Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gaining Perspective!

Can you make sense of the first picture, below?
What is it? 
"....Ummm, something sparkly??"


How about now?
"....uh, something sparkly that's in the shape of an O!
But what's that white stuff around it?"


Is this better?
"Oh! The O is actually the ZERO in the number TWENTY!
But what is it sparkly and written on a towel?!!"



"OHHHHHHHHH......."
"NOW I get it!"


Access to the WHOLE picture gives us perspective.

And with perspective comes context, through which we can "make meaning" and understand. 





Access to the "whole" picture provides the perspective needed to make sense of, and thus understand the otherwise confusing, smaller bits and pieces.

Knowledge of the whole provides a context for making meaning, as well as a "connective-framework" for easy acquisition and retention of new information that's related.

Bits & Pieces of the "Code"


For the same reasons, learners need access to the WHOLE code if they are to "make sense of" reading and writing!

The advantages are obvious. The disadvantages, non-existent! 

And while changing the "way we've always done it" can be scary, not taking advantage of the brain science, as teachers, simply defies common sense!

The Brain's Way!
Neuroscience and its implications on teaching are an invaluable asset in the classroom. Teachers with knowledge about how our brains receive, store, and process information are better equipped to provide optimal learning experiences through which critical literacy skills are most easily acquired.

The research on neuroplasticity shows that as teachers, we have the ability to not only build learners' brain potential, but to help them literally change their brains... and intelligence, so as to bridge the achievement gap and support their highest level of learning!




But as always, the proof is in the pudding.... with REAL kids!

Below is a 'mini-moment' captured by Mrs. Mac of one of her first graders explaining 
(i.e. "making sense of") something she'd noticed on her Math paper. 
(Click video below to watch)
Establishing a "Connective-Framework"  for Making Meaning (and Cracking the Code in Math!)
It's as simple as knowing these SECRETS!
THE SECRET STORIES

A special thanks to Mrs. Mac and her fabulous first graders for once again letting us peep into their little world!  And I welcome others who are using the Secrets in their classrooms to share, as well!
The October Giveaway .... For those who already have the SECRET STORIES Class Set, you can opt for the alternative prize-option of a class set of SECRET STORIES Porta-Pics, as shown  here.  *Winner must be a current subscriber to the  SECRET STORIES Sessions Blog
Happy Fall! 
And Until Next Time,
PS!!  I wanted to let all who follow on Pinterest know that I pin the famous "Free Best-Teaching Finds" between MULTIPLE boards daily, depending on where they fit best. As a result, those following only one or two boards see only a fraction of them :(  

So rather than having to follow everything, I've identified those boards to which these FINDS are pinned daily with a "RED DIAMOND" .... as shown (and explained) below. 

I hope this is helpful, and thanks so much for following!!! 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway Visit Katie Garner- Educational Author/ Speaker's profile on Pinterest.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: The Book with No Pictures





 B.J. Novak from The Office fame has branched out as an author of a children’s books. And his first book is a book with no pictures. A book with NO PICTURES?  YES!  And it is hilarious!  Your kids will want you to read it again and again.  Novak is trying to teach your children what reading is really about. It’s about words on the page, and your students are  forced to rely on you (the reading-aloud adult) for entertainment. True to its title Novak’s book features no illustrations, just words in large typeface floating on the pages. “It might seem like no fun to have someone read you a book with no pictures,” the book states, before explaining how picture books work: “Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what.” Pretty quickly you will be pronouncing silly words, making fun of yourself (“I am a robot monkey”) and praising the child as “the best kid ever in the history of the entire world.” 


You can watch him read the book by clicking on the video below.  





If you have a book you'd like to share, you can link up below or leave a comment.
Happy Tuesday, y'all!








Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween unit completely revised! and FREE downloads


If you already own my Halloween unit you will want to head on over to TPT because I just revised the WHOLE thing and it almost doubled in size.  :)
Click HERE to download the revised unit.
If you don't already own it... it's on sale until Friday!





Click on Frankie to download a free labeling sheet.



click on the image below to download four fun Halloween songs to the tune of "Bingo"


Happy Monday, Y'all!




Thursday, October 16, 2014

How to make a Rekenrek



Last week at my conference I shared the rekenrek my husband made me and I promised to post directions.  I gave the ones he made me away as door prizes and I forgot to take a picture.  
Thankfully someone else took a picture at the conference.
There are many different versions of rekenreks that you can make.
My friend, Kim Adsit has this version that I really like but I wanted something a little taller with wider legs, so I had my husband change things up a little bit.

These are really easy to make and inexpensive!  It cost about $12.00 to make.

List of materials:
Two different colored pool noodles
2-  10" pieces of  1/2"" pvc pipe 
2 elbows
4 T joints
4 end covers

To assemble:
Cut your pipe in the sizes listed above.
Measure and cut your pool noodles.
I made mine using 1 1/2" cuts
you will need 10 of each color
NOTE: 2 pool noodles will make 3 rekenreks


If you're wondering what in the heck a rekenrek is you can download this great resource for FREE HERE!  It has tons of activities that you can use with your rekenrek.  

Enjoy the rest of your week!






Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Phoneme Segmentation! Make and Take Freebie and Book Talk Tuesday


Segmenting words is an important skill that we work on throughout the year.
Kids need a variety of hands on ways to work on this skill in order to make it more concrete.


