My Favorite Quote: Linkly

This morning I'm linking up with "I Heart Grade 3" as part of her Weekly Summer Link-up. This weeks topic: My Favorite Quote. I'm also writing to you from the beautiful highlands of Colorado Rockies. This summer the wildflowers have been in full bloom. If your in the neighbor hood I would take a morning and enjoy a day hike here.  

This summer I have been asked time and time again what my end goal is for students. It's begin hard to teachers and administrators to understand why I have an end goal with high expectations for getting students back in general education instead of expecting a year or more growth from all students.


Why??? As the quote says--not everyone can make two years worth of growth in a year. I would rather have six months of solid growth than a year or more crappy non mastery growth from someone. Very one can get there but it's the time frame that matters at the end of day. 
This is where data comes into play. It becomes more about what kind of growth the student made last year. Do they always make six months or two months of growth? I had an administrator tell me once two/three months of quality is better than a year of crap. But it's not about watering it down or giving up on them. They can do it!




Einstein was on to something. Each student that walks through my doors is different and they are different each and every day they walk into my doors. They are not fish but their morning or weekend makes a huge impact on how they are perceived--they are smart but today it just may take a little more patience and understanding to get them to show it. Have a great week.




Daily 5: Word Work (freebie)

As special education teacher, one of my jobs is to support classroom teacher support exceptional needs students during their day. One of the more challenging parts of the day is during Daily 5 or Daily 3 (depending on the grade level). For many its word work is the place they run into problems. Granted one wants to see the carry over to other things like writing but that takes patience and tons of practice. But I always say start with the basic and work up from their and if the student is working in a more structured reading program instead of guided reading with me than I turn them something like the word work I have created for Wilson.


Students who come to me for Wilson play word games and manipulate letters to create patterns in words so that all are easily recognized. Teachers then can support this work by having a word wall or personal word wall and have these words become “No Excuse” words to get that writing piece they are looking for. In turn it helps expanded vocabulary and correct spelling allow for more fluent reading and writing thus speeding up the ability to comprehend what is read and get thinking down on paper.


Click on the picture below to be taken to Diving with /or/ Words Freebie. Have a great weekend!






Oral Language Development

One of the most challenging things to do is build students’ oral language. It’s tough finding ways to build the skill into an already packed day. However, oral language skills impact student’s academic learning throughout their day, finding ways to add it without giving up something else is hard. As a special education teacher I spend a couple of minutes before starting group building these skills. I hope these suggestions help you find ways to build oral language into your day. At the start of each year, I use Total Physical Response with all my students as I build routines and expectations. This is something I pass on to parents because they too can use TPR to build oral language and its easy.

At the beginning of the school year, students need to know key phrases and expressions that they can use to communicate with teachers and students during the school day. Being able to communicate effectively with others is key for learning to take place. With some work, students can develop the type of everyday communication skills that facilitate learning. This strategy called Total Physical Response to help students in these early stages of language development.

Learning key phrases through Total Physical Response

Total Physical Response (TPR) activities greatly multiply the language input and output that can be handled by beginning English language learners (ELLs). TPR activities elicit whole-body responses when new words or phrases are introduced. Teachers can develop quick scripts that provide ELLs and other students with the vocabulary and/or classroom behaviors related to everyday situations. For example, "Take out your math book. Put it on your desk. Put it on your head. Put it under the chair. Hold it in your left hand."

You will see them  talk sooner when they are learning by doing. TPR activities help students adjust to school and understand the behaviors required and the instructions they will hear. This will help them in mainstream classrooms, in the halls, during lunchtime, during fire drills, on field trips, and in everyday life activities.

Strategies: How to use Total Physical Response

There are seven steps for the TPR instructional process:
1. Introduction
The teacher introduces a situation in which students follow a set of commands using actions. Usually props such as pictures or real objects accompany the actions. Some actions may be real while others are pretend.

2. Demonstration
The teacher demonstrates or asks a student to demonstrate this series of actions. The other students are expected to pay careful attention. At first, students are not expected to talk or repeat the commands. But soon they will want to join in because the commands are easy to follow and the language is clear and comprehensible. For example, the teacher gives a command such as "Take out a piece of bread" and the students say the sentence and do the action. "Now, spread peanut butter on it", and so on until a make-believe sandwich is made and eaten.

3. Group action
Next, the class acts out the series while the teacher gives the commands. Usually, this step is repeated several times so that students internalize the series thoroughly before they will be asked to produce it.

4. Written copy
Write the series on the chalkboard or chart paper so that students can make connections between oral and written words while they read and copy (or even substitute ingredients of their choice).

