Monday Morning Motivation

Central Elementary Staff News----September 28-October 2

Creating a Masterpiece

Dear Staff,

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a friend's 50th birthday party held at one of those painting places. Although my painting is nowhere near a Van Gogh or a masterpiece, it was a time of relaxation and reflection. While there, painting a landscape, I couldn't help but think about the masterpieces we are creating here at Central Elementary School. The vision and dream I have for our school canvas, along with an article I read by John Maxwell, has lead me to the following description of our school masterpiece:

  • A Horizon - We have incredible opportunities because we have great students and parents. As we look ahead we can become the best school in our district, county and state.
  • The Sun - Our staff is warm, kind, and nurturing to the children. Additionally, we are filled with knowledgeable staff, who give 100 percent every day. People here, provided with the right conditions, can grow.
  • Mountains - Represent the challenges ahead. Our mountains are in the form of state exams along with growth and performance goals. We are teaching and aiming for an ever moving target.
  • Birds - We can soar like eagles as we continue to reach for excellence.
  • Flowers - To remind you to enjoy the journey. Take time to talk with colleagues and find joy in our jobs. Laugh with the children and at the things that happen each day. This is tough work and we need to take time for ourselves.
  • A Path - As I learn of information, I will give it to you. We are on this journey together. We will "leave no teacher behind."
  • My dream is to be the most family friendly, top-scoring school in the district, county and state. Be assured, I will work very hard to get us there.
  • Our school will have the best test scores because students and families will want to be here. They will want to support us and grow together.
  • Can you see it?
  • Who doesn't want to be a part of a masterpiece?

Have a great week!


A Week at a Glance

Central Calendar

MONDAY, September 28

  • Book Fair Dress Up Days Begin! Pajama Day
  • I am out at Franklin Community High School for DOE AdvancED Training

TUESDAY, September 29

  • Crazy Sock Day
  • Grade Level Meetings with Pat and I to review school data.
  • Public Agency Representative Training at Central Office

WEDNESDAY, September 30

  • Non-fictional Character Day

THURSDAY, October 1

  • Fictional Character Day
  • Faculty Meeting with dinner
  • Grandparents night 5-7

FRIDAY, October 2

  • Central Pride Day
Big image

Curriculum and Instruction

Facts About Round Robin Reading and Better Approaches, Keep Reading

In RRR, students read orally from a common text, one child after another, while the rest of the class follows along in their copies of the text. Several spinoffs of the technique offer negligible advantages over RRR, if any. They simply differ in how the reading transition occurs:

  • Popcorn Reading: A student reads orally for a time, and then calls out "popcorn" before selecting another student in class to read.
  • Combat Reading: A kid nominates a classmate to read in the attempt to catch a peer off task, explains Gwynne Ash and Melanie Kuhn in their chapter of Fluency Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices (PDF, 177KB).
  • Popsicle Stick Reading: Student names are written on Popsicle sticks and placed in a can. The learner whose name is drawn reads next.
  • Touch Go Reading: As described by Professor Cecile Somme, the instructor taps a child when it's his or her turn to read.

Of the thirty-odd studies and articles I've consumed on the subject, only one graduate research paper claimed a benefit to RRR or its variations, stating tepidly that perhaps RRR isn't as awful as everyone says. Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones' criticism is unmitigated: “We know of no research evidence that supports the claim that RRR actually contributes to students becoming better readers, either in terms of their fluency or comprehension." (PDF, 271KB)

Why all the Negative feelings? Because Round Robin Reading . . .

  • Stigmatizes poor readers. Imagine the terror that English-language learners and struggling readers face when made to read in front of an entire class.
  • Weakens comprehension. Listening to a peer orally read too slowly, too fast, or too haltingly weakens learners' comprehension -- a problem exacerbated by turn-taking interruptions. (PDF, 177KB)
  • Sabotages fluency and pronunciation. Struggling readers model poor fluency skills and pronunciation. When instructors correct errors, fluency is further compromised.

To be clear, oral reading does improve fluency, comprehension and word recognition (though silent/independent reading should occur far more frequently as students advance into the later grades). Fortunately, other oral reading activities offer significant advantages over RRR and its cousins. As you'll see in the list below, many of them share similar features.

11 Better Approaches

1. Choral Reading

The teacher and class read a passage aloud together, minimizing struggling readers' public exposure. In a 2011 study of over a hundred sixth graders (PDF, 232KB), David Paige found that 16 minutes of whole-class choral reading per week enhanced decoding and fluency. In another version, every time the instructor omits a word during her oral reading, students say the word all together.

