Wednesday, November 26, 2008

December TOSA Tribune

Tosa Tribune Dec. 08
View SlideShare document or Upload your own.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Modeling Writing

Is your overhead projector gathering dust in your classroom? Even with SmartBoard technology, I still prefer modeling writing with an overhead projector (or document camera if you have one) for management purposes. It allows students to actually SEE how writing is written on paper ... margins, spacing, crossing letters, etc.

Consider placing the overhead on the floor and gathering students close to you. It's my favorite way to model a mini-lesson.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Power Teaching: Management (HOW TO)

You can download resources for FREE at this site if you would like to learn more about Power Teaching:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Make Learning Stick!

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by cheryl_dick
Primary Resources: Green Light Classrooms by Rich Allen and Differentiated Instruction in a Whole Group Setting by Betty Hollas

Begin with the End in Mind

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by cheryl_dick

Help! My Entire Class has ADHD!

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by cheryl_dick

Primary Resource: Different Brains, Different Learners by Eric Jensen

Friday, November 14, 2008

DESE ... Hot Off the Press!

Just released from DESE ...

November, 2008

Communication Arts Show Me Standards Interpretations

Check out the questions in this document! They can easily be used with almost any story.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twisted Fairy Tales

Have you used the site? If you have a SmartBoard, these books should be large enough to read to your class. Several of Gail Gibbons' books are available if you're looking for nonfiction picture books. Thank you, Lori Elliott, for posting this information on your blog! Thank you, Heather Michel, for giving me the idea of embedding a book on my blog. :)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Figurative Language

Duke Ellington is an excellent resource for teaching figurative language. Check out some examples:

...his piano playing wasn't always as breezy as his stride
...Duke's fingers rode the piano keys
...compositions smoother than a hairdo sleeked with pomade
...was spicier than a pot of jambalaya
... was a musical stream that swelled over the airwaves.
...curling his notes like a kite tail in the wind
...a symphony hall so grand even the seats wore velvet

You can also use it when teaching beginning, middle and end in writing.

Instead of beginning the story with something like ... Duke Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. in 1899 and played jazz, the author wrote:

  • You ever hear of the jazz-playin' man, the man with the cats who could swing with his band? He was born in 1899, in Washington, D.C. Born Edward Kennedy Ellington.

She ended the story with:

  • Now you've heard of the jazz-playin' man. The man with the cats who could swing with his band. King of the Keys. Piano Prince. Edward Kennedy Ellington. The Duke.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teaching Plot with Picture Books

Teaching plot to elementary or junior high students with picture books is fun and effective.


  • Exposition (introduction of characters, setting, problem)

  • Rising Action

  • Climax

  • Falling Action

  • Resolution

If you use your hand as a graph, it's a handy (pardon the pun) visual to reinforce and 'graph' plot.

Plot Gestures:

  • Exposition: Introduces characters and problem.
    Have students cross arms in an X position in front of their faces and rest their chins on their X. Then, have them turn their heads sideways with their tongues hanging out.

  • Rising Action: Have students squat and gradually rise while saying, “rising, rising, rising, rising ACTION,” in a silly voice.

  • Climax: Have students place their arms above their head and say, “Climax.”

  • Falling Action: While standing, students gradually lower to a squatting position while whispering, “Falling, falling, falling, falling action.”

  • Resolution: While standing, have students rub their hands together like they’re wiping them clean and say, “Resolution.”

  • For names of recommended picure books to align with specific skills, click here:

Consider these picture books to teach plot as they're being considered for an award this year.

Third Annual NAESP Read Aloud Award
(National Association of Elementary School Principals)

This is your chance to help NAESP give its third annual Principal's Read Aloud Award to a deserving author. After reading nominated books pictured above, please go on-line and cast your vote:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bump UP Questioning

What's more important, the question or the answer?
  • The question!

How can we encourage students to ask MORE questions?

  • Consider 'planting' questions and having students try to find the mole. For those of you wondering how a mole plays into this, it's a spin on the reality television show, The Mole.

Write several questions on index cards; be sure to include higher-level thinking questions. Select a few students and meet with them privately before class. Their job is to memorize the question given and to ask it when you say, "Does anyone have any questions?"

The other students in the class know there are moles; their job is to try to figure out who they are. How many of you would have students pretending to be the mole? This, in itself, should boost questioning in your classroom, and it's fun!