5. Oral repetitions and questions
After students have made a written copy, they repeat each line after the teacher, taking care with difficult words. They ask questions for clarification, and the teacher points out grammatical features such as "Yesterday we ate half a sandwich. Today we will eat a whole sandwich. Did you notice the difference between ate and eat? Yesterday we spread grape jelly, today we will spread orange jelly. Did you notice that the verb spread didn't change? Let's say the words soap and soup. Let's say the words cheap and sheep."

6. Student demonstration
Students can also take turns playing the roles of the reader of the series and the performer of the actions. Meanwhile, the teacher can check on individual students for comprehension and oral production.

7. Other activities

  • Use pictures from magazines, the Internet, pictures books. And have students talk about them. Let them take the lead. 
  • Before reading a children's story, select some action words and ask the students to perform these actions as you encounter them in the pages. List them on the chalkboard.
  • After reading the story, ask children to summarize the story by acting out the words you have demonstrated.
  • After reading the story, ask the children to select some words or phrases that they would like to turn into actions.
Building oral language skills is easy and something that can be done on the road while on vacation. Have a great week.

Great Read Alouds for Preschoolers

When you read aloud, you’re building their experiences while building vocabulary. Remember, young children can understand many more spoken words than they use. The easiest way to build language is in books that tend to be greater and more diverse than the words we use every day when talking with children. Preschoolers enjoy simple books as well as more complex books, the sound of language. Books with rhymes and nonsense words help to word reading skills.

Froodle
By: Antoinette Portis
It all started with a little brown bird that tired of making and hearing the same old sounds: caw, coo, chip, peep. Instead, it said “Froodle sproodle!” which came as an unwelcome shock to the crow, cardinal and dove. But the small brown bird’s continued wordplay inspired the others — even the crow. Simple, bold illustrations and varied type present a comical tale of individuality and lots of potential for wordplay.

If You Were a Dog
By: Jamie Swenson
Effervescent language and lively illustrations ask readers what kind of dog, cat, fist, bird, bug, frog, or dinosaur they’d be — but since they are not, they can "arrooo! like a dog, hiss! like a cat," or even "chomp, stomp, roar! like a dinosaur" in this playful, imaginative book.

Kitten's First Full Moon
By: Kevin Henkes
Children will delight in Kitten’s mistake. They know that what she thinks is a bowl of milk is really the moon’s reflection. Mostly black and white (and shades of gray) illustration expressively depict Kitten. Children enjoy the visual and verbal patterns throughout.

Little Mouse
By: Alison Murray
When the young narrator feels quiet and cuddly, she doesn’t mind being her mom’s Little Mouse. Other times, she is as strong as an ox or brave and scary like a lion. A child’s daily changing moods are reflected in the open illustrations and simple text.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama
By: Anna Dewdney
Little Llama Llama has a major meltdown when he tires of shopping with Mama in the shop-o-rama. But Mama Llama is smart and figures out how do end the llama drama. The rhyming text shares not only a common experience but a great deal of llama wisdom all told with good humor and rhyme.
Marc Brown's Playtime Rhymes: A Treasury for Families to Learn and Play Together
By: Marc Brown
Twenty familiar and some lesser-known rhymes are just right for sharing. Actions are shown in small pictograms that accompany each line. One fingerplay appears on each double page with gentle, idealized illustration for a collection perfect for sharing.
Maria Had a Little Llama/Maria tenia una llamita
By: Angela Domínguez
Cheerful, childlike depictions of Maria and her much loved llama set the familiar rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, in a Peruvian village. The little white llama follows Maria to school, makes the children laugh, but with a distinctive and unique setting and characters in a familiar cadence.
Time-Out for Sophie
By: Rosemary Wells
Exasperated Mama and Daddy put Sophie in time-out when she dumps her dinner and tosses the clean laundry. But when Granny puts herself in time-out during their book-sharing, Sophie straightens up. Text and illustration capture a young child’s tenacious behavior and her adults’ reactions, sure to be recognized by all.

Tippy-Toe, Chick, Go!
By: George Shannon, Laura Dronzek
Can the youngest chick solve the problem and help the family get to their tasty meal of potato bugs and beans? Of course, for only she can run tippy-toe around the fierce — but leashed — dog! Young children will appreciate the youngest chick’s success in this brightly illustrated tale.

Tiptoe Joe
By: Ginger Foglesong Guy
A big brown bear in red sneakers tiptoes fast to invite his friends to "…come with me/I know something you should see." Each animal clops, thuds or swishes to see Joe's surprise: two sleeping cubs with their mother. Told with lively language and humorous illustrations.

