• January 2012: Critical Reading Strategies

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 1/19/2012 1:00:00 AM
    Literacy Videos 


    The Common Core in English Language Arts/Literacy: Overview from EngageNY from Vimeo.

    Materials used and shared:

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  • December: Written Comprehension

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 1/10/2012 7:00:00 PM
    Our December meeting focused on using Reading 3D's written comprehension data and format to design lessons that help enhance student writing.  In teaching writing skills, modeling a good written response and thinking aloud while the modeling is occurring is a great foundational teaching strategy.  As students pick up the pen, growth will be most significant when specific feedback is given to the student as to what they did well and what they could do to improve.  The state's writing rubric focusing on FOCUS, ORGANIZATION, SUPPORT & ELABORATION, and STYLE is still a good resource for guiding evaluation of student writing, even when applied to paragraph responses.
    Continuing to focus on non-fiction text, Carol Frazier modeled and shared student samples where students responded to questions (literal, inference, critical, and creative) corresponding to a guided reading text.  After students worked through their first draft, in some cases one solid sentence, students were given the opportunity to expand their response.  The teacher asked questions such as, "What could we add to this response to give it more detail (support & elaboration)?  Can we use some of the text to help us explain our reason for our answer?" and allowed students to add additional sentences.  Over the course of 2-3 days, students worked and reworked their written responses.  At the end of the week, students compared and rated their initial "day 1" response with the final "day 3" response.  The differences are stark and students can have ownership over the final, "best" written response.  If students don't see themselves writing an extended response with support from the text, they'll never have the confidence to tackle it independently.
    Using the "Non-fiction Comprehension" handout , Carol reviewed sample questions that can be created for any non-fiction text.  Participants were given a non-fiction book and worked in pairs to create some questions to go along with the book.  
    Carol shared the QAR (page 2) (Question Answer Relationship) types that many of are very familiar with when teaching students to respond to comprehension questions.  Within the context  of implementing Common Core standards for ELA, discussion was held on the emphasis that the CC standards will have on the "Think and Search" and "Author and You" type questions.  These can be associated with the literacy instructional shift-- "Text Based Answers".
    The group watched a brief video elaborating on the need for teachers to model and expect students to respond to literature and non-fiction texts by relating back to the text to support their stance or reason for their thinking.  The video was followed by some brainstorming of how this shift can be implemented and what obstacles teachers may face in doing so.
    Additional resources that encourage written responses to literature and/or non-fiction text were shared.  
    Links to segments are below:
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  • November: Teaching Non-Fiction Texts

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 11/13/2011 7:00:00 PM
    This month's meeting will focus on strategies that support teaching with non-fiction texts AND the instructional shifts teachers will need to make in using non-fiction texts in implementing the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts.
    Resources that will be used and shared at this meeting are listed below.
    Text Features Posters   (found on the web at:  http://tinyurl.com/5utrfvo  )
    Crossover Session Topic:  SHIFTS in ELA Practices
    Implementing the Common Core State Standards for Literacy will impact EVERY teacher in the district (and state)!  The standards help to identify clearly what students should know and be able to do at each grade and within content area classes.  Standards alone will not change instruction...in order to realize the desired outcomes intended through the implementation of the CCSS, we must make shifts in our instruction.
    SHIFT #1:  Balancing Informational and Literary Text
    We will view a 10 minute video and discuss this shift, what it means to teachers, and what we will need to change in our practices in order to implement this shift.  http://engageny.org/resource/common-core-in-ela-literacy-shift-1-pk-5-balancing-informational-text-and-literature/
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  • October 2011: Five Components of Reading Instruction

