I used to teach special education in an inner-city charter school (long story). I had students in grade K-2, and many of them lacked basic phonemic awareness skills. Their learning challenges didn’t prevent them from gaining skills, there was often a lack of reading experiences at home. I used some of these Clifford games on my smartboard (when it wasn’t broken) during the morning as students came in. They really enjoyed it.
I mentioned I used Reciprocal Teaching with my third graders recently, and someone commented that they’d like to hear more about it. I first learned about it in my grad courses on literacy. The Reading Teacher published by the International Association for Reading has published a few articles on its use. If you are a member you can search the archives, or if you are a college student I know a lot of college libraries have access to full text articles. Here are some of the ones that discuss it that I know of:
They also published a book called Reciprocal Teaching At Work: Strategies for Improving Reading which is on sale for $6.95 for members and non-members alike (I have not read it, so I don’t know if is worthy purchase).
Reading Rockets provides a good overview of how Reciprocal Teaching works here.
My students are already familiar with some of the 4 comprehension skills (predicting, summarizing, questioning, and clarifying) but I still slowly introduce each skill. For my younger students, I play a character for each skill as I introduce it. For example, when introducing the clarifying skill, I am a detective with a magnifying glass and my dad’s detective-looking hat. I explain my job as (whatever skill we are doing), why it is important, and how it helps people to understand what they read. I do a lot of read-alouds and modeling in small groups, and then the role is passed on to a student. I have cards for each skill posted in my room with prompts that say things like: I wonder why… I predict that … This passage is about…, etc. I also have smaller versions of these cards that I hand out to students before a page is read so they know that they are responsible for that role at that time. Eventually, the students naturally do all the skills and their comprehension improves.
From Salon and the New York Times comes this story outlining a new tactic against public employees, letting states declare bankruptcy, which would then let them go after public employees pensions. This is scary stuff and teachers need to stay on top of this, contacting their congresspeople and senators. Yes, the times are tough, but decent pensions are one of the few perks teachers have. The story contends this is a tactic to break public employees and their unions.
“This printable board game packs a triple reading punch. As they play, your students will practice spelling, expand their vocabulary, and improve their reading and phonics fluency all at once! Each player takes a turn rolling the dice, then spells a word using the letters rolled and writes the word on their player card. Words can be simple like dot or bow or more difficult like broom or swamp. The player with the most words at the end of the game wins!”
with my students that struggle with comprehension. The basis of this is that good readers question, clarify, predict, and summarize as they read. They do all four thinking strategies. I introduce one at a time, and model it before it is turned over to the students. I have cards given to them with prompts for each strategy. The program our school use does teach students to use these comprehension strategies — but it only focuses on using one at a time per story. My students especially need to learn to do all four while they read. I recently shared my cards with the speech pathologist, along with a journal article about it from The Reading Teacher and she plans on sharing it with a teacher at one of the other schools she works at. I’ve seen some great success with it this year with my third graders. Does anyone else use this in their classroom? Reblog this and share. I’d like to hear about how it works for you, and if you have any of your own personal twists to it.
PaperRater.com is a free resource, developed and maintained by linguistics professionals and graduate students. PaperRater.com is used by schools and universities in over 46 countries to help students improve their writing.
PaperRater.com combines the power of natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, information retrieval (IR), computational linguistics, data mining, and advanced pattern matching (APM). We offer the most powerful writing tool available on the internet today.
Language barriers have never been more pronounced. Whether in an urban area of a modern country (e.g. the Chicago Public School system has 73 different languages represented in its student population) or the rural areas of a less developed country (e.g. Mongolia, where the ICDL has its first “branch” and where rural schools do not yet support a culture of reading for pleasure), differences in language are making it harder and harder for educational initiatives to bring about success.
As families move from Kenya to Finland or Brazil to Mexico or Viet Nam to California, books published in their native country or in their first language often must be left behind. In their new homelands, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to find children’s books from their cultures and in their mother tongue. Parents have little access to the books and stories from their youth to pass on to the next generation. Many children must grow up without knowledge of their family’s heritage and first language. A fundamental principle of the Foundation is that children and their families deserve to have access to the books of their culture, as well as the majority culture, regardless of where they live. According to a paper published in 2005 by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in preparation for the second meeting on the World Summit on the Information Society, “Denial to access to information in one’s mother tongue is equivalent to a denial of a human right.” The report also concludes, “In terms of pedagogy, how do children learn best? In their mother tongue.”
The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world. Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community.
“Thank you to public school teachers. I know you don’t get paid like it, but you’re doing the most important work in America.”—Ian Brennan, one of writers/producers of Glee, accepting the best comedy Golden Globe. (via girlwithalessonplan)
The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world’s visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way.
Here is our pledge to you:
The symbols on this site are and always will remain free. We believe symbols can not be effectively shared with the world if they are not free.