2. Partner Reading

Two-person student teams alternate reading aloud, switching each time there is a new paragraph. Or they can read each section at the same time.


The Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) exercises pair strong and weak readers who take turns reading, re-reading, and retelling. (PDF, 177KB)

4. Silent Reading

For added scaffolding, frontload silent individual reading with vocabulary instruction, a plot overview, an anticipation guide, or KWL+ activity.

5. Teacher Read Aloud

This activity, says Julie Adams of Adams Educational Consulting, is "perhaps one of the most effective methods for improving student fluency and comprehension, as the teacher is the expert in reading the text and models how a skilled reader reads using appropriate pacing and prosody (inflection)." Playing an audiobook achieves similar results.

6. Echo Reading

Students "echo" back what the teacher reads, mimicking her pacing and inflections.

7. Shared Reading/Modeling

By reading aloud while students follow along in their own books, theinstructor models fluency, pausing occasionally to demonstrate comprehension strategies. (PDF, 551KB)

8. The Crazy Professor Reading Game

Chris Biffle's Crazy Professor Reading Game video (start watching at 1:49) is more entertaining than home movies of Blue Ivy. To bring the text to life, students . . .

  • Read orally with hysterical enthusiasm
  • Reread with dramatic hand gestures
  • Partner up with a super-stoked question asker and answerer
  • Play "crazy professor" and "eager student" in a hyped-up overview of the text.

9. Buddy Reading

Kids practice orally reading a text in preparation for reading to an assigned buddy in an earlier grade.

10. Timed Repeat Readings

This activity can aid fluency, according to literacy professors Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones (PDF, 271KB). After an instructor reads (with expression) a short text selection appropriate to students' reading level (90-95 percent accuracy), learners read the passage silently, then again loudly, quickly, and dynamically. Another kid graphs the times and errors so that children can track their growth.

11. FORI

With Fluency-Oriented Reading Instruction (FORI), primary students read the same section of a text many times over the course of a week (PDF, 54KB). Here are the steps:

  1. The teacher reads aloud while students follow along in their books.
  2. Students echo read.
  3. Students choral read.
  4. Students partner read.
  5. The text is taken home if more practice is required, and extension activities can be integrated during the week.

I hope that the activities described above -- in addition to other well-regarded strategies, like reciprocal teaching, reader's theater, and radio reading -- can serve as simple replacements to Round Robin Reading in your classroom.

Edutopia by Todd Finley


Announcements and Reminders

  • (fyi-most recent information at the bottom)
  • Legacy foundation Grants-Mark your calendars. Legacy Foundation Grant applications will be due on November 1st and April 1st this school year. This is a great opportunity to have ideas/projects for your classroom funded up to $500.00.
  • Make sure to update your grades in PowerSchool at least weekly. In the rare event that you must hold onto an assignment longer than that, be sure to let your parents know that in your weekly newsletters.
  • Just keeping you in the loop. We will have Colts Blue here on October 9th at 2:30 for our first Central Celebration.

  • Criminal Background checks are now required for overnight field trips.

  • We will have the Body Safety presentation this year on December 2.

  • This week, Pat and I will be around to talk about your grade level data.

  • SLO's are due by the end of September. See me if you have questions.

  • PTO is buying dinner for the staff on October 1st since we have a Faculty Meeting and Grandparents. Please see me for individual conflicts and we can work it out.

  • Please begin thinking about date for your long observation. Email Karen for a time.

Big image

Celebrating the Book Board Project!


  • 15 Central Students participated in the SuperHero Run at the high school on Saturday. Great Job, Jennie.
  • Our students have been so generous and have raised over $1500.00 for Ruby's Rebels to support JDRF. We will announce official totals and class winners Tuesday morning. Please get your class sneaker total to Karen. Thank You Karen, Margaret and Josh for counting all that money and handing out sneakers!!
  • Celebrate teachers diving into STAR 360 data even though some of the reports seem out of their comfort zone. Remember, I am here to help--not judge, so feel free to contact me as we are all in this together for students.
  • Great walking field trips and Conner Prairie trip!
  • ATTENDANCE THIS WEEK! 97.88 percent. Thanks Laura Burkert! Keep encouraging our students to be here. They will miss something if they are not!
  • A successful PTO meeting. Attendance was record setting. Annie Pagels had the most parents attend.
  • The Dairy Queen dine and donate was well attended. Thanks for getting the word out.
  • The Book Board Project! Wait until you see the wonderful work our students did to celebrate reading. Let's celebrate Kathy Crum and Andria Edwards for the great work preparing for the Book Fair. Can't wait to visit this week!
Big image
Big image