Read more about this strategy in Betty Hollas' book, Differentiating Instruction in a Whole-Group Setting. It's called, "I Do Have a Question."

During Reading is the Most Important Part

Remember, whoever is doing the most work is doing the most learning. The best way to become a better reader is to read, read, read, read, read.

When teaching reading, how much time do your students actually spend reading? The answer should be about 20-25 minutes of a 45 minute lesson.

Structure of a Four-Blocks Guided Reading lesson:
  • Before: Teach mini-lesson and set purpose for reading (about 10-15 minutes)

  • During: Students read and teacher monitors (about 20-25 minutes)

  • After: Wrap-up mini-lesson/Closure (about 10-15 minutes)

During reading is the key; what do students DO when they're finished with the selection? They simply read it again; rereading builds fluency.

If students read and summarized the first time, have them practice a different good reader strategy (connecting, questioning, inferring) the second time.

Partner reading is one of the BEST methods for the during component of a Guided Reading lesson when used effectively. Make sure the listener has a job (summarizer, questioner, connector). If you don't, it's simply ping-pong reading ... round robin reading times two.

If you partner a high reader with a medium reader and a medium reader with an emergent reader, it's very effective and differentiated. Never pair an advanced readiness reader with an emergent readiness reader, it's frustrating for both.

How much do students read before taking turns? A page is too much ... about three inches of text seems to work best. After the reader reads, the listener DOES something with the text (summarizes OR questions OR ...) before switching roles.

After 20 or so minutes of reading, instruct students to thank their partners for reading before having students return to their seats (or the carpet) for the after activity.

What do you do with students who don't finish the selection? They still had time to practice reading for at least twenty minutes, right? They'll catch up on the content of reading in the after discussion. Unless they're filling out a comprehension question paper, they may not need to finish the reading. Is the day's objective to FINISH the selection or to use the selection to learn a skill?

It's very important to have Self-Selected Reading EVERY day too. In Guided Reading, you TEACH skills. In Self-Selected Reading, students PRACTICE reading text on their independent reading level while the teacher confers individually with students. It's a win-win situation, and time will simply fly during your reading lessons.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eric Jensen's Presentation

I would like to take a minute and thank our administrators for planning the professional development day on November 4. Not only did we have a top-notch International presenter, we had breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack too! I really appreciate all the work that went into organizing and preparing for the day.

Many of you asked about ordering information for Eric Jensen's book, Tools for Engagement. It can be found at

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pete's Powerpoint Station/Content Games (FREE Resource)

When you have time, you will definitely want to check out this site. If you see clipart like the photo above, you can download it for FREE from Pete's Powerpoint Station. There are so many free resources posted here for ALL grade levels, I don't even know where to begin. Let me know what you think.

Language Arts:

Social Studies:


Graphic Organizers

If you need a graphic organizer, chances are you'll find it at this site for FREE:

Check out the tools for reading, writing and thinking graphic organizers here:

Good Readers Evaluate

When you're teaching 'good reader' strategies, how do you teach students to evaluate books? Evaluations are personal opinions of the text. I've used "Booger Love" for years when teaching this strategy to teachers. Some of you will LOVE it ... and some will have different opinions. Regardless, prepare to be grossed out ... By the way, I happen to be one who loves it!

Booger Love
Written by: Brod Bagert

I love this little booger,
All shiny green and black.
You can hold it for a minute,
But I want my booger back.

It stays right where I put it,
It sure knows how to stick.
And if it gets too dry ...?
It just needs a little lick.

I can hold it on my finger,
I can flick it in the air,
I can stick it underneath a desk,
Or underneath a chair.

I can make a ball and roll it
Just to see which way it goes.
I love this booger anywhere ...
Except inside my nose.

What's your evaluation (opinion) of the poem? By the way, my book, Giant Children, is falling apart because it's been read so many times by children.

You can find this poem and many others in the book, Giant Children, written by Brod Bagert. His website is:
~Poem posted with author's permission

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Guess the Covered Word and Anticipation Guide Directions

This slideshow will load on my computer at home but not at school. It just spins for me. If it won't open for you, click the presentation link underneath the slideshow. You should be able to view it on SlideShare.

Guess the Covered Word is a fabulous way to teach decoding, words in context and synonyms. Plus, kids enjoy it, and it only takes a few minutes to 'play.'

Anticipation Guides prime students and help them predict what will happen in the text. If you create one with all true items, you could have students predict the sequence of events before reading and then read to determine the sequence of events.