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 11/13/2011 6:00:00 PM
    For the past two years, we’ve held “support” group meetings for teachers as they have worked to implement Daily 5 and CAFÉ into their reading instruction.  This year, we will offer support meetings focusing on instructional strategies and intervention strategies aligned with the CAFÉ menu. In addition, we will incorporate the tools/materials provided by Teacher Academy presented this summer by Carol Frazier, Reading Recovery Teacher from Shawboro Elementary. 
    A draft meeting schedule and topics that will be covered can be found HERE. 
    Meetings will be scheduled in overlapping sessions, allowing for a 30 minute time period for discussion and presentation on Common Core Standards implementation. Meetings will be held at the JPK PLC meeting room.  These meetings are optional and will offer participants the opportunity to share ideas while earning 1.5 CEUs in Reading for each session attended. 
    Our October meeting focused on understanding the 5 components of Reading Instruction with "make and take" activities related to developing and practicing COMPREHENSION.
    The Powerpoint used by Carol Frazier is attached HERE
    Among some of the many "make and takes" participants created a "file" for use in illustrating the brain's thinking BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER reading.
    (Card activities have been sent to schools and can be duplicated for use in classrooms.)
    Next meeting will be WEDNESDAY, November 16th!
    Hoping to see you there!!!
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  • Word Callers, May Meeting

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 6/13/2011 9:00:00 PM
    The May meeting for the District's Daily 5/CAFE support meeting centered on a presentation and discussion of the book, "Word Callers" by Kelly B. Cartwright.  The meeting was facilitated by Principal, Whitney Bisbing, and Media Specialist, Candy Sample.
    "Word Callers" targets students that can read the words, but have difficultly understanding what they are reading.  The accompanying assessment has students sort word cards by sound and topic with specific scoring guidelines outlined in the book.  It is used to see where the students are on a continuum of reading skills and provides strategies based on the student's results.  This can be used for individual students or for small groups.  The book encourages students to make mental images and decode, not just decode in the reading process.
    Individual and small group strategies align easily with Daily 5/CAFE.  The first chapter describes word callers.  Chapter 2 provides research on reading and students falling into this category.  Chapter three describes the assessment.  The book provides examples of books to use with students to teach strategies--riddles, homophones, etc.  Resources include Reading Rockets, websites, and various literature.
    Discussion related to the Daily 5/CAFE initiative:
    • Participation has dwindled in the district discussion groups--need to keep ideas alive and continue to reinforce the implementation.
    • Learning walk visits show there is a varying degree of implementation across the district--different stages of implementation evident
    • End goal of this initiative and for reading instruction in general is to create life-long readers, not test takers.  Test taking skills are important, but the thinking process taught within the Daily 5 structure are more important--establishes reading for a purpose.
    • Participants shared individual success stories--
        • a student who transferred from private school not reading; now on Battle of Books team
        • using a variety of reading materials (including some basal materials) has been beneficial
        • growth seen in 3D assessments since beginning/middle of the year
        • building stamina in early grades difficult, but seeing progress and students are excited  about reading
        • students are helping with responsibilities--keeping students reminded of the rounds for Daily 5 each day/week
        • K-2 classes are using reading buddies to assist with Daily 5/CAFE rounds
        • Evident that more teachers are utilizing; common language in PLC discussions and throughout the school
        • 1st graders are doing "book clubs"--looking at using the NC Children's Book Awards to create a "Battle of the Books" for primary grades
    Some concerns were expressed that Reading 3D assessments are taking away valuable Daily 5/CAFE time--as proficiency is gained in the administering of the assessments, time will come back!
    Several teachers have begun to use the Daily 5 structure for Math instruction--creating anchor charts and modeling strategies for problem solving, numeracy, and mathematical games/thinking.
    "Pro Teacher" cited as a great web resource:  http://www.proteacher.net/  (visit Peony Room for Daily 5 resources).
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  • Book Whisperer, April Meeting

