Tip of the Week - April 6, 2012
The Blank Sheet of Paper
It seems as though there are two types of people, those who relish the opportunity to face a blank sheet of paper and put their mark on it and those who face the blank sheet with utter fear. Do you see yourself falling into one of these groups? Perhaps it depends on the task assigned to the blank sheet.
We were filming in Pam Pogson's sixth grade classroom as she taught a lesson on prefixes as part of Word Work. She was reviewing the concept of a prefix as a way to help understand the meaning of a word. The lesson included a guided brainstorming session on a difficult prefix. Following the brainstorm, she asked her students to quickly jot down in their Word Work notebooks some words they know containing the prefix on which they were focusing.
We watched as this master teacher quickly took note of those students who embraced the blank sheet of paper and jumped right in with the task, and those who faced the blank sheet with the fearful look of a deer in headlights. What we found so fascinating was when Pam quickly let kids know that they were welcome to copy the whole class brainstormed list in their notebooks to get them started. As soon as those words came out of her mouth, you could visibly see some students relax and get started. Another student even questioned her again, asking if he could copy the brainstormed words into his notebook.
We couldn't help but to take pause and consider the impact her statement had on some of the students in her class. How often do we as teachers shut down those facing-the-blank-sheet-with-fear students, thinking that our students should not copy or imitate our samples or examples, believing instead that they should come up with their own ideas? Yet even though Pam teaches the oldest students in the school we realized what she did not only supported those students who have the fear of the blank sheet, but also gave them a perfect scaffold into the independent task she assigned. When they left the whole group lesson to continue their independent brainstorming, each child has examples on the page, helping them remember what kind of words they were looking for.
If you would like to see this video, it is one of our featured videos this week. Look for the one titled: Reteaching Prefixes for Spelling, Vocabulary and Decoding.
FAQ: Do you have any suggestions for working more successfully with my team as we brainstorm, problem solve and plan for our work with Daily 5 and Cafe? It feels as though we don't ever see eye-to-eye!
The time we spend with colleagues can be a difficult challenge or an energizing, helpful joy.
We have discovered wonderful tips, especially for brainstorming, at http://www.idea-sandbox.com/. We think you'll especially enjoy the post entitled...
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Road to Grammar (WEBSITE)
This website is a gem! You'll find ways to practice and learn grammar and vocabulary and can check your progress with online quizzes.
Road to Grammar
Road to Grammar Jr
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We were drawn to Shannon Long's blog because of this wonderful poster, which helps to foster the kind of community we try to build in our classrooms. If you click on the Technology Rocks, Seriously button up at the top, you'll find a some great word work games as well.
Before You Speak, THINK
Daily 5 Delight
Trish Prentice writes:
Hi there...We just celebrated World Read Aloud Day. The children came in PJ's and we read all morning (it was an early dismissal day!) First we read books about books...Wild About Reading and Born to Read. Then the children enjoyed partner reading all at one time. I also read Arnie the Donut. We had chocolate sprinkled donuts to eat for a snack to celebrate the book. Finally we started reading a new chapter book. The last line of chapter 5 was,"Then the trouble really began." The children were begging for more but we had to go to lunch.
The funny quote of the day...Jackson said we weren't having recess, we were having "read-cess." Perfect!
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Repost: Wrapping up a session of Daily 5™ with a purposeful and focused sharing time is a powerful way to review the strategies taught during the day and to review strategies previously covered. Sharing time also provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their own work, share their progress, and celebrate the growth of others.
We will be in San Antonio April 15, 16 and 17th and can't wait to be back in Texas. All three days are "FULL", so if you would like to join us check out the other beautiful places we will be this year. We hope you will find time to learn with us.
New This Week For Members
Interested in becoming a member of The Daily CAFE?
Click here for more information.
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Reteaching Prefixes for Spelling, Vocabulary and Decoding (VIDEO)
This group of 6th graders works hard to remember the essence of prefixes, suffixes and root words and how they might use their understanding of prefixes to help them figure out the meaning of words.
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This parent resource will help our Spanish speaking families who want to support their child as they use word parts to decode words and determine their meanings.
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In this updated video, we take you into a primary bookroom to look at different possibilities for organizing, storing, and checking out book collections.
Until Next Week!
Gail and Joan
The 2 Sisters