Everyone likes simplicity. We want you to be able to come to our site and effortlessly find and obtain what you are looking for. Simple as that.
We think a language that can be understood by all cultures and people is a pretty amazing thing. We also think our symbols and the objects or ideas they represent are works of art worth celebrating. Check out our store.
This would be good for a number of things, including finding symbols to use with autistic students. Also, many of the symbols are universal symbols so it would beneficial to use in special education as well. Finally, it would be good to use to help build English vocabulary with ESL students.
There is no doubt that many writers, adults and students alike, pay attention to the visual imagery in their narratives, but one often neglected sense is that of smell. Though scents can spark a pleasant memory, induce strong emotion, and cause our face to cringe up in disgust, it is unfortunately regularly forgotten. It’s time to remind your students about the power of the nose.
Start with Poetry
No matter what grade level you are teaching, your students are sure to enjoy the antics of Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. In this Shel Silverstein poem, Sarah refuses to take the garbage out until fills up the entire continental United States. In a catalog of trash, Silverstein includes an abundance of sensory details focusing on smell, such as “coffee grounds, potato peels” and “curdled milk and crusted pie.”
Have your students read it aloud, or you can listen to a humorous song version. As they are reading, they could highlight or circle all the words that emit a sense of smell. When finished, have them pick their favorite or most disturbing word that exhibits the sensory detail and then share with a partner about the power of that word choice.
The name “Twurdy” comes from a play on words with the question “Too Wordy?”.
Everyone has different reading abilities. Some people searching the web are university professors and others are 5 year old children. Twurdy has been created to provide people with access to search results that suit their own readability level.
What does it do?
Twurdy uses text analysis software to “read” each page before it is displayed in the results. Then Twurdy gives each page a readability level. Twurdy then shows the readability level of the page along with a color coded system to help users determine how easy the page will be to understand.
Twurdy’s goal is to provide web searchers with information that is most appropriate for them. This will mean that 10 year olds doing school assignments don’t have to click through difficult material to find something they can use. It will also mean that phd students do not have to click through websites designed for kids in order to find what they are looking for.
To help make today’s young scientists the rock stars of tomorrow, in partnership with CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, we’re introducing the first global online science competition: the Google Science Fair. It’s open to students around the world who are between the ages of 13-18. All you need is access to a computer, the Internet and a web browser.
You may have participated in local or regional science fairs where you had to be in the same physical space to compete with kids in your area. Now any student with an idea can participate from anywhere, and share their idea with the world. You build and submit your project—either by yourself or in a team of up to three—entirely online. Students in India (or Israel or Ireland) will be able to compete with students in Canada (or Cambodia or Costa Rica) for prizes including once-in-a-lifetime experiences (like a trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer), scholarships and real-life work opportunities (like a five-day trip to CERN in Switzerland). And if you’re entering a science fair locally, please feel free to post that project online with Google Science Fair, too!
In the mid-1960s, Betty Hart was a graduate student in child development working at a preschool in Kansas City, Kan. The preschool was for poor kids — really poor kids. Many came from troubled housing projects nearby.
But Hart was determined not to see their limitations, only their potential: Hart’s job was to teach these underprivileged kids how to speak like the children of her professors at the University of Kansas.
For years, she and university professor Todd Risley worked tirelessly toward this goal, doing everything they could think of to expand the vocabularies of these 4-year-olds. The idea was that if the kids could speak with the fluency of their wealthier peers across town, they might go on to similar academic achievements.
And so, starting in 1983 every month for three years, trained observers with recorders were sent to the homes of the families who had agreed to participate. There, they cataloged every utterance, endless hours of seemingly inconsequential babble.
Hart says it took close to 10 years to transcribe these tapes so they could be fed into a computer for analysis. But the results were worth it. Hart and Risley discovered many fascinating things about the differences between the way rich and poor families on average speak to their children.
But in the end, the finding that most struck people, Hart says, was not about the quality of the speech — how often rich versus poor parents asked questions or positively affirmed their children — but about the quantity.
According to their research, the average child in a welfare home heard about 600 words an hour while a child in a professional home heard 2,100.
The work that was done for this research is amazing. NPR did a great job with this article. This is important information for Early Childhood Educators and parents!
Yahoo! Contributor Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben’s article shows how teachers and parents can explain the tragic events of January 8, 2011 to children. I highly suggest reading the article in its entirety, but here are some of her key points and suggestions:
1. You can’t explain away violence. There is no explanation or justification about the shooting spree. While it isn’t healthy to feed fear…a child’s thoughts should also not be ignored.
2. The best thing you can do to help your children process is to listen, comfort, and assure them that you will do everything in your power to make sure that they are safe. If they have questions, answer them simply and factually using age-appropriate conversation.
