It’s Monday… It’s ELA Common Core Day! Tips From The Field

Happy Common Core Monday to you!  Big apologies coming from me – I have been off the radar for a couple of months.  I’m back!  

I had the pleasure of working with exemplary teachers, administrators, interventionists, and student teachers in the Northeast this week.  THANK YOU to the teachers in Albany, Hartford, Boston, Long Island, and Cherry Hill, NJ!  The following tips are their contribution:

  • Create a resource web page for your school to share teacher ideas/materials. (Haviland Ave Elem/Audubon Schools)
  • Resource: The Decoding Solution: Rime Magic and Fast Success for Struggling Readers by Sharon Zinke (Scholastic)
  • Select non-fiction together
  • Moo-o.com – record stories and watch animated playback
  • Let children use a microphone to read their writings.  They read like professionals!
  • Use Google Images on Smart Board for student background knowledge (preview first!!)
  • Text Talk: Interactive Read Aloud – a vocab-building reading program. Great books. Two of each book – one for teaching, one for your library
  • Collaborate with team as often as possible
  • Encourage students to talk and discuss
  • Read to self with timers/stop watches
  • Read to Buddy (improves fluency and expression)
  • Center Task Sheets – students check off [their accomplishments] themselves
  • Beanie Baby Decoding Strategies
  • Samsonsclassroom.com – practice on sight words, spelling, reading
  • Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers (Everything is there for you!)
  • Pinterest!!!  Having the kids “mirror” my/our objectives
  • Recorder Plus. Free APP for modulation in fluency
  • Garage Band on i-pad for intonation and fluency
  • Time to read
  • Story Wheel APP for creating stories and listening to them read back to you
  • Talking Carl [Talking Tom, etc] APPs for fluency.  Use for oral reading
  • Taxedo.com.  Word spashes like Wordle
  • DiscoveryEducation.com. Nonfiction films at various levels.
  • PBS – free nonfiction films
  • teachingchannel.com
  • Farfaria App APP.  The “Netflix” of children’s literature at a touch of a button
  • Books on tape – “Voice”
  • Resource: Comprehension Connections by Tammy McGregor.  Concrete lessons and examples given for inferences, determining importance, etc.  (Highly recommended by 2nd grade teachers at Bristol Hubbell School.)

Read aloud to your students everyday.  And until next time, share a literacy strategy!

Denise Gudwin

Happy New Year – 2013 Thoughts

Mr. Moses lived on the street where I grew up.  From as far back as I can remember, early on New Year’s Day each year my mother got up and dressed and let me get up with her so that we were ready and standing in the vestibule when Mr. Moses rang our doorbell.

He got up at dawn, dressed impeccably in a suit and vest and tie and overcoat and dress hat and started at one end of the block, going to each house and ringing the doorbell.  When greeted, he’d take off his hat and step across the threshold just enough so that he was inside. When invited in, he’d decline, saying that he had to keep going but wanted to be sure that the first person who entered our home in the new year brought good tidings and well wishes for all of us. He went to every house, then quietly turned around and walked the length of the long block back to his. It was many, many years later when I’d grown up and moved away that I wondered if there had ever been someone who came to his house to do that for him.


I wish you a year of good health, wholeheartedness, increased commitment, strengthening community, shared laughter, new adventures, continual reward, accelerated compassion, faith, and gratitude.

From a childhood story Mr. Moses by Marian SkottMyhre – As shared with me from my brother, @Rene.

100 Best Ever Teen Novels


After the 100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Starting School, (posted in August) and then the 100 Best Middle Grade Books posted Oct. 25th, it’s time for the 100 Best Ever Teen Novels, thanks to the folks at NPR.  “Should I read to my high school students?” you ask.  YES! Absolutely!


Next week, we’ll talk more about read alouds. But in the meantime, here are some of the best for teens – enjoy checking off the ones you’ve already read, and enjoy looking forward to choose the next one you will read.