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 6/13/2011 8:00:00 PM
    The District's Daily 5/Cafe Support meeting was held on April 13, 2011.  Our focus for this session was Donalyn Miller's "The Book Whisperer."  Teachers at Dr. W. T. Griggs had been reading the book as part of a study group and shared their discussions and connection to The Daily 5/CAFE book and structure with the group.
    Key Points from "The Book Whisperer":
    • Interest inventories help teachers to know their students and match students to texts and genres and also help to establish a baseline for what the students have read and their background experiences.  This helps to identify books of interest throughout the year.
    • Carve out time to read!!!  Use in place of "bell ringer" activities or "worksheets" that primarily keep students busy while the teacher meets with small groups.  (AUTHENTIC PRACTICE trumps contrived busy work!)
    • "Book Frenzy" activity helps to put choices in the hands of students.
    • A teacher that is a voracious reader can make recommendations that are "good fit" choices for students not only based on reading difficulty, but on their interest.
    • "Quitting" a book is okay--so long as it isn't a regular habit; having a favorite genre and reading it more than other genres is also okay--so long as their reading!  (Alternative is they don't read at all...or lose interest in reading...)
    • Book "infomercials" are a great tool to help expose students to a variety of books that others have read--beats the book report hands down!
    • Page 75--"Rights of Readers" should be posted as an anchor chart.
    • The "40 book requirement" is a challenge that can motivate, so long as it isn't tied to a grade.
    • Reader's notebooks where students respond to their reading is a powerful tool--Includes a tally list for books read; a reading list for books read, attempted, or abandoned; books to be read list, based on recommendations or infomercials; response entries.  (pg. 96 and chapter 4/5)
    • Use as an interactive notebook in place of "worksheets"
    • Students need to be exposed to other genres--picture books can be a great transition, especially for non-fiction and informational genres
    • Teachers need to relinquish the urge to "control" the books students read; allow choice, design mini-lessons on the skills and objectives students need to be proficient readers, and get out of the way.
    Connections to Daily 5/CAFE:
    • Teacher's passion for reading is demonstrated through voracious reading, modeling, recommendations, and making authentic reading important by setting aside time for real reading
    • Matching students to books--Good Fit and Interest Inventories/Matching
    • Teacher keeps anecdotal notes--Pensieve is more structured, but both track reading progress
    • Assessing students level of reading--informal reading inventories (running records) vs. student surveys on interest and strategies
    • Appreciation for and practice of determining students' stage of reading and working to move them to the next level; developing readers, dormant readers, and underground readers
    • Reading Across the Curriculum!
    • Book libraries and access to many books is essential.
    The group discussed the resources listed in the appendix and strategies for building a classroom library.  Participants shared templates for setting up the reading notebook--reading lists, tally lists, books to be read, etc. and discussed how literacy is the cornerstone of 21st Century skills.  This led to a brief overview of the Common Core Literacy Standards and emphasis on reading in the content areas.
    Candy Sample shared another resource, "Word Callers" by Kelly Cartwright.  She explained that this book focuses on students that are able to read the words, but unable to comprehend.  She noted the book uses an assessment to help identify students needs.
    Candy volunteered to present a summary of the book at our next meeting on May 11, 2011.
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  • March: Developing a Voluminous Vocabulary

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 3/14/2011 5:00:00 PM
    The March District Daily 5/CAFE support meeting focused on vocabulary development in an integrated, balanced literacy classroom.  Building off the previous session on understanding the challenges of teaching with nonfiction texts, we discussed the importance of vocabulary instruction and strategies for teaching it across the content areas and as a part of Daily 5/CAFE.
    The group began with a jig saw activity using "Building a Robust Vocabulary" from Linda Hoyt's "Spotlight on Comprehension".  Participants used non-linguistic representations to highlight key information and strategies found in the chapter. 
    Key ideas included:
    • Strengthening vocabulary strengthens comprehension
    • Quality vocabulary instruction has a focus on interesting words but also puts words into context and examines the relationship they have with one another
    • Importance of preteaching CONCEPTS, not words
    • Teachers should provide time and exposure to concepts and vocabulary
    • Key words in nonfiction texts read in content areas are pivotal in determining meaning and were features of several strategies
    • Use of word sorts to help make connections in meaning/relationships
    • Use of root word, prefix/suffix studies will help build vocabulary
    Examples of strategies to enhance vocabulary include:
    • Interesting word hunts/charts (class charts and individual student charts)
    • Vocabulary mapping (use of graphic organizers to include definition, connection, non-examples, non-linguistic representation)
    • KID Vocabulary (Key word, Important information, Draw to remember)
    • Word replacement (covering key vocabulary and using context clues to generate words that could make sense)
    • Text Talk (focus words from read aloud listed and students tally when used in discussions or conversations)
    • Word Sorts (key words/phrases from passage are placed on cards and clustered; students make a connecting statement using the words/phrases grouped together)
    Additional activities to enhance vocabulary development were shared from "Quick Activities to build a Very Voluminous Vocabulary" (Scholastic Professional Books)
    Video segments from the 2 Sister's website were viewed and discussed.
    "Tune into Vocabulary" illustrated goal setting and use of the Word Collector chart, conferring with students and monitoring not just the "collection of words" but encouraging the application of them in their oral language and written pieces.
    Video 2 illustrated a group of K-2 students activating prior knowledge and use of context clues to help build vocabulary.
    Video 3 illustrated using Author's purpose,Text Features, and Paying attention to Pictures to help deepen comprehension and expand vocabulary.
    A 3rd grade teacher shared math concept/vocabulary cards found online.  They're linked below:
    Word format is linked HERE.
    Feedback from the session:
    • Drawing activity!
    • When we pay attention to words, our students will too!
    • Lots to take back to share with others at all grade levels
    • Great ideas to help students learn vocabulary
    • Strategies are general and can be used with any book/level
    • Tune into interesting words:  already thinking how I can take this to the next level in my lessons
    • Time to complete and conference with students--scheduling constraints
    • Having more people to share in discussions (light turn out)
    • Could still use more information on Writing
    • Small group



