Friday, March 30, 2012

Lit Coach Recommends...

Welcome to another Friday here on the Rosebud!  

Check out what your colleagues and coaches are talking about this week:

Assessing Behaviors and Participation

Are behaviors getting in the way of learning?  Having trouble motivated students to finish the year strong?    The 8th grade team at TCMS created a Life Skills Rubric for students to reflect on their behavior, participation and work ethic for Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Many times, having a conversation around the behaviors that are effecting learning can lead to setting positive improvement goals.  While the rubric was created with a secondary setting in mind, it can easily be adapted to an elementary classroom.
Life Skills Rubric

Focus on Vocabulary Instruction

Many conversations are taking place around word parts and vocabulary in the district.  It is important to remember that teaching vocabulary should be embedded into the reading and writing workshop and not taught as a separate entity.  Check out these articles from Choice Literacy about vocabulary and the Common Core Standards. 

Common Core Conversations:  Vocabulary

Vocabulary, Comprehension and the Common Core

Tired of Free  Looking for some great vocabulary prep for your intermediate or secondary students? provides great videos and definitions for vocabulary words.  Use it as an opening for a whole group lesson or have students explore on their own.  You can even make your own word lists for classes!  Teachers with websites:  You can embed a customized word list into your homepage!  Check it out!

Vocabahead - Vocabulary Videos


Here is another great model of a reading conference.  Watch as the teacher focuses on what he notices about the student as a reader.  He draws on a previous conference and links the strategy to an up-coming mini-lesson.  Remember to log in to Choice Literacy and also check the Related Articles and Links below the video for more great information. 

Conferring About Chunking Words


Reteaching Theme?  

As Unit 4:  Reflecting on Reading and Writing approaches, many teachers are planning to reteach theme (a learning goal that students struggled with across the district).  Songs are an excellent way to connect students to the meaning or message of a story.  Check out this article about using Miley Cyrus lyrics in a 3rd grade classroom. 

Teaching Theme 


The Power of Personal Size White Boards

Already thinking of ways to reorganize for next year?  Try personalized white boards!   They're great for any subject - whole group, small group or independent work time.  Watch Joan explain the power of the personal size white board.  (I love the marker in the sock idea!) Make sure to check out the related articles and links below the video to see more great ways to organize your classroom.

Personal Size White Boards

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lit Coach Recommends...

You made it to another Friday!  
Here's your weekly dose of literacy info:

Video Collections Instructional Strategies
Here are two more resources for teachers to see balanced literacy and writing instruction in action.

Curriculum Services of Canada have created a webcast of multiple videos to support teachers in nonfiction writing.  Check out the videos on creating webpages!  What a great idea for an informational writing piece!
Curriculum Webcasts

Salem Keizer Public Schools have compiled a collection of videos that model balanced literacy strategies.  Check them out here:
Salem Keizer Videos
Check out this video from the collection on modeling a Reading Response strategy!
Lifting a Line 

Writing and Reading for Real Audiences and Purposes
Some teachers across the district are leading students to write for real purposes and real audiences in order to make the projects more authentic.  Read this edutopia blog articles about how writing for real audiences (people other than the teacher!) motivates students. 

Writing for Real Audiences


Upcoming Dates
March 22 - Literacy Learning Lab, Pit Stop:  Making the Most of the Last 6 Weeks

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lit Coach Recommends...

Happy Friday TC Teachers!
The Lit Coach Recommends has been getting consistent daily views from all over the district!  We hope that the information we're sharing is making your lives easier and most importantly helping our students see success in literacy.  Please share resources, videos, or formative assessments with your literacy coach.  We're all in this together!

More Nonfiction Articles
Teachers and coaches are on the look-out for great nonfiction articles and we've been collecting some great ones throughout this unit!  If you have collected some newspaper articles, magazines or articles from the web and would like to share with the district, please do so!  Here are some more sights for nonfiction texts:

Middle Level Texts These texts are identified as different text structure types. 
Nonfiction Texts Grade 3 - 8  These texts focus on different comprehension strategies (main idea, inferring, etc.) 

