Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Incorporating Writing

With the shift in state assessments we must look at how we are incorporating Writing instruction into all academic areas.  Writer's Workshop provides a curriculum for us to spend focused time on several genres of writing and work on student craft as writers.  But, it is not the only area that we can work on Writing Standards.

The following link provides some insight into incorporating writing techniques outside of ELA subject areas.

If you look at specific writing standards, many of them can be address in areas outside of ELA.  For example,  W.1:LEARNING OUTCOME FOR WRITING: Write effectively for a variety of tasks, purposes, and audiences, can apply to several content areas (an explanation for solving math problem, a sequence of events in Social Studies, cause and effect in Science, etc.).

W.3: WRITING GENRES: Develop writing skills by writing for different purposes and to specific audiences or people.  This focuses mainly on persuasion.  Apply it to reasons for historical events, historical writing, reasons for trying a scientific procedure one way versus another, write an informative paragraph about a science concept that is new or a math reasoning problem. 

Use the writing process,  W.4: THE WRITING PROCESS: Produce coherent and legible documents by planning, drafting, revising, editing, and collaborating with others, even for shorter pieces (extended response questions, answers needing a text-dependent answer), etc.

With so many standards, some that are brand new to grade levels, we need to be sure to cover them in several different atmospheres if we are to expect mastery.  Teaching a skill/standard in isolation has value, but so does application of that standard in all academic areas.

Let's not get so focused on content standards only being taught in that specific content area.  Look for ways that you are incorporating standards across the curriculum.  It may be that your ELA standard for the day/week is being covered in several areas, not just Reading and Writing.

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Multiplication War

Doing some work in 3rd grade this week during Math with Mrs. Slusser's class.  Students were reviewing and testing.  As students finished, Mrs. Slusser wanted an activity for them to work on related to Math.  So, we learned Multiplication War...a great way to practice fact fluency, speed, and accuracy.  The kids partnered up as they finished their test and played. 

Jaden and Kyler battling

Allen and Christian...who will win?

Delaney and Allison: multiplication machines
Need: 1 standard deck of cards
How to Play:
    1. deal cards as you would to play War
    2. each play turns up a card
    3. be the first to say the correct product
        - for beginners, have a multiplication chart to refer

Face Card Rules:
face card and number = square the number
2 face cards = wash (no one gets cards)

    If players tie, there is a war!
        each person lays 1 card face down and flips the next card
        first to say correct product gets all cards from the war

Happy Playing!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Technology in the Classroom

I am sitting at the Digital Literacy conference and am blown away!

How are we currently using technology?
Do you use technology in your class?

What scares you about technology?
Do you have go-to apps or tools that you use?

Technology is a tool that our students use ALL OF THE TIME!  We need to be utilizing technology, embedding it in our instruction, to meet the needs of our students.  What would happen if we let our students be the teachers?  I think there are amazing possibilities if we can let our students lead a bit more.

I have been exposed to some cool digital tools that teachers are using.  I'm going to start posting more about them.  I would love to hear what you are thinking.  Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Be brave!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Celebrating Writing

Mrs. Jones' class finished up a Personal Narrative Unit.  To celebrate their work, students got to read their writing to the class on a karaoke microphone!  It was great to see the kids listening, applauding, and enjoying one another's work.  Here are some pictures and a video to enjoy!

Aaliyah reading to the class

Author: Bailey

Monday, October 6, 2014


We SERIOUSLY have the greatest PTO at our school!  They put our students first in their decision making and are always wanting to know how they can help.  With the recent push for more non-fiction reading, they were willing to help.  The PTO graciously donated a large amount of Scholastic Dollars to purchase about 300 new non-fiction books for our Library and Literacy Room.  Titles range in reading level and interest level.  There are books for all ages and grade levels!  Be watching for these books to show up on the shelves.

Kids Teaching Kids

I have an opportunity to get in lots of classrooms.  Friday I joined Mrs. Martin's class for Tier 2 time.  She had to make an adjustment due to para help.  She decided to have some of her students teach games to small groups.  They were working on beginning, middle, and end sounds.  Check it out!

I also got to see Mr. and Mrs. Knipper's classes during Warrior Buddies.  They were learning about phases of matter using root beer floats!

Tree Map of phases of matter

Mrs. Perrin had a pretty cool thing happen in her room on Tuesday morning.  The first graders had been talking about good reading strategies.  Mia decided to make a chart of questions about the movie Frozen and share with the class.  They had a blast answering and discussing!
Mia Asking Questions

Close Reading Anchor Charts

Close Reading is underway in grades 3-5.  Many teachers have tried this and some are getting in a routine.  I wanted to share some anchor charts that a few teachers have made.  I also posted some sites that have information about close reading: strategies, places to find articles, more anchor charts.

Mrs. Hunter's anchor chart

Mrs. McCauley's anchor chart

Places to find articles:
Read Works
DOGO News current events
Time for Kids

Sites for strategies and anchor charts:
Literacy and Math Ideas
Close Reading and the Common Core

Hopefully you find these things helpful.  If you have other great resources, leave a link or title in the comments please!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Depth of Knowledge

Depth of Knowledge is happening!  So many teachers are already using different levels of questioning.  Remember that the focus needs to move from DOK 1 and 2 to DOK 2 and 3.  Posting the cue questions, having them near lesson plan books, and using them to create assessments is a good way to keep track and evaluate the level of questioning we are using with our students.

Mr. Stewart's DOK Cue questions posted near computer

Group work at Smart Start

Group choices at Smart Start

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Cool Stuff!

Here are some things that I have come across this week so far!  I know most of you are settled in to routines and procedures.  You may find some of these things helpful as you fine tune...

Mr. Brady's Math class taking a multiplication Kahoot quiz!

Mrs. Butcher's reading response topics

Mr. Knipper's twitter feed to help inform parents!

Mrs. Jones' behavior log

Mrs. Leininger's anchor board

Mrs. Leininger's homework contract (signed each Friday by parent)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Math Workshop

Several teachers are wanting to starting some kind of Math Workshop or Daily 5 Math.  Here are some good resources to see what it looks like in classrooms.  There are several other resources.  This is something I implemented last year and can help you set up in your classroom too!

Managing a Math Workshop

Also, if you are on Pinterest, search for "Daily 5 Math" and you can find some cool stuff!

Helpful Resource:  Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction by Laney Sammons
Mrs. Knipper just shared this with me.  I am going to look through it.  If it seems like a usable resource I will see if we can get it added to the professional library.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Getting Started

As the year gets rolling there are some cool things happening in the classrooms of SES!  Check out below.

Differentiated spelling practice in Mrs. Perrin's class

Writing ideas that are "close to our hearts" in Mrs. Keim's class.

Easy spinner to use for partner/group games in Mrs. Dawes' and Mrs. Knipper's classes.

In Mrs. Slusser's class, a great bookmark reminders for choosing a JUST RIGHT book.

Mrs. Hays has a great way to show the read aloud to the whole class!

Mrs. Knipper's visual for brainstorming "I Wonder" story starters.

Mrs. Hunter also uses Story Line to have celebrities read to her class!