Archive for March, 2008

Comprehension Strategies 101: Into the Book

I’m on a reading comprehension kick these days, so I’ve been on the look out for useful websites and research articles on the topic. This morning while reading a study on comprehension and vocabulary strategies titled, “Instruction of Metacognitive Strategies Enhances Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Achievement of Third-Grade Students” by Boulware-Gooden, et. al. (2007), I was reminded of a resource my colleague Ettie mentioned to me last week called Into the Book.

This website is an awesome resource if you are looking for ideas on how to incorporate comprehension strategies into your daily literacy teaching practices. You can find resources to help students make connections to the texts they read, learn to question, infer, summarize and more! Plus, there are many video examples of teachers teaching comprehension and vocabulary strategies, so that you can get a taste of what the lessons would look like in your classroom!

Thanks Ettie and thanks to the teachers in Kentucky that shared Into the Book with her.

Anna

PS If you are interested in learning more about comprehension strategy instruction, I highly recommend attending the Teachers College Reading Institute this summer. I went last summer and had a ball discussing reading comprehension with K-3 teachers from around the country!

Integrating Themes from Science, Social Studies and More into your ELA Block

While exploring the Teaching Matters Top-Ten Resources page, I learned about Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature site. My favorite part of the site is a section titled, Curriculum Areas. Carol writes, “The curriculum areas listed here each have one or more pages on this site with information such as: related children’s books, activities, related professional books and links to related sites on the internet.” The following is a sampling of some of the curriculum areas she features:

1) Appalachia

2) Flight and Planes

3) Fools and Tricksters

Carol’s list is super extensive! Whether you’re interested in doing a unit on quilts or buildings, Carol’s got a book and activity recommendation that is sure to make your students excited to read and explore!

Anna

Grim Fairy Tales

I am currently working on Fairy Tale Unit with my students. I have been searching for a good technology activity to do with the unit, and I just found GrimFairtyTales.com. This interactive site has lots of activities for primary students. They can read a short, factual biography on the Brothers Grim. They can read an interactive, flash version of The Brementown Musicians and Faithful John. Or click on Fun Stuff to play a game or print out a coloring book. I know my kids will have fun making silly outfits for Puss N Boots!

-Melissa

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Thinking about incorporating technology into your classroom?

This video will seal the deal! Ignore the overly dramatic music. Just read the stats about youth and technology, as well as the ideas for how to incorporate podcasts, ipods, and cellphones into your lessons!

Thanks Busy Teacher Cafe for sharing this on your blog!

Anna

Need to brush up on your education trivia?

What is A Nation at Risk? What does FAFSA stand for? Who is Wendy Kopp? Find answer to these questions and your own on the SchoolNet K12 wiki!

Anna

Top Eight Tips for Reading Teachers

Learning First is a great place for teachers to find all kinds of classroom resources.The Learning First Alliance is a permanent partnership of 18 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools. We share examples of success, encourage collaboration at every level, and work toward the continual and long-term improvement of public education based on solid research.Browsing through their publications, I found many useful resources for teachers. In the document Every Child Reading: An Action Plan, I found these top tips for reading teachers.

  1. Rely on good research.
  2. Push for good professional development.
  3. Make success schoolwide.
  4. Team up with parents.
  5. How’s it going? (assessment)
  6. Small classes pay big dividends.
  7. Be alert to older nonreaders.
  8. Use help wisely.

-Melissa

Looking for literature recommendations for your elementary school students?

My colleague Cynthia shared this link with me today. eMINTs National Center has compiled a list of recommended reads including great books for boys, great books for girls, and more!

Happy book recommending!

Anna

And the word on the street is…

AMAZING, PREDICAMENT and …

I recently had a great conversation with Linda Roberts about the new Sesame Street segment called “What’s the word on the street?” The segment features a character named Murray who is always looking for the new word on the street. Murray learns vocabulary by talking with kids and adults in his neighborhood about words like amazing, predicament and squid.

I love the concept of “What’s the word on the street?” for a number of reasons. First, the clips are absolutely adorable and entertaining! Also, while they are short, they provide just enough background information around a word to make them a useful word-learning and reinforcement tool at home and in the classroom. Each clip not only defines a new vocabulary word, but provides background information, context and visual cues to help children (and adults!) internalize the word. To see more episodes, subscribe to the Sesame Street podcast here.

