Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Annotating Rubrics ~Middle School

This school year has started with creating interactive reading journals grades 5-7, and I have had a blast working with these amazing teachers!

Our sixth grade team is reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.  Students are working on visualization, key vocabulary words and evidence from text to support their findings.  {Here} is my post on visualization.

Part of setting expectations for students is developing rubrics AND annotating these rubrics so students tune into key information.  We have developed the same rubric for peer evaluation, self-evaluation and teacher evaluation, scaffolding practice of writing and evaluating for exemplar standards. 

Below, you will see an annotated rubric and model exemplar sample for students. I hope this will help you kick-start your facilitation of metacognitive strategies!

For my full unit on visualization, click {here}.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Visualization ~Metacognitive Strategy for All Ages~

School is starting and it is time to break out Metacognitive strategies so that students start "thinking about their thinking" from the very first day of school.

Many of our teachers wanted specific guidelines for how to teach and facilitate visualization.  Below, you will find procedural ideas for teaching visualization.  In addition, I created a simple format that includes an anchor chart, parts of speech headers, Writing integration and rubrics for self-evaluation, peer evaluation and teacher evaluation. You can find the complete unit on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Happy new school year to all of you!

Procedural ideas:

Complete Preview of facilitating this strategy with quick and simple writing integration:

Anchor Chart:

Writing integration for interactive journals:

Teacher evaluation rubric:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peak by Roland Smith ~ Lexile 780

This summer is the summer of middle school anchor texts and literature circle books!  Our Middle School, in grades 5-7, has selected anchor texts (everybody reads) from different genres.  After each anchor text has been completed, students will break out in literature circles (choice reading) to read a book of their choice related to the same genre.

I just finished reading Peak by Roland Smith, which is a seventh grade adventure anchor text.  This book was fabulous, engaging and told from the point of the Protagonist, Peak Marcello, who found himself in a spot of trouble after he climbed a skyscraper in New York.  His choice was to either go live with his Dad, who was a famous mountain climber who led expeditions to Mt. Everest, or spend the next three years in juvenile detention.

Excerpt from the back cover:
When fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello's long-lost father presents the opportunity for them to summit Everest together, Peak doesn't even consider saying no-even though he suspects there are a few strings attached.  And if he makes it to the top before his birthday, he'll  be the youngest person ever to stand above 29,000 feet.  It's not a bad turn of events for a guy who's been stuck in New York City with only skyscrapers to illegally scale.
Here, in Peak's own words, is the exhilarating, gut-wrenching story of what happened on that climb to the top of the wold-a climb that changed everything.  Welcome to Mount Everest. 

Peak learns about life.  He learns about friendship. He learns to understand motivations and actions of the people he loves.  Each step in this adventure kept me on the seat of my chair wondering if Peak would make it to the top, if his father would be a good guy or not so good, and the life lesson he learns...the very last line of the priceless.

Read this book.  Buy it for your child.  I recommend this for grades 5 and up.

Top of the world is a well-written informational text with facts about Mount Everest, tools and equipment.  This is our companion text for the unit.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pond Activities Post 2

The pond unit in our Kindergarten continues to be totally adorable!  Below are a few pictures of this unit being implemented.

The vocabulary focused on in the pond unit is so developmentally appropriate and demonstrate student understanding. Look at the pictures kids drew of vocabulary words.  I am super impressed with these kids!

One of our teachers created a crafty pond from crafts found on Pinterest.  I LOVE this because the crafts aren't all perfect and neat.  They were truly made by the hands of children!

 If you would like to see more great pictures and activities, check out these links and activities.

Activities for Down by the Cool of the Pool:

Pond lap book for K-2:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton ~ K-2

This is my second blog post about Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton.  

Here is a snippet of Blog Post 1:
This story is written in an add-on format which helps early learners with sequencing of stories.  As the story adds animals that join frog at the party in the pool, each has his/her own action including dancing, flapping, wiggling and stamping!  There are many types of sentences for teachers to take apart and explore with students as well helping cue for expressive voices.

The illustrations in this book are superbly eye-catching and colorful.  The text is full of sight words and also rhyming words. There is repetition,

 "Down by the pool in the cool of the day, frog cried, 'Wheeeeee! Can you dance like me?"
I love the wonderful beat to this text!  Yeah Tony Mitton!
Tony Mitton's book page is at the following link:

As part of our Kindergarten Ecosystem unit, I made a few activities for our teachers including sequence cards, picture/word cards, a verb header for an anchor chart and the words that match each character such as "Wheeee!" that matches with the frog.

These turned out so well and are a developmentally appropriate way to introduce the nature of words.  I can't wait to hear how the kids acted out these words!

The song, Animal Action by Greg and Steve goes beautifully with this unit!

If you love the unit and want to take a further look at it, click the Pink picture above and it will take you to Teachers Pay Teachers. 

Happy Spring!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sunshine Award~My Favorite Blogs!

My fabulous teacher/blogger friend, Michelle, at A New Day of Learning, sent me a ray of sunshine.  Thanks for giving me a Sunshine Blogger award!

I am sending a ray of sunshine to my most favorite character education blog, The Corner on Character.  Barbara infuses books, activities and student involvement in creating a positive atmosphere.  I LOVE her blog!

My second ray of sunshine goes to The Children's Book Review, which is an amazing resource for all teachers who are addicted to reading!

Both of these blogs are so very inspirational to me!  Check them out!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Teachers need a TPT sale and coffee!

Everything in my Teachers Pay Teachers store is 20% of today.  Use the coupon code to get a little extra discount as well!

I cannot begin to talk about how fabulous the teachers I work with are and how they make my job as a reading specialist go smoothly!

Here are a couple of smiles that came my way this week so far:

I tried to decaffeinate this year and it wasn't pretty...
This  e-card was sent to me, which I promptly printed off and taped on my cupboard.

This bottle is already empty.  It was my lunch today and I am getting A LOT done right now.  :)

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