    The next meeting will be held April 13th and will feature discussion on key ideas and connections from "The Book Whisperer".


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  • February: Informational/Non-fiction Text

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 3/14/2011 4:00:00 PM
    During the February 9, 2011 District Daily 5/CAFE support meeting, participants were provided with resources and discussion on using non-fiction text as a genre focus in the teaching of reading.  
    Non-fiction or informational text is, no doubt, the most dominant and difficult reading material students will face throughout the course of their education.  As we work to prepare our students to become college and career ready, we must increase our working knowledge of the demands and features of non-fiction texts.
    Participants began the session working in small groups brainstorming and charting what they know/think they know about non-fiction texts and what makes navigating non-fiction text so much more difficult for students.  Below is a summary of the groups' work:

    What we Know/Think we Know

    What Makes it Difficult for Students?

    • Factual
    • Specialized/Technical vocabulary
    • Purpose:  Read for information
    • Features
    • Doesn't always get read cover to cover
    • Research
    • Straight forward language (less imagery)
    • Comes in different forms:  memoir, biography, autobiography, factual
    • Involves processing more information
    • More difficult to comprehend
    • Students tend not to like as much/interest level
    • Text features are overlooked
    • "Trying to remember everything"
    • Lack of prior knowledge on topic
    • Vocabulary
    • More difficult to visualize
    • Specialized words challenge accuracy skills
    • "Busy" pages
    The group then summarized the features that can be found in nonfiction text and discussed the organizational structures of nonfiction texts.  All agreed students need focused mini-lessons and modeling the use of the features (headings, table of contents, glossary, captions, bold/italics, diagrams and charts, index, and pronunciation key). 
    Participants read "Understanding the Demands of Nonfiction Texts" (ch. 13, Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency by Fountas & Pinnell) and shared new information gleaned from the chapter.  Just as we teach the narrative organizational structure using the "writing diamond", we must help students to understand that nonfiction text can be organized in chronological order, include cause-effect, problem-solution, and comparison-contrast organizational structures within the writing.
    Participants discussed information from "Nonfiction Matters" by Stephanie Harvey and focused on the importance of modeling/teaching the CAFE strategies used for fiction as they apply to nonfiction texts (activating prior knowledge, questioning, checking for understanding, making connection, determining what's important) as well as coding/marking the text strategy outlined in this material.
    Other resources shared with the group by participants included:
    What's the Difference Between Informational Text and Nonfiction?
    Determining What's Important (by Deb Smith found at The Reading Lady)
    Text Features Chart  (This can be used in a scavenger hunt with students!)
    The next meeting will be held March 9th and feature "Developing Vocabulary" as the topic.
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  • January Meeting: Working on Writing Part II

