Dr. Hower's Literacy Blog

Text-Dependent Questions (K-5) – Summer 2017 – Final Post

July 31, 2017 · 12 Comments

Congratulations! You have finished reading this book. As your final post, either incorporate all levels of text dependent questioning into one unit, or write five text-dependent essay prompts (Chapter 5) to support five different units that you teach.

→ 12 CommentsCategories: TDQ K-5

Text-Dependent Questions (6-12) – Summer 2017 – Final Post

July 31, 2017 · 3 Comments

Congratulations! You have finished reading this book. As your final post, either incorporate all levels of text dependent questioning into one unit, or write five text-dependent essay prompts (Chapter 5) to support five different units that you teach.

→ 3 CommentsCategories: TDQ 6-12

The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook, Grades 3-6, Summer 2017 – Final Post

July 31, 2017 · 11 Comments

Congratulations! This is the last step of this study, which will help get you ready for the upcoming school year.

Create an action plan for one of your future learners, using his/her data as well as the strategies and techniques in the book. Share the steps, goals, and reflections upon the process of doing this work.

→ 11 CommentsCategories: Playbook, Grades 3-6

The Writing Strategies Book – Summer 2017 – Goals 9 & 10

July 31, 2017 · 2 Comments

Goal 9: The rhythm of the prepositions being repeated twenty three times around the classroom while the teacher stands in the front writing checks in her gradebook with a serious look on her face.

About, above, across, after, against, among, around, at, because of, before, beside, between, beyond, but, by…

Jennifer Serravallo begins Goal 9 by asking readers to recall how their teachers taught grammar to them.  I was quick to flashback to seventh grade where Sister Mary A taught us to memorize, to memorize, and to memorize some more parts of the English language.  In addition to the memorization technique,  I had the pleasure of completing countless worksheets, diagramming many sentences, and labeling parts of speech to learn as Serravallo stated, “The Rules.”

Conventions – grammar and punctuation – are typically the areas where students tend to have weaknesses and where teachers are in need of practical and timely tools to support their students.  Once again, Serravallo provides a remedy with strategies that are an “invitation to play” rather than “to fix” mistakes.

Here are two strategies that I want to share and to teach as writing tools for students at the start of the year:

9.16 Paragraph Starters – Students analyze the beginning line of each paragraph in their writing.  Then, students determine if they need to connect ideas, to transition in time, or to set up a topic or a subtopic.  Need support?  Students can look at paragraph beginnings in their independent reading books for paragraph starter ideas.  Also, teachers can create an anchor chart of sample starters as a scaffold for students.

9.17 Read Your Draft Aloud, and Listen  – The student reads the draft aloud and listens to how it sounds.  By reading aloud and listening, students can focus on sentence length, punctuation placement, and tone.  This is a simple, a quick, and an easy strategy for students to use all year long.

Which strategies will you invite your students to play with next year?  How can you change the mindset of your students “to play” rather than “to fix”?

Goal 10: Writing partnerships is a workshop tool to help lessen the “guilt” of not conferring with all writers in one’s classroom every day. As Serravallo states, partnerships offer many benefits: “motivation and accountability, critical feedback in times of need, opportunities to get ‘unstuck’ when we can’t figure out on our own what’s next, more ideas for our topics, practice teaching or storytelling as oral rehearsal, a critical reader when we need it most, [and] an expert to compensate for our own weak spots” (p. 360). This list comes from Colleen Cruz’s The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, which is a great book to help “solve” any writing issue a class or a student is having. Most importantly, writing is more “real” when the writer has a community to support his/her writing endeavors.

Partnerships are not easy. There are personalities, understanding how to give appropriate feedback, and times when we need our writers to be independent. However, there is a time and a place within writing where these collaborative relationships can support and enhance one’s writing skills.

I am a fan of oral rehearsal strategies like 10.4 Talk around the Idea, Then Write. They help writers think before they write.

I love the concrete nature of some of the strategies – how they offer writers specific aspects of writing to look for, or give writers actual things to say during the partnership. What did you like best? How do you see partnerships working in your classroom to help writing time flow more smoothly?

 

→ 2 CommentsCategories: Writing Strategies - Summer 2017

The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook, Grades K-2, Summer 2017 – Final Post

July 31, 2017 · 6 Comments

Congratulations! This is the last step of this study, which will help get you ready for the upcoming school year.

Create an action plan for one of your future learners, using his/her data as well as the strategies and techniques in the book. Share the steps, goals, and reflections upon the process of doing this work.

→ 6 CommentsCategories: Playbook, Grades K-2

Subjects Matter – Summer 2017 – Wrap Up

July 31, 2017 · 5 Comments

For your last post, enhance five current lesson/unit plans with ideas/strategies from the text. You can just add in a few notes or the names of strategies from Chapter 5 or another part of the text that you would like to use. Show where you would put them in your lesson (before, during, or after).

Write up a short paragraph to explain why you would want to use these strategies in your content area lessons.