Whistle for Willie
By: Ezra Keats
Oh, how Peter wished he could whistle to call his dog, Willie. Try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to make the sound come out — until one day he could! The simple description of a child’s yearning is told in natural language and charming collage illustrations.

Yoo-Hoo, Lady Bug!
By: Mem Fox
A small ladybug loves to hide — and she does it well in each familiar scene. "Yoo-hoo, Ladybug? Where are you?" She's hiding behind the teddy bear, tucked in a box, and other places in this brightly illustrated, rhyming hide-and-seek book for younger children.

These are some of my favorites. My family jokes that I need a 12 step for book stores. But when all else falls I hit the public library who always has a great selection of books to build language. Have a great Monday!

What to Read Aloud to Babies and Toddlers?

It’s a busy life filled with lots of things to do and even more distractions. All that’s needed is a comfy place, an adult, one child or more, and a good book to share.

The question becomes-How do you choose what to read aloud to a child? The first thing to ask yourself is simply: Do I like it? Then consider if you’re comfortable with the content. Is there something that you may want to omit or that you’d rather not tackle with your child? Children seem to know instinctively when an adult really likes something or if they’re just faking it.

Sometimes children respond differently to a book than the adults who try to share it. A book that the adult thinks is fantastic may get a ho-hum or downright negative response from the listener or sometimes the reverse is true, too. That’s OK; children have tastes, though sometimes they’re just not ready for a particular book. It’s perfectly okay not finish the book. Just try another one.

What are you looking for? 

Is there something for listeners to grab hold of? For young children, is there a phrase or perhaps something hidden in the illustration to keep them actively engaged? For older children, is there something to think about or talk about or even follow up about? Does it build on a child’s existing interest or maybe introduce a new one?

There are lots of educational reasons to read aloud to children. Reading aloud with children of all ages not only builds language — a key ingredient to success in school — but most importantly, it’s a time for adults to share with the children in their lives and to build a common, positive experience that lasts long after a book is closed.

Babies and Toddlers Picture Book Recommendations 

It’s never too early to start reading to young children. Young children are building vocabularies long before they can say them or use them in conversation. Try one of my favorite books with your baby or toddler. It doesn’t matter if you don’t read every word, but it is important that you share your enthusiasm. You can even do some of the actions suggested by the words or pictures, or you can make up your own. Maybe you just want to talk about the pictures and point to them as you do. It’s the sharing that’s important!

All Fall Down
By: Helen Oxenbury
Young children will appreciate the game played by children (also in Tickle Tickle) in this sturdy book. Rhyming text and uncluttered illustrations are just right to share with the youngest child.

All of Baby, Nose to Toes
By: Victoria Adler
All of a newborn, from head to toe, is appreciated and loved by various members of an adoring family. Lively language and joyful illustrations are used in this ebullient celebratory book.

Diggers Go
By: Steve Light
What sound does an excavator or a forklift make? Each makes its own noise, presented here in bold, dramatic typefaces dynamically shown on sturdy horizontal pages. Children can be encouraged to repeat sounds made by the variety of equipment — likely to delight construction aficionados.

I Kissed the Baby!
By: Mary Murphy
A new baby creates lots of excitement and all the animals want to kiss the baby duckling! Black pages with bold white lines depict the animals with splashes of color to highlight the joy and a repeating text makes this just right to encourage young children.

Lots of Lambs
By: Laura Numeroff
Feel the lamb's wool, then lift the umbrella to find lambs. There are lambs of all types and in many moods doing lots of things. Staccato, rhyming, catchy text is accompanied by expressive images of lively lambs that encourage active engagement with each page.

Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby
By: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Every day, young children and their families can celebrate familiar things and activities in this sturdy, handsome, and appealing collection of 30 poems. Each short piece by a range of poets is about food, family, firsts, play and bedtime, creating a memorable collection just right for the youngest listener.

Maisy's Animals/Los animales de Maisy
By: Lucy Cousins
Maisy’s favorite animals are introduced in both English and Spanish accompanied by Cousin’s signature illustrations on sturdy pages. Maisy is a familiar character with a simplicity of illustration and text that captivates young children.

Max's First Word
By: Rosemary Wells
No matter how hard Ruby tries to get her baby brother to say the names of the objects around him, Max will only say “Bang!” One day, however, Ruby gets a big surprise from Max’s first real word. Understated humor and bright, bold illustrations appeal to children and their adults.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
By: Jane Cabrera
The familiar rhyme continues all the way to 20 as a rabbit helps the farm animals get ready for a party. A small chick on each page encourages young readers to look closely as chicks are hidden on each spread. Bright, boldly lined illustrations are appealing and child-like.

