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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Elementary School, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome

This summer, I was asked by a parent whose child had attended our reading tutoring program in the spring, to work one-on-one with her daughter, a rising middle schooler with CHARGE syndrome. CHARGE syndrome involves a number of developmental and medical differences (see www.chargesyndrome.org to learn more), and for this particular child it means profound deafness in addition to other factors. Her signs could at times be challenging to understand, and it was not always clear when you asked her a question whether she understood the answer or whether she was repeating what you last said to her. So what was my approach in teaching reading with this student? Pull out all my favorite picture books, naturally.

When my undergraduate student who had been tutoring her in the previous semester pulled out The Red Book by Barbara Lehmann, she was at first confused and later delighted to find this rich story told entirely through pictures. Over the summer, in addition to many others, we have been reading a great deal of Mo Willems (the Knuffle Bunny books and the Elephant and Piggy books) and Jon Klassen (mostly of the hats-being-stolen-by-fish-and-rabbits genre). Halfway through Knuffle Bunny Too, she had the whole story figured out, excitedly signing to me, “Wrong rabbit, wrong rabbit!” The language and understanding that came through when presented with engaging literature was a delight to see.

lehman redbook 300x300 Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome    willems knuffle bunny too Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome    klassen thisisnotmyhat 414x300 Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome

We do more than read picture books, of course. We work on building vocabulary, we develop American Sign Language (ASL) skills and compare how concepts are conveyed through both languages, and we even examine word order through mixed-up sentences. But these lessons are always underpinned with  marvelous books that are clever and engaging. It is through these books that her abilities come shining through. And although reading tutoring during the summer months would not be the favorite activity of most middle school students, her mother told me that she actually begins laughing and smiling as they approach my building. The joy of reading!

Has anyone out there worked with children with CHARGE syndrome or those with multiple disabilities? I would love to learn about strategies you have used to support their reading!

share save 171 16 Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome

The post Engaging literature and students with CHARGE syndrome appeared first on The Horn Book.

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2. Comics Squad: Recess!: Jennifer L. Holm and others

Book: Comics Squad: Recess!
Authors: Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Jarrett Krosoczka, Raina Telgemeier & Dave Roman, Dan Santat, Dav Pilkey, Ursula Vernon, Eric Wight, and Gene Luen Yang
Pages: 144
Age Range: 7-10

Comics Squad: Recess! is a new collaborative book produced by a team of today's top cartoonists/illustrators/graphic novelists. It features eight stories, all told in comic strip format. The stories are set in an elementary school environment, and are relevant to the concerns of younger elementary schoo kids. Oh, and they are funny, of course. 

Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, creators of the Babymouse and Squish series, and Jarrett Krosoczka, creator of the Lunch Lady series, are the editors. Babymouse and Lunch Lady make a few cameo appearances before and between the other stories - I guess you could say that they are the informal hosts to the book. Babymouse also appears in one of the stories, repeatedly thwarted in her "Quest for Recess" ("Typical!". Lunch Lady is actually out sick, but Betty is on the job (and stocked up with new inventions) in "Betty and the Perilous Pizza Day".

As I've personally read most of the Babymouse and Lunch Lady books already, I was interested to see what the other authors would come up with. It's quite a varied lot. I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor of Gene Yang's "The Super-Secret Ninja Club", and the frankly adorable cupcake in Eric Wight's "Jiminy Sprinkles in "Freeze Tag"". Ursula Vernon's "The Magic Acorn" features squirrels meeting up with a tiny alien in an acorn-shaped spaceship. "The Rainy Day Monitor" by Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier celebrates the joys of pretending (with some pretty funny, mostly fake celebrity cameos). Dan Santat, on the other hand, mocks the idea of writing a 300 word essay on The Giving Tree, while giving the teeny-tiniest hint of a middle grade romance. 

My favorite story was Dav Pilkey's "Book 'Em, Dog Man". Pilkey writes this as if it were the work of a pair of comic-obsessed young boys. The story is introduced with a letter written by the disapproving teacher of the boys, like this: "As you will see, this comic book contains multiple scenes of stealing, violence, and unlawfulness... and don't get me started on the spelling and grammar!" Personally, I thought that the second-grade-appropriate spelling was hilarious ("desidid", "excape", etc.). 

But it's all fun. Though the tone and style of the eight stories varies, a common orange and black color palette across the book lends a certain visual consistency. 

Comics Squad: Recess! is dedicated to The Nerdy Book Club, which I thought was a particularly appropriate touch. The Nerdy Book Club members, like the authors of Comics Squad, dedicate their working lives to ensuring the kids find reading fun. 

