E-Staff Weekly for 3/23/15
Embedded Technology Coaching
Below is the Sign-Up Genius link for our technology coaching session with Brandon Lutz on March 24, 2015. He will be stationed in the faculty room, but will be more than happy to come to your classroom to discuss any questions you may have. This is a perfect opportunity to enhance your Administrative Coaching Goals.
Welcome to Seylar!
Grade Level Meetings
Wednesday, March 25th, 4pm
Pennridge School District, Bucks County, PA, United States
New RELA Curriculum Maps
Louise Moyer's Retirement Breakfast
Friday, March 27th, 8am
Mail is managed and delivered in the staff mailroom located next to Room 31. Do not send students to retrieve your mail. Many confidential documents (IEP, 504, awards, assessments, etc.) are delivered to your mailboxes for review/signatures. Private information that is seen without consistent violates Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Teaching Resources, Inspiration, and Sometimes a Good Laugh!
Using the Newspaper for Daily Literacy Instruction
In this Elementary School Journal article, Michelle Jordan (Arizona State University) describes how a veteran teacher used the local newspaper for daily interactive read alouds with her first graders. This exposed students to sophisticated, ever-changing nonfiction texts, broadened their horizons, and engaged them in frequent, vocabulary- and conceptually rich discussions in line with Common Core expectations. Here are some of the ways the teacher scaffolded learning in these daily sessions:
- Emphasizing the unfolding nature of the world – Following stories and waiting for outcomes and modeling ways to talk about things that haven’t happened yet. For example, there were allegations that baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was lying about using performance-enhancing drugs and the teacher cautioned a student who called him a “cheater” that it was as yet unproven: “We have to wait to find that out.”
- Acknowledging uncertainty – This involved positioning themselves as fellow wonderers and following weather reports to see how predictions turned out.
- Improvising connections and engaging in improvisational storytelling – “Because newspapers are unpredictable in their daily subject matter, talk was less scripted in this activity than in other instructional events in this class,” says Jordan. “The teacher had to use whatever physical and conceptual materials were at hand in the news each day to develop students’ textual engagement.” This provided excitement and unexpected learning each day.
- Positioning students as members of a larger community – Every day, the teacher kicked off the newspaper activity with this question: “Did anyone hear or see anything they want me to look for in the newspaper?” The fact that newspapers contain real-time information about events that students might have heard about “reduced the unequal footing between the teacher and the students.” Jordan’s quantitative analysis of classroom interactions in the daily newspaper readalouds found that 55 percent of talk turns were made by individual students and students increasingly initiated topics as the year went on. Students highlighted stories about local or upcoming events and called attention to simultaneously occurring events – for example, one student mentioned that she had gone swimming over the weekend and the teacher drew attention to a news story and photo about a triathlon in Florida. “Look at all the folks who did the same thing you did. I bet you didn’t go swimming there, did you?”
“Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Teacher Scaffolds Interactive Read-Alouds of a Dynamic Text” by Michelle Jordan in The Elementary School Journal, March 2015 (Vol. 115, #3, p. 358-383); this article can be purchased at http://bit.ly/1CohlJ5; Jordan can be reached at email@example.com.
A Pennsylvania Teacher Makes Poetry a Daily Routine
In this Edutopia article, Pennsylvania teacher Brett Vogelsinger says that one of his most successful routines over the last year has been starting each of his ninth-grade classes with a new poem. Many of his students have previously experienced poetry classes as “dissection labs;” his goal is to make the genre something students love. Here are his suggestions for choosing poems that will make these lesson segments “brisk and bright”:
- Choose poems that students can understand on the first reading – and reveal greater depth when re-read.
- Choose poems short enough to understand and analyze in a few minutes.
- Choose poems with humor, nostalgia, sarcasm, despair.
- Choose poems you find engaging and fascinating.
Here are some of the activities Vogelsinger uses in his daily poetry start-up routine:
- Sketch this poem. Students spend three minutes making a sketch of what they see in a poem and then five minutes discussing the differences in what they saw. His students tried this with “Little Citizen, Little Survivor” by Hayden Carruth, a poem about a rat in a wood pile.
- Wave this poem. Students sit in a circle and read the poem one word per student, moving around the circle like a wave, repeating it till the language becomes smooth and fluid.
- Shout out this poem. Students find their favorite word or phrase, and when he reads the poem a second time, they join in on their chosen parts. This leads to a good discussion about why certain lines stand out.
- Build this poem. He cuts a poem into lines (or, with a short poem, into words), puts the pieces into envelopes, and has students assemble the poem before they’ve read it. When they hear the real poem, they’re ready to discuss its logical coherence and share some different ideas on how to express the ideas.
- Wordle this poem. Vogelsinger feeds the poem into Wordle http://www.wordle.net to create a word-splash of all its nouns, has students predict what it’s about, and discusses whether the nouns are used literally or figuratively.
- Update this poem. Students rewrite a poem in contemporary language or substitute local place-names and people. Vogelsinger had his students read “Clay County” by John Hodgen and turn it into “Bucks County.”
- Overdramatize this poem. After a first reading in a normal tone of voice, he challenges students to read it in an overzealous, dramatic style and discuss different interpretations.
- Wreck this poem. Students suggest altering five words in a poem that will destroy the quality or completely change the subject.
- Gift this poem. Students write in their journals for three minutes about a person they’d like to give the poem to and why, and then share their ideas with a partner.
- Connect this poem. Students are challenged to make non-obvious connections between a poem and something else they’re studying – for example, Vogelsinger asked students whether there are connections between a haiku about a falcon by An’Ya and To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Hear this poem. He searches the Internet for clips of poets reading their own work or performing it in a poetry slam.
- E-mail or tweet this poem. A class composes a collective interpretation of a poem and sends it to the poet for his or her reactions. Vogelsinger says his classes have had lively exchanges with Jason Tandon, Sean Hewitt, Robert Pinsky, and others.
“Brisk and Bright Approaches for National Poetry Month” by Brett Vogelsinger in Edutopia, March 9, 2015, http://bit.ly/1x7UcZm