Thursday, December 4, 2014

Close Reading Videos K-3

Great blog post on Close Reading with Little Learners: Click here.

Reading Closely in Kindergarten - Episode 1

Reading Closely in Kindergarten - Episode 2

Close Reading in First Grade - Vocab Focus

Bringing Close Reading and Text Dependent Questions to an Interactive Read Aloud

Bringing Close Reading and Text-Based Questions into an Interactive Read Aloud of Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! (K-2) from TC Reading and Writing Project on Vimeo.

Close Reading with a Visual Text

1st grade - RW Close Reading with Visual Text from Once Upon a Teacher on Vimeo.

Close Reading in Action

Close Reading in Action (Long Version) from Expeditionary Learning on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Show Me The Evidence!

One thing that our school is heavily focusing on this year is citing evidence to written responses. Our school has focused a lot on sentence stems to actually cite evidence which is great! But the students also have to be able to find the evidence. Here are a couple of ways for your students to locate the evidence and show the teacher where they found the evidence to their answers.

1) Writing the Question # Next to the Evidence

When the students are answering a particular question, have them write the question number directly next to where they found the answer. This shows that they found the evidence and it can help you identify students who need help locating evidence if they constantly are placing the #s in the wrong place.

2) Highlighting Evidence

Have your students use highlighters to highlight their evidence in a passage that has been copied for them.

3) Reading Trackers

Reading trackers are not only good for tracking reading, but they are also good for citing evidence. I actually got this idea from one of my creative colleagues, Deb Wirth. Students can use their tracker to to find their evidence and show the teacher.

4) Colored Overlays

One final strategy is to use colored overlays. These are really nice for when a student needs to use a text book or something that cannot be copied. The student just lays the overlay on the page and can use a dry erase marker to underline evidence. If you don't want to purchase the overlays, then you can use extra lamination.

The colored trackers and the colored overlays help the students remember things better because the brain sees and remembers color first. "Color opens up other areas of the brain and allows great and easier learning and remembering." So by using the colored overlays and trackers to cite evidence, the students are not only practicing an important skill, they are also remembering the content better. To read more on Learning Through Color, click here.

Happy Evidence Citing!

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Tonight I was attending a webinar on Active Engagement Strategies with Laura Candler and I learned about this fabulous new response system called PLICKERS! Its a free app and an alternative to clickers, activeexpressions, etc.

Why Should I Use Plickers?
  • It requires no electronic devices in your student's hands.
  • Its another way to actively engage all students.
But How Does It Work?
  • Each student gets a unique barcode on a piece of paper.
  • Students answer questions by showing their barcodes to their teacher's smartphone.
  • The teacher gets a real time graph of the data for informal assessment.
See It In Action:

Just sign up for an account, create a class, print the cards, and Go! Its that easy!!!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why You Should Read Children's Books As An Adult

As a teacher, it is important to practice what you preach. So if we are pushing our students to read everyday, so should we. Donalyn Miller, the author of "The Book Whisperer," suggests setting aside just 15 minutes per day to read. We all have 15 minutes somewhere that we can fit reading in. Also, as adults we suggest books to our friends and colleagues if we have read them before. Every day we are trying to suggest books for our students, but how many of them have you read? Even as adults we should still be reading children books and here are the reasons why:

1. It's fun
2. It keeps your imagination active.
3. It strengthens your relationship with the children in your life who read.
4. It sets an example for the children in your life, making them more likely to become readers.
5. It clues you in on cultural references that you may have missed (both current and classical).
6. It's fast. Children's books are usually shorter than adult books, so if you don't think you have time to read, you DO have time to read children's books.
7. It allows you to read across genres. Children's books aren't limited.
8. Its like time travel--it's an easy way to remember the child you once were, when you first read a book.
9. It's often inspirational--reading about heroes and bravery and loyalty makes you want to be a better person. And couldn't we all do with some of that?
10. Did I mention that it's fun?

Source: Jen Robinson's Book Page, 2005.

We are always trying to make our students lifelong readers and instill a love for reading in them. If we are reading more, and reading more children's books, it will become easier for us to suggest books to them. We will be able to connect to our students more because of this and form bonds over books that we might discover together.

Check out "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller for more information about "awakening the inner reader in every child."

The Book Whisperer

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Remind 101

With our new multi-measure evaluations in PA, one of my goals was to boost parent communication. I used to send out mass e-mails which was time consuming and not everyone checks their e-mails regularly. But do you know what most people do check regularly? TEXT MESSAGES! Now I'm sure you're thinking, "I am not giving out my cell phone # to parents." Well guess what, you don't have to! There is a new app called Remind101. Once you download it to your smart phone you can set up classes and have parents subscribe via a personalized code. Watch the video below to learn more:

Remind101 from remind101 on Vimeo.

What are some of the features?:
  • Private; Teachers never seen parent #'s and parents never see teacher's #
  • Easy to Use; students or parents sign up by sending a text message or e-mail.
  • Sends messages; you can easily send a message to every parent in each class.
  • Scheduling; you can easily schedule a message to be delivered at a later date.
  • History; it keeps a history of past messages sent.
  • Free; it is free to sign up for an account.

Why do I think Remind101 is so great?
3 Words: FAST, SAFE, EASY:

Want to learn more? Visit Remind101 to see more of the great features!

When teachers and parents work together, our students will be more successful!

Happy Texting!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July Currently

Better late than never! Even though its almost August, I thought I would add my July Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade. These "Currently" posts are a great way to link up with other blogs and find lots of great ideas! So here it goes:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Learning Objectives and Essential Questions

With our school's transition to the Common Core Standards, we have decided to start posting Essential Questions and Learning Objectives for Reading and Math. Learning Objectives are very important because the provide the students with what they need to learn or the "right stuff." Essential questions are great because they are phrased as higher order questions to really get the students thinking about what they will be learning. When higher order questions are used, students are more likely to understand and retain information.

There is a slew of posters out there made for you already on teacherspayteachers. The ones our school chose have both the essential questions and learning objectives for Reading and Math. See Below:


First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

The next part most people are wondering is, "How do I post these in my room?" My opinion is, you do what works best for you. For the more visual learners though, I have posted some examples below.

I am very excited for this transition because my students will always know what they are supposed to be learning and where to find it. Having every teacher do this as well ensures that we are all covering our standards, even if we are teaching them in different ways.

Happy Reading!