Comics Squad: Recess! is an excellent introduction for younger kids to graphic novels. Including a range of authors ensures that each reader is bound to find at least one story that resonates. This is a book that all elementary school libraries will want to carry (probably in multiple copies). Just be prepared for requests for more of Comics Squad! Fortunately, the authors have other titles available. Comics Squad: Recess! is the absolute epitome of "kid-friendly". Highly recommended. I'll be keeping my copy for when my daughter is a tiny bit older. 

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)  
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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3. Batter up!

With baseball season in full swing, it is the perfect time to check out one of the many great picture books featuring baseball. Here are some of my favorites.

Wise SilentStar 219x300 Batter up!Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise with illustrations by Adam Gustavson (K-3)
Today many baseball fans may not know this, but in the late 1800’s one of the best major league players was William Hoy, who also happened to be deaf. This book tells his story with wonderful oil painting illustrations that will help readers understand both the time period and Hoy’s life.

Perdomo Clemente 235x300 Batter up!Clemente! by Willie Perdomo with illustrations by Bryan Collier (K-3)
Told in English with scattered Spanish words, this book follows a young boy named Clemente as various family members tell him about his namesake, the great Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente. While the book details Roberto Clemente’s baseball career, it also includes other aspects of his life, including his charitable work. It is a great option, particularly for those looking for a book that incorporates Spanish language text.

Adler LouGehrig 300x247 Batter up!Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler with illustrations by Terry Widener (K-3)
Though he is perhaps best known now for the disease named for him, Lou Gehrig was an important figure in baseball well before he was diagnosed. In this book, readers learn about his early life, including his studies at Columbia University and his fourteen years in major league baseball, during which he played in a record number of consecutive games. While the book does not shy away from Gehrig’s illness, it tells the inspirational story of his life both before and during that period.

Winter SandyKoufax 247x300 Batter up!You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Andre Carrilho (K-3)
In a striking departure from many sports biographies for children, this book focuses on Koufax’s struggles and early failures before recounting his rise to the top of the game. Readers also learn about the important role that Koufax’s Jewish faith played in his career, causing him to face discrimination and also leading to his refusal to play in the 1965 World Series because it fell on a high holy day. Though this book will appeal to all baseball fans, those who love baseball statistics will particularly enjoy the way that it integrates important stats into the illustrations at key points in the story.

Meshon Yakyu 300x249 Batter up!Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon (Preschool)
In this fun, brightly colored book, a young boy goes to baseball games in both the United States and Japan. Side-by-side pages show the differences between the experience in each country, both at the stadium and outside of it. The book integrates Japanese words in the text and unique details of baseball culture in each country into the illustrations.

Thayer CaseyattheBat 182x300 Batter up!Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer with illustrations by Joe Morse (K-3)
This entry in the Visions in Poetry series takes the classic poem “Casey at the Bat” and moves it to an urban setting. The poem is a classic for a reason, and a new generation of baseball fans can enjoy it with the modern, updated images that accompany it.

Bidner JoeDiMaggio 298x249 Batter up!The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of ’41 by Phil Bildner with illustrations by S.D. Schindler (K-3)
Whether you are looking for a baseball book or an exciting glimpse into a period in history, this book won’t disappoint. It follows the separate paths of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams as they each chased baseball records over the course of the summer of 1941. The illustrations bring the time period to life and make this book a great way to make baseball fans into history fans — and vice versa.

share save 171 16 Batter up!

The post Batter up! appeared first on The Horn Book.

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4. Strategies For Teaching English Language Learners—Part 3: Teaching Vocabulary In Layers

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science (IES) and What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) released the latest educator’s guide to present best instructional practices for English Language Learners.

Although we cannot explicitly teach all academic and content-specific words our students will need to know in their educations and careers, we can be strategic in how we teach 5-8 words a week so they can apply these word strategies to new words they come across on their own.

Last week I applied the guide’s recommendations on how to choose an appropriate text and vocabulary words for English Language Learners and I modeled it with the Lee & Low informational text, Drumbeat In Our Feet.

I will continue to focus on the guide’s first recommendation: Teach a set of academic vocabulary words intensively across several days using a variety of instructional activities.

Drumbeat In Our Feet

Drumbeat In Our Feet

Using Drumbeat In Our Feet and the IES’s process, my target words are origins, vital, ethnically, diverse, unique, vibrant and varied from the “Origins of African Dance” excerpt in Drumbeat In Our Feet. See how I chose these words here.

1. Read the text

IES: Introduce the topic of the text by asking about students understanding of the topic and personal experiences. Read the excerpt aloud at the start of the lesson. (P. 24)

Lee & Low: I would read the text aloud so students who cannot comprehend the text independently can access the text whole group. All students should be able to follow along with their own student copy. Only constant interaction with the print and following along will allow students to connect with what I am saying and how I say it with what they are seeing in the print.

