Monday, September 5, 2011


School begins again tomorrow and I haven't even posted about ISTE yet! First of all traveling to Philly by train was a wonderful idea. Very relaxing and all went well.

The time in Philly flew by and was filled with friends, learning, and adventures.

I put the links I collected from the various workshops in a LiveBinder. The photos I took are on my flickr page. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the new resources in my classroom this year. Symbaloo was a new to me site. After meeting with the other reading teachers in our district this summer and coming up with a list of reading sites I put the sites for K-2 into a Symbaloo. I hope it will be easier for the children/parents/me to find a specific site to practice skills. As the year progresses I'll let you know what else I try that I learned about from ISTE.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Learning

Well, my first year as a reading teacher is officially over. As always, I found myself thinking about next year and what I want to do differently as I packed up my room. Last year I was put into this position unexpectedly and had no time to plan and prepare for the year. Now I have time to plan. So here are some plans and thoughts.
Summer Learning
I'm currently enroute to ISTE.  (The picture above is from my train ride to Philly.) I have several sessions in my planner that deal with tech and elementary reading so that's where the summer learning begins. Besides the sessions I'll be learning from my PLN as well.
Next up will be two days spent with the other reading teachers in my district. We'll be aligning current technology, websites, and apps to the skills we have to teach. I'm the only one that uses tech so I think it will involve quite a bit of teaching and sharing on my part. I'm not sure what type of document I'll put this into yet but I hope it helps next year as I plan lessons.
I use a wiki for my class web page. It needs some work to make it more attractive and this year's work needs to go on one page and off the side bar.
Next year I'm moving out of my closet sized room and into a larger room. I'm thrilled I'll have room for some of my thousands of books and room for us to move and be more active learners. Part of my summer will involve setting up this new learning environment.
Thoughts for next year
Increase use of tech in meaningful ways.
Invite parents to stop by at open house and at that time explain and hand out permission slips for pictures on the internet.
Plan more lessons that involve movement.
Let kids creativity shine, just not sure how I'll accomplish this yet.
Send home monthly notes to parents with websites, apps, books, and how to help at home ideas.
At the end of the year burn kid's projects to a CD.
Think about an end of the year project for parents to come on and see.
Well, I think that's enough ideas to keep me busy for awhile. What will you be doing to make next year an even better year?

Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

Second Grade Research Reports

When I taught in the classroom I did research reports every year with my students. I decided to give it a try in the reading room. You can read more about it and see the finished projects here.
Next year I'll continue to begin the project in May. Even though there were a lot of test days June was no better. Next year I need to do more modeling of writing sentences about I want to learn about my topic and talk about not making therm so specific its hard to find an answer or ask questions they already know the answer too. It was obvious I didn't do a god job on this. My modeling of opening/closing sentences was a little hit and miss with the groups. Next year I should start a list of good opening/closing sentences as I read to them and from the books we read throughout the year. Overall I was pleased with the project. The highlight was watching them make their animals. Some of them were so creative. I'm convinced I have to find more ways for the kids to show their creativity next year.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poetry Fluency Lesson

Recently I listened to a Podcast by Timothy Rasinski, from the International Reading Association, while at the gym. Actually, I liked the idea so much I listened to it three times and then adapted the lesson to fit my schedule. He calls his model MAP-Modeling fluent reading, Assisted Reading, Practice or repeated reading.

The point of the lesson is to develop fluency by first listening to a passage being read fluently 3 times. Then reading the passage together 3 times, reading it to a partner 3 times and listening to a partner read it 3 times. Once the children are reading it fluently they are then given the opportunity to read it to a class, principal, or be recorded etc.

I have decided to do this idea with a piece of poetry each week. On the first day I'm reading the poem from a book and with the first two readings I have the children work on visualizing and finally on the third reading I share the illustrators pictures. We also talk about what they noticed about my voice as I read. On the second day we read it together. On the third we're reading it together and doing some word work. On the fourth day they read it with a partner. By Friday they're reading the piece fluently and are ready to take it home to share with their family. I had each student read the poem to me and I selected one child to record the poem this first time. I'll be posting those recordings on my website by the end of the week. The author also suggested having Lucky Listeners sign the back of the poem. I sent the first poems home on Friday. I'm looking forward to the response tomorrow and to hear how many lucky listener signatures they gathered. I was the first to sign it and I know at least one classroom teacher had the students read the poem to the class and signed as well. I hope it helps!

How do you increase fluency with your young readers? Please share your ideas!

P.S. Here is a link to our poems. Feel free to listen and enjoy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Word Magic App Review

Name of App: Word Magic
Age Group: PreK-2
Cost: 0.99
Format: available for iPod and iPad
Rating: 4/5
Company: Anusen

Purpose: Practice beginning, medial and ending sounds

What I like:
  • It's easy to switch between beginning, medial, ending sounds or random by simply touching the correct box at the bottom of the screen.
  • The word read and positive reinforcement voice is that of a child and is enthusiastic and easy to understand.
  • As soon as a correct answer is given the screen quickly changes to the next problem.
  • Being able to select a word length of 3-6 letters.

What the Students Like:
  • Seeing their score.
  • Earning stickers and cupcakes.
  • The positive reinforcement.

What I'd like to see changed:
  • Group digraphs and blends together-child should respond with wh not just w for wheel.
  • Same for medial sounds-put r controlled vowels with the r and group vowel combinations together.
  • When a child chooses the correct answer on the 4th try I'd like to hear "That's correct." not "Awesome!"
  • Incorrect answers on level 2 that are close to the correct answer. I can't think of time a child would ever see "fq" in a word. I'd like to see actual chunks or blends in which the child would be familiar.

How I'll use it in the reading room:
  • I'll put it on 3 letter words for my struggling first graders to practice random sounds. They'll take turns with a partner and use the timing mode of one minute.
  • 1 minute competitions at the end of class.
  • Skill and drill

iPod Touch

Thanks to my building principal I know have 3 iPod touches and a Macbook. Earlier this week we had a snow day and I spent my day finally getting all three touches syncing to the new Macbook and then looking for literacy apps to buy and download. I started with the ones I learned about at NYSCATE and then moved to the iear ning and looked through their reviews and recommendations. I found that very helpful and decided that I should begin writing my own reviews as I begin to use the apps with my students.

I have my students for 30 minutes every day. I begin each class with a short read aloud and I'm thinking I'll start ending each class with a 5 minute app time so the devices get used. Since I don't have enough iPods for everyone, my groups are 4-7 students, they will have to share. I won one ipod touch on Facebook from School Center. I'll have to be on the look out for more give aways so I can try and increase my total to at least 5.