Monday, June 30, 2014

#SBS14 Chapters 3 and 4

Hello All,

Sorry I am a little behind on posting about the Book Study on the Book, Making the Most of Small Group Instruction: Differentiation for All by Debbie Diller. I'm in Illinois as my Mom was supposed to have surgery. They just postponed it until next Monday, July 7, 2014.

So, let's get started. I have to say that I am really enjoying this book. Chapter 3 was about Grouping. This is very important.  Key points about forming your small groups:

  • Use anecdotal notes to help create groups
  • Use formal and informal assessments combined with anecdotal notes and observation 
  • Listen to students read in formal and informal settings
I am really interested in what we will use for testing and progress monitoring next year with the new Journeys reading series.  I really want to track this so I know how my students are progressing and try to find ways to fill in any gaps they may have.

Guidelines for Managing Formal Testing
  • Wait a few weeks if possible
  • Do the "easy" testing first -- starts with students you think will do well may make it go a little faster
  • Engage students in fun activities that require little supervision while you test the other students
    • Write about or draw their favorite things to do, their family, etc.
    • Let them play with play dough on individual mats -- spell their names and other words.
    • Give them stencils or patterns to make their own creation
    • Give them a "back to school" packet with easys fun-to-do review sheets
    • Read books independently or with a buddy (use guest readers such a parents or grandparents)
The next section was Managing Anecdotal notes. There are so many options here. I am going to try the notecards suggestion. I bought colored 4 x 6 notecards. I am going to put them out in front of each student like she suggestions. Then as I listen to each student read I will be able to jot down quick notes and they will be handy right there.  I bought a file box to keep them in my small group teaching area.

I really like her idea for a "flexible flexible groups folder" I really plan to use that with the sticky notes and color coded of course so they are easy to move around and switch groups easily, hence the flexible flexible connotation. 

There's so much important information in this chapter.  She also talks about how many groups and how long you should meet with each group.  The suggestion is 2 groups a day (3 if you can work it in). Each group need only be about 20 minutes. If you're doing kindergarten groups they could be only 15 minutes. She suggests you meet with your students who struggle most every day. Every day may actually be only 4 days as typically Fridays are for assessment. Then you need to gage how many days you need to meet with the other groups.  To keep track of lessons she suggests using a small-group lesson-planning notebook which was described in Chapter 2. I definitely suggest this and plan to do this as well.

Chapter 4 -- Comprehension

Another Chapter with some great information. Comprehension is understanding. As we all know sometimes kids can decode better than some but they lack understanding. They don't comprehend. But what is reading without comprehension? So, it is imperative that we help our students learn skills and strategies that will help them comprehend because really without comprehension you have no purpose for reading. Everyone needs to meet in small groups to learn comprehension. If they are comprehending they need to learn how to go deeper.

What's great about this Chapter is all the sample lessons for many areas of comprehension. She gives great tips about choosing materials. If you can choose books based on student's interests and backgrounds it helps comprehension.  Which would you rather read a book about something you're interested in or a manual for how to operate a toaster? She suggests using both fiction and nonfiction.

There are lessons about:
  • Text Structure
  • Monitoring for Comprehension
  • Schema/Characters We Know
  • Usisng Graphic Organizers
  • Asking Questions
  • Visualizing
One thing that seems really helpful is this chart she has for Prompts for Comprehension. If a student gets stuck you could have a response to help them think rather than giving answers. I liked this chart and wanted to have it readily available so I made one to have handy at my table and when I am lesson planning.

Okay, I give, I can't get that picture to link for me so here's the link to get this document.

I also liked the lesson plan but because it has no disk with it you would have to hand-write them. I try to avoid that at all costs.  So, I typed it up.  All rights go to Debbie Diller. Please do not remove that from the lesson plan.

Here is a link to the typed up lesson plan:

I also liked the section on questions for deeper understanding.  She mentions thick and thin questions. I have used this before.  Here's a link to Pinterest on this very subject!

I'm going to do more research. Maybe I'll have a freebie for you on this at some point.

I have been so wordy and I am not even sure I did these chapters justice. I am excited to put all of these things into practice this new school year.  

What are things you doing to help your students comprehend? What do you do to manage small groups and forming them?  How do you keep records?  I would love to hear your comments.

Please share!



Thursday, June 26, 2014

What in the World is SRSD?

Hello All,

I've been attending a Literacy and Math Common Core Training this week. I have really enjoyed it. The Writing Strategy we are learning about this week is called Self-Regulated Strategy Development. I know the first thing you say is HUH? :)  It is shortened to SRSD. It is well researched and gains are well documented. Tennessee had pretty good writing scores when they were doing (wait for it) decontextualized narrative prompts. Say what? You know those prompts, You wake up in the morning and you are flying on a magic carpet. Where did it come from and where will you go?  Totally out of left field with no context (hence decontextualized). When the prompts moved to being information text based responses writing scores in Tennessee went down. So, the State implemented this Common Core Training this summer on Writing and specifically on the SRSD.

