Friday, June 28, 2013

BlogLovin' & Blog Huntin'

There's always something new to keep up with in social media, isn't there?  My latest adventure:  Bloglovin!    I'm still working through the details, but so far...I like what I see!  I was fortunate enough to get to transfer the blogs I follow from Google reader over to Bloglovin with a few clicks of the mouse.  If you weren't so lucky before Google Reader disappeared, it's NOT TOO LATE to search for some of your old favorites, and maybe even find some new ones to follow.   Let's go on a BLOG hunt together!  :-)  I've joined the Goin' on a Blog hunt linky with Laura Candler to help teachers find some terrific blogs to follow on Bloglovin' if you're up for it!   Follow on Bloglovin Getting started is easy! If you'd like to follow my blog, No Monkey Business, simply click on the black button to follow my blog on BlogLovin, which was a button created by the talented and super sweet Melissa over at Common Core and So Much More!   If you're ready to hunt for some additional teacher and student friendly blogs, click on the Blog Hunt button where you can peruse through some outstanding educational blogs. Happy Hunting!  
 Bananas for hunts that don't require camouflage and getting up early!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Read Like a Detective Book Study & Freebie

Have you read Teaching Your Students to Read Like Detectives?  It's a close up look at training students how to analyze and dive deeper into the text, as well as learn how to discuss text in a meaningful way.  I heard someone recently say, "When you teach kids to read like this, it's more like scuba diving, than water skiing."  
My teachers and I pulled together for a book study so that we could better prepare ourselves for Common Core and teaching kids to read more rigorous text with a purpose.  We had some fun along the way and I'd love to share the highlights.

Valuable lesson #1:  We decided it's important to create not only a text dependent classroom, but a SAFE, text discussion-based classroom!  By setting the stage early, you can foster a classroom where everyone's opinion, comments, expertise, learning, etc. has value.  The book discusses some key components to creating this type of environment.  I created an acronym to post on an Anchor chart to help remind our students what type of Reading classroom we would be! 

Valuable lesson #2 and key "take-away" from the book was the importance of keeping kids IN the text.  OH, how easy it is for them (and us) to jump into personal schema and bring what WE know (or think we know) to the text, instead of keeping our conversations centered around what the AUTHOR wanted us to focus on. The book gives some great question stems to help guide teachers BACK to the text when students start to stray.

Valuable lesson #3:  Teaching Narrative text (fiction) is still VERY RELEVANT and EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!  When Common Core came along, one of my very first introductions to it was someone who said that Non-fiction was here to take over the world.  Okay, maybe not that extreme, but I began to wonder where literature would fit into all this Common Core stuff.  It didn't GO anywhere!  It's still as relevant and crucial to teach as it ever was!  

Valuable lesson #4:  Expository Text IS making a bigger splash! There are many cool non-fiction genres to expose children to.  The book gives a list of some signal words that help lead students to a better understanding of how text can be organized.  I put them on Anchor Charts to help alert children to some of the different types of expository text they would be exposed to!  They're NEW, but my ultimate goal is that they will carry over into the different genres of writing.  If students are writing a compare/contrast piece, the "signal" words on the anchor chart can also be used in their writing to assist them in keeping it a true compare/contrast!  

Finally, Valuable lesson #5:  Collecting evidence from the text can be fun!  I've included a FREEBIE template that can be used in your Common Core Reading classroom.  As you do a 'Close Read' of a text, you can have students scour the text for a variety of information you want them to focus on. There are lots of suggestions in the Teaching Your Students to Read Like a Detective book.  Our teachers will simply add the labels to the magnifying glass handles for what evidence they want the students to locate in the book. Students will record in the magnifying glass circles and share.  Click on the image to grab the freebie template!  :-)

If you're an educator and are teaching Common Core, this book is an excellent resource for your professional library!  If your faculty is into book studies, this one is a quick read and provides teachers with some essential tools for tackling the Common Core in Reading.  

Bananas for anything that helps my students become better readers,



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