Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Subtracting with Regrouping Website (and much more)

I watched Ms. Martin use this site with her 3rd graders at John Thomas Elementary. After creating the problem, simply start with the ones column and drag the blue base-ten blocks down to the red blocks and watch them disappear. If you have to 'borrow,' drag the blue base-ten block over and watch it split into smaller pieces before dragging them down to the red blocks. The answer appears to the right of the page. ( I know this explanation isn't written in the best mathematical terms, but I hope it makes sense. :) )

Website Link:

Anticipation Video Clip

I had a chance to observe Beth Neathery teach a reading lesson this morning, and she used this video clip when teaching students to ANTICIPATE an answer. What a neat idea!

Yippee-Yay! Guess the Covered Word

What Looks Right? Bite and Fight

Access the Lesson Here:

*When you click the misspelled word, the gray box covers it. This is a great lesson to use to teach/practice dictionary skills and homophones.

One of my former fourth-grade students was tutoring in Amber Doty's third-grade class today when I modeled this lesson. He said he remembered doing dictionary races in our class WAY BACK WHEN ... He's currently a junior in high school. Time passes too quickly!

Lesson taken from:  Cunningham, P.M., Hall, D.P. (1998). Month-by-Month Phonics for Upper Grades:  A Second Chance for Struggling Readers and Students Learning English. Greensboro, NC:  Carson-Dellosa Publishing.

What Do Students Need to Know to be Proficient or Advanced on M.A.P. Test?

CA Long Descriptors New

Ma Long Descriptors New

Sc Long Descriptors New

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guess the Covered Word -- Poem

Making Words Lesson: Unimpressive

Download Lesson Here:

*The first page is cloned four times before you get to the page with words to sort/transfer to ensure enough room for students to spell all the words.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Use Riddles to Draw Conclusions

Riddle modified from:

Steady and straight we go,
Not too fast and not too slow,
On rails we do roll,
Tremendous weight we can pull,
We are many but still one.
What are we?

A train

Book Leveling Correlation Chart

Book Leveling Correlation Chart

Thank you, Debby Money, for sharing this! :-)

R1H - Drawing Conclusions

We all know that drawing conclusions was heavily tested on the elementary Communication Arts M.A.P. test. I've heard many teachers ask the difference between a conclusion and an inference.  These skills go hand-in-hand.

According to DESE the definitions are:
  • Draw Conclusions:  use of facts and inferences to make a judgment or decision
  • Inference: to draw meaning from a combination of clues in the text without explicit reference in the text
3rd Grade Multiple Choice Example:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Brain Friendly Math Presentation -- Drury University

Key Points of Presentation:
  • Teach the written curriculum.
  • Assess the writtten curriculum.
  • Have high expectations.
  • Include all.
  • Make students accountable when pair/sharing.
    • Finish that thought. Pause right there. Thank your partner for sharing.
    • Randomly call of partners to share their discussions with the class.
  • Add movement to learning to help. This helps students retrieve PROCEDURAL memory.
  • Prime students -- preview information before teaching it.
  • Use stories like Gallon Guy. I LOVED the ladder example for coordinate pairs.
  • Use songs like 18 Wheels on a Big Rig by Trout Fishing in America (and School House Rock).
  • Remember that teaching is fun and what you're doing is important.
Thank you for sharing your evening with me last night. The interaction was much appreciated. It's obvious that many of you have a passion for teaching students. :-)

Click the links below to access:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Note from Barbara St. Clair, Science Consultant

Barbara St. Clair recently read a wonderful article and shared the information with me. You'll want to spend a few minutes reading her words ... they are very thought provoking.

Barbara's Thoughts ...

I really didn’t expect to find the answers to life’s greatest questions while sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for my spouse, but there it was: the Atlantic magazine from January/February 2010, with an article titled “What Makes a Great Teacher?” I grabbed it!

The article is not a huge surprise, but the main message was encouraging: great teachers are not born and are not necessarily the unique heroes of stirring movies; they are instead hard-working, dedicated professionals who strive relentlessly to make a difference to their students.

Great teachers, then, can be models for our own behavior, because what makes them great is not who they are, but what they do. Determining exactly what they do has been the focus of study for the nonprofit organization, Teach for America, for many years. Recently the data from almost twenty years of observation has been compiled and interpreted, and the Atlantic magazine article presents an overview of this study.

The program Teach for America places college graduates in low-income, struggling schools, usually working with students who have fallen below grade level and whose demographics would seem to predict continued failure. What often happens, however, is that individual teachers take a classroom of these struggling students and move them not only through the grade level but ahead—defying the odds. Teach for America interviewed these teachers several times a year, observed their classrooms and visited with their administrators, students and parents. Based on the study, the organization identified several specific actions that promoted student success and significant gains in achievement:

#1 Great teachers tend to set big goals for their students [and they share those goals with their students].

#2 They constantly re-evaluate what they are doing and adjust their instruction accordingly.

#3 They “avidly recruit students and their families into the process.”

#4 They maintain focus, ensuring that everything they do contributes to student learning.

#5 They plan exhaustively and purposefully, for the next day or the year ahead, “by working backward from the desired outcome.”

#6 They check frequently for student understanding [and not simply by asking, “Are there any questions?”]

The author notes that “we tend to ascribe the gifts of excellent teachers to some mystical quality that we can recognize and revere---but not replicate.” The data shows, however, that new teachers and veteran teachers alike can copy the behaviors of great teachers and have similar success---with dedication and perseverance. Greatness, in other words, is possible. That’s a great message for the beginning of the year!

What Makes a Great Teacher? By Amanda Ripley, the Atlantic magazine, January/February 2010

Thanks for sharing this, Barbara! You are an inspiration to me. :) For those of you that know me --- yes, JT is in the photo above (beard and all!). That photo was taken at Camp Barnabas this summer. JT is currently pursuing a major in special education. :)

Encouragement Making Words Lesson

Click here to access lesson:

Words to spell:  (There are three pages that look the same to allow for enough room to make all the words.)
  • eat
  • eaten
  • uneaten
  • agree
  • agreement
  • argue
  • argument
  • rage
  • outrage
  • courage
  • encourage
  • encouragement

Words to Sort:
The fourth page has all the words listed above ready for students to sort for patterns.

Transfer Words:
The fourth page has these words covered; simply delete the box to expose each word after students try writing it on whiteboards to check for understanding.
  • enrage
  • enjoy
  • enjoyment
  • argue
  • argument
  • rage
  • outrage
  • courage
  • encourage
  • encouragement

Cunningham, P. M. (2003). Big Words for Big Kids:  Systematic Sequential Phonics and Spelling. Greensboro, NC:  Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.