The Book Fort
Instructional Ideas for Immediate Implementation
Welcome to The Book Fort! Vol. 1 Issue 9
Missed previous issues? Find them below:
Week Nine: More Learning, Less Stress
Stuart's weekly newsletter and instructional resources are amazingly practical and free for everyone to use as they will. He decided not to freak out about the CCSS, but to get smart about how he taught them. All teachers can appreciate getting more bang for their instructional bucks. "More Learning, Less Stress" is a mantra we can all get behind.
The strategies that follow come from Dave Stuart, Jr. and originate from his blogs and newsletters. His work can be found in the following places:
Reading Strategy: Read Purposefully and Often
Here are two valuable tips from section II, "Read Purposefully and Often":
- Don't over-scaffold: make sure not to spend more time preparing supports for the complex texts you are teaching than students will spend working with the texts. Tap into existing knowledge and skills first by pre-assessing informally and building on what students can already do well instead of assuming they are all going to struggle with complex text.
- Take the shortest and most effective route to meeting an objective: Mike Schmoker's graphic (pictured below) is used to illustrate the instructional "sweetspot" that we need to hit so we don't waste valuable instructional time in teaching complex texts.
Writing Strategy: Two Paragraph Composition
Speaking Strategy: Pop-Up Debate
Pop-Up Debate is a method for managing and facilitating in-class debates; it is easily modifiable for other speaking scenarios, such as discussions or toasts.
Here's Pop-Up Debate:
- Students use assigned text(s), logic, and/or course content to respond to a debatable prompt and their peers' arguments using the rules below.
- Every student speaks 1+ times, depending on time constraints. These times limits are set by the teacher.
- To speak, students simply "pop up" at their seats and talk. First person to speak has the floor. When multiple students pop up, teach them to politely yield the floor. Argument is a collaborative endeavor, and collaboration isn't a pointed finger and, "Sit down, I was up first.
More about classroom management considerations for this can be found here.
MindShift: How we will learn.
What Kids are Reading
Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Caroline M., 2nd grader from Jupiter Beach, Florida, loves to read the Frog and Toad books because "Frog and Toad are best friends like me and Skylar." This is an I can Read Stories leveled book for young readers.
Michael Vey Series by Richard Paul Evans
Trash by Andy Mulligan