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Friday, August 31, 2012

Officer Buckle and Gloria mini word wall

On Wednesday my class read Officer Buckle and Gloria, found new vocabulary and practiced their verbs; compliments of Gloria from the book.

Here are the vocabulary they found!

I took the vocabulary and definitions they found and created, added a few of my own, and a mini word wall was born!
Cut and paste these vocabulary words and pictures to a file folder, laminate, and students can use the words when they need to spice up their writing. Thank you, SIOP training!

If you'd like a copy, click {HERE}! And make sure to leave a comment, we love them!

Julius- Mini word wall

On Tuesday, I had my sub read Julius to the kids.

They were to find and post any vocabulary words, as well as look for adjectives. Here is what they found for vocabulary.

We don't waste paper in my class!

To add to the vocabulary, I looked at the reading test I made years ago for this story. (This story is in our second grade reader) 

I took what the kids came up with, added it to the vocabulary words from the story, and voila! A mini word wall! Per my SIOP training, the vocabulary is complete with real pictures (when I could find them) and definitions that students created.

If you'd like a copy of the mini word wall, click {HERE}! I am going to cut and paste everything to a file folder, and laminate it, so my students can borrow it whenever they need specific words for their writing. 

If you download it, please leave a comment! We love them!

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash

One of the features of our SIOP training was making sure to add visuals to our lessons. On Monday one of the activities I left for the sub was to read the book The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash and find new vocabulary words.

When I returned Monday afternoon, to check on my class, I found 2 words: Wash and Boa Constrictor.

Fortunately, they had found the words and had defined them with original definitions, but that won't be enough for the project I have planned! So, we reread the story today and found a plethora or new words!

The original poster- good definitions!

Our newest editions of words:

I had fun getting my students to explain that the word "duck" has nothing to do with the animal. They explained it was a verb, something to do, and they modeled it for me. :)

My plans- turn the vocabulary into picture vocabulary mini word walls! In other words: words and definitions, with pictures, cut out and pasted into a file folder for students to use in their writing.

If you'd like a copy of the Mini Word Wall to make for your class, you can download it {HERE}

Don't forget to leave a comment- they make our day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 3- Components and Techniques

I have loved the training, but I'm ready to be with my kids tomorrow! Apparently, they are ready to have me back as well, just ask my sub!

Today's focus was to finish the SIOP Components, learn some new techniques, and plan some lessons using Content and Language Objectives.

Let's get started!

Component 7- Lesson Delivery

This component revolves around the acronym P.E.E.P. It has nothing to do with the Easter candy.
Put those 4 things together and you'll have the features of this component. 

Start by:
Checking and rechecking focus during the lesson, create a good structure for learning, keep going in the learning direction (no side lessons!), and have a simple assessment at the end.
  • Objectives stated orally and written on the board with pictures if possible for clarity
  • Provide enough information
  • Ask questions
  • Pause and wait for responses, let students think and talk it out
  • Create activities that match and compliment the lesson
3 Aspects to Student Engagement:
  1. Allocated time- the amount of teacher time given to teach a lesson and do a given task
  2. Engaged time- time students are actively engaged and participating in the time allotted. 
  3. Academic learning time- students' time-on-task, when the task is related to the materials introduced by the teacher, to be tested on later. 

Pacing of the lesson:
Pacing is the rate at which material is presented during a lesson. When teaching a group of EL students, make sure you are chunking the information and pausing for think and share time.
Using a thematic unit, where vocabulary will be seen and used in context over many subjects, and content will be built upon, is the best way to teach. EL students need to be introduced to vocabulary, sentence structure, and language terms and functions; thematic units provide these things.

 **Do not waste teaching time!!*
"If a teacher wastes 5 min of class period daily, perhaps by starting a lesson late or finishing early, over the course of 180 days, 15 hours of instructional time will be lost!" (The SIOP Model text)

Component 8- Review & Assessment

Ever wonder about the difference between Assessment and Evaluation? I'm here to help you out!

Assessment- informative. An assessment will inform you about how well your lesson went. An assessment is like going to the doctor for a physical. If there's anything wrong, you have time to go back and fix it.

Evaluation- summative. Evaluations sum up the instruction to see if it was delivered well. If the assessment was the physical, then the evaluation is the autopsy. By the time the evaluation rolls around, it's too late to go back and fix anything.

