I’m back from my week of professional development with the Hawaii Writing Project! Today we will be chatting about chapters of 5 and 6 of Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.
- Buy the book Teaching With Intention
- Make a Book Study Journal
- Read about Chapters 1 & 2
- Read about Chapters 3 & 4
- Get graduate credit here
If you are interested in getting college credit from Concordia University for joining this book study, you can get all the details here. It costs $127 and you can join in just by following along and sharing your thoughts in the comments. At the end of the book study, you will have to complete a written assignment summarizing what you learned and how you will apply it.
Chapters 5 & 6
On page 69, Debbie quotes Frank Smith, a psycholinguist who was an important contributor in reading process research:
We can only learn from activities that are interesting and comprehensible to us; in other words, activities that are satisfying. If this is not the case, only inefficient rote-learning, or memorization, is available to us and forgetting is inevitable.
I have had a lot of training in teaching ELLs. I am GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) certified, took a college course on the SIOP model, and was trained in Susana Dutro’s Focused Approach to ELD. Even though I only had 4 ELL students last year, I still teach my lessons with ELL strategies in mind because I feel that they help make knowledge accessible and comprehensible for all students. So, for example, I try to be very explicit in my thinking while I am reading aloud, no matter what the purpose of the book is. I may be reading a book about the pumpkin life cycle, but I’ll still think aloud about words that are tricky or new information that I think is interesting. I also try to teach with a lot of visuals. I am not an auditory learner, myself. I would never expect my students to be. I’ve blogged a lot about GLAD and ELD.
To make lessons interesting, I try to add in elements of fun, ala Mary Poppins 😉 I try to plan lessons where kids are out of their seats and working with partners or groups. I also try to choose text that is interesting and fun for them to read. Adding in technology is a great way to get student buy-in and automatically makes the lesson more fun. My classroom is definitely not one where students are seated working silently.
The Shark File lesson is a great example of making learning fun and comprehensible. Students had to get out of their seats to post their sticky note. They got to work with a partner to read the book. The teacher helped them think through their schema to help them notice similarities and misconceptions.
I made a printable version of the file folder for you to print, assemble, laminate, and hang in your classroom. All you need is text and sticky notes!
I’ve noticed that with the basals I have taught, they focus on skills and not necessarily reading strategies. This coming year, my school has purchased a new reading curriculum that I will be required to teach. However, I’ll be allowed to supplement based on student need. I plan to do most of that supplementing in my small groups. I feel that is a great way to deliver instruction that individual students really need and is a great time for strategy instruction. Last year I made a set of the beanie baby reading posters and plan to use then with my firsties this year, too. You can grab your set for free, here.
1. Schema and Connections: What you know about what you are reading
The Relatives Came by Cynthia RylantFireflies by Julie BrinkloeMy Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria HoustonKoala Lou by Mem FoxThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsHazel’s Amazing Mother by Rosemary WellsIra Sleeps Over by Bernard WaberAmazing Grace by Mary HoffmanOliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaolaRoxaboxen by Alice McLerranThe Two of Them by AlikiNow One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola
2. Questioning: Expert readers ask questions before, during, and after they read
All I See by Cynthia RylantAmelia’s Road by Linda Jacobs AltmanAn Angel for Soloman Singer by Cynthia RylantFly Away Home by Eve BuntingGrandfather Twilight by Barbara BergerThe Lotus Seed by Sherry GarlandMonarch Butterfly by Gail GibbonsThe Stranger by Chris Van AllsburgThe Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. WhiteWhy is the Sky Blue? By Sally GrindleyThe Wise Woman and Her Secret by Eve MerriamYanni Rubbish by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim
3. Creating mental images: Make a picture in your mind.
Close Your Eyes by Jean MarzolloColor Me a Rhyme by Jane YolenCreatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky by Georgia HeardFootprints and Shadows by Anne Westcott DoddGoodnight to Annie by Eve MerriamGreyling by Jane YolenI Am the Ocean by Suzanna MarshakMountain Streams (CD)The Napping House by Audrey WoodNight in the Country by Cynthia RylantNight Sounds, Morning Colors by Rosemary WellsPutting the World to Sleep by Shelley Moore ThomasQuiet, Please by Eve MerriamThe Salamander Room by Anne MazerSay Something by Mary StoltzWhat Does the Rain Play? By Nancy White CarlstromWhen I’m Sleepy by Jane R. HowardWild, Wild, Sunflower Child by Nancy White CarlstromThe Zoo at Night by Martha Robinson
4. Inferring: Figure out things the author doesn’t tell us (meaning of a word, author’s message, how a character feels, overall events of the story)
Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky by Georgia HeardFireflies by Julie BrinkloeFly Away Home by Eve BuntingFor the Good of the Earth and Sun by Georgia HeardGrandfather Twilight by Barbara BergerHow Many Days to America? By Eve BuntingIf You Listen by Charlotte ZolotowMiss Maggie by Cynthia RylantMother Earth, Father Sky by Jane YolenOliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaolaThe Royal Bee by Frances ParkSomething Beautiful by Sharon Dennis WyethWhere Are You Going, Manyoni? By Catherine StockWinter Fox by Catherine Stock
5. Determining importance: Find out what are important details in the story you are reading
Dorling Kindersley ReadersI Can Read About…First Discovery BooksEyewitness BooksNational Geographic for KidsTime for KidsRanger RickZoo BooksKids Discover
6. Synthesizing: The way your thinking changes as you gather new information
The Alphabet Tree by Leo LionniCharlie Anderson by Barbara AbercrombieFables by Arnold LobelFredrick’s Fables by Leo LionniOliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaolaThe Rag Coat by Lauren MillsSee the Ocean by Estelle CondraSmokey Night by Eve BuntingThe Story of Jumping Mouse by John SteptoeThe Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd BaylorTea with Milk by Allen Say
I really loved the Lesson Design tool that Debbie shared on page 80. I think that the questions really help us think about why we are teaching the lessons we are. It helps us evaluate the lessons. This is true for any basal we teach, too. If we can’t say why the lesson is important, which standards it covers, or why we are teaching it, then we need to skip it and supplement with something more meaningful.
I think that using this planning sheet for each lesson might be a bit cumbersome. However, I can see myself using it for units and key lessons. Hawaii just adopted a new educator evaluation system. In it, we have to do things called SLOs – Student Learning Objectives. It’s basically a SMART goal with data to prove that our students made progress. I think that if I used this lesson design tool in conjunction with my SMART goal, I will be able to write a very effective SLO.
By using these, I’ll also have a really great outline of my best lessons to use in following years and to share with my colleagues.
I think I am good with the explanation part of the tool. I like to show kids why we are learning something and how it affects their lives. I am also good with the explanation/modeling aspect. I am reminded of when I taught kindergarten in a high ELL school. 80% of my kids did not speak English at all, so I modeled, modeled, modeled! I love to use cooperative groups. In fact, my students sit in groups at their tables and have an elbow buddy. Then they sit in assigned spots on the carpet and have a carpet partner. They also do math centers with a math partner. THey have multiple opportunities to work with a variety of other students throughout the day to help enhance their understanding of concepts.
Student feedback might be an area that I’ll have trouble with. Last year I implemented a 1-4 formative assessment strategy. Students could give me a 1-4 hand signal to tell me their understanding. I also used it to grade their papers. I felt that since we were both using the same system, they would understand the grading much better. This year, I want to get better at using the students feedback and recording it for my use: to make my lessons better and to provide necessary review opportunities.
Now it’s your turn! What did you think about this chapter? Just chime in on the comments!