Little People, Big Dreams, Bright Futures (3-9-15)
Week-at-a-Glance (March 9-13)
Tuesday-Kids on the Block Puppet Show (K-9:30/1st-10:30/2nd-1:45)
Wednesday- School PD @ 8:05
Friday- Grade Level Mtgs (Monthly Curriculum PD-ELL) @ 8:05
Dr. Eineman Walk and Talk @ 9:05
THIS WEEK'S TEACHERS TO-DO
- Begin Unit 4 of CP 2.0. Please reach out if you need help. This unit is reflective.
- Be ready for a Dr. Eineman visit. She will be here for my Walk and Talk on Friday morning. We will visit classrooms.
- Schedule Guided Reading Lesson. If you are on the FORMATIVE assessment (1 rating per year), please schedule a guided reading lesson with me to observe in the next 2-3 weeks.
- Continue sending your WEEKLY Classroom Newsletters. Include me on your email if you send it electronically to your families. ALL teachers are expected to communicate to their families on a weekly basis.
- Turn off lights when not in your classroom. Even if you are going for copies, shut them off. Every little bit helps with our energy bills!
- Remember that I am here to support YOU...if you need me--please ask. Walkthroughs and observations will continue.
Notes and Other News...
1. If you are ill, put in for a sub ASAP. If you wait until the morning to request a sub, it is very difficult to obtain one.
2. We will practice a tornado drill this week.
3. If you are interested in tutoring, please let me know. I have had several parents ask lately for recommendations.
DABBLING IN THE DAILY 5
When you are working in guiding reading groups (or even whole-class instruction), is important that you are constantly monitoring understanding with formative assessments. Here are a few ways to see what kids know...#1 and #3 could easily happen during the Daily 5 rotations! Can you think of any more?
These strategies are so simple and easy to do, you could try them today.
Hand Signals: Quickly gauge student understanding with hand signals by asking students for a thumbs up, sideways, or down to indicate their level of understanding. Another popular hand signal is Fist to Five, where you ask students for a 1 to 5 rating of their understanding.
Four Corners: In four corners, you ask a question and students move to a labeled corner of the room in response. Once students are in their corner, you can either use it to get a sense of the class’s understanding, or have the students stay in their corners for further discussion. While many teachers already use four corners for debates, by changing the type of question asked you can make this activity about assessment.
Exit Tickets: Exit Tickets are a great way to assess student learning. Students hand you a “ticket,” which could be an answer to a question or a more complicated set of problems to complete. As a middle school teacher, I loved using quick writes as exit tickets. Before the end of a lesson, I would think about a concept that my students may have struggled with, ask a related question, and give them two to three minutes to answer it on an index card. Check out the first few minutes of Julie Manley’s eighth grade classroom to see a quick write used as a pre-assessment.
Take notes! Note taking is a great way to keep track of student progress. You can take informal notes about common student misconceptions, great student thinking, or anything else you want to take into consideration. Keep it simple and use a notebook or a clipboard as Audra McPhillips does in her classroom, or try one of these note taking apps.
Resource: The Teaching Channel
PINT-SIZE PD- Interesting read...
Common Core Kindergarten Expectations: Are They Too High?
In this Education Gadfly article, Robert Pondiscio responds to a recent report, “Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose” http://bit.ly/1CBQcME, recently released by two groups, the Alliance for Childhood and Defending the Early Years. The report argues that Common Core literacy standards are inappropriate for kindergarten students and threaten “to destroy appropriate and effective approaches to early education.” Here are the report’s major points and Pondiscio’s responses:
• Common Core is too hard for kindergarten. Actually, says Pondiscio, many children enter kindergarten with many of the Common Core “foundational skills” already under their belts: 2/3 recognize the letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case) and 61 percent know two or more print concepts (e.g., we read left to right and carry on from the end of one line to the beginning of the next). The expectation that children respond to verbal “prompting and support” seems eminently manageable. The big question is whether, by the end of kindergarten, children should be expected to read emergent-reader texts “with purpose and understanding” (that is, texts consisting of short sentences made up of learned sight words and CVC words). “There is nothing ‘developmentally inappropriate’ about this standard,” says Pondiscio, “which many children – perhaps most – already meet. Our concern should be with those who don’t meet this standard, but can and should be put on a path to reading readiness before they fall forever behind.”
• Expecting kindergarteners to read is developmentally inappropriate. This is another way of saying the expectations are too hard, but Pondiscio takes issue with the formulation: “There’s little evidence to suggest that a child’s readiness to learn occurs in discrete, stair-step phases that Piaget theorized about long ago,” he says. Children’s level of cognition varies from day to day, even within the same task. The real question for teachers is, “What do I want kids to learn?” and “How can I present this in a way that makes sense to small children?”
• No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten. Not true, says Pondiscio, pointing to longitudinal studies showing strong correlations between learning to read in kindergarten and downstream school success. The strongest argument for Common Core’s vision of early literacy, he says, “is simply to ensure that children – especially the disadvantaged among them – don’t get sucked into the vortex of academic distress associated with early reading failure.”
• Play-based kindergartens better prepare children to become fluent readers. Nothing in Common Core stands in the way of this approach, says Pondiscio. “If teachers are turning their kindergarten classrooms into joyless grinding mills and claiming they are forced to do so under Common Core (as the report’s authors allege), something has clearly gone wrong.” Kindergarten classrooms should teach early reading concepts through games and songs, and teacher-preparation programs should make sure the next generation of teachers understands this.
• Common Core sets unrealistic reading goals and uses inappropriate methods to accomplish them. Not so, says Pondiscio. Common Core’s outcome goals for kindergarten are similar to those teachers have used for years – letters, sounds, sight words, beginning to read early-emergent text – and it says nothing about how to accomplish them.
• Children learn through playful, hands-on experiences with materials, the natural world, and engaging, caring adults. “There’s no empirical support for the idea that reading develops naturally,” says Pondiscio; “‘late bloomers’ are rare. If the report’s message is that children should not be reading by the end of kindergarten, or that they will read when they’re darned good and ready, it’s perilously close to reckless. Most kids can already read simple texts by the end of kindergarten. And those who struggle early tend to continue to struggle – both in school and in life. The authors are absolutely correct that telling stories, reading from picture books, singing songs, reciting poems, activity centers, and imaginative play all help build literacy skills. That’s why none of those are discouraged by Common Core.”
“Is Common Core Too Hard for Kindergarten?” by Robert Pondiscio in The Education Gadfly, February 11, 2015 (Vol. 15, #6), http://edexcellence.net/articles/is-common-core-too-hard-for-kindergarten