Please post them here so we can learn how you work to apply the ideas into your teaching.

→ 5 CommentsCategories: Content Reading - Summer 2017

The Reading Strategies Book – Summer 2017 – Goal 13 and Final Thoughts

July 31, 2017 · 26 Comments

You did it! You are on your last post! Congrats 🙂

Goal 13: If we have worked together, you know my passion for writing. How do strategies about writing fit into a text about reading strategies? What are your take-aways from Serravallo’s strategies? Why?

Final Thoughts: What did you appreciate most about this book? What final thoughts do you want to share about this reading?

→ 26 CommentsCategories: Reading Strategies - Summer 2017

The Writing Strategies Book – Summer 2017 – Goals 9 & 10

July 31, 2017 · 41 Comments

Goal 9: The rhythm of the prepositions being repeated twenty-three times around the classroom while the teacher stands in the front writing checks in her grade book with a serious look on her face.

About, above, across, after, against, among, around, at…

Jennifer Serravallo begins Goal 9 by asking readers to recall how their teachers taught grammar to them.  I was quick to flashback to seventh grade when my MS ELA teacher taught us to memorize, to memorize, and to memorize some more parts of the English language.  In addition to the memorization technique,  I had the pleasure of completing countless worksheets, diagramming many sentences, and labeling parts of speech to learn as Serravallo stated, “The Rules.”

Conventions – grammar and punctuation – are typically the areas where students tend to have weaknesses and where facilitators are in need of practical and timely tools to support their students.  Once again, Serravallo provides a remedy with strategies that are an “invitation to play” rather than “to fix” mistakes.

Here are two strategies that caught my attention:

9.16 Paragraph Starters: Students analyze the beginning line of each paragraph in their writing.  Then, students determine if they need to connect ideas, to transition in time, or to set up a topic or a subtopic.  Need support?  Students can look at paragraph beginnings in their independent reading books for paragraph starter ideas.  Also, teachers can create an anchor chart of sample starters as a scaffold for students.

9.17 Read Your Draft Aloud, and Listen: The student reads the draft aloud and listens to how it sounds.  By reading aloud and listening, students can focus on sentence length, punctuation placement, and tone.  This is a simple, a quick, and an easy strategy for students to use all year long.

Which strategies will you invite your writers to play with next year?  How can you change the mindset of your learners “to play” rather than “to fix”?

Goal 10: Writing partnerships is a workshop tool to help lessen the “guilt” of not conferring with all writers in one’s classroom every day. As Serravallo states, partnerships offer many benefits: “motivation and accountability, critical feedback in times of need, opportunities to get ‘unstuck’ when we can’t figure out on our own what’s next, more ideas for our topics, practice teaching or storytelling as oral rehearsal, a critical reader when we need it most, [and] an expert to compensate for our own weak spots” (p. 360). This list comes from Colleen Cruz’s The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, which is a great book to help “solve” any writing issue a class or a student is having. Most importantly, writing is more “real” when the writer has a community to support his/her writing endeavors.

Partnerships are not easy. There are personalities, understanding how to give appropriate feedback, and times when we need our writers to be independent. However, there is a time and a place within writing where these collaborative relationships can support and enhance one’s writing skills.
I am a fan of oral rehearsal strategies like 10.4 Talk around the Idea, Then Write. They help writers think before they write.

I love the concrete nature of some of the strategies – how they offer writers specific aspects of writing to look for or give writers actual things to say during the partnership. What did you like best? How do you see partnerships working in your classroom to help writing time flow more smoothly?

Congratulations on finishing this book! I hope it helps your teaching of writing during the school year.

→ 41 CommentsCategories: Writing Strategies - Summer 2017

Guided Reading – Summer 2017 – Final Post

July 31, 2017 · 22 Comments

Congratulations on finishing the reading of this comprehensive text.

As your final project/post, write or revise a guided reading lesson plan that reflects the content contained within the text, and reflect in writing upon what revisions/updates you included in light of the recommended guided reading practices posited by Fountas & Pinnell in this text.

→ 22 CommentsCategories: Guided Reading

The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook, Grades K-2, Summer 2017 – Chapter 4

July 24, 2017 · 4 Comments

  1. Try to come up with a few more strategies, using the “Real Princess” or another text you have handy. Try another skill–for example, try retelling the text. Ask yourself how you were able to do it. Name your process as a sequence of steps. Try coming up with a few informational text strategies about how you determine the main idea, understand key details, get meaning from text features, or figure out unknown vocabulary. Share your reflections here.
  2. Think about the goal you have for Emre or your chosen learner. Identify the skills that will help him/her accomplish the goal. Brainstorm a few strategies that will help the learner access those goals. Share here.
  3. Consider Emre or the learner from your class you’ve chosen to make a plan for. Which of the instructional formats described in this chapter might be a good fit for the learner? Think about the purposes of each when making your decision. Share your thoughts in this post.

→ 4 CommentsCategories: Playbook, Grades K-2