You should always review key vocabulary, language structure, and functional language. What should you be looking for?
  • multiple meaning words
  • base words
  • synonyms/ antonyms
  • words used in context
  • using gestures properly
  • repetition, repetition, repetition!
Students need regular feedback on their progress!
  • oral
  • written
  • facial expression/ body language
Ask student for feedback on how well you're doing too! Let them tell you which part of the lesson was the most meaningful to them, and which parts lagged. 

Wrap-up: Differentiation Support

  1. Range- adapt the number of problems El students are required to complete
  2. Time- adapt the amount of time given to EL students to complete a task or break tasks into manageable chunck
  3. Level of support- adapt amount of scaffolding provided to EL students. Allow for peer support, parent support, and other educational supports for reading aloud assignments and explaining tasks.
  4. Difficulty- adapt the skill level, type of problem or task for the EL student. Don't reduce your expectation of completion, but allow it to be easier to show understanding.
  5. Product- adapt the type of response EL students are allowed to provide. (drawings, hands-on demonstrations, verbal- possibly translated)
  6. Participation- adapt the degree of active involvement of an EL student in assessment. Allow students to be active in creating self-assessments, rubrics and group assessments.
 Whenever possible, EL students should be graded on their personal progress to determine if real learning has taken place.

Our last set of Instructional Techniques!

Stand up/ Sit down
The teacher makes a statement. If the statement is true, students stand up. If it is false, students sit down. Since you'll have students who will just look to others to see what they are doing, all students must be ready to defend their answer.

Quick Write
Used as an exit ticket, a quick vocabulary review, or to check for understanding of a new term. Have students divide a piece of paper or a post-it into 4 parts. One box describes what the word looks like. The other boxes describe sounds like, feels like, and the last box is for an example or idea

Simultaneous Round table

Must like Kng Author and his knights, this activity is for everyone in the small group. This is a timed activity for the group. The objective is to come up with as many answers to a question, as a group, in a limited amount of time.
This activity would be great for synonyms and antonyms, multiple meaning words, replacing 'dead words' in a writing activity.

Active Response

Any action where the student shows completion of an activity or thought. Raising hands, thumbs up/ down, stand up/ sit down, tapping head or nose... you get the idea. An action that signifies that the student is ready to answer and move on.

Think and Thin Questions

You'll notice this one is not just a technique, it's a link! Follow the link to a page that answers what thick and think questions are and how to create them for your classroom.

Basically, one would determine if a question was 'thick' or 'thin' based on the wording in Bloom's Taxonomy. Click on the link for a Thick Question PDF.

Here is a video on using thick and think questions when doing research.

Concrete Examples

Bring in objects from home, or wherever, to make a point and provide a visual. For example, in the picture you see a sponge.
I might make the comment that- A sponge is a summary!
To continue with my example, I would soak the sponge in water; the water being the story. The sponge can't work as well while it is holding the entire 'story'. So, I need to let some details go so I have a good working summary of the story.

It was a wonderful professional development! Thank you, Public Ed Foundation for allowing us this opportunity!

Check out previous days!

Day 1

Day 2 Objectives and Techniques

Day 2 Components and Features

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 2- Components and Features

In the SIOP model, there are 8 Components and 30 Features. Impressive, and intimidating.

On Monday, we covered 2 components and 9 features. Today we covered 4 components and 13 features.

Again, I'm not going in-depth. This is a quick and dirty covering of our material. I'm hoping it piques your interest enough that you'll (speaking to teachers here) want to attend a SIOP training as well!

Component 1- Lesson Preparation
This is were we learned about creating Concept and Language Objectives. All objectives should be clearly defined and prominently displayed using language that is student appropriate in it's simplicity and structure. Objectives should also have visuals included when able.

Prepare for the use of supplementary materials. Need some examples?
Manipulatives, realia (real life objects), pictures, visuals (hopefully of things students recognize- maybe of themselves?) multimedia, demonstrations (model, model, model!), related literature, high-low readers, adapted text (easier, but not dumbing down the material)

Component 2- Building Background

 Teachers know that students learn and process new material better when they already have background knowledge. The best way to build knowledge is to build a strong vocabulary. Whenever you read a story, at school or home, find some new vocabulary!

