Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Text Tours ~ Frontloading in the Content Area Classroom


Tomorrow, I will be starting a book study with eight teachers focusing on the book, Subjects Matter by Harvey Daniels.  We are reading chapters 1-3 and discussing key foundations for integrating disciplinary literacy into all content areas.  After our discussion, I have planned to share three BIG frontloading strategies that help students pay attention to WHERE you want to focus their learning when given a specific text to read.  The first frontloading strategy is called a text tour, which is a streamlined chapter tour.

I have created this text tour anchor chart with an easy acronym to help students remember the process. Students are given a text selection and a recording sheet, and instructed to take 5-10 minutes to preview the text selection discussing the following areas:

  • Tell about the pictures and graphics.
  • Observe and consider captions and headings.
  • Use text questions to think bout the big idea(s) for this text.
  • Read the first and last paragraphs.  What did you learn?
Below is the graphic organizer that students use to record their ideas.  After 5-10 minutes, elicit group ideas and record on your large anchor chart.  NOW you can connect objectives and additional strategies to present new information.


Anchor chart graphics are below:





I am super excited to share this powerful strategy with these secondary teachers!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Reading Strategies Book: Teaching Fluency and Comprehension in a 4th Grade RTI Group

One of my favorite books is Teaching or Comprehension and Fluency Throughout the Day: Thinking, Talking and Writing About Reading, K-8.  Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell have written a fabulous text that gives strong teacher talk and truly emphasizes that we do not teach fluency in isolation; rather, we need to embed this in our comprehension instruction.  This book is one that is always off of my bookshelf and by my side when I plan lessons and look at alignment between grade levels.

Add in The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo and you have my "dynamic duo" of resources for planning universal instruction and targeted small group/RTI groups.  We call our targeted groups, WIN (What I Need) groups.

Currently, I am team teaching with a brand new fourth grade teacher who has AMAZING teacher bones.  Team teaching helps me keep current with kids and their needs and allows me to model best practice strategies in an environment where we both facilitate learning.  The current group that we are working with has had a decoding deficit that, at the beginning of the school year, was more than one  year delayed.  We chose to utilize Corrective Reading by McGraw-Hill to systematically teach kids the process of breaking multi-syllabic words into parts to read AND apply these strategies into controlled stories.

The Reading Strategies Book Strategy #1:
Because I don't "love" the dry format of the presentation style, we chose to put the word study patterns on Google Slides and spruce this part of the teaching up a bit.  We chose to embed syllabication rules through The Reading Strategies Book as our first instructional focus area.


The Reading Strategies Book Strategy #2:
After the first week of WIN, it was apparent that these kids do not yet self-monitor during reading, nor do they phrase groups of words. When you spend SO much time on decoding and timed reading, (previous WIN Cycle),  metacognition and internal dialogue are secondary.   These kids need strong strategies to facilitate their growth in comprehension skills.  We modeled SCOOOPING and pausing at punctuation several times and had kids repeat back to us with inflection and intonation.  I drew in the "scooping" marks on the anchor chart so kids could see what I was talking about.

We combined two strategies from The Reading Strategies Book to incorporate this format.  The words under "How can I THINK when I READ" are taken from the teacher talk and all credit goes to Jennifer Serravallo.  My anchor chart is just cutesy.

We also "frontloaded" questions for each section of the story so that kids would know what to look for when we read.  The format for reading includes frontloading key questions, read the story, and then go back to find evidence to answer questions.

This focus cycle will be infused into every WIN time for the next eight weeks.

HERE is the video we watched the first day of introducing these skills.



Finally, after the format of frontloading, reading, finding evidence, students were given the questions on question cards to read in partners and TALK about the story as they read.  Pictured left:  picture vocabulary.  Two questions to focus on during reading are pictured below.

This group is a Tier 2 reading group that is GROWING.  That means I have a little more wiggle room as far as "fidelity of implementation" because we aren't progress monitoring beyond running records and Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark assessment.  Both of these formative assessments are showing good growth.  As the Reading Specialist for our district, it is nice to have that autonomy to work with teachers to make these decisions.

I highly recommend purchasing BOTH of these books!




Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Novel Study: The Wild Robot


This novel study turned out so darling AND is a super resource for teaching students to focus on conflict, making connections and author's language.

Here are the I Can statements that I created for this book:



I created a file folder journal for students to record their ideas during reading.  Of course we model everything first!










Below are the directions to how I put my journal together and the writing connections I would like students to make.








Happy Reading!  Your students/kids will LOVE this book!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Recommended Reading: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown ~ Lexile 740


It is a treasure when I find a book that I completely fall in love with, and The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is part of my heart right now. It is a recommended read for Grades 4 and up.

Here is the book jacket synopsis:

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone and on a remote, wild island.  She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is-but she knows she needs to survive.  After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island's unwelcoming animal inhabitants.  As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home-until, one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her.  From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology combine. 
As an educator, was I not only engrossed in the story-line, but the essential question of, "What is belonging?" kept cycling through my mind.  In addition, this story is excellent for teaching and understanding all four types of conflict.

I was completely tickled by the chapter titles and how they connected with the main idea of each chapter.  Students who have difficulty spanning an entire novel will use these chapter titles to help with metacognition as they read.

The ending was a bit of a surprise to me and I anticipate there will be a continuation of Roz's story.  I can't wait!
Happy Reading!