I have actually enjoyed the training. The Coach was great and enthusiastic and "real". You know what I mean, right?

There's a process for it which is important. The Development part of it that are scaffolding them from the very beginning. You start with pre-assessment and then walk them through the mnemonic Pow TIDE by using an exemplar writing. You take apart the exemplar and apply it to the Graphic Organizer.  Now, there are some more out there on the web that you can google to find however, I have created my own "cuties" to share with you.  One thing you do is color code the exemplar. They used red, green, and blue in the training. You will see on my graphic organizer I used yellow, pink, and blue because I plan to use highlighters that will be easily accessible for them. These colors coordinate with the highlighters hence the yellow, pink and blue. You can choose whatever colors you want.

POW stands for Pull Apart the Prompt (What is it asking me to do?) Organize my Notes (use the graphic organizer) Write Some More (develop your essay/writing).

TIDE stands for Topic Sentence, Important Detail (you want 3 ideally) and Ending.  Sounds really simple but it works. The beauty is that it's used K-12. You add more as you get to higher grades for instance 3rd grade adds LL. They stand for Language and Links. Language meaning word choice and Links are using transition words. Now, this is all according to my understanding. Someone else may have a totally different take on all of this.

Eventually, you want your kiddos to create their own graphic organizers. Then when they are on a test that you can't use one they'll be able to create it on their own. It's a good system and I have totally bought into it. If you teach in Tennessee and haven't attended this training yet check it out.  The other half of the training was on math. I'll post about it later! :)

Here's the "cutie". Hope you enjoy. I would love to hear your comments if you'd be so kind as to leave me some!

Here's the preview. I know there is a way to link the preview to open the google document but I can't seem to find the directions to do it right. I know how to link a picture to a web address but can't get this to work right. I wish you could see the whole thing big but this is all I know how to do right now. Maybe someone will see this and have mercy on me and show me how to do it right! Link is below the preview.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sadness....extra pages have to be static information.

Hello All,

I haven't used blogger in a few years as an "author" on a regular basis so I am trying to get reaquainted. I was saddened to find out that extra pages you add (which appear as tabs at the top of the blog) cannot be basically like a separate blog. Instead, they must be static information that you just want to appear there.

But, I did find out that I can link it to a webpage. So, I may for my "Just for Parents" section start a weebly. I really wanted to keep this simple. The more basic I make it the more likely I am to keep this going and keep it up. So, I will have to think about this a little more. So, keep watching for details and I will check into some choices like a weebly which I know are rather easy to use. I do want ot have a resource page for parents. Using a weebly would also be a place to add more resources for teachers as well. Stay tuned.....changes may be coming soon.

Thanks for visiting my blog and reading my "moments". Soon we'll be posting about Chapters 3 and 4 for the Summer Book Study so check back soon! I have a couple of shares from Chapter 4 you might be interested.  Some day I might actually make some "goodies" like you see on TPT. Just have to find some time or something I need to make it worthwhile! All about the time management you know!

Have a great Sunday!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Word Search Tool

Hello All,

It's always great to find tools that make your job easier. I was looking for a word search creator that would allow you to save them in PDF. I want to make these for the spelling words each week. I figure it can help them learn to spell them if they have to look for them letter by letter. If not it's a good time filler for transitions when you want them to focus on something they think is fun!  

Good news! I found one at Lakeshore Learning.  You can access it here. Click on the picture:

If by chance you will be using the Houghton Mifflin Journeys 2014 Reading Series these will go right along with it.  I have ready for 2nd grade of course, the Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 Spelling Words Word Search Puzzles and Keys.

Unit 1 Lesson 1 Key
Unit 1 Lesson 1 Word Search Puzzle
Unit 1 Lesson 2 Spelling Word Search
Unit 1 Lesson 2 Key

Let me know if these are useful and I'll be happy to share more!

Have a great day!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Chapters 1 and 2 - Making the Most of Small Groups~ Differentiation for All

Hello All,

As I previously posted. I'm doing a Summer Book Study on the book Making the Most of Small Groups~ Differentiation for All by Debbie Diller. The Book Study is being coordinated by Mrs. Sameulson's Swamp Frogs. Click the name to go to her blog.  We're discussing the first two chapters.  Here's my take on the first two chapters.  I hope you can find something useful.