Teachers- make charts with new words and definitions the students create!
Add pictures! Make portable word walls using file folders and put them in students' hands! Have students create personal dictionaries of new words found in texts. Make sure to include new words on your word walls.
There are 3 levels of vocabulary:
  • Level 1- common words like simple nouns, verbs, high frequency words and sight words. EL students might know these words in their language (either speaking or reading) but will need help with them in English.
  • Level 2- words found in school text, but not necessarily in conversation. This is why introducing vocabulary is so important! Level 2 and 3 vocabulary is found on our end-of-the-year assessments! 
  • Level 3- uncommon words, not found often in school texts unless it is in context with a certain topic. These words are fun to incorporate into one's vernacular, but not necessarily words to focus on in the space of a regular school day.
Parents- Read to your kids! This is the easiest way to increase vocabulary. Have your student "help" you read the sight words in the story, and make a point of asking questions about the more difficult words. 
Here are some things your child's teacher would love to help you with:
  • Need a list of sight words? Click {HERE}
  • Ask the teacher for some books to borrow. I'll be honest, I might not trust my students with a book from my library, but I do trust parents when they ask! It never hurts to ask!
  • Vocabulary ideas- write new, interesting words on index cards with student created definitions. Use post-its around the house to label things. Make using the vocabulary words into a game.
  • Ask teachers if they have any file folder games or easy activities you can check out for the weekend. Again, it never hurts to ask!
 Component 3- Comprehensible Input
 Make it clear! Students learning another language need their teacher's speech to be clear and concise. 
Teachers- use clear hand gestures and proper facial expressions when teaching. Not only will it help your EL students, but it will also help your students stay focused to the lesson. Students will want to follow and imitate your movements, so give them movements! Engage them!
  • Expression and body language
  • clear speech, speak slowly and pause between phrases
  • short sentences/ simple syntax- you will use this technique until students can be weaned off
  • clear expectations of a task
  • step-by-step directions/ oral and written with pictures
Some techniques to make concepts clear- manipulatives/ props, pictures and objects, models and rubrics, task boards (with pictures)
Check out this website- Whole Brain Teaching

Component 4- Strategies

We've taught all of these strategies, but now we need to let students use them! Provide times during the day to let students process what they have learned. In my class, we use a brain.

We take time to think about our thinking- Metacognition. We fill in our brain throughout the day to make sure we are going home filled!

Teachers- make sure you are scaffolding your students properly. Don't make something easy for no reason. Allow students to process their learning, assess their abilities, and increase the difficulty level when appropriate. You won't need slower speech forever, be aware of your class.
Make sure you are constantly asking questions from all 6 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. (as revised by D.R. Krathwohl)
  1. Remember
  2. Understand
  3. Apply
  4. Analyze
  5. Evaluate
  6. Create
Parents- when doing homework or creating projects, making things 'easy' for your kids isn't the best idea. I have 3 kids and it's hard to not jump in and solve their problems for them. When doing homework, be with your student, but let him/her talk out solving a problem. Sometimes just having a sounding board is helpful! When doing a project, let your student tell you what he/ she sees as the end result. Of course, ask questions along the way, but ask your student to talk things out, create verbal pictures. Your child's teacher will thank you!

Component 5- Interaction

  1. Students need to talk. 
  2. Noise is not necessarily a bad thing.
Do you know how long it took me to realize those two truths? I'm not going to tell you. It might make me look bad.
But it's true! We learn better if we have to teach the information to someone, so let the students be the teachers! Here are some benefits of interaction:
  • Deeper understanding of text
  • Oral language development- this is especially important for El students. If you need to learn a new language, you need practice!
  • Brain stimulation
  • Increased motivation
  • Reduced risk- EL students feel safer in small groups or pairs; less room for embarrassment. 
 And there are more! Interaction is a good thing! For every 5 min of 'teacher talk' there should be 2 min of student processing and sharing, and 1 min of teacher assessing and calling on students for answers.

 Component 6- Practice and Application

Now that they know it, let them prove it.
Students need hands-on practice.

Teachers- Don't shove your lesson full of material. A short meaningful amount is better, and easier to retain. While the learning is new, practice harder. Once it becomes old learning, put it on rotation.
Activities for applying content and language knowledge:
  1. Graphic organizers
  2. Thinking maps
  3. Concept maps
  4. Problem solving in a group
  5. Construct physical models
  6. Practice games
  7. Flip books
  8. Journals- write, read aloud, sharing/ speaking/ listening
Not too shabby!

Check out these posts:

Day 1

Day 2 Objectives and Techniques 

Day 3

SIOP Day 2- Objectives and Techniques

I thought yesterday was action packed, that was nothing compared to today!

With so much information, I am going to have to split today's post into 2 posts. Let's get started!


We teachers are used to having to post our lesson standards and objectives on the board to start our lessons and activate our students' prior knowledge. We have worked on including Essential Questions and "I Can" statements in our classrooms. This is nothing new.

