Claunch Connection


Problem Solving Facilitaion

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to facilitating Lone STAAR Problem Solving in your classrooms. It is 100% aligned to the TEKS and to STAAR so it is the most valuable and beneficial resources we have. As with any new program, it's a journey and we are definitely headed in the right direction.

On our learning walks Wednesday the 2nd, we saw some amazing problem solving. I took some notes and wanted to highlight some of the greatness!

  • It was evident problems were planned and questions were discussed as a team
  • Teacher Guides were used!!!
  • The facilitation of the problems varied... and it should depending on your class
  • Students were talking to each other about the problem
  • Manipulatives were out when necessary
  • Extensions were posted for kids to move on if done with the problem
  • Timers were used to insure the PS didn't go too long.. we are teaching kids to think quickly
  • Data was being taken while teacher walked around
  • Small groups were pulled when kids were stuck
  • Most students were cognitively engaged
  • Kagan structures were used
  • Math partnerships were evident

Keep ALL of this up!!! These student and teacher behaviors are what will make our kiddos most successful. Problem Solving will look a little different every day depending on the concept and where your class is. The teacher guides are a great resource to continue to plan questioning from (you do not have to follow it word for word or ask every question).

Remember to "Let it Go" (you can imagine me singing it if it helps :)). Let the kiddos try on their own first before guidance from you and before working with others. Let kiddos in grade 2-5 read the question on their own. You then facilitate with a couple of questions here and there.

ELAR/ Social Studies

Non-Fiction Reading

I went to a wonderful training on Non-Fiction reading this week by Donalyn Miller. She is the author of "The Book Whisperer and "Reading in the Wild" both amazing books on reading instruction. The title of the workshop was "Dead Presidents and Whales". A 5th grade student actually named the workshop unknowingly. Her teacher asked her what genres she avoided and she said it was non-fiction "because all it is, is dead presidents and whales, who wants to read books like that for fun?" This got me to thinking. Kiddos in younger grades love non-fiction because they want to know "why". As they get into the upper grades that tapers off and they aren't as interested in non-fiction. What we have to do as teachers is keep that love alive by introducing them to different types of non-fiction. Studies show that reading achievement increases as the diversity of the students reading experiences increases. There are some amazing non-fiction texts out there that kids would LOVE. Through read alouds in class and book talks you can show your kids how interesting non-fiction can be! I left wanting to read a few of these titles myself. I will be compiling a list of some great non-fiction books and will get it to you soon.

Social Studies

Each grade level has both options for the Social Studies text book adoption. Please continue to use these while planning your social studies lessons. They are not written into the curriculum, but they are based on the TEKS, so just take the TEKS your studying and browse each resource to see if there is something you can use. The curriculum writing team for social studies will be voting on which option is best for our students, but they need your input! In January I will get with a vertical team of teachers to fill out some paperwork on each option, so please continue using these resources and discussing as a team which option is best for your students.