I would like some book recommendations before I go home for break. We have Half-Priced Books in Ohio, but they don’t have them in Florida.
My favorite authors:
I like Historical Fiction, Fantasy (but not too science-fictiony), Chick Lit, and non-fiction on history (more U.S. than other countries, but have been known to read about other countries).
I don’t like books that will give me nightmares or make me more paranoid than I already am.
Plus reblog, reply, or e-mail with suggestions.
Care to write an in depth post on how you run your reading conferences?-PPT
Well usually I flail around mindlessly wondering “Wait- why is this student sitting here? What am I supposed to be teaching them? I suddenly forget how to teach.” Even though I am competent and knowledgeable about my content area and the pedagogy of workshop, and even though I consider one of my strengths to be working one one one with my students, the moment I sit down for a “formal” conference I get spazzy. 99% of the time this comes from me not having a clear idea of what I want to TEACH in that conference. The other 1% is just me being spazzy.
However, when I am confident and have thought ahead and planned properly, a conference can be very useful to a student and myself. Below, I have outlined a few key tips for reading conferences. I find the simpler I keep things, the fewer things I try to juggle, the more successful I am. Keeping in mind that conferences are an area that I am always working to improve, take my tips with a grain of salt, as I am still a learner, myself:
1) Predictable Problems is a term my dept. head uses and I happen to like. If you can predict problems that are likely to occur for you and students, you can use it to your advantage, particularly in conferences. In Reading there are several problems that consistently reappear: choosing a “just right” book, using fix-up strategies, what to put on post-it notes, etc…Therefore, I am currently in the process of planning for these common, predictable problems. Which leads me to…
2)Make a lesson plan. Yes, I actually make a lesson plan for these types of conferences. Often, I have taught these lessons as a mini-lesson but if a student is still struggling then they obviously need to be taught in a different way. My conference lesson follows the same format as my mini-lesson:Warm up, teach/model, try, clarify, independent practice, share/wrap-up.However, it is much shorter than even my mini-lesson because well…I have 25 students per class with about 45 minutes of conference time and I ideally will get to every student once in two weeks (note: THIS NEVER HAPPENS! I AM ALWAYS STRUGGLING TO MAKE CONFERENCE TIME)
3)Text Options. This sounds simple but it is my #1 problem. You need to have many pieces of short texts/passages for you to model with and for students to practice with. Sometimes I use picture books I have used as read-alouds bc students are familiar with them and can be quickly used as a model. However, they need something different to practice on. Considering the crutch of the workshop model is that students practice in “just right” texts (and let’s not talk about Common Core right now. That’s a whole different conversation) it is vital to know your students’ reading levels and have those options available. I struggle with this because honestly, who has the time? I always say “I’ll search for texts tonight, tomorrow, next week,” but something else takes precedent. So, that is what I’m doing now, actually. Finding comprehension pieces (fiction and non-fic) and short stories of all different levels. Just collect them and file them in a way that makes sense to me: sometimes with a certain lesson and/or by level, topic, etc…
4)Search and Destroy. There are lots of types of conferences and they are all valuable but if you find yourself crunched for time like I am, stick with the Search and Destroy method. Use conference time to do only one thing: Find a problem or Fix a problem. Sometimes I find one and then I foolishly try to fix it right away. This results in a shoddy lesson that often leaves my student worse off than when she first met with me. If you are checking in with a student and realize they are not using specific text evidence to support their thinking say “Okay,” and maybe give a small assignment “During today’s reading, as you take notes, try to include specific evidence from the text. Have three examples to show me for our next conference.” This gives the student time to create sample work while you prepare for the next conference/lesson where you can be ready to target that problem area. Slow down, be patient in your teaching. This is a big lesson I have learned.
I hope this didn’t fall into the TL;DR category, but I understand if it did. I want to make a second post with a sample conference but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.
