North Side Paw Prints
November 1, 2013
Volume 5, Issue 12
Congratulations Keeley Ebert, Laura Stoll, and Linda Potter for Going the Extra Mile this Month!
"You do not know your true limits until you choose to overcome the fear that holds you back from greatness."
Nov. 5th - Picture Retakes in room 112; Band Concert 6:30
Nov. 6th - Jeans for Troops (pay $5 and wear jeans to school)
Nov. 7th - Staff Meeting at 3:10 in the library
Nov. 11th - Veterans Day Program 1:45-2:15; SOM Names Due to Venita
Nov. 12th - PTO Meeting at 5:30 in the library
Nov. 14th - Blood Draw for Health Screenings before school for those signed up; Fundraiser delivered (lobby will be open until 6 for late pick-ups)
Nov. 20th - Progress reports due to the office; Philharmonic Performance (4th-6th grade) at 1:00 and (K-3rd grade) at 1:45
Nov. 21st - Progress reports issued; 2nd Grade Concert 6:30 Cafeteria
Nov. 21st-22nd - Section 125 representative, room 112
Nov. 22nd - Fundraiser money due
Nov. 25th - Acuity B (LA and Math) Window Opens
Nov. 26th - Going the Extra Mile Nominees due to the jar in the office.
Nov. 27th-29th - Thanksgiving Break
Dec. 4th - Acuity (Science/Social Studies) Window Opens
Dec. 5th - Staff Meeting 3:10 in library
Dec. 6th - Father/Daughter Dance 7:00-8:00pm
Dec. 9th-13th - 3rd Grade go swimming 9:00-10:00am
Dec. 10th - Acuity B (LA & Math); Window Closes PTO Meeting 5:30 in library
Dec. 16th - Leadership Meeting 3:10 in conference room
Dec. 17th - Acuity B (Science/Social Studies) Window Closes; Winter Program grades K-1, 6:30 pm
Dec. 19th - Fundraiser Prize Assembly 1:30 in gym
Dec. 20th - End of 1st Semester
Dec. 23rd-Jan 3rd - Winter Break
This Week's Case Conferences
11/5 at 7:20: Sibert and Kneller
11/7 at 7:30: Savage, Stoll, Kneller
11/8 at 4:00: Moore
Featured Instructional Strategy of the Week
Teaching Main Idea!
Build background knowledge without always pre-reading
Dr. Robert Marzano was one of the first educational researchers to cite the value in building background knowledge in learners. The data reveals that the more prior knowledge you have on a topic before reading about it, the better you would comprehend the new information about the topic.
For this reason, it has become commonplace in classrooms to execute a variety of pre-reading activities prior to reading a difficult text about an unfamiliar concept.
But now the authors of the ELA Common Core are encouraging teachers to "sharply curtail"
pre-reading activities to increase rigor and simulate real-world reading.
"Perhaps one of the mistakes in the past effort to improve reading achievement has been the removal of struggle. As a profession, we might have made reading tasks too easy" (Text Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading, D. Fisher, N. Frey, D. Lapp, p. 11).
The authors contend that such a "productive struggle" teaches students to persevere through complex text.
Expecting students to pre-read independently
Don't misunderstand. We should teach pre-reading skills to students, especially in the early elementary grades. However, at some point we need to expect them to execute these habits independently and proficiently.
Eventually, we should provide a text and give students 1-3 minutes to independently preview the text. They can skim the text features, note the boldface words, make initial connections, and develop predictions all on their own. This allows teachers to focus more on strategies to read the text and less on strategies to prepare to read the text.
Building background knowledge with alternative texts
So... We shouldn't conduct whole-class pre-reading activities? What about building background knowledge? There are a lot of ways to build background knowledge without actually previewing the complex text in question. For example:
- Reveal photographs (or illustrations, diagrams, maps, or other visual texts) from outside the main text that provide necessary information/background on the topic. Whether it's through projected images from the Internet or printed stills, we can give students a visual to tuck into their backpacks of background knowledge.
- Show related movie clips or website videos that will provide some necessary background knowledge.
- Read a nonfiction picture book that depicts a single facet of the concept or defines essential vocabulary that will be referenced in the complex text. (A great resource for identifying picture books sorted by content-area and concept is Lester Laminack's Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum.)
Grasping the big picture
Consider collecting a combination of text types to be read before the main, complex one. This is the concept of building a text set. By doing this, you scaffold students' knowledge on an unfamiliar topic without pre-reading the complex text. (Not to mention that this text variety--visual, printed, digital, multimodal--has students reading more!)
The Common Core merely asserts that pre-reading alone is not an effective strategy for teaching kids to tackle complex texts. In fact, a regular diet of summarizing the text before reading can inadvertently ruin the reading experience for the students.
CCR.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Featured Video of the Week
In this video, Kristina Smekens does a book review for Fox by Margaret Wild. Great for inferring! (We have this book at North Side)