Thursday, February 19, 2015

Friday Freebie: Transition Words

Google Search transition words- and there are a lot of lists! But, if we are thinking about our elementary writers- that list is not useful! Face it...transition words are so abstract! Kids don't "get" how to use them- let alone which ones to use!

I came home today and put together a FRIDAY FREEBIE  (on Thursday) that may help all my writing teachers out there!

I broke this resource into Narrative and Expository transitions and left a space for students to add their own. This would be a great tool in a Writer's Toolbox don't you think? Not to mention- that's a transition- fuel for a few good mini-lessons!

At the end of the file, I shared a great mini-lesson idea to help you teach these crazy abstract things!

Happy transitioning! Get your FREE file here!

How do you teach transition words? Will this help you? Please leave a comment and let me know your plans for its use! Don't forget to LIKE Leach's Literacy Training if it was my facebook post that brought you here!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Can Teachers Infer About the STAAR test?

We are deep in data in my district! Sing with me... like Alicia Keys... those spreadsheets are on FIRE! So much to teach and so little time. But one thing we can infer about the STAAR test, is that we have to infer a lot! A lot, a lot, a lot! And there are so many WAYS that the test asks our students to infer.  Did you know? No wonder it's so hard... they don't just say... what can you infer... grrrr!

So ask those kids to infer... in all the same ways that the STAAR test does! Print your poster here!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Comprehension Questions for the Guided Reading Table

After reading a text at the Guided Reading table, it's time for students to discuss and enhance comprehension.  Creating those questions as a teacher can be a challenge.  Just like there are strategies to teach/support at each level (thanks be to F&P) there are also questions to support comprehension at each text level (thanks be to F&P).

Let's face it, it's kind of hard to think up questions sometimes, especially at Level A, B, C. It's also hard to make sure questions are cognitively rigorous enough.  You can google search and find these stems or you can use one we created in DC Public Schools.

Or download yours from my DROPBOX link! Happy Guided Reading teaching!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Writer's Workshop Portfolios

Do your students keep writing portfolios? Don't let the word portfolio scare you! If students are choosing pieces of writing and jotting a reflection on that piece of writing- check the box- that's a writing portfolio.

In grades K-5 in my district, we do a BOY, MOY, and EOY writing prompt. The prompt is modeled after the writing assessment students take in our state- the STAAR. Teachers meet in writing PLCs to talk about what they notice as a whole with student writing and what they might praise, teach and reinforce as a result.

These samples BOY, MOY, and EOY writing samples are part of a student's writing portfolio. Now, what about the reflection piece? Oh yes.

Students in 2nd-5th grade should be expected to complete a reflection on their MOY writing piece after looking at their BOY sample. Right?

I've uploaded a sample reflection sheet (which may look very much like the one from Beth Newingham, but her link will not download from her blog- so I made it myself).  The reflection may not be very deep for our young writers, and can certainly be more complex for our older writers, but the idea is students, in their writing portfolio, start to recognize growth!    I've uploaded it to my TPT store. It's FREE. And it's a WORD doc so you can certainly make changes to the questions so it will work best for your students.

And what do we know as teachers? How will students improve their writing? By writing MORE!

I like to do writing reflections after we finish a writing genre too.  You know, when the writing folders are just overflowing with drafts.  You can read more about that here.  Keeping in mind, a writing portfolio is not just a collection of pieces that were published during the year. Students can choose pieces for their Writing Portfolio for a variety of reasons, and some of them will be drafts still.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently February

It's that time again.  Thankful to my friend Farley who gives so many of us a REMINDER to blog at least once a month...

Listening: I just love this movie! Always have. Totally reminds me of my sweetheart. We watched it together several times in high school when we were dating and also in Alabama when he was in flight school.  It's a TOP TEN in my book! Next up... Officer and a Gentleman for this girl this Sunday.

Loving: AHHHH! I took the weekend to go to a retreat. It is a craft retreat- don't make fun of me- it is a "do whatever you want" and "relax however you like" kind of place!  It was fuel for my SOUL!
It was also the gift I gave to myself for my 35th birthday!  35 is going to be a great year!

Thinking: So on the flip side,  I can't help but feel guilty.  My husband leaves in a week for two weeks "in the field".  I probably should have been home spending time with him.... but whatever... I needed this. This is where I continue to talk myself out of feeling guilty... does is sound like it's working?  Oh well. I'm home now and ready spend QT watching the SUPER BOWL? :)

Wanting: I'm dressed and ready for a workout and am hoping I can do my workout outside today rather than at the gym. Hoping the weather cooperates with me. There is a lot of wind, but we call that resistance! #noexcuses

Needing: So much to do for Leach's Literacy Training this week and next week.  Not to mention all the work during tax season. Alas, breathe, and take it one task at a time, right?

Pageant Title: I'm sure if you ask my husband he could come up with a good one. Sadly, I cannot. Nor do I have the energy to sit and think on it! See needing above!