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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monitoring and assessing independent reading time is curcial. Here are some good ideas. Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

What teachers can do to build a love of reading among students
There are several ways teachers can enhance reading activities and promote a lifelong love of reading among students, writes Jennifer Davis Bowman, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and a licensed school counselor in Ohio. In this blog post, she incorporates the reading response criteria by writer Frank Serafini and suggests teachers use tools to help them manage and track time dedicated to reading, choose material relevant to students' lives and adopt universal design. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on EducationBookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Everyone likes book clubs - adults and children alike. Here are some tips on how to set them up in your classroom. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

How to use book clubs to motivate student readers
Book clubs create communities of readers, even among students in seventh grade, language-arts teacher Jessica Cuthbertson writes in this blog post. Among the tips she shares about book clubs are having students help select titles to read, use journals to keep track of thoughts and brainstorm any problems that arise. "They attend to their book club text with more motivation, depth and stamina than they do with other independent reading selections," she writes. Center for Teaching Quality/In a Teacher's Shoes blog (12/7)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Following are some great resources for nonfiction materials and their use in the classroom. Courtesy of Choice Literacy


Here are two features from the Choice Literacy archives to help you look at the ways you organize nonfiction in your classroom library, as well as the depth and breadth of books available:
Andrea Smith finds value in organizing a classroom nonfiction library with students when she moves to a new room:
Tony Keefer highlights some of his favorite nonfiction books for boys:
If you're looking for short texts to add to your nonfiction collection, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project has compiled many free digital nonfiction text sets to download and use:
You'll find great suggestions for Nonfiction Wonder Inducing Read Alouds at the There Is a Book for That blog:

We've started posting our 2014 online courses and live workshops for those of you making plans for professional development in the new year:
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Monday, November 18, 2013

As we move ahead with the common core, we are going to have to rethink how literacy "looks." To start us on this journey here is some baseline information. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

7 reasons why states should embrace the Common Core State Standards 

"A common standard does not mean a 'watered-down' standard," writes North Carolina-based principal Steven Weber. "Standards are the 'what' and curriculum is the 'how.' The 'how' may look different in each classroom, but the standards are the same." In a guest Whole Child Blog post, Weber explains how the Common Core State Standards can help educators reach a shared goal. He provides seven specific reasons why the standards are beneficial and should be supported. Read on.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A must read article on teaching non-fiction!!! Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief

                                                                                                        You want me to read what?! 
The November issue of Educational Leadership tackles the question, how can teachers help their students understand informational text? In his article, professor Timothy Shanahan dives into the many aspects of informational text. Shanahan takes a look at the definition, why informational texts have become a big deal, whether such texts are developmentally appropriate for young students, and what it means for both English teachers and other content-area teachers. Read on.
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Friday, November 1, 2013

The key to school success is often co-ordinating the program school wide. Here is study on "Success for All." Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Whole-school improvement model boosts early-literacy skills
Success for All, a whole-school improvement model that includes curriculum, tutors, student assessments and teacher training, has been successful in boosting performance and early-literacy skills, according to a recent study. The program improved teaching practice and early-literacy skills in schools that have implemented it, with one Pennsylvania elementary meeting all student-learning targets in the 2010-11 school year after previously falling short. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (10/30)Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 28, 2013

The following article presents a clear understanding of "deeper thinking" in literacy. Well worth the read. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief

Teachers prepare for deeper learning under common core
As Connecticut schools transition to the Common Core State Standards, educators say students should expect a fundamental shift to deeper learning and independent thinking. For instance, educators say that instead of determining what happened in a text, such as Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible," the goal will be to determine what the text is about. In secondary-school English classes, for example, the transition will include analyzing and comparing works. Stratford Star (Conn.) (10/24)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Today I have posted some information on the Great Books Program, followed by some opportunites they provide. This method - Shared Inquiry - is powerful for all students. For too long, the use of instructional best practices has been limited to the more able students - with the assumption the less able needed skill and drill. This is not a research based reality. Here is an opportunity to receive some great training to help all students succeed while becoming aligned with the CCSS. Enjoy

Great Books Programs Meet Common Core Standards for Grades 2–8

Download a free lesson plan for your grade level!

Dear Darlene Bassett,

Throughout the country, thousands of educators recognize that Great Books programs are the very embodiment of Common Core.

For more than 50 years, we have been teaching students how to:
  • Think critically
  • Read for deep comprehension
  • Engage in great discussions
  • Write persuasive essays citing evidence from the text

We accomplish these goals with our own highly sophisticated version of the Socratic method, Shared Inquiry.™ More than any other curriculum and professional learning provider, we emphasize collaborative discussion, powerful questioning, and responses supported by evidence in the text.

Download a free lesson plan for your grade level that shows how specific Great Books activities meet Common Core State Standards!

Great Books Programs: The Cure for the Common Core®

Great Books October Webinars

Advance your Shared Inquiry skills or learn how to be a Great Books volunteer leader!

Make a difference in your community by becoming a Great Books volunteer, learn how to use the abundant power of student questions, or help develop students’ reading comprehension of informational text. Click on the webinar title you want to register today!

October 15 and 16, 2013, 10 a.m.–noon central
Fee: $99
This two-part webinar prepares participants to begin conducting Shared Inquiry™ discussions as a volunteer Great Books leader. It is intended to help participants organize a discussion-only, enrichment Great Books program using the Shared Inquiry method of learning through reading and discussion of outstanding literature.

The Power of Student QuestionsOctober 16, 2013, 3–4:30 p.m. central
Fee: $50
This intermediate-level course will help you teach students how to pose better questions, identify different kinds of questions, and focus on the questions that will best help them build their understanding of the selection. You will learn how to stimulate students’ initial curiosity about a specific text and guide them to become active partners in inquiry.

