small review work such as Mad Minute sheets, or short writing activities to begin taking inventory of what you students are capable of. 

These are some of the things that stood out as the most essential suggestions for how to structure your very first day in class.  I hope this helped you as much as it helped me! Next time I will posting about how to setup your classroom before your students even show up and different strategies for arranging the room. 

Below I have some links to great resources I found in my research. I will be keeping these for the day when I do have my own class. 🙂

– Ms. S

 

Tips for Beginning the School Year

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Post 2

Hi everyone,

To add to my last post where I wrote about the book, LAUNCH (Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out The Maker in Every Student), by John Spencer and A.J Juliani, I ended up finding a podcast where John Spencer gets interviewed.

The podcast was introduced to me by Nadine Sexton.  It’s called The Cult of Pedagogy with Jennifer Gonzalez.  Episode 96: What’s the Point of a Makerspace? is the episode where Jennifer interviews the author John Spencer.  While this episode mostly focuses on Makerspaces, it is linked to inquiry and is interesting to hear his point on why Makerspaces are valuable.  We hear a lot about Makerspaces and inquiry but it’s nice to hear some real examples.

Another episode that I found really useful is Episode 86: Sex Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2018. Jennifer does a technology episode each year and it discusses really neat apps and programs that are useful for a whole bunch of things (assessment, student-led, etc.).  She sells a PDF explaining a wide range of tech tools on Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Teachers-Guide-to-Tech-2018-3573779 .  I recommend checking it out!

 

-Genoa Bouchard

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Step 2- The Pitch

The pitch stage of Genius Hour may look different depending on how you want to manage it and how much autonomy you are able to give to the students. If you are trying to link it to the curriculum directly say in your Ancient Civilizations unit, you may give students a list of possible topics but if you are going to give them full autonomy then they must come up with their own driving question.

As I said in the previous post, you would have to do a lot of coaching on what is a non-googable question. I was reading a blog and the teacher actually said she used Siri and would ask it questions and if she got a straight answer back, then the question needed to go deeper. Blog: http://www.teachergoals.org/genius-hour-implementation-guide.html

SO with their pitch- I like to think of this part like Dragon’s Den where they are presenting their product because it kind of is like that!!!

They have to chose the mode in which they will pitch it to the class or just the teacher- google slide, prezi, poster, etc. The five guiding questions that must go into every pitch is:

  1. What is your question?
  2. Why is this your question?
  3. What will you make/ How will you show your learning?
  4. List of steps to learn and create
  5. What will success look like?

 

This model makes teachers have to “let go” a little and that can be scary. There still has to be ground rules when it comes to Genius Hour.

a) you must choose a topic

b) you must choose when you are ready to present

c) you must demonstrate your learning in a visible way

Along the way, there will be benchmarks that students are required to meet and as a classroom teacher you get to test out what will work for you. When students have purpose they are able to work diligently and in most cases you won’t have students “taking advantage” of the time provided for Genius Hour.

Some examples of good driving questions would be:

  • How do the chemical properties in shampoo make your hair soft?
  • How can you make a flexible and ductile glass with the different elements on the periodic table?
  • What are the certain chemical similarities and differences in food groups and how do they impact the food?
  • Why and how does music affect your mood?

 

Talk soon!

-Sommer

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