100 Best Ever Teen Novels (www.npr.org)
1.Harry Potter Series
2.The Hunger Games Series
3.To Kill a Mockingbird
4.The Fault in Our Stars
5.The Hobbit
6.The Catcher in the Rye
7.The Lord of the Rings
8.Fahrenheit 451
9.Looking for Alaska
10.  The Book Thief
11.  The Giver Series
12.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series
13.  The Outsiders
14.  Anne of Green Gables Series
15.  His Dark Materials Series
16.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower
17.  The Princess Bride
18.  Lord of the Flies
19.  Divergent Series
20.  Paper Towns
21.  The Mortal Instruments Series
22.  An Abundance of Katherines
23.  Flowers for Algernon
24.  Thirteen Reasons Why
25.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime
26.  Speak
27.  Twilight Series
28.  Uglies Series
29.  The Infernal Devices Series
30.  Tuck Everlasting
31.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
32.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series
33.  The Call of the Wild
34.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson
35.  Go Ask Alice
36.  Howl’s Moving Castle
37.  Stargirl
38.  A Separate Peace
39.  Vampire Academy Series
40.  Abhorsen Trilogy
41.  Dune
42.  Discworld/Tiffany Aching Series
43.  My Sister’s Keeper
44.  The Dark Is Rising Sequence
45.  Graceling Series
46.  Forever
47.  Earthsea Series
48.  The Inheritance Cycle
49.  The Princess Diaries Series
50.  Song of the Lioness Series
51.  Treasure Island
52.  Delirium Series
53.  Anna and the French Kiss
54.  Hush, Hush Saga
55.  Little Blue Envelopes
56.  It’s Kind of a Funny Story
57.  The Gemma Doyle Trilogy
58.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
59.  The House on Mango Street
60.  Something Wicked This Way Comes
61.  The Chocolate War
62.  Just Listen
63.  A Ring of Endless Light
64.  The Truth About Forever
65.  The Bartimaeus Trilogy
66.  Bloodlines Series
67.  Fallen Series
68.  House of Night Series
69.  I Capture the Castle
70.  Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
71.  Before I Fall
72.  Unwind
73.  The Last Unicorn
74.  The Maze Runner Series
75.  If I Stay
76.  The Blue Sword
77.  Crank Series
78.  Matched Series
79.  Gallagher Girls Series
80.  The Goose Girl
81.  Daughter of the Lioness/Tricksters Series
82.  I Am the Messenger
83.  The Immortals Series
84.  The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
85.  Chaos Walking Series
86.  Circle of Magic Series
87.  Daughter of Smoke & Bone
88.  Feed
89.  Weetzie Bat Series
90.  Along for the Ride
91.  Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series
92.  Leviathan Series
93.  The House of the Scorpion
94.  The Chronicles of Chrestomanci
95.  This Lullaby
96.  Gone Series
97.  Shiver Trilogy
98.  The Hero and the Crown
99.  Wintergirls
100.   Betsy-Tacy Books

Read aloud to your students everyday.  And until next time, share a literacy strategy!

Denise Gudwin

Best Middle Grade Books!


After the 100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Starting School (one of my postings in August), I promised you books for older students.  

Here is my compilation of the BEST Middle Grade Books.  Remember to continue reading aloud to your students, no matter what grade you teach!  Next week, I’ll post the Best YA Books – Stay tuned!


Middle Grade Books

Enjoy this list of the best middle grade books.  Read aloud to your students every day, even if it’s just a teaser, to get them hooked on the story . 