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 2/6/2011 9:45:00 AM
    The district's Daily 5/CAFE support group met on January 12, 2011 in the JPK PLC meeting room and continued discussions and sharing on writing techniques, lessons, and the link to the Daily 5/CAFE structure.
    With the content specific writing assessment being conducted during the past week and continuing through the coming weeks, participants shared progress and struggles with the assessment process.
    Teachers present were positive about the flexibility in determining the general topic for writing, allowing the writing to align with current lessons in the content area.  Discussion centered on scoring the final product, after giving assistance, which to some seems to be an inaccurate assessment.
    As this was explored further with the group, some teachers approached this process piece by giving more support and multiple revisions where others provided feedback on the first draft and gave students one opportunity to revise before scoring.
    The process piece is designed to allow students to write a first draft, receive some feedback regarding their work with suggestions for improvement, followed by an opportunity to apply during the revision process.  The goal is not to revise for perfection. 
    The district will be working to determine a performance standard for the writing assessments in the coming months.  Committees will be formed to investigate options and review standards and processes from other districts, as well as gather input and feedback on standards set for Policy 3115--Student Accountability. 
    The remainder of the time was spent viewing "Fully Elaborated Main Events" from the Empowering Writers professional development video series.  Key ideas gleaned from the video included:
    • Using the "Don't cheat me out of a story!" approach illustrated in the video
    • Introducing mini-lessons with an exciting summary
    • Providing a "ho-hum" sentence/story and do shared/independent writing to elaborate
    • Focus on the MAIN event--teaching students that when the story pauses to provide detail, the author is showing importance of the character, setting, or event
    • Lessons should be short, focused, and provide student practice (majority of time)
    The next meeting for district D5/CAFE support will be held at the JPK PLC on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 beginning at 4 p.m.
    The focus of this meeting will be using Informational Text. 
    Materials to support teachers in the use of informational text in D5/CAFE will be shared.
    Participants are encouraged to bring lessons and materials used in their classroom to share with others.
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  • December Meeting: Working on Writing

    Posted by Sandra Kinzel on 12/12/2010 9:00:00 PM
    Our December meeting focused on the "Working on Writing" component of Daily 5.
    Over the years, we have held district training and follow up on writing materials that support the content of mini-lessons for writing instruction.  The group discussed how these materials work with the Daily 5 structure.
    Materials discussed and reviewed included:
    Empowering Writers:  Narrative Writing Diamond and Lessons
    Empowering Writers:  Expository and Persuasive Writing Lessons
    Units of Study:  Primary Writing Workshop (Lucy Calkins)  http://www.unitsofstudy.com/author_bios.asp
    Units of Study:  3-5 Writing Workshop
    Jeff Anderson's Everyday Editing and Mechanically Inclined  ( see more http://www.writeguy.net/ )
    (ALL of these resources are available in schools or in the district!!  Check your teacher resource library or contact the Central Office to check them out.)
    All of these resources fit the philosophy that in order for students to become good writers, they must analyze the craft of writing through good literature models.  In addition, students need to have the writing process modeled by adult writers--thinking aloud and struggling with finding the right words/punctuation for the right effect. 
    The group discussed the length of time that should be devoted to writing as part of the Daily 5.  Most agreed that students needed at least 20-30 minutes of writing time where modeling and conferencing should take place, with students completing guided writing segments based on the writing lesson (ex: writing an elaborated paragraph or entertaining beginning) and independent or choice writing being a part of the Daily 5 work selected by students during the rotations.
    The group shared other writing resources that have been successful in planning writing lessons:
    Linda Hoyt's "Make It Real" (Informational Writing)
    Jennifer Jacobson's "No More, I'm Done"
    Writing Guide found on ProTeacher:  5th grade Writing
    The remainder of the time was spent viewing and discussing the DVD "Generating Vivid Elaborative Detail", a professional development video from Empowering Writers.  Participants discussed the lesson modeled in the video.  Special focus was placed on the importance of students understanding the "story critical characters, setting and objects", the author's purpose in STOPPING THE ACTION to provide description of these story critical components to demonstrate their importance, and the use of pictures or drawings to help students "see" details.  Teachers must assist students with specific, detail generating questions.  Discussion then turned to the length of the lesson.  All agreed that it could be broken down into smaller segments over several days.  Students could practice and add on to their guided piece rather than work on it in one 45-50 minute lesson.
    Our next meeting will be held January 12, 2010 at the JPK PLC.
    The participants suggested another session devoted to Working on Writing, sharing specific lessons and books to use as models.
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Last Modified on January 22, 2016