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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Accountability Model

Below you will find the link that we viewed at our staff meeting concerning the accountability model. You will find this video on the link below. The remainder of the video that we did not view addresses questions that educators have about the new model.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reading Strategies in the Social Studies Classroom

The following information was taken from the website "Teacher Today" that includes teaching tips, lesson plans, technology integration, etc...

Reading Strategies That WorkOver the years, teachers have developed a number of strategies to help students overcome the difficulties associated with reading social studies text. The following techniques are part of the best practices of many classrooms.
  • Demonstrate How to Use Helpful Features of Expository Text Many students fail to use expository text features that promote understanding and learning. Draw students' attention to helpful features, and model how to use them. For example, you might show a class how to use chapter titles, overviews, and headings to determine main ideas, make predictions about content, and set specific purposes for reading. If study questions are interpolated within the text, encourage students to use them to monitor their comprehension of a section of text. If questions are at the end of the entire text, discuss the questions in class before students read the text. 

  • Provide Advance Organizers Certain patterns of organization are key to understanding expository text. Those patterns include cause and effect, problem and solution, comparison and contrast, and descending order of importance. Before giving a reading assignment, determine which structure is key. Then provide an "advance organizer" by defining the structure in class. On the board, list common "signal words" that provide clues to the structure. (For example, point out that cause-and-effect relationships are often signaled by words like because, consequently, and as a result.) Finally, distribute copies of an appropriate graphic organizer and direct students to use it to take reading notes. You could also organize students into post-reading groups and direct group members to complete the graphic organizer together. 

  • Use Word Webs and Word Walls to Teach Vocabulary Before students encounter an unfamiliar term in text, distribute copies of a word web with these labels: "what ____ means," "what ____ is like," "examples of ____." Define the term and give examples of how it is used. Together with students, begin filling in the blanks in the word web. Then direct students to continue filling in blanks on the web when they encounter the word in the content of a reading assignment. Follow up by creating a word wall. Post students' webs on a classroom bulletin board, or have students create other types of visual aids that help make abstract concepts concrete, such as montages of magazine pictures that relate to the concept. 

  • Use Role Plays and K-W-L Charts to Activate Prior Knowledge Before students encounter an unfamiliar term or concept in print, have them role-play a situation that will help them connect the concept to familiar experiences. For example, to teach treaty, compromise, or arbitration, have students role-play situations in which family members who disagree use different techniques to resolve disputes. As an alternative, complete a KWL chart with your class.

Reading Strategies

I came across some information recently dealing with reading strategies in math classrooms that I wanted to share. I have included a list of ideas that you could use with your class!

Graphic Organizers, such as webs, Venn diagrams, and concept definition maps, can be used to compare/contrast, classify, and identify common characteristics.

Vocabulary:  Laminate words on color-coded paper according to the strand in mathematics.  Have students write a definition in their own words and discuss with their peers.  On the laminated paper, write the agreed upon definition and a graphic representation or example of the term.  Post the words throughout the room.

Anticipation Guides:  Develop an anticipation guide for a more difficult reading selection.  Create questions that will activate the students’ prior knowledge, identify their common misconceptions, and highlight key points they will read about.

Text Structure Awareness:  Math textbooks do not always follow the principles of writing that students have learned in Language Arts.  For example, the main idea may not appear in the beginning of a word problem or cue words might not be used.  It is important to make students aware that reading math textbooks is different from what they might have learned about reading in general.

Think Alouds:  Model a “think aloud” by verbalizing your thinking while reading the passage.  Ask students to read and “think aloud” to the class.

Pair/Share:  Have students “pair/share,” i.e., take turns reading/listening to each other and discussing what they know or don’t know.

Bookmark:  Prepare a bookmark with tips for reading mathematics for students to place in their math book. In an article entitled, “Making Math Make Sense” by Doug Buehl, he suggests including the following tips that he calls Keys to Reading Math:

·              Read carefully and make sure each sentence makes sense.
·              Try to summarize what you read, in your own words.
·              When you encounter a tough word, try thinking of easier words that mean the same thing and substitute the word.
·              Talk over what you read with a partner to make sure you get it right and to clear up anything you don’t understand.
·              Be on the lookout for things the author thinks you already know and things you have learned in math before.

Read with a pencil - Work the examples as you read them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ethical Use Of Information/Ideas

As part of the Digital Citizenship standards it is important that we discuss how to ethically use the information and ideas of others. I am including a great unit geared towards 4th and 5th grade students that focuses on showing respect for people's work. The lesson targets the terms plagiarism, citation, and respect. The lesson clearly defines what plagiarism is and the importance of citing ideas of others no matter where it is found. It also allows students to see when it is good to use the work or ideas of individuals and why it is important to show respect. Parent newsletters and tips are included in this unit! This would be a great unit to use in your classroom before any research project!