Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vocabulary and Text Talk Lessons


What does the research tell us about vocabulary instruction?

Frequent exposure to targeted vocabulary words. Biemiller and Boote (2006) found that repeated reading of a storybook resulted in greater average gains in word knowledge for young children.

Explicit instruction of targeted vocabulary words. Biemiller and Boote (2006) also found that word explanations taught directly during the reading of a storybook enhanced children’s understanding of word meanings. Nash and Snowling (2006) found that using a contextual approach to instruction produced greater vocabulary gains than lessons that emphasized learning word definitions.

Questioning and language engagement. Scaffolding questions, that is, moving from low-demand questions to high-demand questions, promotes greater gains in word learning (Blewitt, Rump, Shealy, & Cook, 2009). Vocabulary instruction should include teacher-student activities and interactive activities that target new words (Coyne, McCoach & Kapp, 2007).

In summary, active vocabulary instruction should permeate a classroom and contain rich and interesting information. Vocabulary instruction should cover many words that have been skillfully and carefully chosen to reduce vocabulary gaps and improve students’ abilities to apply word knowledge to the task of comprehension.

Text Talk is an approach to read alouds that is designed to enhance young children’s ability to construct meaning from decontextualized language. (Beck & McKeown, 2001; Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002). 

Utah Reading First educators created a collection of Text Talk lessons sparked from the work of Beck and McKeown’s research and findings. 
These lessons provide educators with a resource to accomplish the complex and demanding task of developing children’s literacy using read-alouds. The ultimate goal of a Text Talk lesson is twofold: 
1.) Getting children to talk about the text, considering 
ideas using decontextualized language to improve comprehension, and 
2.) the acquisition of vocabulary. 

In order to increase comprehension, teachers are reading while adding interspersed  discussion to focus, monitor, and scaffold learning; helping the children to respond to  the text rather than the illustrations. Discussions are based on the actual text instead of  permitting students’ responses to rely strictly on their background knowledge. 

The lessons are non-graded for K-6.  Click on this link to see sample Text Talk lessons created by Utah Reading First Educators!  There are 101 different lessons.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Leprechaun Kisses Poem

St. Patrick's Day Treat
I enjoy giving small treats to brighten the day!  This poem is adorable and attached to a plastic bag with a few chocolate kisses makes a sweet treat!  Just write their name in green on the clover or print on green paper.  This version will save you money on ink!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine Poem Freebie 2014

I Made My Dog a Valentine
by Jack Prelutsky

Children love funny poems for Valentine's Day! They also love their pets!  What a great combination!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Changing the World!

a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Do you have it in your heart to make a difference?  To change the world? 

I do!

I want to leave a legacy of loving, learning, teaching, and inspiring others to grow and live an abundant and audacious life!  Yes, even at work!

My dad has always reminded me that my perspective counts!  I value his simple and straightforward approach to life. The person that I can change is ME!  Yep, only me.  How I decide to approach this life will determine my happiness factor.

Teaching has changed greatly since I began my career many years ago.  When I started there were no standards.  Just textbooks!  What I remember most from those years is how much I loved those children! 
Today more than ever we must focus on our love for children.  There are so many things that can rob us of our joy.  

I read this article in Leadership 360  about Sam Berns.  Sam suffered from a very rare illness that recently ended his precious life.  Sam's perspective on life can help us all.  Take a few minutes and listen to his philosophy for a happy life:


Sam's Lessons:
Don't focus (waste your energy) on what you can't do; focus on what you CAN do!
Surround yourself with positive people who support you!
Keep moving forward!
Never miss a party!

I want to remember and take his advice to heart!  There are so many things that I can do as an educator that can change the lives of the students I serve.  I can be a bright light in a teacher's life!

I want to be that positive person that supports others.  My attitude can be the driving force that changes the climate of a school.  Supporting others and living life with them!  I love my family and friends!  I also love teachers and the children we serve!

Keep moving forward!  I must learn from the past, focus on the present, and plan for the future.  I must keep current with my craft.  My learning never stops.  If a child is struggling, what do I need to learn that will help them?  How might I change my instruction to meet the needs of my students? How can I support teachers and help them be more confident and secure?

Celebrate!  Enjoy this life!  Celebrate at school and at home.  Children thrive when they are surrounded by people that will celebrate when they succeed and support them when they struggle.  I love a party!  Creating a fun and happy environment at school is never a waste of time.  You can teach and have fun at the same time!

What a courageous young man!  His bravery is an example for us all.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.  

Go and change your world! You most certainly CAN!