The Close Reading ProcessOctober 17, 2013, 3–4:30 p.m. central
Fee: $50
Upper elementary and high school teachers can attend this intermediate-level course to help develop students’ reading comprehension of informational texts. In the webinar, teachers will learn how to:
  • Improve students’ reading and thinking
  • Identify students’ needs and learn strategies to meet them
  • Work through concrete steps that help students manage difficult texts
  • Learn questioning methods to improve students’ comprehension.

Space is limited, so reserve your webinar seat now!

System requirements
PC-based attendees: Windows 7, Vista, XP, or 2003 Server
Macintosh-based attendees: Mac OSX 10.5 or newerBookmark and Share

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Here is a great opportunity for FREE digital books. These books can be read on ipads, kindles, laptops, computers as well as being projected on a LCD and shared with the class. There are many selections including fiction and non-fiction. Take a look and enjoy! PS - Notice you can join the celebration with your students!! Check out the bottom of the page!

We Give Books via 
Oct 3 (2 days ago)

to bsstt313
We Give Books: Fall Edition

Help Set World Reading Record with We Give Books TODAY!

We Give Books and readers from across the country and around the world are coming together to show their support for early childhood literacy. Join us TODAY for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, a national celebration of literacy that highlights the need for high quality early childhood education in America by mobilizing children and adults to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. Help us set a world reading record by reading Loren Long’s new classic Otis on When you read online with We Give Books, you will automatically be counted towards the world reading record and the new digital reading record!
For Ages: 4-7
Read Now
Read Otis in English or Spanish in our free online library now!
This year, you can also read along digitally with author Loren Long as he reads Otis in a Google+ Hangout On Air. Tune in at 12:00 PM EDT to watch Long read and answer questions from classrooms across the country.
Take your reading even further with reading extension activities in our Read for the Record toolkit!
Jumpstart is working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. You can help. Make a donation to We Give Books today and help us put books into the hands of preschoolers while supporting the important work Jumpstart is undertaking in low-income communities across the U.S. Learn how Jumpstart is putting children first.
Get your friends involved in the record-breaking fun! Add a photo of your celebration, no matter how small, to our Reading Celebrations page. And share your participation on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to use #ImWithOtis to let everyone know that you are standing up for children everywhere.
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Saturday, September 28, 2013

The role of literacy is moving to the forefront in many schools as the common core becomes a reality. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

N.Y. district pushes writing across all subjects in elementary, middle schools
Educators in Mendham Township schools in New York are focusing on writing in all subjects taught in elementary and middle schools, with nightly writing assignments for middle-school students, classroom-writing activities and more test questions that require descriptive answers. "To be successful in science and math requires more writing," Superintendent Salvatore M. Constantino said. New Jersey Hills Media Group (9/20)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Here are some great learning ideas for google hangouts. They address the ELA standards for listening and speaking. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief. Enjoy!

How Google Hangouts can be used for teaching, learning
Google Hangouts offer students "out of classroom" experiences without leaving the building, writes Andrew Marcinek, director of technology for Groton-Dunstable Regional School District in Groton, Mass. Marchinek shares six ways teachers can use Google Hangouts, including broadcasting and archiving live sessions, sharing screens and creating collaborative demonstrations, and making two-way digital conversations. T.H.E. Journal (9/17)

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Jim Burke's resources for CCSS literacy standards are hot off the press. Enjoy!! Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Don't spend another minute poring over the standards!
Focus instead on how to teach with Jim Burke's Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded—your roadmap to what the standards really say, really mean and, and how to put them into day-to-day practice across subjects. Click here now to learn more!Bookmark and Share

Monday, September 9, 2013

Technology has redefined literacy. The Common Core outlines that new definition. The following article takes a look at this new definition. Courtesy of ASCD Smartbrief.

How is technology changing school libraries?
Technology is playing a greater role in the school library, with digital collections replacing encyclopedias and books and a growing focus on libraries as collaboration centers. Studies have shown that this shift can be effective in improving teaching and learning, especially if teachers and school librarians work together. For example, Van Meter Community School in Iowa has used the eBook platform MackinVIA for more than one year, using the service to access about 900 titles as well as online databases. eSchool News (free registration) (9/4)Bookmark and Share

Friday, August 30, 2013

Here are some great free resources from Wes Ed as we start the year. Courtesy of West Ed.

Christine Anderson
SEP 12 | 03:30pm-04:45pm (PT)
Sacramento County Office of Education (California) staff Christine Anderson (pictured) and Becky Sullivan present this overview webinar for the Secondary Literacy Partnership's series on the Common Core State Standards. Topics highlighted will be informational text, drawing evidence from sources and using complex text.


School Climate: Why It Matters, How It's Measured, and What We Can Do About It
This recent webinar powerfully demonstrates the connection between school climate and academic success. Check out the related report on this topic.
Learning Environments that Promote Positive Youth Development and Success for African American Male Students
Find out more about the learning conditions, organizational structures, and school climate factors necessary to nurture African American male students.
Common Core State Standards for Secondary Teachers
Appendices A-C of the CCSS in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects are the focus of this archive. Presented in October 2012 by California Department of Education staff.
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Here is a great article on a new type of literacy. Remember the CCSS emphasizes exploring information in a variety of media. Courtsy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Educators use film to teach students a new type of literacy
Nearly two-dozen educators recently spent part of their summer at a "film camp" in which they learned how film study can be used to help students become more literate and aware of the messages they receive from visual media. The teachers were taught about motifs in films, explored what feelings are intended by directors and learned that movies can help even reluctant readers to show deep thinking and understanding that transfers to other areas. "In my absolute gut, I'm convinced it makes them stronger readers when we talk about print text," said John Golden, author of "Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom." Education Week (premium article access compliments of (8/15)
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