Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Concept Attainment/Development

Concept Development Map

A concept map is a special form of a web diagram from exploring knowledge, and gathering and sharing information. A concept map consists of nodes or cells that contain a concept, item or questions and links. The labeled links explain the relationship between the cells. The arrow describes the direction of the relationship and reads like a sentence.

( http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/conceptmap/index.html)

Concept development maps may also include a definition of the concept, examples, and non-examples to help students explore into the content deeper. 

~CD Map designed by Miss Koch

Foldables and Flip Charts

Foldables and Flip Charts offer a hands-on way for students to organize information. This strategy involves folding paper in a multitude of ways. With one type of foldable, a sheet of paper is held in a landscape orientation and then folded in half lengthwise. The front half is then cut into a number or flaps, with the cut doing up to the fold. On the outside front, a key word may be placed on each flap. When each is lifted, a definition may be written on the top half and a picture may be on the bottom half. 

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 178)

Chunk and Chew

Teachers pause after every ten minutes of input to give students time to talk with a partner or in a small group about what they have just learned. This is a strategy used to help maintain the new information. 

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 199)


Organize the class into one to four groups. Each group will need a pen/paper or white board/marker for drawing their clues. Students take turns collecting words form the teacher. They return to their group and draw picture clues. The person doing the drawing is not allowed to speak. When someone in the group gets the correct answer, the next person goes to the teacher for the next word. Groups must work quietly so they are not overheard by other groups. 

Give out words to groups one by one, in the same order for all groups. Whisper (or show on a card) the new word to the student. The first group to get to the end of your word list wins. Use these words to start a vocabulary chart, which you can build throughout the unit. 

Podcasts and TV Show

Students prepare two to three minute oral summary on the topic of the concept chosen. Students rehearse a skit over the content and then record their skit on a podcast, audio file, or class computer. Small grops plan a talk show on a topic with multiple parameters that they have studied. One student is the host and interviewer; others are the guests. 

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 199)

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a strategy for helping students order and structure their thinking through mentally mapping words and/or concepts. Mind maps were developed by Tony Buzan as a way of  helping students make notes that used only key words and images. They are much quicker to make and because of their visual quality much easier to remember and review. The difference between concept maps and mind maps is that a mind map has only one main concept, while a concept map could have several. 

Vocabulary Journal

Rothenberg and Fisher (2007.158) suggest a Vocabulary Journal for particular subject areas. One section of the journal might focus on multiple meaning words. Vocabulary Journals provide students with the opportunity to review words and time they wish. 

In my classroom, I have an academic vocabulary notebook that we constantly update with academic language. It is helpful to write the word, write a sentence with the word, a connection and a picture to relate back to the word. Students also have a "math playbook" that they update daily with math content, math vocabulary and examples. 

Memory/Match Up

Students can play this game and use this strategy to develop concepts. Students play by having content cards face down on a table or floor in an array. The cards could be words and their definitions or definitions and examples. The possibilites are endless with the match-ups you could make. Students take turns choosing cards from the array choosing two at a time. If the cards match, the student gets to keep the cards, but if they do not match, the cards must be replaced to the original spot in the array. The student with the most cards, wins the memory/match-up game. 

Cooperative Learning


Think-Pair-Share is a strategy designed to provide students with "food for thought" on given topics enabling them to formulate individual ideas and share these ideas with another student. It is a learning strategy developed by Lyman and associates to encourage student classroom participation. Teachers use this idea to ask every student to think of an answer or respond to a prompt. Rather than using a basic recitation method in which a teacher poses a question and one student answers a response, Think-Pair-Share encourages a high degree of pupil response and can help keep students on task. Teachers use this idea to ask every student to think of an answer or respond to a prompt.

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 178)
Further reference: http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/think/


Piece O' Pizza:

Teaching a concept or idea has many parts. This strategy is much like the Jigsaw activity during which each group of students has been given a section of an article or chapter to read. It is also helpful to use when teaching about a concept, idea, or object that has many parts. A large circle is cut into slices with information and illustrations. Later the pizza is reassembled as the groups share information.