However, we need to start thinking about our students as English Learners, whether our students are native English speakers or not. With the SIOP process, teachers look at 2 Objectives:

1. Content Objective- What we want our students to learn. This objective needs to be written in student-friendly language and should fit the students' age and proficiency levels. This objective states what the student should learn by the end of the lesson.

Sound familiar? Check the Common Core Standards!  Some of the standards are wordy and complex, so they might need to be rewritten to be more student-friendly, but those are the standards to use!

Since most standards can not be taught/ learned to mastery after one day, Content Objectives can be ongoing. However, the Language Objectives need to be changed daily.

2. Language Objective- How or why the student needs to meet the objective. Using high level words from Bloom's Taxonomy, these objectives tells what students will do to accomplish their Content Objectives.
These objectives are going to cover language skills such as vocabulary, developing reading comprehension or phonemic awareness skills, making comparisons and connections, and helping students with the writing process.
Language Objectives use action verbs. They spell out what students are expected to do. You'll find words like construct, compare and contrast, write a summary, paint a picture, design, prepare, conduct, devise... you get the idea. :)

We broke out into small groups to practice creating Content and Language Objectives. Mrs. Jackson and I worked together to create some 3rd grade Objectives. We used 3rd grade Common Core Standards to make our Content Objectives.

Content Objective- Compare and contrast the most important points & key details of 2 texts on the same topic.
Language Objective- Create a flow chart of the key elements on a certain topic using 2 texts.

Content Objective- Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances of word meanings.
Language Objectives- Conduct a debate about a figurative language phrase discussing possible meanings.

Content Objective- Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
Language Objective- Construct a model to demonstrate how your solution will work

Are these the best? No. I'm still learning, but you get the idea. Tomorrow we are going to be going through our Common Core and State standards and creating objectives for this school year.

Now for more Instructional Techniques!

Double up!
Students are in pairs of 2 and choose one student to be partner "A"  and the other "B". Students then take turns telling a story-- HOWEVER-- for every verb the student says, he/ she has to say another one. (Doubling up the verbs)
Sounds confusing, I know. It might sound something like this...

" I was driving, traveling down the road when I saw, witnessed a deer run, scamper across! I screamed, yelled and pushed, applied the brake. I was, appeared to be completely safe."

What a mouthful! We attempted to play this game during our training and it's harder than it looks!
This activity is good for practicing verbs, finding synonyms, using adjectives, and would be good for practicing nouns and pronouns.

Musical Share-
Students have an index card with their ideas (from the lesson) written in it. Students walk around the room while music is playing. When the music starts, students find a partner near them and share their information. Students then listen to their partner's ideas and write them down on their index cards. This activity goes on until index cards are full.

We remember from Dr. Faber's visit that students react well with sound cues. This activity allows for students to get up and move, share ideas (working on writing, listening, reading, and speaking) and practice responding to sound cues. It's a whole body experience!

This activity would be great for math problem solving, book study/ character review, music lesson on how music makes you feel or think, poetry with visualization, or a beginning of the year introduction activity. 

Think- Pair- Share
Tried and true! This technique has made it's rounds in schools and it's a wonderful way to get students thinking and talking in a significant way.
First, teachers allow for students to engage in Private Think Time (around 1 minute) to get their thoughts together. Next, students turn and sit EEKK (elbow to elbow, or knee to knee) and take turns sharing their thoughts. The teacher makes sure to circulate around the groups to make sure conversations stay on topic. Student pairs are then chosen to relate what their partners shared.

This technique is good for all subjects. I let my students use Post-Its during their Private Think Time so they can jot down their ideas, through words, pictures, or doodles. Mainly I want their focus to be on their thinking, and not on others. Other teachers mentioned using individual dry erase boards with their students.

Back to Back
Students move around the room to a beat (or music) with a pencil and paper. When the sound cue stops, students find a partner close to them and stand back to back. The facilitator asks a question or gives a prompt and allows for a short Private Think Time. Students then turn around and share their ideas. 

We practiced this activity after answering the prompt: list as many manipulatives you use in your classroom as you can. I am proud to say, the Clifton Hills crew managed to list 32 different types of manipulatives in the span of 2 minutes! We walked around the room, stopped when the music stopped, and had to list manipulatives that lend themselves to different subjects.

Check out the other days!

Day 1

Day 2 Components and Features

Day 3

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meet the SIOP Soldiers! Day 1

The Few, the Proud, the  SIOP TRAINED!

