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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 close in on 20,000 visitors to our website, I am reminded of our place in the world. Here, in Joplin, Missouri, we sometimes get lost in ourselves; that is, we forget that there are billions of other souls out there, wandering through life along with us. The counters in the right margin of our homepage give us a pretty good idea of population centers where advanced technology exists.
Above is a map of the locations of all of our North American visitors, while the map at left is an indicator of our international guests (If you are one of these guests, looking at this post, we would love for you to identify yourself in the comments.). We are thrilled and humbled by the unlimited boundaries of our reach.
One activity we may do soon is recreate the graphic below. The purpose is not to make us feel small (but it does kind of do that, doesn't it?); instead, the purpose is to help us realize that we are part of something big. Without the Me circle at the center of this diagram, there would indeed be a hole in the universe.
Sometimes our families can get on our nerves. Whether it be a brother or sister, older or younger, or the parent-child relationship in this video, we must remember that our relationships matter.
Take three minutes to watch this video:
Now for some questions:
Can you explain what's happening here?
How did someone determine the correct numbers extending outward from the eight in the center?
This week, students interpreted Indian pictographs into English. Afterward, they made their own pictograph stories. Five were selected by their classmates to recreate theirs with paint. These examples of crossing-history-with-writing-and-art will be displayed in the classroom.
To accompany our recent sketches, students were asked to create stories (narratives) with a Native American main character. Some of the sketches and writings are posted on our hallway bulletin board, and they look pretty nice.
This is an example of crossing the curriculum. With a little historical background and an intimate art project, many students seemed to be legitimately inspired to write their stories.
This book is kind of a guilty pleasure. While it's a page-turner with its short chapters and alternating storylines, it's probably not the most literary thing I've ever read. About two-thirds of the way through the book, I found myself wanting the author to move things along more quickly. Then, when things started happening, author Tim Green picked up the pace and everything took off at once.
Green also did not take it easy on his characters. Each of them were confronted by just about every obstacle possible - right up to the very end. That's quite a challenge for an author to face.
This is an actual classroom report from Class Dojo, the program we use in Room 404 to track student conduct. I am able to categorize the behavior choices (both positively and negatively) of students in the classroom. With this, students can easily see where their own choices have placed them. We can then ask questions to help us individually and collectively improve.
The "donut" report shown here indicates that our total score is 83% positive, that is a combination of 323 positive points and 67 negative points awarded since the first day of school. More importantly, we can look at a glance to discover that we score more positive points in the areas of Accepting Responsibility and Showing Respect. Ironically, contrasting to this, our negative choices have been in the areas of being Irresponsible and Disrespectful.
In addition to the class donut report, I also look at individual reports (examples below) to counsel with individual students about their choices. Class Dojo is a very useful program that supports our school's Positive Behavior program, which includes the SOAR acronym.
We recently completed an initial look at reading fluency for the class, and the results are in. Using a program called Aimsweb, I am able to listen to students read short passages to determine the rate at which they read. Backed by research is the idea that when students read at a conversational rate, they better understand the text they have read. At this time, fourth graders are expected to read a minimum of 108 words per minute. At the end of the year, they are expected to read a minimum of 140 words per minute.
There are some students who will meet that goal easily and others who can make the effort to get there...but some are far from reading at grade level. Let's look at some statistics for our class:
When I look at the numbers, disregarding the color code, it appears that about half of this year's Hoggatteers have achieved grade-level reading levels. Unfortunately, that means the other half are a grade level or two (or more) below expectations. That's all the more reason why each fourth grader should read for 30 uninterrupted minutes, outside of school, every day. Let's make every effort to make this graph change, this year.
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