Friday, July 12, 2013

Embedded Formative Assessment - Dylan Wiliam

I went to a great two day workshop by Robin Whitacre this week and learned a lot about Dylan Wiliam's 5 key strategies of formative assessment. I love when he says in this video, "The great thing about teaching is it is such a hard job you never get any good at it." ...How true. Christine

Friday, July 5, 2013

Notice and Note and Close Reading

I read anything by Kylene Beers, but this is her best book yet! In it she recommends teaching six "signposts" to help aid students in deep reading comprehension. By page 4 I was hooked! On it is a list of the 25 most commonly taught novels in grades 4-8. Yes! five of my favorites are on the list.  After reading the book I made the 6 posters (see a few below) and dove right in. (It was late May/early June...my favorite time to experiment with something new).The first signpost (I can't say that I really like the word choice, but I can't think of exactly what to call them either!) is contrasts and contradictions. This is when a character in a book acts in a way that is unexpected. The behavior makes you think: Why would the character act this way? Beers and Probst say when this happens in a novel it is a moment to stop and do a close read. We found a contrast/contradiction in the novel Number The Stars. It happened when Papa was on the phone with Uncle Henrick. Papa tells Henrick that their are many cigarettes in Copenhagen if you know where to look. As the reader we know that this is untrue. We wonder about this contradiction. Why is Papa lying? It is a good spot to do some close reading and discussion.
    
I copied these posters right from the book.

   Another signpost that kept surfacing as we read Number The Stars was again and again. We noticed that Lois Lowry mentions the country of Sweden over and over again. Could this mean something? What is the author trying to tell us? This caused lots of discussion and prompted us to look at a map to see where Sweden was located. Hmmm..so interesting that Uncle Henrick's boat is moored so close to Sweden!
     I learned quite a bit as an adult reader from Notice and Note. I've read Number The Stars at least ten times and the signposts made me look at the novel with new eyes. Next year I plan to teach the signposts at the beginning of the year and use them with Shiloh, our first novel of the year. Christine

Notice and Note Powerpoint

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Close reading with 5th graders





Today we worked on close reading using a lesson from Kylene Beer's book: When Kids Can't Read.The excerpt is from the novel  Belle Prater's Boy. First,we discussed what a close read was, and then  I had the students read the excerpt by themselves and try to decipher meaning. They found the excerpt very difficult to comprehend. Then I had them highlight the spots in the text where  they got lost and any vocabulary words they didn't know. This gave the students a focus for the lesson ahead.  I also had them write a few sentences (summary) about what they thought the excerpt was about after a first read. Next, we moved on to the Smartboard. Sentence by sentence we analyzed the text, taking notes as we went.
 Much inferencing took place along with other reading strategies such as visualizing and  questioning. Later, we wrote a 4-5 sentence summary of the excerpt which showed the new learning that took place. The final piece to this lesson was a discussion on how close reading was different from every day reading. Christine