Read Part 1 - Introduction
Read Part 2 - Why is Vocabulary Instruction Important
Read Part 3 - What Vocabulary Instruction Should Look Like
Read Part 4 - Activities and Tips (non-tech)
So, those of you that have followed me on tumblr know that I love to use this platform to collect online teaching tools, resources, and class activities. Therefore, I really enjoyed this article: eVoc Strategies: 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary, Bridget Dalton, Dana L. Grisham, The Reading Teacher, February 2011 the following activities/sites were listed in this article (read the article thing to see all of the tools/sites)
Wordle and Word Sift are similar tools — Wordsift provides related words, which I really like. I’ve heard of Wordle a number of times, and have used it to introduce a new unit in math before. This article pinpointed questions that should be asked when using these tools to build vocabulary such as:
- what does this image suggest the passage / text will be about
- what are the most important words
- how do you think these words will go together
- why do you think this shape was selected
and to follow-up after reading:
- what words would you add or take away
- are there certain words that should be given more space
Trackstar allows you to collect websites, videos, add annotations and create a digital field trip to help build vocabulary and prior knowledge. What I like is that there are a lot of lessons already created that you could use or tweak for your students.
Also noted in the article were digital translators, digital texts, and text to speech tools which can be particularly helpful for struggling readers and ESL students.
The following sites come from my own explorations on the internet, tumblr, twitter, etc.
Word Stash allows you to create separate lists to share. The site acts as a dictionary and a thesaurus. It provides a sentence for most words that you look up, the pronunciation (actual sound), the latest tweets that have the word, and recent articles that have the words. You can also quiz yourself on word lists. I like to have my students use this as a resource when creating word expert cards or completing vocabulary graphic organizers.
One Word One word provides you with one word to write about for 60 seconds. I have not used this yet, but I think it could be a good vocabulary builder to gage vocabulary knowledge.
Vocabulary Games has… you guessed it! Vocabulary games.
Spelling City has vocabulary and spelling activities.
My Vocabulary has activities with root words, SAT words, themed word lists and more.
Vocabulary.com has discussions on how our lexicon changes. It also has quizzes, word lists, and quizzes.
Finally, Qwiki can be an excellent way to find related words and learn vocabulary — especially for visual learners!
Also I really love the vocabulary concept maps that can be found on Busy Teacher’s Cafe .
Reblogging myself because all 5 parts were such a labor of love on my part. And then I got switched grade levels, and didn’t get to use most of what I learned.
What is your favorite Children’s Book?
What is your favorite YA book?
What is your favorite book over all?
Have any of you read this book? I liked it in the beginning. Now, I’m about a third of the way through … and I just. can’t.
Usually, once I am past the third chapter of a book, no matter how bad it is, I have to finish reading it.
I haven’t read much for fun lately, mostly because I’m not engaged in Wicked — but I have that “must finish it” mentality.
The only book in recent memory that was like this for me was the Poisonwood Bible, but I think I stopped in Chapter 3.
If you’ve finished it, tell me, is it worth pushing through?
We take our Pre-k students to Kindergarten for a lesson once a day this week (2-3 kids per class). It helps make the idea of Kindergarten less scary to them because they get to see what it is like and meet some of the teachers. Several of my little ones have recently declared that they are NOT leaving me and are going to stay Pre-k students. So, it has been wonderful to see their happy faces when I pick them up and they tell me they LOVE Kindergarten.
Today, one of the K teachers pulled me aside and said you have some real smart ones. Yesterday, one of your students sounded out a word that one of my students was stuck on, and today in whole group another one sounded out a word! On Teacher Dare Day when we were asked what is something we wish someone would notice — I wished that someone would notice that some of my Pre-k students are reading. I have 5 that can sound out words and are learning sight words, and one of those students can also sound out words with blends in them.
This week has made me feel like, “They are ready.” Being a part of the team (parents, teachers, and students) that has helped lay the foundation for their education experience — and then seeing how far they’ve come and knowing that they will be okay is a great reward.