3. The late beloved Fred Rodgers, known around the world as Mr. Rodgers, was a great person for helping children understand and deal with sadness, grief and fear. In his book, “The World According to Mr. Rodgers: Simple Things to Remember” he had this to say about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. “(This is) what some people do when they don’t know anything else to do with their anger.” This applies to the Arizona shootings, too.
Several major foundations, including Gates and Walton, are playing an increasing large role in education policy. I thought that readers might find a short list of related resources useful, and I would appreciate additional suggestions.
Very interesting article about how due to YA’s growing popularity, many publishers are launching new YA imprints. One that particularly intrigued me was Tu Books from Lee & Low, which features characters of colour - we don’t get enough YA books about non-Caucasians, which is unfortunate because it’s awesome to learn about new cultures and be able to relate to characters as well.
I teach in an urban school…they really, really need characters to relate to.
The Obama administration has released guidance meant to spell out what kinds of amendments it will accept to plans submitted by states that won a share of $4 billion in grants under the federal Race to the Top competition—and the types of changes that would put the awardees’ funding at risk.
I am all for schools getting funded. However, I am seriously concerned when states need to “win” the money needed to improve schools, increase staff, and make materials and training available to instruction.
JSTOR is getting into the e-book business. The nonprofit group known for subscription-based access to scholarly-journal articles has struck agreements with four publishers—Princeton University Press, the University of Chicago Press, the University of Minnesota Press, and the University of North Carolina Press—to make their books available online next year.
I have often used a technique with kids that I have called Metaphoria! You can see some examples of this in Deep Understanding and the Issue of Transfer. But basically I might give them sentence starters such as “Programming in Logo is like…” or “Finding a bug in a program is like…” Students have said such things as the following. “Programming in Logo is like playing tennis. First, I take a turn, then the computer takes a turn.” “Finding a bug in a program is like looking for a needle in a haystack.” “Finding a bug in a program is like thinking about every step all over again.”
Metaphors provide students with a mental model — a model that is durable and independent of the computer and therefore empowers students with tools with which to think.
If you surround yourself with teachers who are regularly negative, they will bring you down as well. It will affect your teaching. Be professional, but stay out of negative discussions when possible.
Always, always communicate with parents about the GOOD things. If a problem ever arises, they aren’t so much on the defensive if they know you like and respect their kid.
Document, document, document. Any important notes that go home, I make photo copies of first. I keep e-mails I have sent to parents. I document meetings and phone calls as well on a communication log.
Find a good lunch group. They will be professional and personal support. They will provide comic relief, and always be people you can count on. Some of my best friends are the teachers that I eat/ate lunch with.
Make time for yourself. This is very hard to do, especially in your first year. However, if you are not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of the kids.
Personally, I almost always wear my hair up. I’ve never gotten lice. Lice like clean hair, so if there is an outbreak in your school use lots of gel and hairspray.
What works once, might not work twice.
Run things by your principal. Keep that door of communication open. (This will also help you be less nervous during observations).
Ebay can be your best friend.
Praise. Praise is the key to even the toughest kids.
Being fair does not mean everyone gets the same things. It means everyone gets what they need.
When a kid thinks he/she is dumb, use the theory of multiple intelligences to explain that they are not.
Incorporate their strengths into their weaknesses.
Be happy to see your students. Tell them that you are.
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Use it as a learning opportunity. Especially for those students who think they do everything wrong. ”See, even *I* make mistakes sometimes.”
Especially in the younger grades, the more excited YOU are about an activity, the more excited your kids will be.
They all become *your* kids by the end of the year.
Early in the year, I posted a link to wordstash.com . I have been using it with several groups of my students in grades 4-8. I included this site in my list of helpful learning resources that I sent to my co-workers as their “Christmas present” and in a letter home to parents during parent-teacher conference time. I know a few families have used it at home, even in subjects that they do not see me for (particularly science vocabulary).
For my 4th graders that struggle with reading comprehension and fluency, I use vocabulary units from Ed Helper to create “vocabulary jars” and do various activities with them from analogies to reading the words in context, to challenging them to use it in conversation at home. When I introduce new words, we look them up on wordstash.com. Often the options to see the words used in an article gets them interested in the word, and helps them use the word in a sentence of their own.
I also encourage them to use this when they come across a word in their reading at home that they do not know or cannot figure out how to pronounce. This site will say the word for them, and since they already like the site, they are more likely to use it to look up a word instead of continuing to read without understanding.
By building their vocabulary, I have noticed that their ability to use context cues along with decoding skills when they try to read an unknown word has improved. With more words to pull from, their accuracy improves.
How do you / would you use this site with your students?
Fifty years ago, two-African American students walked onto the campus of the University of Georgia in Atlanta, effectively integrating the school. One of them was Charlayne Hunter-Gault.
Host Michel Martin speaks with the award-winning journalist and with Vernon Jordan, the civil rights lawyer who fought for black students to attend classes at the university, about that historic event and its legacy.