Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers
Instructional Resources for Writing Workshop
Lately we are all so busy assessing... DRA, phonemic awareness, progress monitoring, NWEA... the list could go on and on. It's easy to get focused on the final score or level a child achieves on these assessments, but what's most important is noticing the strengths and needs of each child. What does each child know and understand? What does he or she need to learn and practice in order to move forward? My favorite post this week is from Paula Bourque, a literacy specialist in Augusta. I hope you will take a few minutes to read her post, Let's Look Beyond That Level.
My favorite quote from Paula:
"Assessment is not a dirty word. It actually stems from the Latin “assessus“, which means seated beside. So let’s sit beside our students in the next month or so and assess what they bring to the table as readers and writers. Let’s not observe from a deficit model and focus on the errors. Let’s notice and build on their strengths, plan ways to support their needs, and look beyond that score that we log into a spreadsheet. Let’s use the assessments as the teaching tool it was designed to be. Let’s reclaim our assessments as something positive for teaching and learning."
February is the month for the Read to Me Challenge! Here's more information on the Read to Me Challenge from the Maine DOE. Let's celebrate with lots of read alouds!
Favorite New Read Alouds
Fenway and Hattie
Adorable, fun read aloud by Victoria Coe! Perfect for grades 2 and up!
Beautifully written middle grade novel by Maine author, Lynn Plourde!
Incredible story by Barbara O'Connor that will inspire deep conversations with our upper elementary students!
Posts for Celebrating and Supporting Readers
This post includes a great idea for book recommendations and sharing our reading lives from my friend, Melissa Guerrette, who is a upper elementary teacher in Oxford. You may want to try this idea for February vacation!
Great article with thoughts, ideas and suggestions for building stamina and a growth mindset with our struggling readers and writers.
New Blog Posts from Two Writing Teachers
I love the ideas in this post, including a Wall of Topics and Heart Maps! Betsy Hubbard's ideas are excellent for persuasive writing and the importance of providing opportunities for students to share their opinions, ideas, and dreams about changing the world in big and small ways.
Writing workshop time is often focused on our current Unit of Study. This post includes great ideas for incorporating writing outside of your writing workshop.
This post includes some great questions for students to use when considering the audience for their writing.
K-2 teachers should check out the mentor texts and ideas in this post for a mini-unit on writing pattern books!
The Atwood teachers selected Celebrating Writers as their spring book talk selection. Our focus will be on the share time of writing workshop, as well as building a celebration into each Unit of Study. Our book study time could also be a great time to check out the app SeeSaw for student portfolios. I am excited to hear the ideas of the group and hope to share them with you in a future newsletter!
Check out Ruth's Discover. Play. Build. YouTube Channel. She has more than one hundred lessons organized into playlists by grade level or topic. Enjoy!
Ruth also has free videos and resources for writing on her website, Discover. Play. Build.
I'm excited to explore these materials more!