Teacher Talk with Kelly and Randi

February 2019

Dear Educators,

Thank you for your continued readership in 2019! This month we are focused on student expository writing, inferring before reading, and sharing an effective (and fun!) phonics game. We've also included a new children's book about numbers and links for several of our upcoming seminars, both virtual and in-person.


If there is anything you would like to see in our March newsletter, please email us and let us know. In addition, we would LOVE to feature you as you are using any ideas from our newsletter or seminars in your classroom- so please be sure to share with us!


Happy Teaching!

-Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson

Why Read?

Many struggling readers can't answer this question. They think reading is hard or boring or simply done because "you have to do it". What we can help them understand is that we read to change our heads and our hearts. We read to add to our schema and understand the human condition, and we read to help ourselves make decisions.


For each reading selection, I've been asking students to talk about how what we read changed their head and/or their heart. At first, they are surprised by this question, but after a few seconds of thought, they are able to begin describing new ideas from the text or connections to the character's dilemma. This simple question changes their understanding of why we read. It makes it personal and meaningful.


So give it a try. Next time you're engaging your learners in a text conversation, try asking "how does this text change your head or your heart?"


Happy Reading!


*Thank you Kylene Beers and Bob Probst for putting this question into my head!

What do you Predict? Helping Students Develop Strategic Reading Habits

Interactive Read Alouds Using Semantic Impressions

Good readers start making inferences about a text before they even open the cover or read the first line. Illustrations, words, and schema are all contributors to helping a student build conceptual knowledge before they dive into the actual text.


This reading strategy explained below (predicting before reading), helps readers to prepare their mind for the upcoming text. Strategic readers start noticing details, activating prior knowledge, making predictions, asking questions, and establishing a purpose for reading before they begin to read the text.

To model and get your students to practice these vital before-reading strategies, we can use semantic impressions.


Semantic Impressions in Informational Texts


Using semantic impressions to predict before reading begins with a short list of teacher selected key words (only four or so) from a reading selection. These key words should relate to major concepts of the text, and should be able to be used to summarize the text later on.


* Present students with the list of key words from the selection. Do not show or discuss the text.

* Have students discuss the meaning of these key word and related topics . Here they are activating prior knowledge.

* Then have students use the words to make a prediction about what they will learn in the text.

Remember, at this point, students have not seen the text.

* Students will then relate the words to other words that they predict will be in the text.


Finally, introduce the text to the students, asking them to read it and confirm their predictions or identify their misconceptions. Your students will want to stop when one of the words is read or heard, and that is okay. Take a moment here to allow them to confirm their predictions using text evidence or discuss their misconceptions from prior knowledge compared to how the word is used in the text.


After reading, students can use the four words to summarize the big ideas of the text.

By asking students to make a prediction, they will be motivated to read, in order to find out if they are right or not. Humans like to make and confirm predictions.

Semantic Impressions in Action

What is this text going to teach us?

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A Hundred Billion Stars by Seth Fishman

Here's a new book that you can use with your students to read, talk, and think about using numbers to compare ideas. It's a new favorite of ours that we think you'll love, too!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp6dYWRKps8
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Table Topics Cards

I LOVE using Chick-Fil-A Table Topics cards to get students talking and writing to explain! Truth be told, my 5 year old loves to use these at the dinner table each night and it got me thinking that teachers could also use them in their classrooms. These are a great tool to use for quick writes, journal writing, or discussion circles and they are FREE with a kid’s meal right now!


You could even use these cards as homework, promoting students to bond with their families by talking and learning together at home.


Don't have a Chick-Fil-A in your area? Download our FREE discussion cards to use with your family or students!

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We've Started a New Instagram Feed!

Do you need a source for new and interesting books and texts for your students and yourself? Follow us on Instagram @thepurposedriventeacher for short book talks and ideas for using the books in your classroom.

Can You Change a Dog to a Cat?

As we are in the midst of MOY (Middle of the Year) screenings, we are seeing areas of growth and need on our classrooms. If your students are in need of grapho-phonemic skills, here is a quick game to use in your word work block.


Changing Dog to Cat

Use students existing knowledge of letters and sounds to change one word to another, one letter at a time. This activity allows students to practice manipulating the initial, medial, and final sounds in one syllable words.


An example of this would be changing dog to cat:


1."Boys and girls today we will change a dog into a cat by following my directions."


Write dog on the board and tell the children to write dog on their papers.


2."Now can you change dog into log?"


3."Next can you change log into lag?"


4."Then can you change lag into rag?"


5."Now can you change rag into rat?"


6."Finally can you change rat into cat?"


For more activities like this, join us for our From Phonics to Fluency (PK-2nd) virtual seminar on April 13th, 2019

Spring 2019 Seminars

Bring a Training to Your District This Summer!

Kelly Harmon & Associates provides onsite and virtual seminars to districts and schools. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your day! (817) 583-1290