- it was a great way to review what we’d learned
- we enjoyed talking with a friend while we worked
- you could use a book for reference
- if we weren’t good at drawing, a partner could help
Archive for October, 2009
I am blessed. I come from a family where reading is valued. When I was a child, my brother and sister and I would pile into bed at night, and Dad would read to us or tell us stories. I remember his stories the best. He’d make them up using characters we’d create. This tradition continued on to the next generation. Bedtime stories were a big part of my children’s heritage, as well.
Some of my most treasured photos are those picturing family members reading. I’ll bet you have some, too. If you’d like, send us a picture of your family reading. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am rereading a favorite little book I picked up in an airport last year– Encouragement Changes Everything by John C. Maxwell. Today’s selection was called “Do the Math.” Since I have just started writing a chapter on addition and subtraction stations for my new math book, this piece seemed quite timely!
Here’s a summary:
There are only four kinds of people when it comes to relationships.
1. Some people add something to life. We enjoy them.
2. Some people subtract something from life. We tolerate them.
3. Some people multiply something in life. We value them.
4. Some people divide something in life. We avoid them.
I hope that today you’ll think about the people in your life. It might be your colleagues, family, or friends. What will you add to their lives? Are you a multiplier? To do so, you must be intentional, strategic, and skilled. You must want to see others succeed and help them with your special talents and great ideas.
And while we’re doing math, what do your students need most help with when it comes to addition and subtraction? Please let me know by posting a comment here. Or if you have a math station idea your students love, post it here, too. We have lots of readers and they enjoy your ideas as well as mine! Thanks for being part of my blog.
This past weekend I gave the keynote address at the Arizona Reading Association conference and enjoyed meeting so many wonderful educators from this beautiful state. I was fortunate to have in-depth conversations with many attendees about their classrooms and concerns. Everywhere I go, I’m touched by the caring of teachers no matter what their circumstances. I met teachers working with Apache children, folks with overcrowded spaces, educators that spent their fall break attending this conference– people who care deeply about their students.
A fifth-grade teacher in Denver Public Schools shared a great idea for reading response that her students love! She makes a tic-tac-toe board with a variety of reading responses on it. She got these ideas from searching the Internet and her own resources.
Students choose which reading response they’d like to do after finishing a book from independent reading time. They color in the square to show they’ve completed a response. The goal is to fill in X number of spaces per X number of weeks. You do the math and decide if you want them to do 3 in a row, black-out, or a specified amount of responses in a certain number of weeks. She said the kids really like the choice factor and the variety of responses they might do.
Let us know if you try this and how your students respond.
Last week while in Denver, CO, we looked deeply at emergent reading levels. Teachers previewed texts in both English and Spanish and put them in order from easiest to hardest at Levels A-C (DRA 1-4). We examined where most students should be reading at the end of kindergarten. Their data showed that children reading on a Level C/ DRA 4 by the end of kindergarten did very well on their state reading test in 3rd grade as compared to students reading on Level C/ DRA 3 at the end of kindergarten.
We looked at the differences between Level C/ DRA 3 and DRA 4. What do students need to learn to do as readers by the end of kindergarten? These might be interesting conversations to have on your campus. I’d look at daily shared reading, high frequency word work, letter-sound knowledge and applying this in reading and writing (once phonemic awareness is in place), and read aloud for comprehension and vocabulary to start. For more information, you might consult my book, Making the Most of Small Groups. Start by looking at the chart on page 171.
I’m so fortunate to be working with educators in the Denver Public Schools again this year. I’m teaching a year-long course to help them understand how to use small group instruction to best meet the needs of their students. These teachers rock!
As part of their homework, teachers brought samples of ways they take notes and organize their assessment data. They use assessment notebooks of some kind and also share individual reading goals with their students. Teachers use these during independent reading and small group instruction.
They were gracious to share their ideas on my blog via these pictures. What I love is that the systems are personalized. Each teacher does what works best for her/him. Differentiation for teachers, too!
This morning I was reading about just doing a small thing that can create a big ripple. My small thing to do? Donate to Donors Choose.
If you haven’t heard of them, Donors Choose is a non-profit group that funds grants for teachers. It is a simple process (grants can be written in an hour or so) that can net you great results.
As I work with teachers across the U.S., they often tell me, “I’d love to have a big book easel, but our school can’t afford to buy me one.” That’s where Donors Choose comes in! Write a mini-grant for a big book easel (or crayons and paper and scissors or a classroom digital camera, etc.) and get what you need for your kids.
Here are some of the thank-you’s I’ve received from funding projects at Donors Choose. I hope you’ll consider either writing a grant or helping to fund one.
What small thing will you choose to do today to help someone else?
Anyone who’s heard me present in the past few months knows I’ve had trouble with the DVD player skipping on my new laptop. Because my laptop is under warranty, I called SONY and was amazed by their response. Not only would they fix my laptop, they’d send a repair person TO MY HOUSE at my convenience. Wow! I am so impressed.
So today I give a big shoutout to SONY and their service. I love my VAIO and work on it daily.
Back to writing now. That math book is waiting.
Where do you like to read? I have a quiet little reading nook tucked in above the staircase in my home. Take a look at it:
It’s pretty cozy, right? So send me a picture of where you like to read – or where you happen to do most of your reading. Is it in your living room? Or in your car while you are waiting for your kids to get out of soccer practice? Is it at school? I’d love to see your pictures – if you happen to be reading one of my books in the photo, even better! I am going to pick the most creative photo and you will receive a signed copy of one of my books! So start snapping away! My e-mail address is email@example.com