Best Books of 2011 and 2012: Children’s Middle Grade Books (www.Amazon.com)  and Best Middle Grade and Chapter Books (www.books4yourkids.com) and the Ten Middle Grade Novels I’m Looking Forward To In 2012 (Blog.schoollibraryjournal.com), and Best Middle Grade Fiction (www.granitemedia.org)
1.Okay for Now
2.Something to Hold
3.Wonderstruck
4.Every Thing On It
5.The Son of Neptune
6.Close to Famous
7.The Emerald Atlas
8.The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
9.The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales
10.  Liesl & Po
11.  Breadcrumbs
12.  Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes
13.  Vanished
14.  Wildwood
15.  The Unforgotten Coat
16.  Waiting for the Magic
17.  The Midnight Zoo
18.  A Year Without Autumn
19.  A Talk Dark & Grimm
20.  The Seven Sorcerers
21.  Horton Halfpott
22.  One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
23.  Lime Pickle Juice on a Cookie
24.  Kat, Incorrigible
25.  Nerd Camp
26.  Small Acts of Amazing Courage
27.  Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Sea, Air, and Land
28.  Giants Beware
29.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again
30.  Merits of Mischief
31.  The Mighty Miss Malone
32.  Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms
33.  Remarkable
34.  The Paradise Trap
35.  The False Prince
36.  Cold Cereal
37.  Lone Bean
38.  Kaspar the Titanic Cat
39.  Illsionolgy
40.  Castle of Shadows
41.  Wonder
42.  The Case of the Deadly Desperados: Western Mysteries
43.  Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire!
44.  May B.
45.  Glory Be
46.  The One and Only Ivan
47.  See You at Harry’s
48.  The Prince Who Fell from the Sky
49.  Three Times Lucky
50.  The Crafty Criminals
51.  Chomp
52.  Ruby Redfort Look Into My Eyes
53.  Remarkable
54.  The Great Cake Mystery
55.  The Whole Story of Half a Girl
56.  Never Say Genius
57.  Chained
58.  The Humming Room
59.  The Amazing Adventures of John Smith, Jr., A.K.A. Houdini
60.  Oddfellow’s Orphanage
61.  A Monster Calls
62.  The Unseen Guest
63.  The Edgar Awards
64.  Ten Miles Past Normal
65.  Superfan
66.  One Dog and His Boy
67.  Winterling
68.  The Grave Robber’s Apprentice
69.  Wilma Tenderfoot: The Case of the Frozen Hearts
70.  Fake Mustache
71.  Hidden
72.  29 Clues: The Medusa Plot
73.  13 Gufts
74.  Secrets at Sea
75.  The Flint Heart
76.  Turtle in Paradise
77.  Floors
78.  True (… Sort of)
79.  The Emerald Atlas
80.  Ruby Red
81.  The Lovely Shoes
82.  The Bridge to Never Land
83.  With a Name Like Love
84.  The Cabinet of Earths
85.  Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading
86.  Breaking Stalin’s Nose
87.  Dead End in Norvelt
88.  Moon over Manifest
89.  When You Reach Me
90.  One Dog and His Boy
91.  Like the Willow Tree
92.  Bigger Than a Bread Box
93.  The Visconti House
94.  Zora and Me
95.  Wondenstein: The Creature from My Closet
96.  Pippi Longstocking
97.  The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth
98.  My Name is RachelJunonia
99.  The Other Felix
100.  The Magic Cake Shop

Read aloud to your students today.  It’s that important. Even if just for 5 minutes.



Until next time, share a literacy strategy!


Denise Gudwin

 

It’s Monday, It’s ELA Common Core Day! Today’s Tip: Step 5


It’s Monday, It’s ELA Common Core Day! Today’s Tip: Step 5: What will my students need to do, to demonstrate an understanding of this standard?  What facts should they know, what concepts should they understand, and what skills should they use?

I’ve been missing-in-action this month…  work deadlines just took over.  But now, I’m back!  

