Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's The Downside of Oral Reading?

If oral reading is part of your daily reading instruction, then you are not alone.  Richard L. Allington, long-time expert and author of this article states that oral reading does not improve comprehension.  What does?  Silent reading.  Since silent readers read much faster than oral readers, the reading volume is so much lower for oral readers.  This is not what we need for struggling learners.  Allington also stated that most teachers ask low level questions and are not skilled enough in asking higher level questions that are suited for discussion.  Excellent article that reading teachers should think about and adjust their practices if needed.

Reading Moves:  What Not to Do.  Richard L. Allington.  October 2014 Volume 24 Educational Leadership.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How are you with student questioning? Do you answer your own questions?  Do your students understand what you are asking?  Too Easy?  To hard?   Could you use some tips?  This article presents excellent model questions that you can ask students.  All contribute to the deeper learning asked for in Common Core.  Do you have other questioning strategies that work for your students?  Share in the Comments section below.

5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students.  4.13.13.  Rebecca Alber.  edutopia

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Helping Middle Schoolers Improve Basic Literacy

All of us who have taught older students with severe literacy issues can identify with these challenges and appreciate the strategies that Beth Morrow offers in this article.  Ms. Morrow also teaches ELL students at this level and has to face daily decisions  ---literacy skills?  content knowledge?  She suggests 7 practices that will definitely improve literacy and ease anxiety. 
Excellent article!  Not to be missed.  Have you used any of these practices before in your classes?  Share your comments below.  Offer other ideas to colleagues as well.

Seven Considerations When Developing Adolescent Literacy.  Beth Morrow. 9.16.14.  ASCD IN SERVICE

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Books for Kids - Educator Favorites

It's helpful to know what books are popular with students today.  Read "in" or "out" of the classroom frequently read books are important to educators today.  This article rates some of the favorites and gives a brief explanation of the content.  It's great to know a current book list for recreational reading.

What are kids reading in class?  Educators rate some of their favorites. Brian Nordli. 9.11.14.  Las Vegas Sun

Your PLCs --- How Effective Are They?

Your school probably has professional learning communities (PLCs) to collaborate with colleagues.  This article presents some interesting views about different structures and time allotted for PLCs to meet on a regular basis.  The author asks important questions regarding your school's structure.  To me, the most important one is...."Does your PLC believe that teacher learning translates into student learning?"  Now I am a blogger and no longer in the classroom.  I would certainly be a transformed teacher today because I have learned so much by reading and reflecting on the many articles I offer you in this blog.

5 questions every PLC should consider. Paul Barnwell.  9.12.14.  SmartBlog on Education

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ways to Build Relationships With Students

Positive relationships among teachers and students are fundamental to student performance.  This article presents 6 short videos that model different aspects of relationship building. Intended for middle-schoolers, the ideas shown certainly translate to other ages.  Perhaps you would like to try some.  Do you have other ways you'd like to share? If using this post with other teachers at your school, I suggest the sidebar questions on the webpage as a guide.  

Video Playlist:  6 Ways to Build Relationships with Students.  Elizabeth Weiland.  9.8.14.  Teaching Channel

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Use Technology Successfully For At-Risk Students

This article is a summary of the full research report  - "Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students' Learning" by Darling-Hammond, Zielezinski, and Goldman.  The research was done at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.  The authors present 5 recommendations which are thoroughly explained..
  1. Districts should aim for 1-to-1 computer access.
  2. Internet speed matters.
  3. At-risk students benefit most from highly interactive technology.
  4. Schools should encourage students to create their own content.
  5. Blended learning works.
The full report is downloadable for you.  See the link at the end of the article.  Also, please review the wonderful graphic - Digital Learning Ecosystem.  Your comments would be appreciated by your colleagues in different types of schools and districts.

Report Details 5 Keys to Using Technology to Help At-Risk Students. Christopher Piehler. 9.10.14. 
THE Journal - Transforming Education Through Technology


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Paint Chips For instruction?

Many thanks to the Teaching Channel for this creative idea!  Unless you know of a store giving away quantities of paint chips (and I don't) you might want to adapt (as we teachers do) and make our own.    For whatever reason, this article was written as a vocabulary activity for students in grades 9-12, but I certainly think it would be successful in primary grades using various decoding skills.  The essence of the activity is that that the top paint chip is given - in this case a target synonym -  the students then write synonyms underneath the target word.  I can easily see this used for affix practice.  A target root word is given and students then write the word adding prefixes and suffixes underneath.  Your imagination is the limit in how you might engage your students!  How cool it would be for collaborative learning and sharing!  You'll enjoy this article & 2minute video.  Please suggest how you might use it for your students in the Comments below.

Vocabulary Paint Chips.  9.14.  Teaching Channel

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Routines to Support Math Thinking

This article sponsored by the Teaching Channel is a result of a veteran teacher watching a video series presentation by the Teaching Channel.  She, as well as other viewers, probably have wondered how the those teachers in the videos got to the point where students became independent learners.  Author, Lily Jones, examines those requirements and offers 6 routines for you to set up a supportive math environment in your class.  So that you are aware of the videos please view the Teaching Channel  video series link with the American Federation of Federation. Videos are short  - about 3 minutes each.  Jones's mantra is "Organization" and divides it up into 6 routines.  Read the article and assess where you are in her recommended routines.  Please offer your thinking in Comments below.

6 Routines to Support Mathematical Thinking.  Lily Jones. 1.16.14 - published 9.7.14.  The Teaching Channel

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jump In & Learn a New Tech Tool!

I love this article.  William Gibson states, "The future is already here - its just not very evenly distributed."  How true.  You can't wait until things stabilize.  They won't.  "The only way to make sense out of change", says Alan Watts, " is to plunge into it,  move with it, and join the dance."  This article is about how to do that.  Excellent!  An article not to be missed.

How to Integrate Tech When It Keeps Changing.  Todd Finley. 8.27.14. edutopia

Ideas to Consider in Picking Games

This is an excellent article with some good advice.  I laughed to myself when I read that game creators do not consider the time it takes to play.  This is the #1 concern for teachers!  There is only so many minutes in a given period to play.  The author describes short and long form games.  Please do not miss the embedded links, especially MindShift's Guide to Game-Based Learning.  This is the most important part of this article.  Many excellent thoughts and examples for you to consider when choosing games for your students.

Need Help Picking the Right Learning Game?  Some Things to Consider.  Jordan Shapiro.  8.29.14.  MindShift

Monday, September 1, 2014

How To Connect With Parents

Especially important at the beginning of the year, is the first contact with parents, whether by phone or at conference time.  Elena Aguilar, an experienced leadership coach, recommends that you ask parent questions.  We tend to tell parents what the students could expect from yourself, the teacher.  What is more helpful are key questions to ask parents.
Ms Aguilar shares 7 questions and explains her rationale, both as a teacher and also as a mom.  Not an article to be missed.  Excellent!

7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the Year.  Elena Aguilar. 8.18.14.  edutopia

Teachers : Is Your Room Designed for 21st Century Learning?

How is the furniture arranged in your room?  Does it support collaboration among peers?  Easy to access communication technologies?  Flexible enough to meet different learning styles?  Long gone are the days of stationary desks in rows facing front to the teacher, of course.  For some great ideas read Emily Vickery's article offering interesting insights from designer, David Jakes.
We'd be interested in learning what ideas you might try or have already used in your classroom.  Share your thoughts in Comments below.

Are You Hacking Your School's Learning Spaces?  Emily Vickery. 8.17.14.  MiddleWeb