What’s the next word on the street?!

Anna

What’s hot in literacy for 2008

The International Reading Association recently posted, “What’s hot for 2008.” Each year IRA surveys literacy leaders to determine the hottest topics in literacy for that year. They write:

Unlike last year, when everyone agreed that adolescent literacy was the hottest topic, there was no “extremely hot topic”this year. However, there were nine “very hot”topics: adolescent literacy, English as a second language/English-language learners, early intervention, fluency, high-stakes assessment, informational/nonfiction texts, literacy coaches/reading coaches, response to intervention, and scientific evidence-based reading research and instruction.

Most of these “very hot”topics were on the “very hot”or “extremely hot”list last year. response to intervention moved from “hot”last year to “very hot”this year; the reverse was true for the topic direct/explicit instruction. The surprise “not hot”topic was phonics! For most of the past 12 years, phonics has been very hot. This year, for the first time, phonics moved to the “not hot”column.

See the results of the survey on this chart. I found it interesting to compare the “what’s hot” column with the “should be hot” column. For example, while 75% of respondents thought that preservice teacher education for reading should be hot, it didn’t make the what’s hot list for 2008. On a slightly different note, phonemic awareness has gone down in the rankings–75% of respondents thought it should not be hot. While my education training and experience puts me in the “balanced” camp, surveys such as these are amusing to say the least! I was happy to see that vocabulary and comprehension were heavy in the should be hot area–two areas of content the FreeReading development team are working on for the FreeReading site. Expect to see more content in these areas of literacy on FreeReading by midsummer!

What do you think is hot in literacy this year?

Anna

Seeking Imaginative Artists to Illustrate Open Source Children’s Stories

Promote your artwork and help children around the world learn how to read! The FreeReading.net development team is currently seeking artists to create illustrations for the short children’s texts on FreeReading.net.

FreeReading is a high-quality, open-source, free reading intervention program for grades K-1. Developed by a team of instructional designers at Wireless Generation and teachers across the country, the FreeReading site has a community of over 100,000 educators in all 50 states and 167 countries. In addition, FreeReading is the first open-source instructional program to be approved through an official state adoption. The state of Florida recently approved FreeReading as a supplemental reading program that state schools may use during the 2008-2009 school year.

 

If you are artistically inclined or know people that are, feel free to pass along this opportunity. More information can be found here:

 

Seeking Imaginative Artists to Illustrate Open Source Children’s Stories

 

Cheers,

Anna

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Keltic Dreams: Dance in the Classroom

Riverdance meets Mad Hot Ballroom in this feel good New York Times video about how Irish dancing is transforming a public elementary school in the Bronx. Watch this short video clip and be amazed!

Anna

Worksheets galore!

Yesterday, my colleague Cher introduced me to  ABCTeach. If you are looking for a place to get high quality printables for free, ABCTeach is not a site to be ignored! Below are links to a few things you might find of interest:

1) Sample rebus worksheet: A Picnic is Fun. Find more rebus worksheets here.

2) Henry and Mudge vocabulary worksheet

3) Literature Circle Planner

See you on ABCTeach!

Anna

More Interactive Games

I was looking over Larry Ferlzo’s Website of the Day… and I came across I Know That. This is an interactive website for students in PreK – 6th. There are tons of games, covering both reading and math.

 I clicked on first grade games and I found Word Match. Select a specific sound to practice, such as /oo/ or r blends, and the game begins. If you don’t want to register, simply click on Maybe Later to bypass. Students are given a series of pictures to match with the correct words. The math games are great too! There is a cute series of games for reinforcing money. – Melissa

Music: Alphabet Songs

Need to spice up your alphabet lessons?

While at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning last weekend, I learned about Bashiri Johnson (founder of Bashman Productions and recording studio). He has created lots of fun educational music, including “A is for Africa,” “ABC song,” and “V is for Voice.” To get a taste of his music, check out his MySpace page.

“Step clap clap… A, B, C… Now I know my ABCs…” (from ABC song)

Anna

Great resource for ELLs

Colorin Colorado is a great resource for educators and families of English language learners. Of particular interest are their Reading Tip Sheets for parents available in 11 different languages for Pre K- Grade 3.
Cynthia

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