T4EA Literacy News

October 2018

Confident Learners Is Up and Running!

We are very excited to announce that all of the schools within Treaty 4 Education Alliance are currently working towards implementing Confident Learners into their literacy programs this year. Our literacy team is eager to get out to all of our schools to assist teachers with placing their students on the literacy pathway and supporting the teachers with this new journey.

The Confident Learners app is up and running and all of your students should be in the program from K to Gr.3. If you have not yet logged in, your username and password should be in your education alliance email inbox. If for some reason you have not yet received it, or you are having trouble logging in, please contact us at T4EA.

We encourage you to take some time to get to know the Confident Learners web application and play around with it to get familiar. On the main page, when you first log in, there are user guides and training videos, along with several other resources to explore. You can access the app with a list of your students and the lessons by clicking on the "Instructional Application" button.

We recommend pinning the website to your task bar for easy access to the Confident Learners website. You can also access the Confident Learners website by going to our educationalliance.ca website and click on resources then scroll down to our list of programs we use within T4EA.

This is the direct link: https://app.confidentlearners.com/#/login

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out and contact us at: rkayseas@educationalliance.ca and sballard@educationalliance.ca.

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Book of the Month

At the end of the last school year, we handed out multiple copies of the 2016 Willow Book Award books to each of the schools. We want to make them as useful to the classroom teachers as possible so we will feature a book a month and provide the resources for teachers to use the books in their classrooms.

If you are wanting to use a book that we have not yet featured, you can visit the Willow Awards website at https://willowawards.ca/previous-years/2016/ and click on the book. A window will pop up with some information about the author, the illustrator and some suggested activities.

DOJO Daycare

DOJO Daycare is a storybook for the younger grades written by Chris Tougas.

"When the six ninja boys and girls are dropped off at Dojo Daycare, the dojo Master has no idea of the chaos he’s in for. All day long, the ninja boys and girls wreak havoc; they fight, tear up books, break furniture, and throw fits. Even though the Master speaks to them of honor, kindness, and respect, the chaos continues. Then, just before the ninja moms and dads arrive to retrieve their little ninjas, one of them yells, “Quiet!” All the ninjas turn to listen as their friend draws their attention to the Master’s feelings and the importance of honor, kindness, and respect. All six ninjas heed his words and pitch in to make the dojo look as good as new."

You can find a list of activities in the link below.

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Improving Comprehension: Visualization

Visualizing is an essential comprehension skill that allows students to create mental pictures in their mind as they read. If students lose their mental pictures when reading, they lose their comprehension as well. The beautiful thing about this strategy is that there are no wrong answers.

When teaching our students to visualize, it is important to choose the right text. Be sure to choose a text that is full of descriptive language. Some examples of descriptive books are:

  • Scarecrow - by Cynthia Rylant
  • Owl Moon - by Jane Yolen
  • Puddles - by Jonathan London
  • The Salamander Room - by Anne Mazer
  • A Bad Case of the Stripes - by David Shannon
  • Bedhead - by Margie Palatini

There are 4 levels of instructions for teaching visualization.

Step 1: Teacher Modeling

  • Establish the purpose of the strategy/lesson.
  • Explain the strategy, demonstrate it often and use "thinking aloud" to model the though processes a student should go through.

Step 2: Guided Practice

  • This is where the teacher and the students practice together. The teacher encourages the students and provides positive feedback. This allows the students to gain confidence in this new skill.
  • A good tip is to give the students freedom to record their visualizations without the restrictions of lined paper or graphic organizers. Try using a blank piece of drawing paper to begin.

Step 3: Independent Practice

  • Students are given the opportunity to practice independently. The teacher offers feedback and talks to students about their drawings.
  • Here are some key phrases that you might choose to use when meeting with students; Tell me about what you saw in your mind. What did you visualize while you were listening to the story? What are you working on now? Tell me a little about your picture and what you visualized.
  • Keep these questions in your mind or in a notebook as you meet with your students; What vocabulary words are students using from the text? What have students inferred?Where did they lose comprehension? Did they sketch? Did they use words? Phrases? Whole sentences? What are my next steps with this student?

Step 4: Application of the Strategy in Real Reading Situations & Connections to Independent Reading

Possible activities are things such as:
  • Having the students listen to a book with their eyes closed, they then discuss the images that popped into their heads as they listened.
  • Drawing and labeling visualizations as the occur during a reading of a book.
  • Choose two characters and visualize the different point of views in the story.
  • Predict what happens next through drawings
  • Practice 'Showing Not Telling' while writing in journals or while writing stories

- Scholastic, Developing Reading Comprehension

through use of the Visualization Strategy by

Amanda N. Nelson, 7 Keys to Comprehension

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B.E.A.D.S. Activities to Try This Month

B.E.A.D.S. is a sight word program created and distributed by T4EA. There are 5 categories or words that should be taught in the following order; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue. It is recommended that each student is assessed using our B.E.A.D.S. Assessment Guide at the beginning of the school year and repeatedly, every 6 weeks or so, throughout the year so that the students are always challenged to learn new words.

It is a common misconception that students need to learn the alphabet before they can learn sight words. This is not true! Sight words are words that are best memorized by the students because they are often words that cannot be sounded out. You can start teaching sight words from the first day of school.

If you have any questions at all about the B.E.A.D.S. program, please reach out to us here at T4EA and we will do what we can to support you.

Reading Assessments are Due in October

October 12th is the day that T4EA asks you to submit your F&P Reading Benchmark levels into ODMS. This assessment can be very time consuming but it can also offer you a wealth of information.

This is the link to the ODMS site: https://fpdms.heinemann.com/#/public/login. Your account information should be in your education alliance email. If at anytime you forget the site address for ODMS, remember that you can always find the links to all of the programs we support on our education alliance website, http://educationalliance.ca.

Here are some quick tips for completing the reading benchmarks within your classroom:

  • Retest often! We recommend retesting students every 6 weeks to keep track of student progress. The idea is to keep your students challenged at all times. If your students are not challenged, then they are probably not progressing as much as they could be.
  • You may have to test each student more than once! The goal is to find the students instructional level. I have attached 2 documents below that will assist you with finding the student's instructional level.
  • Keep notes on the assessment papers that will help you with lesson planning and goal setting for each of your students. These notes can be anything you notice about your student's reading abilities such as strengths, weaknesses, speed, fluency, word recognition, patterns in errors, ability to self-correct, etc.
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Submit Your Successes!!

We are surrounded by bright and talented people every single day! There is so much creativity and great ideas floating around our schools and we want you to share this with us so that we can highlight your hard work and skills!

We are asking you to share with us any classroom successes, highlights, stories, pictures, jokes and/or written stories that we can add to our newsletter to share with all of our readers.

We would also appreciate any feedback you might have about our Literacy Newsletter. This includes ideas/suggestions, topics to write about, and general thoughts. Maybe you tried an activity we suggested or had to modify it to fit your classroom. We would love to know how it went or any modifications you made.

You can submit your successes, stories, pictures, ideas and suggestions by clicking on the contact Treaty 4 Education Alliance button at the top of the newsletter or by emailing myself directly at sballard@educationalliance.ca.

It is important to note that any student submissions need to be accompanied by a media release form. I have provided a copy of the media release form below.