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Students are often called upon to read "chorally".
That is, they read together
simultaneously as a group.
Repeating this practice assists young readers with reading fluency - the speed, accuracy,
and inflection of oral reading.
Why not, since it's called "choral" reading anyway, actually read the chorus of a song?
As we continue to break down the Core Behaviors for our school district, we come to Follow Instructions. One might think this is self-explanatory, but we quickly find that the opposite is true. The teacher cannot afford to simply tell kids to follow instructions. It's not enough to expect kids to follow instructions without teaching them how to do so.
I recently had the idea to break down the Core Behaviors so they might be taught more explicitly. It will be nice to have the graphic below, with its R.O.T.A.T.E. acronym to assist in teaching, practicing, and reinforcing this expectation.
Book Scavenger is the first book from author Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. She does a fine job of keeping the reader's attention. I found myself wanting more to happen sooner in the book, but once the story gets going, about half way into the book, I quickly discovered that I needed to keep reading - even if it meant I would be sacrificing sleep. This is a thicker book than fourth graders are used to, but it's not too deep for most. Try it on for size.
None of us is perfect, but when we find where we fit, our sense of purpose begins to take shape. Often the biggest problem is that we are trying to fit into the wrong place or to connect to another piece that isn'e meant for us. Some of us don't even get started making the puzzle - we are still rattling around in our boxes, afraid to see the wonder that we can help to create. We must seek to nurture our gifts and use them to their fullest. There is no one on the planet exactly like you. Each of us is a one-of-a-kind limited edition.
How can a person encourage another person to explore undiscovered talents? Call it motivation if you'd like. Call it inspiration. Hey, call it visionary if you want to. The fact is, sometimes getting a fourth grader to do things can be difficult - especially when s/he comes to the teacher with head in hands and staring at his/her shoes, without even a modicum of desire to overcome struggles or learn new things.
He thinks he is as good as he will ever be. He is satisfied that he has learned everything he can learn - that anything new is overload and impossible - and I, the teacher, am expected to work some kind of magic to get him to think differently. I wouldn't call it magic, but I would recognize that my part of the process does require some finesse.
Sadly, I don't think any teacher can honestly put that finesse, or magic, into words. It is certainly a combination of any number of people skills, teaching skills, personality, and perseverance. When Kim Bearden talks about getting students to stop rattling around in their boxes and change their fears into wonders, she is spot on...but it takes the rest of the chapters in her book (Crash Course) to achieve it. Still, I would like for her to add a chapter entitled Finesse.
For the past six years, I have changed many of the old ways I have approached education. I haven't thrown out the baby with the bathwater, but I have changed my approach in significant ways. On a number of occasions I have discovered some of that so-called magic with particular students.
One student might be defined as a thug by people who knew him, but at some point, he became the class' favorite peer. Through an arduous and painful process, riddled with stumbles, he became compassionate and selfless, and he discovered in himself a character he never knew existed.
During another year, a boy of small stature did everything he could to emulate the gang members he saw on TV, but after a heartfelt connection with a teacher who was willing to listen to him, he became interested in academic improvement.
Still another year brought a child who lived in poverty, hated women, and was generally angry. He was the boy everyone dreaded. He did not bathe regularly, and had terrible habits. When dealing with adults and peers alike, this kid would melt down completely. He slipped easily into violence and self mutilation. Yet somehow, with explicit teaching, he awakened something deep down within himself. He learned how to look people in the eyes and firmly shake their hands. He learned to call adults ma'am and sir. He learned to be slow to anger and slow to speak.
I know Mrs. Bearden is talking about awakening different kinds of talent - public speaking or singing perhaps - but for these three boys, the box that confined them was a tight one. I want my students to know that what defines them now does not have to define them in the future. The secret to such redefining is to remove confinement.
You can have an impact on others that you might not have realized simply because you are choosing to focus on things that you think you can't do instead of the things that you can do. You are enough. Forget your failures, forget your inadequacies - focus on the gifts that you do have and how you can choose to use them to the fullest. You have something to offer this world. You, my friend, are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Read the sentence below. Do you see any problems?
treat others way U want 2 B treated
Do not rewrite the sentence. In fact, don't even fix the sentence. Instead, on your paper, tell the writer how to correct three things.
One of Joplin Schools' four Core Behaviors is Get Along. While much has been written about explicitly teaching the first behavior of Greeting Others, breaking down the other three expectations has been more difficult. I have come to appreciate the need for finding the specific steps involved for students to master these behaviors, so I wondered if this one could be taught in a similar fashion.
Of course it can't. It's a different animal, and might need to be approached in a slightly different way. Look, however, at the acronym I created below: STARFALL. This breaks down the art of conversation, which I believe is central to getting along with others. I am most definitely not strong in this area myself, so I will continue to work on these skills alongside my students.
It's time to put these little fellows to the test. I've just received three Ozobots to use in our classroom. After playing with them on my own for a while, I'm still figuring out how to use them for educational purposes.
I am more interested in using our Ozobots to teach history, science, reading, writing, and math. I already have some ideas for how they can help us with storytelling and history, and I am looking at examples of possible math and science instruction. People know I like to think outside the box, so they won't be surprised when I pull these guys out and gear them up (They might roll their eyes, but they won't be surprised.). We'll definitely have to post some videos on the website when we make them (whether it be for this year's class or next).
Miss Fitzgerald is teaching most areas of the content, these days. She's really jumping in to get lots of experience in many areas - from geometry and measurement to the food web. There is no shortage of energy in her class.
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