Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reading Resource Websites

My co-blogger, Antoinette is often behind the scenes.  That's because she is SUPER busy getting ready for her new job in our district, being a Teaching and Learning Coach.  She is also our school's building tech person.  So, at a recent Tech meeting she shared an awesome list of reading websites.  I will be sharing them with you over the course of the next few days.

There are a number of videos on this site.  Great for people new to Readers Workshop or those of you who would like a refresher!

Beth Newingham

As a third grade teacher I love this site! 
It includes plenty of signs and chart ideas.

Reader's Workshop PDF

Hopefully you found a new resource to use in planning reading instruction!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mosaic Background

Our district is adopting Balanced Literacy.  See my earlier post.Our school has decided to have a Book Club to get us started. 
We are reading Mosaic of Thought.
We had our first gathering yesterday.  Our main discussion focused on the background of the Comprehension Strategies.
Here are some points and questions from our discussion.
Aha! thoughts:
-Just knowing the words is not enough.  (We have been giving a fluency measure as our main data source. Why?)
-Thinking, thinking, thinking- Let's encourage it. 
-Comprehension should be "caught not taught"

What do we need to start doing/thinking:
-Model thinking more explicitly
-Use "turn and talk" with a purpose
-Re-read books and encourage kids to re-read more often

What do we need to stop doing:
-Using the outdated basal! (Hurray!)
-Stop using large quantities of worksheets (Yes, some of the teachers in our building live for worksheets!) Food for thought: It says in the book, No student ever asks when they are going to get their worksheets back!
-Reading texts that don't spark interest in the students. (No boring books!)

Now on to questions:
-How will we assess the skills? (Since we do need grades at some point.)
-How to structure intervention time? (Do you have this at your school?  We use support staff and teachers to do reading/ math interventions and enrichment.)
-How can we become consistent? (We have little to no consistency now, while using the basal.)

Please leave a comment if you have an answer or thought on any of the above ideas.
Our building would really appreciate as much input as possible as we embrace a new way of teaching. 

EmilyK & Antoinette

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mosaic Book Club

So Antoinette and I work in a school that is a little "old school".  Over the 5 years that I have worked there the expectation was to use the Basal.  (A basal that was published before 2004, by the way.)  To some of us it is almost like a four letter word.  Many of us have been "editing" out parts we didn't think were benficial for the kids, and supplementing with "better" ideas.
Well, luckily our district has decided to join the modern age and embrace balanced literacy.  The district is so large that some schools were already doing balanced literacy and others of us were still "old school."  In an effort to be ahead for next year, our building is reading Mosaic of Thought.  (At this moment I know many of you are gasping at the fact that this book will be "new" to my coworkers.)
I read it back in college, but never had the chance to use it.  My first district used Success For All.  Then I moved to my current district. 
I am one of the people driving the discussion of the book with my coworkers.
I would love your help!
 We are meeting every Tuesday starting next week.  I am planning to post on Wednesdays, about the discussion and hoping you more experienced in the ideas may be able to clarify questions.
For the first week we are discussing the background behind Mosaic (huge ideas for myself and my coworkers) and schema.
Hopefully Wednesday you will stop by and check out the discussion.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Upper Grade Linky Party

If you haven't checked it out yet, Fabulous 4th grade Froggies is having a Linky Party for 3rd, 4th, 5th grade blogs.  Head over and check it out!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Ultimate Chance to be Clutter Free

So as many of you may know, I have been participating in the Clutter Free Project.
I have let go of extra supplies and copies from my 3rd grade classroom.
Well, I have the ultimate chance to be clutter free, because I am changing grade levels
I am going to be teaching 5th grade!
I see this as a great chance to organize/store my 3rd grade stuff. 
I am one of those teachers that never completely parts with things from a grade level. 
Which is good, because I used to teach 5th and I can pull out all my old lessons.  (In my head I am noting the fact that I have grown a lot a teacher since I was in 5th grade, so many of these lessons might be laughable now!)
I am also moving rooms AGAIN!  (This is the 4th time in my current building.)
I know I should be a pro by now, but I am not. 
I will be fully embracing the Clutter Free idea as I move to my new classroom.
I also borrowed this book from a teacher friend and found it to be useful as I think about my new space:
Product Details

In more exciting news, the only reason I am moving to 5th grade is because Antoinette is changing jobs!  She is now going to be a Teaching and Learning Coach.  She is super excited/nervous!  She will be great!  I am looking forward to getting all kinds of new ideas from her, since she will be working with 2 schools, and all their teachers.