Origins of African Dance" excerpt from Drumbeat In Our Feet

“Origins of African Dance,” excerpt from Drumbeat In Our Feet

2. Introduce the vocabulary

IES: After reading the text and stopping to ask clarifying questions, introduce the target vocabulary words and have students find the words (in their copies). Display a list of the words in the classroom. (P. 24)

3. Teach the vocabulary words in layers

IES: “Teach academic vocabulary in depth using multiple modalities (writing, speaking, listening)” and “teach word-learning strategies to help students independently figure out the meaning of words.” (P. 18-22)

Lee & Low: Over the course of 5-8 days (lesson periods), I would focus on a couple of aspects of each of the new vocabulary words. On a whole class chart where the target words are listed, I would add a new component to each word each day in order to deepen the meaning and foster familiarity with the words for students.

Together we will create a student-friendly definition; write synonyms, antonyms, examples, non-examples; determine parts of speech; draw a picture or create an action/gesture to represent the words; list related word forms and any cognates; break the word down into word parts; and use the word in a meaningful, student-generated sentence.

For example, Monday I would read the excerpt, introduce the target words, find the target words in the text, and come up with a definition for each target word. Tuesday, I would revisit the chart and add synonyms, antonyms, examples, and non-examples for all the vocabulary words to reinforce meaning. Wednesday I would cover part of speech and concrete representations, and so on.

Below is how I would teach my target word, origins, from Drumbeat In Our Feet but I would cover all of the target words each day.

Monday

  • student-friendly definition: the source where something starts

Tuesday

  • synonyms: beginnings, birthplace, roots, foundation
  • antonyms: end, destination, result
  • examples: beginning of the universe and life, family backgrounds/heritage, word roots, superhero/comic book origin stories
  • non-examples: death of a star, the youngest person in the family tree, the last book in a comic book series

Wednesday

  • part of speech: noun
  • draw a picture to represent the word: I might draw a lake with a river leading up to a mountain and arrow pointing to where the river starts.
  • create an action/gesture to represent the word: with my left hand held out at hip-level as the “lake,” I would point with my right finger to my left shoulder (the mountain) as the origin of the river. [Tip: Students are great at brainstorming concrete representations of words!]

Thursday

  • list related word forms: original, originate
  • list any cognates: origine (French), origen (Spanish)

Friday

  • affixes: none
  • use the word in a meaningful, student-generated sentence: We hiked from the lake up to the mountain looking for the origins of the river. The original owner of this house built this house all on her own in 1956.

Remember: This is a process I will repeat each week or every 5-8 lessons with a new text and set of target words. While my students may know only up to 400 new vocabulary words by the end of the year, this repeated process will allow them to tackle new vocabulary words in other content classes and in independent reading.

Next week, we will take a look at how to incorporate the selected vocabulary into activities that support listening, speaking, and writing practice for English Language Learners.

Further reading on supporting English Language Learners in the classroom:


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: CCSS, close reading, common core standards, ELA common core standards, elementary school, ELLs, English Language Learners, guided reading, Institute of Education Science, middle school, Reading Aloud, US Department of Education, vocabulary

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5. Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners – Part 2: Choosing a Text and Vocabulary Words

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

As I mentioned last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science (IES) and What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) released the latest educator’s guide to present best instructional practices for English Language Learners.

Let’s take a look at the guide’s first recommendation: Teach a set of academic vocabulary words intensively across several days using a variety of instructional activities.

Here is an example of how to apply the first recommendation using IES’s process and Lee & Low Books’ informational nonfiction text, Drumbeat In Our Feet.

Drumbeat In Our Feet

Drumbeat In Our Feet

  1. Choose a text:

IES: “Choose a text that is brief, interesting, and engaging for the students; contains a variety of target academic words to focus on; connects to a given unit of study and builds the students’ knowledge of a topic; provides sufficient detail and examples for students to be able to comprehend the passage; and contains ideas that can be discussed from a variety of perspectives.” (P. 14)

Lee & Low: Based on these criteria, I selected the first chapter, “Origins of African Dance.” The reading level of Drumbeat In Our Feet is best suited for fourth through sixth graders. The topic of dance history is relatable and relevant to this age group. It will spark student interest and engagement and promote discussion. The short excerpt is an appropriate length that can be read within one class period and is worth multiple re-readings over the coming days.

  1. Select vocabulary:

IES: Select a small number of academic vocabulary words (content-specific and general academic) for multi-day instruction. For in-depth exploration, consider only 5-8 words. The IES suggests choosing words “central to understanding the text, frequently used in the text, might appear in other content areas, with multiple meanings, with affixes, or cross-language potential.” (P. 16-17)

Lee & Low: Based on these criteria, I picked: origins, vital, ethnically, diverse, unique, vibrant and varied from the “Origins of African Dance” excerpt in DrumbeatDrumbeat In Our Feet. These words are key to understanding the text, will appear in other content areas students will explore, and several have multiple meanings.

