MES K-2 Coach's Corner
Tidbits of helpful information April 2015
Kathy Bomba Does Homework!
Fitness and Wellness
I am taking a class at Alamance Community College called Fitness and Wellness. My purpose in going back to college is to earn 2 college credits. In order to continue working as a teaching assistant I must be officially "highly qualified" according to our state's requirements.
Lots And Lots Of HOMEWORK!
The class has been a challenge for me. Alamance Community College offers this class as an online class and I have never taken this kind of class. Additionally, I have been out of school for many, many years. While it has been an adjustment it has also been extremely positive.
I have put a tremendous amount of effort into my studies. (I made a 100 on my first big paper!) The chapters in my book are painted with bright highlighter. The professor offers lecture notes. Then, I am required to post a response to these notes as well as responding to classmates' posts. An online class takes more time than I ever thought it would. As part of my course work I had to write my own Personal Fitness Plan replete with a Nutrition Plan. The work requires detailed answers which, in turn, requires lots and lots of hours doing homework. Next is my final so for the next several weeks I am actively studying. I have learned so much from this class. I am thankful I took this risk and challenged my thinking.
Fitness and Wellness
Lots And Lots Of HOMEWORK!
STRATEGY GROUP FORMAT
Strategy groups are effective for all writers. Whether they are working at, above, or below standards, gathering your students together to help them stretch their skills is important!
Page 68 in Writing Pathways K-5 describes an effective structure for small group writing instruction. Note that this is only about a 10 minute session. Keep it brief! You are not trying to hit every teachable moment.
1 - 2 minutes: Teacher briefly introduces reason for small group
Be as direct as possible in explaining why students have been gathered together. Using language such as, “I think your writing will get a lot stronger if you…” helps children understand what is expected of them.
If you refer to a mentor text, be sure it is familiar. Do not introduce a new text within this format.
5 - 6 minutes: Children work (together or individually) as teacher coaches students
As you coach students while writing, “Aim for your commentary to lift their level of work a notch but not for it to solve all the problems you can possibly find.” Stay focused on the reason you’ve gathered students together and be encouraging in helping students persist while working. “You aren’t trying to make writing perfect; you are trying to help the writers practice more skilled work on the one trajectory you’ve chose to address.”
1 minute: Teacher concludes group
Encourage students to do this work across multiple texts. They should return to their other writing to continue this strategy.
WAYS TO DETERMINE WHEN TO HAVE A STRATEGY GROUP
- As you hold individual conferences, look for patterns across students. Create a strategy group for students with similar needs.
- You can use the student checklists in our writing units as a quick reference to consider the skills students should master in a particular genre.
- Review the grade level CCSS and the point based rubrics from our writing units to consider more deeply the skills students need to master and where you see pockets of children who need additional support to meet those expectations.
- Consider the CCSS and the point based rubric for the next grade level, or beyond as needed, to look for ways to push small clusters of students who have mastered the grade level expectations for the genre.
CONFERRING RESOURCE FOR STRATEGY GROUPS & INDIVIDUALIZED CONFERRING: IF... THEN... CURRICULUM BOOKS
The If...Then... Curriculum books from the writing kits contain three sections of possible conferring scenarios. These are divided by genre. Within each genre, there are suggestions for conferring related to structure and cohesion, elaboration, language, generating ideas, drafting, revision and editing.
Check out the Table of Contents in your If... Then... Curriculum guide to see brief headings for all of the conferring scenarios that are included.
WRITING STRATEGY GROUPS & GUIDED READING: HOW ARE THEY SIMILAR?
As in guided reading, this is a time when the teacher is focused tightly on a small group of learners. During this small group time, the teacher can provide link ups to mini-lessons shared with the whole class and give an opportunity for the writers to engage with the mini-lesson concepts while the teacher is close by to guide and support.
Guided Reading and Writing Strategy Groups: Core Understandings
Small group instruction
Focus on a specific teaching point
Match instruction to developmental level
Model, teach, link up to mini-lessons
Students individually interact with print
Students take responsibility to apply the learning
Guide reflection on the learning
Connect to personal use of the strategies
Excerpted from "Guided Writing" by Linda Hoyt.
STUDENT TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Emily, Ashtyn and Christina are our student teachers in kindergarten. Emily has worked with Natalie all year and is ready to graduate. Besides preparing for graduation day she is also attending job fairs. (In fact, she has numerous principals interested in her!!) As part of her course work she and her teammates had to create a Teacher Action Plan. The purpose of this project was to design and implement a project that would improve McDougle Elementary in some way. Thank you, Emily. We applaud your work on behalf of our students!
Ashtyn, who worked with Hope this year, joined Emily and Christina Adcock to design a Donors Choose grant. The grant is called "Oh, the Places We'll Go". Ashtyn helped their group narrow the focus to build the nonfiction section of our book room. Ashtyn is also attending job fairs but she has a yen to move out of the area. She's ready for a new adventure! Thank you, Ashtyn. We appreciate the efforts you invested to make our school an even better place for all children.
Just a Sample
Lots of new titles are now catalogued and ready for you to check out. Have fun!
And now...A little something from me to you!
1 pint sour cream 2 cups mayo 4 T. chopped fresh dill
1 T. grated green onion 1 T. Beaumonde spice
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
Mix together and refrigerate
Homemade Boursin Cheese
2 T. butter, softened 1/2 tsp. pressed garlic
1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh dill
1/8 tsp. thyme
2 T. finely chopped parsley
8 ounces cream cheese
Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well. Add cream cheese and mix until completely blended and smooth. fill in a crock or ramekin of some kind. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Chick Pea and Feta Salad
4 large cans chick peas, rinsed and drained.
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 - 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 cup of garlic vinagrette
1 cup red wine vinegar 4 T. whole grain mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed salt and pepper, heavy on pepper
Process and add 3 cups olive oil (do this in a food processor or blender)