Jigsaw Classroom

With the Jigsaw strategy, students are assigned to teams and each team member gets one piece of information. In order to reach all of the lesson's objectives, students are forced to work together and fit their individual pieces together. The jigsaw puzzle can not be completed unless each team member shared his or her piece. 

A jigsaw lesson divides the class into two different kinds of groups, expert groups and learning groups. All the expert groups read and study the same materials and become an expert on their content. They will then meet with their learning group and teach their content.

(Instruction: A Model's Approach, page 267)


Graffiti is an excellent strategy to enhance students' thinking skills and promote their writing skills. This is a great way to stimulate students' participation in the classroom. Teachers should provide questions related to the same topic and write each question on the top of a separate sheet of paper. The students need to be divided into groups, given a poster board and markers. Students will then respond to the prompt on the poster board within a certain amount of time decided by the teacher. When the time is up, students will then rotate to the next poster board with a different topic or prompt. Again, they will be given an allotment of time to jot notes on the poster board. Once all the groups have rotated through each poster/topics and student return to their original sheet to summarize the ideas and share out with the class. 

Reader-Writer-Speaker Response Trails

A group of three receives a reading assignment. One member is the reader, one is the writer, and one is the speaker. The reader reads the reading assignment to the writer who takes notes through the reading time. The speaker then reports out the main idea or a summary of the reading to the whole class. 

Coffee Shop Talk

This strategy is to encourage class conversation. Divide your class into two groups: perhaps A's and B's or 1's and 2's. In a large, narrow space in the room, (I like to hold my Coffee Shop Talk at the back of my room by my cubbies) allow one group (A's) to stand in one line all facing the same directions. The second group (B's) will stand in one line facing the first group. A question will be posed and students will be given time to discuss with the person standing across from them. After the time is up, students will be asked to share out their responses that they heard or said themselves. After the responses have been heard whole class, one line will be asked to rotate one person to the left (or right). The person at the very end that did not have a partner will loop all the way down to the other end. Students again will have a conversation with the person standing across from them and share out with class. 

Vocabulary Twister

Students will divide into several groups to play a twister game. Vocabulary or content cards will be placed down on the colored circles on the game board. When students spin the spinner, they will then be prepared to place the body part chosen from the spinner on the appropriate color. Before the student is allowed to advance the move, the student must answer the vocabulary card or answer a content question.    

Literature Circles

"In literature circles, a small group of students gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by students' response to what they have read. You may hear talk about events and characters in the book, the author's craft, or personal experiences related to the story."

"Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach. Students reshape an add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. Finally, literature circles guide students to deeper understanding of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response."

(Schlick Noe, K. L. & Johnson. N.L., Getting Started with Literature Circles , 1999 Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc. p. ix.)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Differentiation Strategies

Silent Ball with a "Dan Massimino Twist"

This is a strategy that ALL of my students beg for on a weekly basis.  It consists of the game of Silent ball with a content or vocabulary emphasis. This is a great review game/activity and a was to increase understanding in content areas. This strategy also is flexible with differentiation for students because teachers are able to pick questions based on their knowledge of where each learner is. The teacher will be able to scaffold levels of questions and build understanding. 

Teacher introduces and explains the rules of silent ball: 
• Teacher is the only referee regarding bad passes and missed 
• Talking or making sounds is an out
• Missed catch or bad pass is an out
• A “good” throw does not include “fast balls” (model good throws for students)
• Students that are out must remain quiet at their desks and not interfere 
with the game in any way

1. No one can talk or make a sound; that is the object of the game 
2. Students may stand in a circle or in any 
arrangement to facilitate tossing the ball to each other around the 
3. Make a good throw to a classmate; explain that students cannot throw 
back to the person who threw to them or the person next door to them
4. If student misses the ball or makes a bad pass, student is out.
5. When the student gets out, the teacher must ask him/her a question based on classroom content or vocabulary. - I list ALL vocabulary for all content areas on one whiteboard in my room so students are able to look at the board and constantly be reminded of the words we have learned so far. 
6. The student then must sit at his/her desk until the next round
5. Play until all students are seated; last two are the champs!

~Twist on the Game taught to Miss Koch by Dan Massimino


"You already know how effective games can be in the classroom. Games are popular with students because they break up the normal routine and give everyone a chance to have some fun. You will generally find that they all pay attention when you've got a little healthy competition going on... If you teach a content-based subject, such as English, Science, or Social Studies, playing this kind of baseball may be a fine way to review and even teach your material as well as produce real enthusiasm in your students."