Additionally, I used Flocabulary’s Wordlists to check my words against their grade level recommendations because Flocabulary’s researchers analyze grade level materials and high stakes tests to determine what academic words students should know in each grade. Origins is on the third grade word list and variety (related word form to varied) is on the fourth grade word list. Vital, diversity (related word form to diverse), unique, and vibrant are on the sixth grade word list. However, there are quite a few wordlists available to do this verification so utilize what your district/school recommends or another you have confidence using.

Next week, we will take a look at how to introduce and teach the selected vocabulary across multiple lesson periods using Drumbeat In Our Feet followed by writing and speaking/listening activities for your students to grasp the words’ meanings.

Further reading on supporting English Language Learners in the classroom:


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: CCSS, close reading, common core standards, ELA common core standards, elementary school, ell, English Language Learners, informational nonfiction, middle school, reading comprehension, vocabulary

0 Comments on Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners – Part 2: Choosing a Text and Vocabulary Words as of 5/10/2014 10:16:00 AM
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6. Cybils Time Again



The Cybils award was announced yesterday. Hooray! For the Love of Books! I love the Cybils because they are chosen by book-lovers around the world. I've been a judge several times. I missed it this year, since I was busy baby-growing (and my hubby is a little overwhelmed by the number of books around here...)

Anyway, don't miss the shortlists, either. Out of hundreds of books, each group of judges picks their top few for these shortlists. Then a different panel of judges chooses one top selection.

You can see my review of the fiction picture book winner, Me...Jane, right here. You know, I really heart picture books.

Loves.

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7. Carrying the Family Torch

The Olympics have torch bearers who run through the streets, flaming torch held high, expressing sublime joy or intense nobility as they run. Marathon participants run for a variety of reasons, many of which express that same joy or nobility. Ordinary family members don’t do much running at all, unless one counts errands and an extracurricular shuttle service.

Throughout my growing up years, carrying a torch meant something other than its current connotation. We carried a torch for a movie star or the girl/boy at school. We carried the torch of freedom in our citizenship and moral fiber. It’s a wonder the town didn’t burn to the ground with all of those flames being held up for all to see.

Few of us got to see an Olympic torch during the fifties. Even our own Student Olympics during elementary school didn’t have a torch. Television brought the Olympic Games to average households every four years during the sixties, which is where I first saw them. Of course, the opening ceremonies, with torch-bearer and Olympic Flame weren’t as long or elaborate then as they are now. Drama and spectacle arrived during the early eighties. Leave it to Hollywood.

All of this brings us to carrying the family torch. Each family has an invisible one, though the flames may be for different purposes. For some that torch stands for pride of place within society. For others it represents the family triumph over poverty and disadvantage. Torches for those prideful of family traditions of church, home, and military honor cut across all strata of society. These are all family torches; the ones that children take from their parents, along the line of ancestral heritage.

Torches smolder at times. They can exhibit rebellion over family roots as much as the opposite. They can glow with remembered suffering from a historical past before bursting into raging flame. While each is sparked by one or more family aspect, only an individual can carry one and that for personal reasons.

People can find a family torch inside themselves, if they look for it. They can discover the personal reason for raising an arm to support that tapered torch. At some point, they must either acknowledge acceptance of “duty” or reject it and seek another.

Each of us has a choice as to which torch we carry for our family. Considering how broad the definition has become for “family,” we should marvel at how many torches one person can juggle at any given time. The reasons and purposes of torches have broadened as well.

At the end of the day, the person needs to ask herself, “Which torch did I choose today?” and “Should I choose to bear that flaming burden tomorrow?”


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8. Carrying the Family Torch

The Olympics have torch bearers who run through the streets, flaming torch held high, expressing sublime joy or intense nobility as they run. Marathon participants run for a variety of reasons, many of which express that same joy or nobility. Ordinary family members don’t do much running at all, unless one counts errands and an extracurricular shuttle service.

Throughout my growing up years, carrying a torch meant something other than its current connotation. We carried a torch for a movie star or the girl/boy at school. We carried the torch of freedom in our citizenship and moral fiber. It’s a wonder the town didn’t burn to the ground with all of those flames being held up for all to see.

Few of us got to see an Olympic torch during the fifties. Even our own Student Olympics during elementary school didn’t have a torch. Television brought the Olympic Games to average households every four years during the sixties, which is where I first saw them. Of course, the opening ceremonies, with torch-bearer and Olympic Flame weren’t as long or elaborate then as they are now. Drama and spectacle arrived during the early eighties. Leave it to Hollywood.