Check out the Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Teaching Reading CD ROM for additional texts to be used for analyzing main idea and text structure.
Decoding Help
We've been having many conversations with teacher about AIMSWeb data.  We've been encouraging teachers to really dive into the analysis of the assessment and additional running records to truly find where the break down is for individual students.  Many teachers are looking for ways to assist students in decoding.  Here are a couple of resources to help:
The Resource Room  This site has multiple word lists for teaching decoding skills and also includes some great articles and lessons for small group instruction! 
The Daily CAFE's interactive menu can help you with a variety of decoding strategies under Accuracy.  I especially like Flip the Sound! Members (K-5 Teachers) can check out the video here:  Flip the Sound 
Secondary Folks - If you'd like to see this strategy please see your lit coach!  This strategy can definitely be helpful at the secondary level as well - especially with small group instruction!
Informational Writing
Classrooms across the districts have showcased many approaches to the informational writing unit.  This week we're featuring an idea from the classroom of Jenny Schmitz.  Her amazing organizational system for writing All About Books in first grade is explained below.  

Each student has a folder that consists of a book they have chosen to match their topic of choice, a table of contents page, a template page for 4 different chapters, blank pages for diagrams, illustrations, and maps.  There are also extra pages on hand to use for revison. Each student also has 4 different colored index cards to correspond to the 4 different chapters (pink:  what the animal looks like, blue: where the animal lives, green: what the animals eat, yellow:  wow facts.)   When the project is completed, the pages will be taken out of the folder and bound together to make a book.
Professional Reading
One of our supporting websites, Choice Literacy,  has a collection of a professional articles in forms of lessons, strategies and reflections.  I've chosen a couple articles this week that connect to our current unit of study.  Feel free to read and explore the sites:  

Article - Integrating Nonfiction into the Morning Meeting 
In this article by Andrea Smith she shares some ideas in how to integrate those nonfiction goals into a community-building setting like Morning Meeting.  These strategies will also work with the Share component of workshop.  She also shares some great templates for implementation.  

Article - Ready for Guided Reading? 
Shari Frost shares her thoughts on why some kindergarteners aren't ready for guided reading at the start of 2nd semester.  This article helps teachers focus on students as individuals.   Small group instruction is a key component in the workshop model and may not always involve a guided reading book.  These small groups can focus on letters and sounds as well!  
Recommended Websites 

Teachers have been out surfing the web and are using some great workshop sites to help them find resources to support their instruction.   When surfing the web for resources make sure to ask yourself:
  • Is this a credible source?  Are these strategies research-based?
  • How can I modify or adapt these resources based on the needs of my students?
  • How much time will the preparation of this resource take?  
 Here are some websites recommended by your colleagues and coaches: 

The Reading Lady
Teacher Resources
Jennifer Myers Readers and Writers Workshop
Ms. McDavid's Reader's Workshop

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lit Coach Recommends...

Looking for ways to practice fluency?  Adjusting reading rate to match text is a great strategy for students to practice.  Watch Joan as she discusses with a group of intermediate students on why fluency goes right along with comprehension.  (K-5 Teachers only) Secondary folks, please see your lit coach if you'd like to watch the video.

Adjusting Reading Rates

Reading Response
It was great to see teachers across the district using the Reading Response sheets from last week's Lit Coach.  We have a couple more from the 1st grade team at North.  The web version looks a little funny.  Go to file download within the google doc to download the word version of the document.

Reading Response Nonfiction 1

Reading Response Nonfiction 2
Nonfiction Passages
Pat Battershaw found a great resource for nonfiction passages that assess the concepts you've been teaching.  At teacher can find nonfiction passage for grade 2 - 6.  These make great formative assessments.  Prepare students for the EOU Benchmark by having them complete a graphic organizer after reading.  Teachers must register - but its FREE!  Check out the passages here:  Grade Level Passages
CORE Phonics Survey
Erin created a great document to compile CORE Phonics survey data.  She even included page numbers for the CORE Sourcebook for particular lessons!  Find it on the Documents page on the Curriculum Guide Website OR download the file from googledocs here:  CORE Phonics Survey
Upcoming Dates
Thursday March 8 - Literacy Learning Lab:  Novice to Ninja Grades 3-5
Thursday March 22 - Literacy Learning Lab:  Pit Stop - Making the Most of the last 6 Weeks
Thursday April 12 - Literacy Learning Lab:  Novice to Ninja Grades 6-12
Thursday April 19 - End of Unit 3  
Literacy Learning Labs
Sign Up for Remaining Lit Labs Here:  Literacy Lab Sign Up