  1. Draw a diagram of a baseball diamond on the board and mark out a baseball diamond around the room. 
  2. The teacher, as the pitcher, ask the first student a question about your subject.
  3. A player is also out if he or she answers incorrectly.
  4. On the other hand, if the answer is correct, that player goes to first base and you make a mark on your baseball diamond on the board. 
  5. Then ask the second player a question, and if the answer is right, he or she goes to first base and pushes the first player to second base. Each question advances the players around the diamond by one base until the bases are loaded. 
  6. If the next student answers correctly, then he or she pushes everyone else around the bases until the player on third base comes home and then that team has one run. You continue playing until that team has three outs, at which time the other team is up to bat.
"You will see that the whole class concentrates on the questions as they are asked and genuine suspense develops as each player tries to answer and get on base. If you play this game regularly you will find that your students begin studying more so as to know the answers"
by David Slutz (http://teachers.net/gazette/MAR02/slutz.html).


Students today need a diverse range of experiences and by using PowerPoint can help increase that diversity. This is a strategy to enhance student learning through engaging trivia games. This game requires teacher preparation beforehand but is well worth the work for student review and enjoyment. 

  1. Divide the class into two groups or teams
  2. One person from the team to go first will pick a category from the game board and the amount of the question. 
  3. Students can collaborate to come up with an answer, or have students work individually and write their answers on whiteboards. 
  4. Write the points earned under each team name as they answer correctly. Add points for correct responses or subtract points for incorrect responses. 

Take a Stand

"Take a Stand enables the teacher to quickly assess students' comprehension of a lesson and the EL's to practice their listening skills." Teachers will begin by making a statement to students in regards to current events, a story or novel, or an issue. After quiet time is given to students, a cue will be given to "Take a Stand" asking students to stand if they agree with the statement and stay seated if they disagree.  Students must be prepared to give a rationale for agreeing or disagreeing with the statement. 

This strategy can be used individually or in groups/teams. The team discusses the statement made by the teacher, comes to a decision and then decides to stand or stay seated by agreeing or disagreeing. As a group, a rationale must be made. 

(99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 116)

Literature Circles

"This lesson provides a basic introduction to literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. Students begin by selecting a book together then are introduced to the four jobs in the Literature Circles: Discussion Director, Literary Luminary, Vocabulary Enricher, and Checker. The teacher and student volunteers model the task for each of the four roles, and then students practice the strategies. The process demonstrates the different roles and allows students to practice the techniques before they are responsible for completing the tasks on their own. After this introduction, students are ready to use the strategy independently, rotating the roles through four-person groups as they read the books they have chosen. The lesson can then be followed with a more extensive literature circle project."

Picture- (www.literacysolutions.com.au)

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is a strategy that can be used several different ways in the classroom. It can be used much like Take a Stand where you are agreeing or disagreeing on a subject matter and give a justification on the issue. It can also be used as a type of formative assessment. I ask my students to be honest in all responses given. I tell my students to give me a thumbs up if they understand what I have taught and could teach it to someone else, thumbs sideways if they think they sort of have it but could use some further practice, and thumbs down if they need some one-on-one teacher assistance. It gives me immediate feedback about particular students who need redirection or reteaching and who has it down. 

Picture- (http://pinterest.com/pin/293226625708272291/)

Cootie Catchers

"Lately I have really gotten excited about using cootie catchers (fortune tellers) in my classroom. I had actually thought that I had come up with the idea of using them in the classroom, but no, they're all over the place!" -Tabitha from Flapjack Educational Resources

Possible uses for this activity:
  • spelling words
  • vocabulary words
  • foreign language vocabulary and expressions
  • math problems
  • science or social studies content
  • language vocabulary- parts of speech
  • prefixes and suffixes
The possibilities are endless really! 


Menus/Student Projects that Allow Freedom of Choice

Giving students the power of choice and the power to create is an extremely beneficial tool in the hands of the teacher. Menus or student projects that allow for freedom of choice can also be called Layered Curriculum. Teachers can design a multitude of projects and layers that the projects may fall under. Students can then choose which layer they would like to work under and what project to create. Some students may choose to work under a difficult layer and complete a large project, while other students may choose to work under an easier level but must complete several of the projects to meet expectations. 