All of this brings us to carrying the family torch. Each family has an invisible one, though the flames may be for different purposes. For some that torch stands for pride of place within society. For others it represents the family triumph over poverty and disadvantage. Torches for those prideful of family traditions of church, home, and military honor cut across all strata of society. These are all family torches; the ones that children take from their parents, along the line of ancestral heritage.

Torches smolder at times. They can exhibit rebellion over family roots as much as the opposite. They can glow with remembered suffering from a historical past before bursting into raging flame. While each is sparked by one or more family aspect, only an individual can carry one and that for personal reasons.

People can find a family torch inside themselves, if they look for it. They can discover the personal reason for raising an arm to support that tapered torch. At some point, they must either acknowledge acceptance of “duty” or reject it and seek another.

Each of us has a choice as to which torch we carry for our family. Considering how broad the definition has become for “family,” we should marvel at how many torches one person can juggle at any given time. The reasons and purposes of torches have broadened as well.

At the end of the day, the person needs to ask herself, “Which torch did I choose today?” and “Should I choose to bear that flaming burden tomorrow?”


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9. Stubby Pencil Noodlehead by Kevin White

 5 Stars Back Cover:  When Stubby Pencil Noodlehead is forced to stand in front of his class to explain why he is late for school every day, the resulting tale is more than the teacher bargained for.  Stubby’s story of pirates, pygmies, mastodons, and more, turns classroom order to chaos, and has yhe teacher begging [...]

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10. How to Write a Story: Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon

Ralph Tells a Story written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon (Amazon Children’s Publishing, 2012). It doesn’t matter if your five or twenty-five—if you’re in school, you’re gonna have to write.  And lots of times you have to write stories—stories about yourself.  Maybe it’s a daily journal.  Maybe it’s a “My Special Moment” essay.  Maybe it’s a descriptive narrative for a college composition class. Well, if you’re one of those kids who has NO IDEA what to write about and can’t think of ONE SINGLE STORY, then Abby Hanlon’s Ralph Tells a Story is the book for you. Ralph’s teacher always says, “Stories are everywhere!”  and the kids in Ralph’s class have no trouble finding them.  They write pages and pages and pages during writing time.  But Ralph can’t come up with anything.  Zero, zip, nada. So Ralph does what all smart kids do.  He stalls.  He goes to the bathroom.  He gets a drink.  He offers to help the lunch ladies.  And finally, finally, Ralph thinks of the start of a story. But then he gets stuck. Which is exactly when his teacher asks him to share his story. Luckily for Ralph, his classmates ask lots and lots of questions.  [...]

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11. Q&A About the Upcoming Classroom SOLSC

Watch a video call I had with elementary school students from Julie Johnson's school about the upcoming Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.

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12. Make your reservations now!

I am booking school visits in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for Read Across America Week, March 2 – 6, 2015. Friday the 6th just got reserved this morning. If I can book the whole week, everybody gets me for 25% off the regular rate.

Contact Lisa— bookings@johnmanders.com


2 Comments on Make your reservations now!, last added: 3/13/2014
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13. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot - in color!

Pilkey, Dav. 2014. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot. New York: Scholastic. Illustrations by Dan Santat.

While at ALA Midwinter, I picked up an Advance Reader Copy of Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot. I know what you're thinking - that's not a new book, that was published ages ago!  Yes, but it's back again, and this time in full color, with glossy pages and new "mini-comics" inside.

All of the Ricky Ricotta books will be reissued with new illustrations, and two brand new books are planned for January and March of 2015.  A big campaign is in the works ... stay tuned.

Read an excerpt and see the new illustrations on Scholastic's new Ricky Ricotta web page.

Coming to a bookshelf near you on April 29, 2014.

BTW, my Advance Reader Copy went home with a very happy young boy, one of my best readers. He was looking for my library's "checked-out" copy of the original Ricky Ricotta's Giant Robot. Imagine the smile on his face when I gave him a new, as yet unpublished, full-color copy! (Luckily, I had read it at lunchtime.)

The original Ricky Ricotta artist, Martin Ontiveros deserves credit for helping to create a series that captured the imagination of a nearly a generation of children.  Dan Santat will refresh the series for the next generation.  Long live Dav Pilkey!






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14. More grants for early reading programs

As I mentioned yesterday, Target offers grant money to schools and organizations who need help with an early reading program. An early reading program might entail hiring a children’s book author/illustrator to present to students (he said rather shamelessly).

Dollar General also has a grant program for early literacy/youth development—as does Barbara Bush, Verizon, Scripps-Howard, and Clorox.

