From the Desk of Kelly Harmon

February 2017 Newsletter

Dear Educator,

Happy Heart Month! This month we are featuring ideas, teaching tools, and playlists to help you spread the love of literacy and learning. Be sure to check out our ideas for using commercials to teach summarizing, inferring, and evaluating. We've included our list of February themed karaoke and readers' theater, as well as a new book that will help your students find ideas to write about.

We hope you are planning to Join us for one of our upcoming seminars this spring. Browse our schedule of events on our website,

Happy Valentine's Day and happy teaching!

-Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson

Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl commercials are not only one of the best parts of the Super Bowl, they are great to use in the classroom! I love to use commercials in the same way that I would use a text during a lesson. Commercials are great catalyst to teaching and practicing metacognitive processes, such as summarizing, inferring, and making connections. Here are some funny commercials to use with your students this month!

Kia- "Hero's Journey"

In this commercial, Kia makes the claim that "it's hard to be an eco-warrior, but it's easy to drive like one." The first fifty eight seconds show Melissa McCarthy trying to do her part to save animals and the ice caps. If you don't watch carefully, you can easily miss the claim and the purpose of the advertisement. Use this commercial for teaching the thinking that goes into processing a persuasive text or media. Learning targets can include: identify the claim, evaluating the reasoning (is it logical or faulty?), and looking for persuasive devices used by the creator.

Ask students to watch the commercial and be ready to discuss what the commercial is about.

Why did Kia make this commercial? What is the "real" message?

Watch the video a second time to look for evidence to confirm the reasons students gave for the purpose and message of the commercial. I stop after each "eco event" and have students analyze this part. Does it support the purpose and message?

Finally, ask students to think about the claim made in any commercial. What are the persuasive techniques used by the "author" of the video? Do all reasons support the claim? Does the author use any rhetorical devices that could be deemed as faulty logic?

The students really engage in watching the videos and looking for the claims, reasoning, and evidence.

2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy

Readers' Theaters for The Month of Love

Ideas Are All Around!

I got the chance to attend "What's New In Children's Literature" presented by Judy Freeman. She shared so many books and ideas for helping students read and write just for the love of it!!

One of my favorite new books, is Ideas are All Around, by Philip C. Stead. The author has to write a story today, but doesn't have any ideas. So, he and his dog take a walk around the neighbor and to gather ideas for writing a story. The book features photographs taken along the walk.

Have students take a walk to look for ideas to write about. Take an iPad or camera and capture a few pictures of things around school or their home.

The students could write about their walk or focus on telling the story or explain just one thing they took a picture of during the journey.

Learning targets include: Using prewriting strategies, drafting an imaginative story, writing to explain the topic, or writing to convince the audience of the importance of the object of the picture.

Ideas really are all around us.

Visit Judy's website for great ideas, book lists, and much more! Visit her website here!

Make America Read Again T-Shirts

Order your Make America Read Again Shirts from Wake Me Up Goods! Use coupon code SPRING20 to get 20% off! To order, click here!
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Parent Involvement Ideas

Read Across America Day is fast approaching! RAD is on March 2nd each year in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday! This year, invite parents to join in the fun!

Parent Mystery Reader

Invite a parent(s) in to be the mystery reader on Read Across America Day. Give the class clues as to who it could be! Have parents select their own book or provide them with a basket or bin to choose from.

Character Dress Up

Invite students and parents to dress as their favorite book character! Costumes can be in pairs that match like, Thing 1 & Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss. Coordinate costumes with other family members. At the beginning or end of the school day, host a parade through your school or community.

Dr. Seuss Themed Book Bags

Put together several take home book bags full of Dr. Seuss Titles. Students can sign up or teachers can assign students to take the book bags home each week and enjoy the books with their families. Include some discussion questions or a stuffed animal to read to.

Have a Dr. Seuss Birthday Party

Invite students to bring their parents in to celebrate Dr. Seuss' 113th birthday. Give out "invitations" to the party that require the party guests to read at least one Dr. Seuss book and investigate interesting facts about his life. Include a link to Seussville to explore before the party.

Plan games and prizes that play off the guests' knowledge of his books and life.

Don't forget the cake!

For more ideas for Read Across America Day, visit the Dr. Seuss website!

Math Games

Students need to learn math facts, but let's do more than just memorize the facts. Playing math games can help develop fact fluency and critical thinking skills. In the game Mind Reader, students (and parents) practice decomposing a number by analyzing possibilities and testing their guesses.

In this game for three or more players, two players each draw a card, and without looking at it, hold it up to their foreheads so that everyone else can see it. The other players take turns announcing the sum of the two cards. Each player must figure out which card is on his or her own forehead. The other players can only say "yes" or "no" when numbers are guessed. Be sure to model good guessing vs. random guessing. For example, if the sum is 12, a good guess might sound like "Is my number larger than 6?" Rather than "Do I have a 7?"

The first player to guess their number correctly gets 2 points and the second player gets 1 point.

When both players have figured out their cards, players switch roles and the game continues.

Bring Our Seminars To Your Campus!

Kelly Harmon & Associates provide onsite seminars. We can bring one of our already developed workshops and seminars to you or we can customize a professional development day to meet the needs of your staff and students. Contact us today for more information!

Kelly Harmon & Associates, LLC

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning. Our services are professional development, curriculum development, instructional coaching, grant writing, project management, and technology integration.