Tuesday, June 18, 2013
In my quest to get organized for next year I have devised a system for differrentiation that I believe will work for me and my kiddos. (If you know me this is a huge step, I am a very disorganized ADHD person!) I am calling this series of blog posts "Organization for Differentiation." I hope you can gleam some insight and share some of your experiences along the way. Also, to kick off this series I will be giving away the biggest piece of the puzzle for me, the drawer tower! This is a $50.00 piece and I will have it sent straight from Amazon to the winner! See the pictures and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post. a Rafflecopter giveaway Good Luck! Christine
Friday, June 14, 2013
O.K. everyone I hope I am not the only one out there whose children fight constantly over summer break! My 10 year old and my 5 year old are like oil and vinegar this year. I may have to draw a line down the center of my house that neither of them can cross! But enough complaining, what do you do to keep your kiddos busy during the summer when spendin money is a no, no? So far we have been swimming, playing outside, legos, reading time, library, neighborhood park, arts & crafts and random other activities that are already getting old. Our favorite playdate people are vacationing etc. I would love to hear some ideas from my followers! I hope you are enjoying your summer break!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
It used to be that schools catered to the way typical girls learned, sitting quietly, listening and "still" learning. Well, we know these days that this type of learning sets boys up for failure. While some girls can still handle the old school way of learning I am seeing more and more girls that are unable to learn this way, now setting them up to fail as well. So what do we do? We as teachers have all had training on the three musts of learning: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. We are supposed to put each of these into every lesson, but how easy is it to make sure every lesson has all three? And how often are our kinesthetic aspects just moving around manipulatives on the table? We need to realize that children, even up into the higher elementary and middle school ages need to move to learn. We are so used to sitting children at desks for long periods of time and then wonder why we have such behavior problems? This year my 4th grader was part of a rotation system like those in middle school where he traveled between four classrooms plus lunch, recess and specials rooms. I can tell you by watching him that this couple of minutes of movement and destressing helped him to be successful this year. My 10 year old has 6 learning disabilities and is succeeding in a private college preparatory school I believe because the teachers understand that boys and girls need these breaks and that they don't always need to sit at a desk to be working efficiently. For example, my 10 year old was having a difficult time memorizing his weekly Bible verses, so I came up with a plan: he walks around the house reading the verse out load at least 5 times, he comes to the den where he lays on the floor with a clipboard, I give him the first word of the verse and he writes for as long as he can, when he gets stuck I give him the next word and he continues talking and writing for as long as he can. We continue until he has written the whole verse. He then does a jumping jack, sit up or other movement of his choice to each word of the verse. If he misses a word he starts again (he enjoys this by the way, not punishment). Can I tell you he went from failing Bible class to getting A's and B's on his Bible tests! What does this tell me? The movement he does while studying helps solidify the words in his mind. Now he has a modification that allows him to do his Bible tests orally and with movement. This particular teacher understood what my child needed and worked with me to get it accomplished. I am so thankful for her! So, what am I getting at? Traditional old school teaching has no place in our current day classrooms. Yes, children need to learn to work at their desk and to have self control but we can teach children much more efficiently by allowing them movement and comfort. As much as it might drive us crazy as teachers it truly is helpful for all children. As long as they are paying attention and able to answer your questions on subject why can't they all lay on the floor? This can only be beneficial for every student not just those with learning issues, plus imagine how much more fun school would be for our children and help encourage that love for learning. Just take a look at the high tech businesses that are requiring breaks, building game rooms, providing alternative seating, etc. The youth of our society is so much different than it used to be and we can meet each child where they need us by looking at the whole class and asking ourselves, will this work, can my kids handle working on the floor, can they sit under their desk and write their paper upside down? There are so many ways to help boys and girls learn without having to be at a desk all day. What do you do in your classroom to help your students? I am gathering data for a seminar I am teaching this summer, please leave me a comment with the grade you teach and your experiences with different ways of helping children learn. Thank you for your help! Christine
Monday, May 27, 2013
I was recently at a wonderful seminar in San Antonio on Right Brained Learners etc. One of the points the speaker wanted us to take away from the seminar was to make sure we were teaching in word families. Now I understand the pros of word families and the cons. What about decoding? Can the kids read or are they memorizing? How will they branch out from word families to other words? Well, the speaker wanted us to remember that children can only accomplish so many tasks at a time and giving a child a word family versus a bunch of words to decode cuts down significantly on the number of tasks to complete, thus making the child more successful and building confidence in spelling and reading. So I came back from my seminar and took out my word family dry erase cards from Lakeshore. I introduced how to use them and what do you know kiddos that had not been taught about word families were able to come up with many words and stay with me when I gave them more. They had so much fun finding out the words that belong to the different families that it became more of a confidence builder than a worry about memorizing. The children could still decode like I taught them, they did not forget. The kids who are reading are still reading without memorizing and working on fluency and best of all the kiddos are learning! So now to find a balance between decoding skills and word families. I will be using both from now on. I have found the word family instruction to be most beneficial to my remedial students, the ones who are not yet truly reading. Cutting out a few steps has helped them to feel successful and actually start to put words together on their own. I am also using my differentiated spelling unit with them and this helps with the decoding aspect. I have a differentiated spelling freebie in my TpT store for you to download and see if this is anything you can use next year.I guess the jist of it is that here is another way we can differentiate instruction for our students to help with reading instruction. So, for next year I have started writing some word family readers to add to my literacy centers during reading groups. They are $1 in my TpT store: -at word family minibook What are some of your favorite ways to teach with word families, decoding and phonics? Till next time, Christine
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Teachers Notebook has sponsored a bundle of items worth over $1,400.00 to help the community of Moore, OK after the devestating tornadoes that ruined their town just days ago. Among the wreckage were 2 elementary schools where courageous teachers risked their lives to save the children. 100% of the proceeds from this packet are going to the Moore Community. I have donated my Read the Room Mega Bundle. Click the picture to make a donation starting at $20.00 to get this bundle and help the people of Moore OK.