Here is a round-up of foundations who offer grant money for summer reading programs. Here are awards & grants available from the International Reading Association.

If you would like a detailed description of my presentations to help you apply for these grants, be sure to give me a yell!


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15. Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners In Elementary and Middle School

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

The Storyteller's Candle

from The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucia Gonzalez

Many of our classrooms include students whose home language is not English. In fact, EngageNY released a report documenting that in 2012-2013 New York State alone taught students who spoke more than 140 languages at home with Spanish making up nearly 65% of all English Language Learners.

Teaching students who are English Language Learners is enormously rewarding and meaningful. However, it at times can feel overwhelming, especially for those who have ever juggled multiple languages at once in the same classroom, supported a student whose language few of their peers or staff spoke, or worked with a student who had little formal school experience beforehand.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a new practice guide for teaching academic content and literacy to English Learners in elementary and middle school. In this report, IES presents four recommendations to teach and develop English language skills in grades K-8.

Prestwick Café describes why it is critical to give students tools they can apply on their own, like Greek and Latin roots, and points out that even if we teach 10 new words a week all school year long, that is merely 400 vocabulary words—not nearly enough for a student’s journey to become “career and college ready” by high school graduation. While we can not teach every vocabulary word that our students will need or might come across in their reading, we can give them the strategies to build their vocabulary with and without us.

Over the next few weeks, we will focus on the practice guide’s first recommendationchoosing and teaching a set of academic vocabulary words over the course of several days in a variety of instructional activities and what it looks like in action with our books. Using the IES practice guide, we will demonstrate how to choose a text for English Language Learners and significant vocabulary words, to teach selected words, and to incorporate listening, speaking, writing, and reading practice for ELLs in vocabulary instruction.

 

Quinito, Day and Night / Quinito, día y noche

Quinito, Day and Night / Quinito, día y noche

Additional information, activities and advice for educators and Spanish-speaking families of English Language Learners (ELLs) can be found at ¡Colorín Colorado!

Further reading on supporting English Language Learners in the classroom from The Open Book blog:

Using Dual Language And Bilingual Books And Parent-Volunteers To Foster Deep Thinking

Using Dual Language And Bilingual Books In First And Second Grade

Using Dual Language And Bilingual Books In Third And Fourth Grade

 

 


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: CCSS, common core standards, Educators, ELA common core standards, elementary school, ell, middle school, reading comprehension

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16. Book Review: Astro: The Steller Sea Lion by Jeanne Walker Harvey

Astro: The Steller Sea LionAstro: The Steller Sea Lion by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Shennan Bersani

Astro was only 39 pounds when he was found by animal rescue workers. They couldn't find his mom, so they brought him to The Marine Mammal Center, where they bottle fed and cared for him.

By 10 months old, the workers tried to return Astro to the wild, but kept coming back. They tried to take him farther and farther, but he always found his way home.

Astro couldn't live at the Marine Mammal Center anymore, so he was moved by airplane to an aquarium in Connecticut.

Astro is both stellar and Steller. He is of the breed Steller Sea Lions, and he is stellar because he loves to perform for humans.

In the back of the book, you can find out more about sea lions and seals.

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17. Field Trips, Part 2.



Scheduling

1. Call the venue where you want to go in advance. Some places require a lot of notice, and some aren't ready far in advance. Your best bet is to call a month or more before, and then if they don't plan that far out, you call again as the desired date approaches. Be open to their schedule if possible. Be prepared with an estimate of the number of participants. Ask about group rates/field trip rates.

2. Give everyone a calendar of scheduled events, and then remind them as the field trip approaches. On the schedule, be sure to include the name of the venue, the address, the date and time, the price, and any other important info. Also include your contact info in case they get lost or need to cancel.

3. When my kids were little, I led a playgroup. Every other week was a field trip, while the alternating weeks were park days/play dates in homes. It was a great experience, but the field trip costs added up. I tried to incorporate as many free activities as possible, such as nature walks.

Now I organize a monthly field trip for our homeschool co-op. Once a month feels like a better amount for my family at this time.

Collecting Money


Some venues require that everyone pay as a group. This can be the hardest part of planning an event. If you have to pay together, have everyone mail you or hand you their money in advance. Keep a list of everyone you are expecting, and check off their names as you receive their money. I also like to keep a tally of the total number of people for ease of paying. If the price is different for adults and children, keep separate tallies for them. You may want to require that everyone pay you in cash so you can include it when you pay for the group.

Discuss Respect


Sometimes it is necessary to briefly talk to the kids about how they should behave while on the field trip. On a recent visit to the police station, it was necessary to be very quiet, so we wouldn't disturb the dispatchers. Talk about showing respect for your guides and following their rules.

