I think it is critical that we give students opportunities to discuss what they are thinking. When I was teaching in the classroom, discussion was a huge part of how I guided students to higher order thinking. Along with book club and small group discussion I also used frequent mini discussion times such as a “pair and share”.
I subscribe to the Heinemann channel on YouTube and they often post some yummy instructional morsels, and the one below is no exception.
The over dramatic (I had to preface the viewing of this video with some warning) teacher in the video presents the idea of “Thinking Partners”. I like that term. What I really liked is how she modeled to students the appropriate way to interact with your “thinking partner”. These first few weeks are crucial moments in setting up procedures for the year. How do you model “pair and shares”, “buzzing” (Fountas and Pinnell), or “thinking partners” with your students?
I love teaching in the Carmel District! One thing I appreciate about the district I teach in is the wealth of knowledge our staff has, collegiality among staff, and professionalism that staff take!
I recently attended an in-disctrict workshop on tips for managing and maintaining a writer’s workshop. As an elementary teacher of seven years, I have been using a reading and writing workshop model for several years, coupled with the implementation the model for gradual release of responsibility and a balanced literacy approach. My students love having an environment where they feel they can truly practice and explore what it means to be a writer and reader.
Carmel Clay Schools Literacy Coach Lori Harmas facilitated the workshop and did a fantastic job (I always enjoy walking away from a workshop with a few things I can immediately implement in my own classroom!). Lori Harmas, Laura Chen, Anne Arroyo, and Jill Miller are all part of the instructional strategist team in our district, and have started blogging at http://teachersamongteachers.blogspot.com, these dedicated educators also helped organize materials and content for the workshop. Below are my notes from the workshop, some resources that were shared, and some video clips that were used by Lori in the presentation. Enjoy!
Research has proven that students can dramatically improve comprehension through the teaching of explicit reading strategies; i.e. connecting, inferring, questioning, visualizing, determining importance, synthesizing, and summarizing. I have been teaching my students these strategies for years and have seen the benefits for years now. Every year I make thinking helpers (bookmarks) that the students can keep in their books to help them code their thoughts and text as they record their thinking on thinkmarks or sticky notes.
A fellow GCT Daniel Rezac shared a very pertinent and related post on using this idea in Google Docs through the use of the comment feature. Thanks Dan!
Feel free to redistribute this think helper! The PDF should be cut to size and the helper should be used as a bookmark.
I am so excited about all the amazing things my students are doing this year. They all now have their own blogs and you can find them at the following addresses; please come comment!
My Classroom Blog
Wordle is a sweet word and wiring visualizing tool. www.Wordle.net has the ability to analyze the most frequent words used in a text (can be pasted in, weblinked, or typed in) and then creates a visual representation of those. Here is a slideshow, I came across while reading Mike Fisher’s blog http://digigogy.blogspot.com/; in it uses for Wordle in the classroom are shared.