We use a variety of manipulatives to work on phoneme segmentation.
Building words with unifix cubes as we say each sound,  stretching the words with a slinky,
sliding a pony bead for each sound and using our stretchy the word stretcher (as seen above).
To make the word stretchers you need the template (below) a pipe cleaner and four Perler Biggie beads.  These Biggie Beads are on sale at Amazon (the link is below) and there are enough beads to make 300 of these!  So grab your teammates and share a bucket of beads.  :)

To use these you would have your students start with all of the beads by the tail end of the snake.
Then say the word, cat and ask how many sounds do you hear?
So how many beads do we need to push?
Let's push a bead as we say each sound.
/c/  /a/  /t/   
Then as you blend the word together and say, cat you push all the beads back to the right.
I use these in the beginning of the year to develop phonemic awareness and then I use them throughout the year for those little ones who have a difficult time stretching words in their head and writing the letters that represent the sounds.  This gives them a concrete model for stretching words because I can say,  which sound did you say when you pushed the first bead?
Write it on your paper.



They also love working with the Stretchy the Word Snake mat.
To use this mat you will need three cars (or three chips) so that they can push a car up each time they say a sound.  Make sure you have them blend the word together at the end.
The video below shows another way to use the mat.
In the video, Madison is using a magnetic wand and magnetic chips.
They LOVE this one!

video

another great strategy that I learned when I used Fundations was finger tapping where they touch their fingers to their thumb for each sound.  For example, cat would be pointer finger to thumb for /c/ middle finger to thumb for /a/ and ring finger to thumb for /t/.
They could also tap out the word on a table.
I gave them little plastic Dollar Tree hammers and they could pound out the word on the table.




FREE DOWNLOADS
Click on the picture below to download the Stretchy the Snake word mats.

My Book Talk Tuesday selection this week is a Professional Development book that is so helpful when we have those struggling readers and writers.  



When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works is a comprehensive resource on struggling readers. It's filled with specific teaching ideas for helping children in kindergarten through Grade 3 who are having difficulty in reading and writing.
We want these young students to think and behave like effective readers who not only solve words skillfully but comprehend deeply and read fluently. To achieve our goal, we need to place them in situations in which they can succeed and then provide powerful teaching. Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas offer numerous examples and descriptions of instruction that can help initially struggling readers become strategic readers. When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works focuses on small-group intervention and individual interactions during reading and writing. Pinnell and Fountas also illustrate how to closely observe readers to make the best possible teaching decisions for them as well as how to support struggling readers in whole-class settings.








Monday, October 13, 2014

Spider Fun! Throwback post with FREEBIES!







Click HERE to download the graph.



Click HERE to download the spider book.

We read lots of poems.  Our favorite poems are the ones that use our names.





Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pumpkin Read Alouds :Book Talk Tuesday


From Seed to Pumpkin


Pumpkins can be baked in a pie, carved into jack-o'-lanterns, and roasted for a healthy snack. But how does a tiny seed turn into a big pumpkin? With clear text and detailed, colorful illustrations, this book explains what a pumpkin seed needs to help it grow! This book also includes delicious pumpkin recipes and easy experiments to do with pumpkin seeds.








How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
Here is an adorable picture book for curious kids, which explores skip counting and estimation in a fun pumpkin-themed classroom experiment. "How many seeds are in a pumpkin?" Mr. Tiffin asks his class as they gather around the big, medium, and small pumpkins on his desk. Robert, the biggest kid, guesses that the largest one has a million seeds; Elinor, sounding like she knows what she's talking about, guesses the medium one has 500 seeds; and Anna, who likes even numbers better than odd ones, guesses that the little one has 22. Charlie, the smallest boy in the class, doesn't have a guess. Counting pumpkin seeds is messy business, but once the slimy job is done, to everyone's surprise, the smallest pumpkin has the most seeds! As Charlie happily exclaims, "Small things have a lot going on inside of them." This book makes a wonderful read-aloud companion to any math or science curriculum, and it's a fun way to reinforce counting skills at home.


Pumpkin Jack
This is the perfect book for teaching about the life cycle of a pumpkin.
When Tim carves his first pumpkin, he names it Jack. When it finally begins to decay, he puts it in the garden rather than in the trash bin. As the months go by, Jack grows moldy, sinks into the leaves, hides in the snow, and finally sprouts a new plant. By the next fall, there are plenty of pumpkins for Tim to share at school. He keeps just one for himself and when he finishes carving it, he says "Welcome back, Jack!"

I put this book in the Science center with our very own Pumpkin Jack.  The kids record the changes they see taking place in their pumpkin science journal and also match what our Pumpkin Jack looks like to the illustrations in the book.  You can see our pumpkin Jack experiment below.






Too Many Pumpkins
Rebecca Estelle, had to eat lots of different  pumpkin dishes during her poor childhood, and now she hates them so much that when a pumpkin accidentally falls into her yard, she shovels dirt over it so she won't have to see or think about it again. In spite of all her efforts to try and bury the pumpkin, she has a yard FULL of them in the fall. Instead of letting the pumpkins go to waste she makes all of the pumpkin dishes from her childhood and carves the jack o'lanterns and invites her neighbors over to share in the festivities.  This is one of my favorite books!














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