General Delk with her crew of dedicated educators- Ritchey, Jackson, Ross, and Hawkins- ready and willing to go the distance to make sure all of their students are prepared for the real world!

But wait. What is SIOP you ask? That's a good question. In fact, I asked that same question just this morning.
And the answer is....

S- Sheltered
I- Instruction
O- Observation
P- Protocol

In other words, preparing our students that are considered 'EL', English Learners, for the world ahead. This training is 3 days long and highly intensive. Educators are learning how to tweak their lessons to include more of a range of learners. To be quite honest, I'm finding that all of my students will benefit from this training!

I can't share everything that was covered today, there's just not enough time tonight, but I can cover some highlights!

We opened by splitting into groups based on our favorite season. (This was a way to randomly split the group) First we were asked why we chose the season we chose as an ice breaker. After we shared our answers, we were then asked to list concerns that we have found in our school when it comes to ESL students.

 I need to explain the "everything dies" comment- the teacher who said that was a sufferer of allergies. She liked that fall was the beginning of no more allergies!

This 4-Seasons technique can be used in different ways in the classroom as well. Educators can use different categories to split their class into random groups. (example- animals, shapes, landforms, vocabulary words) Once in groups, students can brainstorm ideas, create diagrams, share knowledge of the category, etc.

Here are some more Instructional Techniques we covered today:

Carousel- Chart paper posted around the room with small groups of students rotating to each chart. This technique can be used for brainstorming on a topic, accessing prior knowledge, used in math as a way to show different ways to solve problems, science and social studies vocabulary (picture or written vocab), etc.
Here is how we used this technique: There were 8 posters around the room, one for each factor that affects second language acquisition. In small groups, we went around the room and wrote why we thought these factors were important.

This was a good activity to get the group moving and thinking. In a classroom, this would also be helpful for students who might be shyer than others. This allows students to feel like part of a group, as a valued member, instead of feeling like he/ she is in the spotlight.

Jigsaw- This strategy is used when faced with a long passage of information, or multiple chapters to read. You'll see this strategy used with book clubs a lot. Using Jigsaw, a passage will be broken down into smaller parts, each part assigned to individuals or small groups. The individual or group will then be responsible for sharing the information from the passage.
This strategy is good for students who might not be the best readers, but are good at listening for important details. Students get to play to their strengths with this strategy and they get to feel what it's like on the other side of the desk, as the educator. :)

Inside/ Outside Circle- Students are numbered off into 2 groups. One group makes a circle and faces outside of the circle. The second group makes a circle around group 1 and faces inside the circle. (so everyone has a partner) Each person takes a turn sharing information or asking a question, then it is the other person's turn to reply.
Clifton Hills has used this technique during the first of the year activities to get to know new teachers. We used this technique today to share lesson ideas for how to include Content and Language Standards. (Think of Common Core or State Standards, but with Bloom's Taxonomy thrown in for good measure) It was interesting to hear what my partners shared!

Mind Pictures- Just what it sounds like, making pictures from what you see in your mind. Our presenter used this technique to show that everyone's minds work differently. She began with having us close our eyes while she talked us through a "walk through the woods". At the end of our "walk" she asked what we "saw". Many saw a meadow, or a waterfall, or a stream. I however, "saw" my car. (I'm not really an outdoorsy person, so after a walk through the woods, I'd be ready to go home.)

This technique in the classroom could be done with poetry, a song with specific lyrics (geared toward your lesson), a story retell, or character development. Even math equations would work with this strategy since students solve equations differently when using their imaginations!

Even if this was the only thing I walked out with today, I would have been happy. I got to see techniques in action (some I knew, some I didn't) but I learned how to apply them more towards the students who could use them the most. The techniques are all-encompassing for the class, but can be more focused when needed.

More tomorrow!

Check out other days!

Day 2- Objectives and Techniques

Day 2 Components and Features

Day 3

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Celebrity Story Saturday- Falling for Rapunzel

Here is our newest Celebrity..... Mrs. Cantrell! Mrs. Cantrell is our new kindergarten assistant and one amazing member of our faculty. She. Does. Everything. I promise you, I've never seen the woman sit down!
With 150 kindergarten students (24-25 in each class) she doesn't have time to rest! And even as exhausted as I know she is, she is always willing to stay late just to make sure the kiddos get home safe and sound.

It's because of her amazing dedication to our students and school that I chose her as this week's Celebrity!

Click {HERE} to hear the story or watch it below!

p.s. You might recognize her last name- her hubby was our music teacher a few years ago! Working at the Hills must run in the Cantrell family!