I am really enjoying this book. I look forward to hearing what others have to say as well. I have made a mock schedule after reading Chapter 1. Last year I only taught Math and Science and I switched classes with a team teacher who taught the RLA/SS. This year I will be teaching all subjects. I am not exactly sure about times as we are changing our start time so I am not exactly sure what time our lunch and support will be. I guessed. So, it might have to be adjusted. I do know however how much time they take up. I am excited with this schedule as I found time for individual conferences for reading as well as a separate writing time. I am attaching my mocked up schedule in case you want to see it.
I also made an instructional planning sheet to help me make sure I am being proactive in all parts of my ELA time. This is to just get me organized and stay on track. It is not a lesson planning sheet.
So, I guess you will say that these are my "takes" from Chapter 1. I need to make sure i have time to "get everything" in and I know myself I need to be organized and stay on track and it is my hope that the planning sheet will help me do that.
Chapter 2 really helped me to think through what I need to do to get organized. I have made a list of tings I need to do/get based on information in Chapter 2.
I I need a 4 drawer bin for the materials for each group near my teaching table.
I am going to color code my groups just so it's visual for me and my students.
I need to make or look for a sign that indicates or actually says "DO NOT DISTURB" as a reminder to students that we are not to interrupt the small group time.
I am going to set up a Small Group Binder to keep running records and current anecdotal records for each student in the group folder. I also may have a section for each student. We'll see how that goes. I am going to try the 4x6 notecards first and if that doesn't work I might try notebook pages....that's a trial and error kind of thing for me.
I need to stock up on post it notes and do an interactive modeling lesson on how to use the post-it notes during reading to help them learn how to "think" while they are reading (there is more on this in Chapter 4).
I need separate small group lesson plans from the weekly lesson plans. I need a reflection section on my lesson plans to keep notes.
Make sure my teaching table is where I can see the whole room.
Then of course I have a whole list of supplies I need: magnetic white boards and lowercase magnetic letters.
I really have enjoyed the book so far. I hope I haven't shared too much.

Thanks for reading!

Here's my two add-ons that I created you might find useful.

Instructional Planning Sheet

2nd Grade Schedule

Monday, June 2, 2014

How are you getting organized for next year? Or are you?

Hello All,

So, are you one of those teachers that can leave it until the new year begins? I definitely am not. How do you do that? About the last 3-4 weeks of school I really start reflecting and start thinking about what I want to do differently next year. What did I do well, what did I not do so well, where can I improve? What are those things I have NO CLUE about! Unfortunately, I am feeling too many of those this year!

Well, as I am trying to get myself organized to teach all subjects next year, I am looking at blogs of other 2nd grade teachers. My last post I wrote about Mrs. Lemon's blog.  So, as I was browsing I found this great find on organizing for next year!

Saddle up for 2nd grade is teaming up with some other bloggers. They are having a Linky party about what they'll do next year and reflecting just as I am trying to.  I hope they don't mind me stealing their picture to share this information with you.  Click the picture and it will take you to the post explaining it.

 Saddle Up Linky Party

I love her crayon drawers. I had in fact decided that I would buy one of those classroom set of crayons that are sorted by color. However, if I get something like this I can use the 22 boxes of crayons I already have.  I'll probably just sort the 8 basic colors and leave the rest in a basket. Well, maybe baggies sorted by like colors, reds, blues, etc... That's a working idea but I definitely am going to sort them by colors. I think I'll do as a coworker and put just the colors they need in individual baggies so too many crayons are not out at a time.  I plan to use roles like materials handlers, etc... at my tables so they will hopefully take ownership of helping to take care of the supplies also.

It is really a pet peeve when children break up your crayons and throw them around the room. Do your boys do that too? I know my son did things like that in school. I had to go to his classroom one day. I got a note that said Kyle is "throwing things". So, an assistant watched my class for a few minutes and I went over. I was in a panic. He was in 4th grade and being that the year before I had worked with children with emotional disorders I had thoughts of chairs and desks. I get to his classroom and pull him aside to talk to him. What he was throwing was erasers, paper, etc.  Now, I did correct him and made him apologize to his teacher for disrupting class with his behavior. I was little irritated and relieved at the same time.  Sorry I digress.  

She even has some Journeys Reading Series labels which will be great to get all these items I am gathering and making together.  I really need to go get ink for the printer and lamination film. I think I'll go do that tomorrow after get done with my Professional Development Workshop. I saw the goodie bags we are getting today! I can't wait. Today turned out to be pleasant surprise as well. It was an institute so although it lasted 2 hours longer than was stated, there was lunch provided AND a stipend that was totally unexpected. I wish they had advertised this a little better because it wasn't as well attended as it should have.

One thing I was excited about learning today was all the Science related stories in our new reading series that will go along great with our science curriculum. It will sure help me get Science Content covered.  I hope to find ways to integrate Social Studies in more with other subjects as well and not just reading.  A great idea was given today but another 2nd grade teacher.  She showed a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a picture of his son and used it to talk about characteristics passed on by our parents to offspring. This coupled with a social studies until on Martin Luther King, Jr. That is a creative way to integrate Social Studies, Reading and Science.

Well, I'm off to the rest of this linky party. There MANY MANY more blogs to get through....hope you're relaxing some even if you're like me and are organizing for next year already!

Enjoy your day!