Today is a continuation of our look at Ainsworth’s (2003) work in unwrapping the standards, where we’ve focused on Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 (out of 5). Today’s tip is Unwrapping the Standards, Step 5 (the last of the 5 steps) – What will my students need to do…

Step 5 – What will my students need to do, to demonstrate an understanding of this standard? What facts should they know, what concepts should they understand, and what skills should they use? (Ainsworth)
Facts they           should know
Concepts they should understand
Skills they           should use
Try thinking of a standard in a new way.  What facts should our students know? What concepts should they understand?  And what skills should they use?
In the sample of RL.__.2, what facts should they know?  Maybe what a key detail looks like? What concepts should they understand?  Maybe how a retell is different than a summary?  and What skills should they use?  As one teacher asked, “Is listening to the story an appropriate skill they should be able to use?” Yes!  Make it personalized for your students! 

So take a moment to think about one standard – it doesn’t have to be this one below, (see more at http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf but think about what facts should our students know, what concepts should our students understand, and what skills should our students use – and that may truly assist you in your planning and instruction. 
 Sample of K-6 Standard RL.__.2:
Kindergarten Teachers: 
Standard RL.K.2: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
1st Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.1.2: Grade 1 students will retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
2nd Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.2.2: Grade 2 students will recount stories, including fable and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
3rd Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.3.2: Grade 3 students will recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
4th Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.4.2: Grade 4 students will determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

5th Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.5.2: Grade 5 students will determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
6th Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.6.2: Grade 6 students will determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

This unwrapping the standards 5-step-process should be helpful to you and your colleagues.  Remember though, you don’t have to attempt it alone.  Sit with a group of friends/colleagues to work through these 5 steps together.  It is a ton more fun that way.  It seems like a lot of extra work to do, but front-loading this will give you an understanding that will help your teaching go even more smoothly, and the benefit is for both you and your students.
Until next time, share a literacy strategy!
Denise Gudwin, Ph.D.

It’s Monday, It’s ELA Common Core Day! Today’s Tip: Step 4 of Unwrapping the Standards – Essential Questions

It’s Monday, It’s ELA Common Core Day! Today is a continuation of our look at Ainsworth’s (2003) work in unwrapping the standards, where we’ve focused on Steps 1, 2, and 3 (out of 5). Today’s tip is Unwrapping the Standards Step 4.   Next Monday, we will continue with Step 5 and then another look at the whole picture, looking at another standard… Today’s focus, Step 4 – Essential Questions.
Step 4 – Write at least one essential question derived from the unwrapped standard and the big idea. (steps from previous Monday posts)  Engage your students in the process and take them beyond the basic who, what, when, where, I liked it because…  (Ainsworth)
Before we jump into our topic, let’s look at a few examples of Essential Questions for possible themes/grades (Source: Common Core Curriculum Maps: English Language Arts, Grades K-5. Written by teachers, for Teachers. Jossey-Bass):
Kindergarten – How are the beginning, the middle, and the end of a story different from each other? (p. 13)
1st Grade – What can versions of the same story teach us about different cultures? (p. 107)
2nd Grade – Why should we support out opinions with reasons? (p. 167)
3rd Grade – Why do we hand stories down to the next generation?
(p. 209)
4th Grade – How does the author’s use of setting affect the plot of a story? (p. 281)
5th Grade – How does literature provide insight into a culture? (p. 361)
Secondary – How does learning history through literature differ from learning through informational text? (p. xvii)
Write one or two essential questions for a unit of study…
Question
Question
Kindergarten Teachers: 
Standard RL.K.2: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
1st Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.1.2: Grade 1 students will retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
2nd Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.2.2: Grade 2 students will recount stories, including fable and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
3rd Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.3.2: Grade 3 students will recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
4th Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.4.2: Grade 4 students will determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
5th Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.5.2: Grade 5 students will determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
6th Grade Teachers:
Standard RL.6.2: Grade 6 students will determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Essential Questions… Take a moment to think about the relevance, usefulness, and benefit of teaching a particular unit.  You may think of it as the “so what” of the content covered… By the end of the unit, the students should be able to answer the essential question(s) with one of more possible answers.  

This reflective questioning helps us pave the way for increasing academic achievement.
Until next time, share a strategy!

Denise Gudwin, Ph.D.