The below explanation is a project I created for my students' final for cells. I was absolutely blown away by their work and their means to create. I had some students design posters, one made a video that set up analogies for parts around her home and how it related to organelles in the cell, and one designed a car using a computer and labeled all the parts of the car to match the organelle. Projects were displayed in the hallway for all to see and students and staff ranted and raved over their fabulous work! 5th grade students felt quite accomplished! 

CELLS FINAL PROJECT-designed by Miss Koch
You will be making a model, movie, float, cake, catalog, brochure, menu, or map that shows what the cell is, but in a different light. Be CREATIVE! It does not have to be an actual cell. For example, if you make a Starship, the nucleus would be the bridge of the ship because that is what runs the entire ship.  The object of this activity is to make a connection like that for you to remember.

MUST DO’S! What you need to include in your cell project:
1.     Illustrations by YOU not the computer, this is to be all hand done not computer generated
2.     A description of each part of the cell as it is represented in your project (make me want to eat the ribs or go ride that ride in the amusement park or buy that item in your catalog) and an explanation of why you made it that so I can see how you made the connection.
3.     Parts of the cell you must use: Nucleus, Ribosome, Lysosome, Endoplasmic Reticulum,  Cytoplasm, Golgi Apparatus, (Chloroplast), Mitochondria, Nucleolus, Cell  Wall, Vacuole, Cell membrane (You use only 10 of the 12 parts listed)

Be creative with this assignment! It is the creativity that will help you remember parts of the cell and their functions! 

This "Frankenstein" was created by one of my students for this assignment. All of his body parts set up an analogy for a part of the cell and how the organelle functioned like that body part. Overall, I was so incredibly impressed with my students' ability to think and create some amazing pieces of work for this assignment. 


rubric is an explicit set of criteria used for assessing a particular type of work or performance. A rubric usually also includes levels of potential achievement for each criterion, and sometimes also includes work or performance samples that typify each of those levels.  Levels of achievement are often given numerical scores.  A summary score for the work being assessed may be produced by adding the scores for each criterion. The rubric may also include space for the judge to describe the reasons for each judgment or to make suggestions for the author. (http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/flashlight/rubrics.htm)

This is the rubric that I created to grade my students on the Cell Final Project explained above. It is an extremely simple rubric, but it guided students toward higher achievement because they knew my expectations for the project and also knew how they could score well. 

Points Worth
Total Points (50 pts total)
Each part of the cell is used
10 pts possible

Description of part
10 pts possible

Explanation of part
10 pts possible

10 pts possible

Creativity, neatness, and originality
10 pts possible
Total Points Scored

Final Score

45-50 points = 4 points (Exceeding standards: Creativity, neatness and originality is above and beyond! Student amazed me!)
40-44 points = 3 points (At grade level/proficient: Student did a nice job and completed all sections of assignment to a satisfactory level)
30-39 points= 2 points (Below grade level/Basic: Student did not complete all sections of assignment to a satisfactory level)
20-29 points= 1 point and redo project (Below Basic: Student did not complete required parts of assignment and needs to redo project for a better grade.)
0-19 points= 0 points and redo project (Incomplete: Student did not complete required parts of assignment and needs to redo project for a better grade.)

I also created this rubric for a presentation my students are going to give based off of a persuasive writing piece. This is a self evaluation for students and a peer evaluation to grade their group members. 

Creating Posters, Projects, Murals, and Mobiles

Kids love working big and they also love showing their creativity off! This strategy allows students to share information and show what they have learned on large paper. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of a subject by summarizing, illustrating, and writing captions to explain their topic. Be prepared to be amazed by the quality of their work and knowledge! 

(Strategies that Work- Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement, Harvey & Goudvis, page 216)
Picture- (www.fws.gov)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Inquiry Strategies

Interactive Notebooks/Flip Books

Interactive notebooks/flip books help students build on background knowledge and increase comprehension of the lesson being studied. This strategy is wonderful because it can be used in any subject matter. Students get involved and are able to be engaged in their learning. It is a way for students to express their own ideas and process information given in class. It can be used as a means of note-taking and can help students to become independent thinkers. I use interactive notebooks to teach science. We are learning through out notebooks everyday and these pages include many types of flip books and foldables that help students interact through their learning. 

