Monday, February 18, 2013

Free Writing Resources!

Here are a few freebie writing prompts for you! 
I like to do writing prompts as a "do now" for the beginning of class. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • What is the biggest problem you have ever faced? How did it turn out?
  • Who are the people you care about the most?
  • What are your hobbies? Which hobby do you enjoy most?
  • You are grounded for not doing your homework at school. However, your best friend is having a birthday party. Write a letter to your parents/guardians to persuade them to let you go.
  • Write about a time when you have been the most scared.
  • You are a food critic, write a review of a meal you recently ate.
  • Write a short autobiography about yourself.
Another one of my favorites- finish the story! 

  • Listening to the radio the family huddled around the fireplace for warmth...............
  • Lee looked down the old, rickety basement stairs. Yes, the sound was definitely coming from the basement. Lee slowly walked down the stairs............
  • At that exact moment, the lights came on...........
These prompts are also a FREE download on TPT- check it out!
Writing Prompts Freebie! 
Also, if you download the previews for my monthly writing prompts on TPT you get a few freebie prompts :)
 March Writing Prompts


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Liebster Award Nod

Thanks to the The Applicious Teacher for the Liebster Award Nom! Since I've been blogging for about one second it is cool that someone noticed!

The nomination comes with some "rules". I need to post 11 random things about me. I'll try to keep it interesting.

1. I hated school as a kid. HATED it. This is the main reason I became a teacher.
2. I am the only teacher in my family or extended family. My people are engineers, or in the medical field.
3. My sister is my best friend. We have matching wrist tattoos.
4. I am 18 months older than my husband. Cougar!
5. My husband is a golf pro. He plays golf for a living. Actually, he is on his way to the beach to play right fair! His full time job is to run a golf course.
6. The town I live in is very, very small. It has three golf courses and one gas station (which just went out of business). The census in 2010 put us at a population of 237. It picks up in the summer when all the people come back from Florida.
7. I love to watch reality TV.
8. I hate the singing and dancing shows.
9. I am going back to school this summer for my Technology Facilitator add on. I already have a masters in Reading.
10. I love football.
11. Apparently my natural non-smiling face looks kind of mean. This doesn't help when making friends- but it does help with discipline. The kids are scared of me (at first).

Now I need to answer the questions that the Applicious Teacher asked:

1. How long have you been blogging?
Hmmmm. 1 month?

2. Why did you start your blog?
I would like to share my ideas with teachers.

3. Are you an educator? If so, what grades do you teach, or did you teach?
Yep! Currently I am a literacy coach. I have taught for 10 years mainly in middle school (6th grade, 8th grade, 4th grade.)

4.What teaching resource could you NOT LIVE without?
"When Kids Can't Read, What Teachers Can Do" by Kyleen Beers. Best. Book. Ever.

5. How would you describe your classroom teaching style?
When I was teaching in the classroom I took a more of a facilitator role. We did a lot of group work and inquiry.

6. What is your favorite thing to teach? Why?
Novels because I love to read them.

7. What blog are you obsessed with right now?
Right Down the Middle

8. Do you Facebook or Twitter? Or both?
I do not understand Twitter. I've tried- it is confusing. I'm a facebook person.

9. Hobbies? (Besides being an AWESOME teacher?)
Reading Young Adult Lit, trying to play golf, blogging and making stuff for teachers pay teachers.

10. Are you a dog or a cat person?
Both. Right now I just have one yorkie-poo named Bentley who is my BABY.

11. How would your students describe you?
Funny, crazy, geek- I do a lot of self-deprecating humor- anything to get a laugh.

Now I need to find some blogs to nominate! Fun! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What Writing Research Says

What does the writing research say about writing in the reading classroom?

In the "Writing to Read" research by Carnegie Corporation of New York, there have been some recommendations on how writing can help students read.

Here are some of the recommendations for strengthening reading through writing:

1. Have students write about the texts they read.(moderate effect based on 11 studies).
- have students writing personal reactions, interpreting the text( Significant effect on reading comprehension based on 9 studies)
- write summaries (Moderate effect based on 11 studies).
- take notes (Moderate effect based on 22 studies).

2. Increase the time in which students write. ( Low effect based on 6 studies).
-daily writing is recommended

3. Teach students the skills needed to write.
-teach text structures, sentence construction skills (Low effect based on 17 studies).
-teach spelling skills (Very high effect based on 9 studies).

According to the research, the most effective activities that increase reading comprehension are writing personal reactions to text. Examples of this would be open-ended journal entries where students make connections to the text, make predictions, tell why they think characters acted the way they did, and where students write about what they would do in a similar situation.

The second most effective activity is teaching spelling skills. According to the research, this helps with fluency and word recognition. These spelling skills should be taught through word work and learning word families.

So, what do you think? Do these findings surprise you? Will you change your teaching or do you already do these activities? Discuss in the comments below.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stop N Say!

Stop N Say (AKA- Say Something) is my favorite reading strategy. This strategy is an active reading strategy- meaning students DO something while they read. This active reading helps in comprehension, especially with the upper grades when phonics no longer work.

 This is how it works: Teach and model: Connections, Questioning, Clarifying and Predicting. Make an anchor chart to remind students what to "say" when they stop reading.

Pair off students and have them reading a text in predetermined sections (every two paragraphs, every page, every other page). When one student is reading, the other student is responsible for listening and following along, and they also need to "Say Something" either make a connection, ask a question, clarify or predict. They can do this on a sticky note, notebook paper, or graphic organizer.

Students alternate roles- for example if Sue and Sandy are partners, Sue reads a page in the assigned text, Sandy "says something" when Sue is finished. Sandy reads the text, Sue "says something". They keep alternating roles until the text is read. At any point, if a student can't "say something" they need to re-read the text! (This is a great way to teach students to monitor their own comprehension).

So, what do you think? Is this something you can use in your own classroom? Answer in the comments below.

Next topic: Writing Research- what works?

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Currently

I THINK I figured out how to do the Oh Boy 4th Grade Currently.
I am so new to blogging and clueless I feel like I need some sort of technology degree to do it all! Thanks to The Bender Bunch for helping me figure it out!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Store (with many others) will be participating in the sale tomorrow on TPT! Check it out!
Graphic made by TpT Seller Lauren Weese

Friday, February 1, 2013

"What Good Readers Do"

Sometimes we have to teach students what "good readers do". Not all readers know how to do it well! I explicitly teach these tips to the students using an anchor chart! Please leave a comment on your thoughts below.
1. They use a variety of comprehension strategies such as: visualization, predicting, summarizing, questioning, ect.

2. They understand that the purpose of reading is to get meaning from the text. They actively participate in reading.

3. They make inferences from the text, using their prior knowledge and make the text relevant to their own lives.

4. They realize if they don't understand a text, and change their reading strategies to help them understand better, they may be slowing their reading rate, rereading, or using a dictionary.

5. They know the meaning of several words, and if they don't know a word, they know how to use context clues to understand meanings of unknown words.

6. They recognize words automatically, read fluently, and hear the text in their minds as they read the words.

We should explicitly teach these reading behaviors to readers who struggle.