Have Fun


Stay together. Have plenty of adults. It helps if the adults are engaged in the field trip, as well. Their interest will rub off on the kids.

Does anyone else have tips for planning field trips for large groups?

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18. Book Review: The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christine and Christopher Russell

The Quest of the Warrior SheepThe Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christine and Christopher Russell

When 5 Rare Breed sheep find a cell phone that fell from the sky, they think it is a call to fulfill an ancient prophecy. They embark on a great adventure, which takes them on a subway, a train, a helicopter, a tractor, and finally up into a vicious mountain storm.

The boy who lives next door to the sheep believes they've been abducted by aliens.

The cell phone they found is actually important evidence in a bank heist, which resulted in the sheep's owners losing all of their life savings.

It's quite an adventure. We finished reading it this morning, and both Bubs and Welly have separately already asked me to start reading it again.

The five sheep are great, unique characters. There's Sal. She's kind of the leader, although not necessarily the smartest. There's Oxo, who really only cares about eating. There's Links, who is always breaking out into a rap. There's Jaycey, who is dainty and cares about her hoof paint. And lastly, there's Wills. He's the real brains of the group.

On the Con side, this book has some not-so-nice for little kids language. Since I was reading it aloud, it wasn't a problem, but there are quite a few stupids, shut-ups, and some name-calling (geek and Woolbags mostly) that I skipped over. There is also one scene where the neighbor boy takes a reporter out for dinner and Beer. I just said drink instead of Beer. Anyway. Fair warning.

For the reasons mentioned above, I recommend reading it aloud to your kids. My 7 and 5 year old seemed about the perfect ages for it. Amazon recommends it for 9-12, so that too, I guess.  :)

1 Comments on Book Review: The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christine and Christopher Russell, last added: 2/23/2011
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19. Mini Lessons

Each morning after breakfast, we do a Mini Lesson, which is a short lesson about whatever random thing I think of. Sometimes the ideas are inspired by the kids and sometimes not.

Mini Lessons are a great way to introduce ideas and concepts that don't already fit into our daily work...and they're pretty much the kids' favorite part of the day. I never tell them ahead of time what it will be. The surprise helps keep them fun.

Here are some of the lessons we've done...

1. Tell a short story that includes basic shapes. Trace the shapes in the air while you tell it, and then have everyone draw an interpretation of the story. After you've set the example, have the kids tell a brief story and have everyone draw theirs, too.

2. Compare a flat world map with a globe. Find where you live on both. Identify the 7 continents. Color and label the continents on a blank world map.

3. Measure things around the house with a measuring tape/ruler. Record findings. (When we did this, we discovered that Y's neck is bigger around than his big sister's and brother's necks! No wonder we can't button the top button of his church shirt!)

4. Make coin critters! We absolutely love this idea from Family Fun.

5. Make paper airplanes. Talk about lift and gravity. Color and label a diagram of a wing.

6. Build card houses. (This one turned into a zoo for little stuffed animals.)

7. ABC Gratitudes. Write out the letters A-Z, one letter on each line. The first person fills in something that they're grateful for that starts with an A, then passes it to the next person, until you have a whole alphabet of thanksgiving.

8. Work on memorizing the 50 States Song.

Right after Mini Lesson, I read aloud to the kids, so I like to finish with something they can do with their hands while I read...usually it's some kind of coloring. They also like to embroider, finger knit, draw, and write notes while I read.

I keep a running list of ideas that is easily accessible because some days I have lots of ideas and other days I don't.

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20. Welcome Spring with Picture Books!

I can't wait for Spring! You know how Target has that section where everything costs a buck or two? Well, this week, we found some mini tomatoes and bell peppers in little pots. I'm so excited to see bits of green pop through the soil in my kitchen.

In honor of the approaching season, here are one-word reviews of our favorite spring-ish picture books...

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming: Gardenlicious!











An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston: Anticipatory!

A Seed Is Sleepy








A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston: Alive!










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21. Secret Hideout

Great cedar tree, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC,...

Image by Musée McCord Museum via Flickr

What was your secret hideout when you were a kid?


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22. Intro to Fractions

Even the youngest of students can learn some basics about fractions with this mini lesson.

Orange Fractions
1. Peel an orange and separate it into two halves. Discuss how there are two parts of one whole orange, thus two halves make one whole.
2. Split the orange into four parts and discuss.
3. Separate all the orange pieces. Ours had twelve parts. Hold three pieces in your hand and ask, "How many parts do I have?" 3. "Out of how many?" 12. "3 parts out of twelve parts is 3/12." If kids are grasping the concept well, explain that 3/12 is the same as 1/4 of the orange.


