Tuesday, September 23, 2014

R.7.1 - Citing Textual Evidence

Last week, we talked about how READING is THINKING! Your inner voice should talk to you while you're reading and say things like, "This part is confusing..." or "I predict this will happen..." or "That makes me think of this one time when I..." or "Now I get it!" I modeled how to use post-its to flag thoughts in my book while I was reading and 'code' them with the kind of thought it was. Students then did the same thing for their independent chapter books.
This led naturally into students needing to use textual evidence to support their thinking because all of their thoughts were sparked by something they read. One day we discussed word-for-word support and practiced. The next day we discussed paraphrasing to support your thinking. Here are the anchor charts and student practice examples:

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Latest DonorsChoose.org Project: Unplugging from Gadgets & Plugging into Books!

This blog has been invaluable for connecting our classroom with other classrooms and teachers across the country to share ideas and help all students grow. We are a virtual community that supports one another in the work that we do every day. I'm excited to spread the word about a DonorsChoose.org project I recently proposed to help get high-interest books in the hands of my seventh-grade students. If you're looking for a way to give back to education and/or support the literacy skills of adolescents today, please consider donating. Note: Any donations made between today and Sept. 26 will be matched dollar-for-dollar if you enter the code INSPIRE when you donate. Here is a link to our Unplugging from Gadgets and Plugging into Books project! Thanks for considering it!
- Leanne

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CLM Conference

Candice and I are very excited to present our journey with the Comprehensive Literacy Model at a conference in Naperville, IL today! Here is the powerpoint we will be using today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The End of One Dream, the Start of Another...

 "Trust in what you love, continue to do it, 
and it will take you where you need to go."
- Natalie Goldberg 
My dream job was always to become a fourth-grade teacher and for the past nine years I have been one. The amazing thing about teaching is that you end up learning just as much about yourself and life as the students you teach. If we are to expect of ourselves what we expect of our students, at some point, we should reflect on all we've learned and continue to grow. To say I'm incredibly grateful to the students, families, and staff at Barrie is an understatement. I'm not sure words can frame how I feel about a place that has felt more like home than any of the 10 places I have lived in since moving out of my parents' house after high school graduation.

If you've spent any time with me in person or on this blog, you are aware that my experience getting coached in the Comprehensive Literacy Model has completely transformed me. I went from dreading teaching reading and writing to becoming obsessed with it. A sixth- and seventh-grade language arts position opened up at our middle school shortly after the school year ended and it caught my eye instantly. While I'm so, so sad to leave Barrie, I know that this new position will offer me opportunities to practice what I know at a different level and learn even more along the way.

At this point, I have no plans to 'shut down' LifeIn4B, as I hope the ideas I used in my fourth-grade classrroom will continue to inspire you for as long as you need inspiration. I'm hoping to start up a new blog (or continue writing on this one) for what teaching and learning looks like in our middle-school language arts classroom. Lastly, thank you for your support in my journey. LifeIn4B has helped me connect with so many of you out there who have the same passion, mission, and vision for our youngsters as I do! Keep on keepin' on!

"Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip."
- Robert J. Hastings

Monday, June 4, 2012

Synthesizing, Counting Change, & Dewey!

That's right, folks. It's the last week of school and you better believe we're still learning! I know, I'm an eeeevil teacher. :)

Today we talked about synthesizing - when our thinking changes as we read. I read The Littlest Matryoshka by Corinne Demas Bliss last week to introduce the idea of nesting dolls and how the littlest doll fits inside of the next doll which fits inside of the next, and so on. The nesting dolls become a concrete example for explaining synthesizing. We start with a small idea of what a topic or book is about, and as we read more, we add more and more layers to our original thinking to deepen our understanding of a text.

During the mini-lesson, I actually modeled my own process of synthesizing using a non-fiction text on competitive horse shows. I started by writing on my first post-it what I knew about competitive horse racing. As I read a few more pages, my understanding deepened which caused my thinking to change so I recorded my new thinking on the next post-it, and so on. As I wrote each post it, I used my real nesting dolls to show how each layer built upon the one before it. Concrete examples are so helpful for kids learning complex processes like this! (The idea came from Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor!)
Through my DonorsChoose.org project that I proposed and got funded in March of 2012, I was able to purchase several high-interest non-fiction readers of varied reading levels that I decided to have my students use to practice synthesizing. I gave each student a book at his/her reading level and also had them glue a similar nesting doll anchor chart into their Thoughtful Logs.
As students read through their readers, they stopped after every of couple pages to put together their new learning with what they already knew to form new thoughts about their topic.

Thank you to all my DonorsChoose.org donors! Even when I told the kids they could put their books away, I found that most of the class didn't want to! They just wanted to finish 'one more page'! Not too shabby for the last week of school! Go, 4B!

Last week we also started working more with money and using the 'counting up' method for making change. I put students in pairs to work together to find the right amount of change without needing to use subtraction at all!

Lastly, Casey (my boyfriend) and his dog came down to visit this weekend. Casey and I did a workout (Insanity!) video in my classroom since my home DVD player wasn't hooked up. Dewey (Casey's adorable Vizsla (pronounced 'veesh-la')). came with us into my classroom and found a nice home ... IN THE BATHTUB! He didn't want to go outside, and his ears perked up when I asked Dewey if he wanted to read a book! Love that dog! :) I tell stories about Dewey often to my fourth graders so I showed them this video this morning of Dewey in the tub, and they loved it so much they asked me to put it on the blog. Here it is!
A few more great shots that we got...

Too cute!