In one inquiry lesson this year, we experimented with single-celled organisms. Students used their interactive notebooks to record a table of occurrences with yeast and water and yeast, water and sugar and the result from this mixture. Students also drew pictures of the process to remind them of our experiment. 

(99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 55.)
Picture- (http://pinterest.com/pin/163607398933528123/)
YouTube- (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TwqRyW5BlZs#!)

Split Page Note Taking/2 Column-Notes/Double Journal Entry

Either before the lesson begins, students will divide a piece of paper in half. On the left side of the paper, the teacher may direct them to several questions to write down about the topic or students can be left to think of their own questions. As the class reads or discovers, students will fill in the right side of the paper answering the questions and filling in notes. This strategy can be used as a foundation for summary writing and reviewing or studying material.

(99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 88.)
Picture- (http://pinterest.com/pin/148055906471215406/)

Ticket Out the Door-With a Twist

This is an easy strategy to assess student knowledge as students leave the class. It can be used as a formative assessment or as a closure activity. It is a quick check or dip check to monitor student progress and understanding of the material being taught. Ticket Out the Door also may help to address misconceptions that the students have as well as items that teachers should reteach. It should address the essential question of your lesson or should target your objectives for the day. 

Picture- (http://pinterest.com/pin/118008452707164965/)

With a Twist-

  • If you were to fill a grocery cart with key concepts from today's lesson, what would it contain?
  • If this were a pizza, what would the toppings be?
  • Write a news headline based on what you learned today.
  • What new learning will you walk away with today?
  • Write a recipe for _____________________.
  • Write a text message summary of what you learned today.
  • If this concept were turned into a menu, what would be the appetizer? Main dish? Dessert?
  • Write a postcard to a friend or family member explaining what you did in class today. 

Gallery Walk

"Gallery Walk promotes reflection, interaction among class members, and written and oral language development" (99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 115). Students are assigned to small groups and asked to work in a group to create a chart or a poster about the learning content. A questions or topic may be posed and written at the top of the poster. The group has 3-4 minutes to write down ideas or responses on the poster. Students then rotate to the next chart, read the other groups' contributions and responses and then add additional information to the poster. This process is repeated until all groups see all other posters and responses. When they arrive at their original chart, they are able to read what the others have written, and summarize orally all the responses for the class members. Teachers may choose to lead a whole class discussion on a particular topic. 

(99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 115)
Pictures- (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenstein/55392092/) (http://mbteach.com/?cat=4)


3-2-1 is a strategy that can be used several ways throughout a lesson. It can be used as a summative at the end of the lesson to explain "3 things you discovered, 2 interesting things and 1 question you still have." (http://daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com/file/view/strategy.pdf) It could also be used while reading to take notes and assist in processing information. "3 facts I learned while reading, 2 questions I have for the author, 1 thing I thought was most interesting."

(http://pinterest.com/pin/257690409899360641/) Either way you decide to use this strategy, it will assist in helping students process and understand information throughout a lesson. 

Multiple Representations

Multiple representations allows students to critically think, show and demonstrate their thinking strategies in ways that they understand. "One approach to deepening students' understanding and ensuring they have a rich mathematical foundation on which to move forward is to encourage students to work on problems from different vantages and/or use different mathematical models to solve the problem. The power of working with multiple models for students is that each model highlights a different aspect of mathematics, thus building a richer knowledge base" (Mathematical Thinking for Instruction Workbook 2011, page 9). Throughout this strategy, the teacher can pose a problem such as a word problem. Students are given the opportunity to solve in their own way; perhaps by drawing a picture/model, writing an explanation, or using the algorithm. As students are solving at their seats, the teacher may walk around the room and ask particular students to post their work on the whiteboard. By the time the teacher has completed walking around, many examples and ways of thinking will be posted on the whiteboard. 

