From the Desk of Kelly Harmon
December 2016 Newsletter
-Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
Holiday Fun for Reading & Writing!
Holiday Readers Theaters
The holidays are a great time for students to act out plays while practicing fluency! Create your own readers theater scripts from your favorite holiday books or use these free ones!
Holiday Book Clubs or Literature Circles
Incorporate holiday texts into your book club or literature circle text choices. Check out this fun article on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!
Holiday Book Flood
Head down to your school or local library and check out holiday books to introduce your students to celebrations around the world! Incorporate learning about cultural celebrations, along with holiday cookbooks to give students a variety of texts and structures to read. Display the books in an appealing way (think Barnes and Nobel) to get kids excited about reading the texts.
Reading to Younger Students as an Act of Kindness
Invite younger students into your classroom for partner reading time! Read holiday books together and share different holiday traditions. It is also fun to put on a holiday readers theater show for other classes as well!
Nothing says the holidays like yummy food! Have students prepare a recipe from their family or culture to share with the class. You could even have a cooking show in your classroom to share all the recipes!
Expository Writing: Family Traditions
December is a great time to get students writing to explain how their family spends the holiday break! This will allow others to get a glimpse of everyone's traditions and cultural celebrations. Also, consider having students write to describe the best gift they ever gave or received.
Holiday Book Talks
After your holiday book flood, have students write a book talk or commercial to share with others. Publish them in a podcast or over the morning announcements! This is a great way to get students interested in reading different books.
Who doesn't love getting a Christmas card in the mail. Students can create Christmas cards, postcards, yearly letters, etc. to send out to family and friends. Take it a step further by creating a Shadow Puppet show (with the Shadow Puppets App) wishing family and friends a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays!
Learning Targets for Writing
Writing is a macro-process that must be chunked into digestible learning sequence. Writing demands that the writer make a series of complex decisions about the message and information to provide for the specific audience. In order to develop writing proficiency, instruction must be carefully planned.
This writing learning targets resource will help you as you plan a unit of study for writing. Notice how the learning targets reflect a part of the standard and build towards mastery of the standard. Be sure to check your grade level standards to ensure you are using the targets that relate to grade level expectations.
· I can plan a first draft.
· I can select a genre for conveying my message.
· I can identify several brainstorm strategies topics related to the purpose of the essay.
· I can brainstorm topics for my essay.
· I can select a topic for my essay.
· I can choose a strategy for brainstorming ideas that relate to the writing purpose.
· I can make connections between a writing prompt and my own original ideas that focus the essay and clearly connect to the writing task.
· I can create a graphic organizer that shows a clear plan for sequencing key ideas.
· I can generate and write an original central idea in a topic sentence that clearly communicates a message related to the writing prompt.
· I can categorize ideas into paragraphs.
· I can organize the flow of paragraphs in an essay.
· I can create transitions between the paragraphs.
· I can explain how transitions show relationships between ideas.
· I can select an introduction strategy and write an effective introduction.
· I can identify strategies for concluding an expository essay.
· I can write supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations that are clearly connected.
· I can select a strategy and write a concluding statement.
· I can revise drafts for coherence, organization.
Ryan Doetch's RTI Reading Resources!
We especially LOVE his RTI Resources for Reading page. Click here to visit! You will find resources for decoding, goal setting, Guided Reading Strategies and much more! Best of all, it's FREE!
Habits of the Mind: Thinking About Your Thinking
Thinking about your thinking is a critical skill that students need to see modeled, discussed, and practiced. Being aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions and the effects on others is important to being a problem solver and compassionate citizen. This habit is also known as "knowing about knowing".
I have used Art Costa's "Habits of Mind" as a springboard for discussion.
Using children's literature or novel studies, we can help students identify with characters who demonstrate examples and non-examples of positive academic behaviors. Below are a few books you can read and discuss during the next few weeks of school.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
By: Laura Numeroff
The mouse and boy are on one adventure after another! Through the cause and effect of each action, the boy is having to constantly think ahead as to what the mouse will want or do next. Habits of the Mind: Thinking About Your Thinking, Gathering Data Through the Senses, Finding Humor.
I Wanna Iguana
By: Karen Kaufman Orloff & David Castrow
Alex is trying to convince his mom, through a series of letters, to let him get a pet iguana. Alex and his mom go back and forth thinking through all the things that could happen if he got an iguana. Both characters are thinking ahead and critically about this big decision! Habits of the Mind: Thinking about Thinking, Thinking Flexibly, Persisting, Questioning & Posing Problems.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
By: John Scieska
Alexander T. Wolf is in a whole heap of trouble! He asked his neighbor to borrow a cup sugar and that's when his life changed forever. He is out to tell the "real" story of the three little pigs. Travel through Alexander's thoughts and actions on the day of the major offense! Habits of the Mind: Thinking About Your Thinking, Thinking & Communicating With Clarity & Precision.
From Phonics to Fluency: Developing Reading Proficiency
Phonics and fluency go hand-and-hand because they are both essential components of a proficient reader. Join Kelly Harmon this fall to boost your knowledge of how to take your students from just sounding out words to reading smoothly with expression! Explore engaging activities that will get your students fluently reading in no time. Plus explore ways to boost reading comprehension skills! For more information, visit our website!
Comprehension Strategies: Following Figure 19
In this energizing, fast-paced seminar, educators will learn how to guide students' intentional thinking about reading complex texts. This seminar is focused on teaching students the six key Comprehension Strategies (Figure 19 ). Kelly Harmon will provide instruction, activities, and ideas for engaging students in close and recreational reading. For more information, visit our website!
Title I Leadership Conference: Two Day Intensive
Learn how to better lead your school or district Title I team in this strategy-packed, two-day institute led by nationally acclaimed presenter, Kelly Harmon. You will discover how to work with teachers to identify and implement the most effective cutting-edge, research-based instructional strategies to increase school and district wide student achievement. You will learn how to develop teacher expertise in working with struggling students along with ways to continually monitor and adjust instruction based on student results. For more information visit, www.ber.org
MARZANO CENTER: ESSENTIALS FOR ACHIEVING RIGOR SERIES IN SAN ANTONIO, TX
In Core Instruction, teachers will learn to construct and implement instructional strategies that help students build foundations when learning new grade-level specific TEKS content.
In Deepening Core Instruction, teachers will learn to construct and implement research-based instructional strategies that support students as they expand, apply, and deepen their understanding of the TEKS student expectations.
In Learning for Targets and Measures, teachers will learn to construct and implement rigorous TEKS-based learning goals and performance scales that not only help students understand what they are learning but also drive instructional decisions.
In Facilitating Complex Learning, teachers will learn to construct and implement research-based instructional strategies that ask students to utilize the knowledge and skills they learn. Highly effective strategies will be modeled and recommended for use when facilitating students as they engage in cognitively complex tasks.
All sessions are offered at Education Service Center, Region 20.