Liquid Fractions
1. Fill a 1 C measuring cup with water or beans. If using water, you may want to put a cookie sheet underneath.
2. Allow kids to experiment with various measuring cups. Help them reach the discovery that 4 1/4 cups make 1 C and 3 1/3 cups make 1 C.
3. Explain why it works that way. Because 3 parts out of 3 make a whole, etc.

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23. Hot off the Press!!!

I received some new picture books for review, and I'm excited to tell you about three that are super fun. There's a picture book, a board book, and a book that falls somewhere in between.  :)

Press HerePress Here by Herve Tullet

I love when a picture book interacts with young readers in a unique, creative way. This book definitely does that.

Young readers follow simple instructions on each page. Their actions result in changes in the dots. For example, it says to tap five times on the yellow dot, and then when you turn the page, five dots are there. When you shake the book to one side, all the dots fall that direction. When you blow the book, the dark background creeps away.

Press Here would be great for preschoolers and new readers who can manage words like 'finally' and 'straight'.

The pages of the book are sturdy, somewhere in between a board book and a normal picture book.

Along with a whole lot of fun, this book is great for young children learning to follow directions.

Me . . . JaneMe...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Jane Goodall is well-known for her work with animals, particularly chimpanzees...but what was she like as a child? In Me...Jane, you'll find simple text, enchanting artwork, and a small girl who loves her stuffed chimp, Jubilee.

Jane always loved nature. As she explored and studied books about nature, she had Jubilee to keep her company. He even came along when Jane hid in Grandma Nutt's chicken coop to find out where eggs came from.

This book is full of the wonder of childhood. The story doesn't give much information about Jane herself, but it shows her ever-growing love for the world around her and shows how she lived her dreams.

The end of the book has a biography about Jane Goodall and a note

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24. Spring Projects: Literacy and Quilts

Life has been full! Here are some pics to prove it!

Arkansas Literary Festival

Darcy Pattison, speaker

April 8, Literacy on the Lawn, Governor's Mansion

School Visits: Paris Elementary and Cherry Valley Elementary

Darcy Pattison school visit

Teressa, Cherry Valley Elementary Literacy Coach

Oliver K. Woodman, Darcy Pattison school visit

Oliver K. Woodman Project by Cherry Valley Elementary Students



Darcy Pattison, speaker, Scary Slopes

Paris Elementary Assembly: Reading The Scary Slopes.

After School Quilts

I wish I could show you the kids who made these quilts (privacy issues!). They had a blast. There were five boys and one girl and everyone had a great time. We talked about the history of quilting and they chose to make Amish quilts; I think they liked the black, as much as anything. We met once a week for about 8 weeks to finish these projects.

Amish Quilts made by 10 year olds.

NonFiction BookBlast Sunday, June 26, 2011. 8-10 am. ALA Conference in NOLA.

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25. Back-to-School picture book roundup

Many school-related picture books have arrived on my desk in the last week or two, but these are the only two I've really liked. 

Milgrim, David. 2011. Eddie Gets Ready for School. New York: Cartwheel (Scholastic).

David Milgrim has a real flair for simplicity.  I've never reviewed them, but his Ready-to-Read books featuring Pip and Otto are my favorites for very early readers.  Eddie Gets Ready for School is not an easy reader, but it's masterful in its simplicity.  It's nothing more than a checked-off list, one or two items per page, of all the things Eddie "needs" to do before school,
Put cat in backpack
Hug Mom
Take cat out of backpack
Find something else for show & tell
Some items (Eddie choosing in turn, the dog, goldfish, bird, and flat screen TV for show & tell), don't make the written list and are expressed only in the crisply drawn cartoon images on white space.  Mom and the dog are featured throughout the story.  Mom is happy and supportive, although root beer and cartoons for breakfast does try her patience a bit. So what does Eddie finally choose for a snack and show & tell?  You'll never guess!  This is a very funny back-to-school gem!



Murray, Laura. 2011. The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School. Ill. by Mike Lowery. New York: Putnam.

This gingerbread man is not running away as fast he can; he's running to catch up!  The children have cooked him up at school but, oh no! He's left behind when it's time for recess, but he's a smart cookie.  He'll find them,
I'll run and I'll run,
as fast as I can.
I can catch them! I'm their
Gingerbread Man!

Along the way, he loses a toe,
I'll limp and I'll limp,
as fast as I can. ...
and almost ends up as someone's snack,
I plopped on a sandwich
and chips with a crunch
OH NO! I cried out.
I'm in somebody's lunch!
 The story is told entirely in rhyme and presented comic style with panels and word bubbles. Cute and simple.  Kids will eat this one up.

Librarians will want to remove the poster before circulating this one.  Teachers will want to hang it in the classroom.

Author Laura Murray's website has some great Gingerbread Man extras - and a RT script coming soon!

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