Picture- (http://mathcoachscorner.blogspot.com/2012/10/multiple-representations-for.html)

"Bruner's three models of representation-enactment, iconic and symbolic are a helpful framework to help promote learning progressions" (Mathematical Thinking for Instruction Workbook 2011, page 9). As a teacher processes through the multiple representations on the board, the teacher should strategically choose to begin with the problems that enactive. Enactive begins with tangible or experiential. With all sharing of representations, students should be allowed time to explain their model, picture, explanation, or algorithm. Next, the teacher should strategically choose representations that show iconic or direct representations of "reality." Finally, the teacher would discuss symbolic or problems that show formal signs and problems that are abstract and higher-level thinking. This process starts with the baby steps and builds students to a higher level of understanding and cognition. 

Picture- (http://jaylordlosabia.blogspot.com/2010/05/constructivism-jerome-bruners.html)

Chunk and Chew

"Chunk and Chew ensures that students are not inundated with input from the teacher without being given appropriate time to process information" (99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 164). The teacher delivers the lesson in small "chunks" and gives students ample time to "chew the information either individually, with partners or in small groups. 

"For every 10 minutes of teacher input, students should be given 2 minutes to process the information. (This is known as 10 and 2)"

(99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 164)
Picture- http://heygirlteacher.tumblr.com/page/6

Let's LET them talk! What a concept!?!

Canned Questions

"Write (on strips of paper) a variety of questions related to the particular topic being studied. The questions should range from lower to higher levels of thinking. Ask students to demonstrate. Place the question strips in can. Group students as partners or in small groups. The teacher draws out the questions, one by one, and students work together to answer them. Occasionally the teacher may pull a question based on its difficulty, select individual students to answer. When this is done, all students gain exposure to questions of varied cognitive levels, even though they are only responsible for answering the questions that are appropriate for their level of English proficiency" (99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 77). 

Picture- (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vblibrary/4576825411/sizes/o/in/pool-27724923@N00/)

Discovery Stations/Rotation Stations

There are many benefits for discovery stations/rotations stations. This type of learning allows students to get their hands dirty, continue in conversation with peers, critically think and discovery through active and engaged learning. Students can make connections to the things they are discovering and internalize the material easier when they are learning it for themselves through active engagement. This activity requires much work by the teacher prior to the lesson, but is extremely beneficial for the student learning process. Students may be on a learning journey through the stations or may complete a type of quest with E-learning (Webquest). However the teacher decides to set up this strategy, students will most certainly enjoy their adventure of discovery!

Busy Hands, Busy Brains    "As students put projects together, create crafts, or use familiar materials in new ways, they're constructing meaning. "Kids learn through all their senses," says Ben Mardell, PhD, a researcher with Project Zero at Harvard University, "and they like to touch and manipulate things."  But more than simply moving materials around, hands-on activities activate kids' brains. According to Cindy Middendorf, educational consultant and author of The Scholastic Differentiated Instruction Plan Book (Scholastic, 2009), between the ages of four and seven, the right side of the brain is developing and learning comes easily through visual and spatial activities. The left hemisphere of the brain—the side that's involved in more analytical and language skills—develops later, around ages 10 and 11.    When you combine activities that require movement, talking, and listening, it activates multiple areas of the brain. "The more parts of your brain you use, the more likely you are to retain information," says Judy Dodge, author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom (Scholastic, 2009). "If you're only listening, you're only activating one part of the brain," she says, "but if you're drawing and explaining to a peer, then you're making connections in the brain." 
By Samantha Cleaver (http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3751901).

Picture- (http://frannykatescreativestate.blogspot.com/2008_08_01_archive.html)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Direct Instruction


Think Alouds is the thought process going on in an individuals mind as they read. To use this strategy, a teacher will think out loud their own thoughts to make connections to the text. As a teacher is modeling this strategy it is important to make sure that the think alouds are genuine, language precise, and thoughtful. In Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller, she explains that her goal is to "give [students] a framework for thinking, as well as to help them build a common language for talking about books. For example, when children share their connections, I ask ask them to begin this way: "When I read these words...it reminded me of..." (Miller, 55).

Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal Teaching allows children to think about their own thought processes and be actively involved in their reading processes through four main components: clarifying, summarizing, questioning, and predicting. These four strategies allow students to be engaged in reading and make the text more comprehensible. In my own classroom I use this strategy frequently. At the beginning of the year I introduced these strategies through characters-along with costumes and all. I told my kids that we had four important guests that day and I wanted them to meet. As the excitement grew, I quickly changed into character starting with Pavlov the Predictor. I wore a scarf over my head, told them my name and the purpose of using predicting while we read. The next character was Clara the Clarifier. For this costume, I had large, funny glasses that I wore. I explained to the students that I had large glasses because it was important to take a big look at anything we did not understand while we read. Next came Sally the Summarizer. In my best attempt at a southern accent in my cowgirl hat and lasso, I explained that when we summarize it is important to just tell a small part of the story, not the entire story. Finally came Molly Microphone. In a game show host voice with microphone in hand, I explained that Molly Microphone is the master-mind of asking questions. Now as we read and I know we are coming upon one of our characters in the book, I put on the costume with the corresponding strategy and we discuss the strategy at hand. It allows children to be engaged with their reading because they get excited about what costume I will pull out next, and it helps them monitor their own reading process.

Picture 1- www.sgs170.org
Picture 2- projects.coe.uga.edu

Character Diaries

Students create diary entries from the perspective of a character from a novel, an historical figure, person in the news, or an object writing in the voice of that person/item including key events.  

"You know that new girl Stargirl? She is stealing my spotlight! I might not get a chance to get on GQ! I've got to get my spotlight back. I am so mad at her! She STOLE my popularity! It's time to get revenge, and I know Wayne is going to help me!" -Alejendra N. 5th grade- Diary entry from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Teachers should explicitly model an example of how to write from the perspective of a character. It is also important that may choose to add specific language objectives such as use of descriptive language and grammar mechanics.

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 179.)


Connect- This is what I know
Correct- Do I need to correct anything? 
Collect- This is what I learned.

"CCC is a before, during, and after comprehension process that was developed by Suzanne Carreker (2005). It is alternative to the common method of KWLs. Both of these procedures are used to set a purpose for reading and stimulate background knowledge about a topic before reading, and to assess what knew knowledge has been gained after reading."

(Next STEPS in Literacy Instruction: Connecting Assessments to Effective Interventions, by Susan M. Smartt and Deborah R. Glasser)

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are the use of schematic diagrams that provide conceptual clarity for information that is difficult to grasp. Students identify key concepts and make relationships among them. Graphic organizers also provide visual clues that students can use to supplement spoken words that may be hard to understand. This strategy is extremely beneficial in the classroom and can be used for a multitude of lessons. This strategy can be used through any point of the lesson as well. It can be helpful before reading, during reading, and after reading. 

Some examples of graphic organizers are text structure charts, Venn diagrams, story or text maps, timelines, discussion webs, word webs, thinking maps, and flow charts. 

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 45.)

Reader's Theater/Role Play/Puppet Show

We combined these two strategies together because they are a kinesthetic way for students to have hands-on engagement in their learning by engaging in a type of drama. In pupperty, the teacher, or another student reads aloud a story, poem or article while students perform the actions with puppets. Puppets can demonstrate content knowledge when the student be unable to do so verbally. 

Reader's Theater and Role Plays allow the students to act out information, build oral fluency, practice academic vocabulary, and reinforce content knowledge. 

(Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners- The SIOP Model, page 179; 99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 122.)

Dinner Party

"The purpose of Dinner Party is for students to assume the persona of characters in novels or short stories, authors of poets, historical figures, scientist, artist, politicians, or military leaders. During each Dinner Party, students must include specific content for the characters and respond in character to each other as realistically and accurately as possible. It is important that the knowledge o people's lives, accomplishments, flaws, and works be used to inform the performance."

(99 Ideas and Activities for Teaching English Learners with The SIOP Model, page 105.)

Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom can used in for a direct instruction lesson because the teacher is explicitly teaching the content through video or technology resources. The teacher will typically teach 75% of the lesson on video. Students are required to complete the video for homework. When students arrive for class, typically the remaining 25% of content is instructed at school. The remaining class time, students are giving a substantial amount of time for practice and reinforcement of skills. Students can also play games and interact to enhance the knowledge of the material taught. 

(YouTube by Alfonso Sintjago)