Peek-a Who?
By: Nina Laden
What can you “peek-a” through the die-cut window? Does it “moo”, say “boo” or could it be YOU? Turn the page and find out! A predictable format and bold illustrations are sure to engage and delight.

Peekaboo Kisses
By: Barney Saltzberg
Peekaboo! What do you see? Lift the flap and see the kissable, touchable baby animal & dash; until the final spread. The mirror on the final pages lets young children see themselves in this boldly illustrated, participatory book.

Say Goodnight
By: Helen Oxenbury
Even the most active baby or toddler must sleep sometime, and in this story the children "say goodnight." Similar to Tickle Tickle and All Fall Down, this is a sure hit to share with babies and toddlers.

Say Hello Like This!
By: Mary Murphy
How do animals greet everyone? With woofs and meows for a big hello! Beginning with a dog's "licky and loud … bow-wow-wow-wow!" the split pages hide the sounds until the turn — sure to delight young readers. Bold, colorful illustrations exude joy and spirit.

Tickle Tickle
By: Helen Oxenbury
Chubby cheeked babies of many hues are shown in crisp illustrations doing things that babies do. The simple words are playful and energetic, just like the children in this and others by Oxenbury such as Clap Hands and All Fall Down.

My favorite preschool read aloud to come. Even in my current position in Intermediate Elementary students my student's love when I do story hour. Have a great weekend.


Preschoolers and Reading

Preschool is a beginning of learning to weaver letters into words. They build their language skills and start to make sense of the sound/letter system to begin to read. These days preschool is structured to prepare preschoolers for reading and math. Below are some ideas to what parents can to foster beginning reading skills.

At this stage, students uses their ever-increasing language skills to become a “big talker” and develops an awareness of the power of the written word. Parents and caregivers of preschoolers can help them develop into readers and writers by playing with letters and their sounds, promoting dramatic play using characters from books, and reading lots of books together.

Through daily experiences, preschoolers learns more and more about the way things work in the world. At the same time, they are able to use his ever-increasing vocabulary and language skills to share their observations, ideas, and imaginary worlds with other children and adults. Young children can be entertaining storytellers, engaging conversational partners, and frustrating negotiators. During the preschool years, students become aware that the world is filled with letters and may begin to recognize familiar words.

Parents can help your preschooler become an eager reader and writer through simple conversations and reading together. It helps to plan regular times to read with your young child and talk together daily about things that interest him. You can turn everyday experiences such as waiting in lines, doing errands, and riding the bus into conversation starters. By talking about your child’s ideas, observations, and feelings, you prepare your young child for reading and writing about the world.

How to Help Your Preschooler Get Ready for Reading


  • Point to the words as you read aloud. When you point to the words as you read or talk about the title and author, you help your child learn about the different parts of the book. You also show him that reading involves connecting spoken words to printed ones.
  • Repeat your child’s words the right way. Most young children make grammatical errors while they are learning to talk. Instead of correcting, try repeating your child’s words the correct way. This way, you teach her proper grammar and demonstrate that making mistakes is how we learn.
  • Join your child in pretend play. Pretending actually helps children develop language and literacy skills. They use new words and ways of speaking when they play different roles. They also practice making up stories, a skill that helps them understand books read aloud to them.
  • Make up rhymes as you go about your day. Rhyming and other kinds of word play help your child to hear differences between sounds to understand that words are made up of sounds. Being able to rhyme will actually help your child learn to read and write.
  • Draw and write alongside your child. One way to encourage your child to write is to show him how you write. When you write, talk to him about what you are doing. That way, you teach your child how we use writing in everything from grocery lists to phone messages.

Preschoolers and Number Sense: Summertime Ideas

One of the most important math skills students need to learn is number sense. It is the bases for more completed math skills we learn through elementary. I have included some games you can play this summer to build number sense while having fun!

Preschool number activities often involve counting, but merely reciting the number words isn't enough. Kids also need to develop "number sense," an intuitive feeling for the actual quantity associated with a given number.That's where these activities can help. Inspired by research, the following games encourage kids to think about several key concepts, including:

  • Relative magnitudes
  • The one-to-one principle of counting and cardinality (two sets are equal if the items in each set can be matched, one-to-one, with no items left over)
  • The one-to-one principle of counting (each item to be counted is counted once and only once)
  • The stable order principle (number words must be recited in the same order)
  • The principle of increasing magnitudes (the later number words refer to greater cardinality)
  • The cardinal principle   

Common Core Standards These Games Target:

Know number names and the count sequence.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.A.1: Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.A.2: Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.A.3: Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects). K.CC.B:
Count to tell the number of objects.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4: Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.A: When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.B: Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.C: Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.5: Count to answer "how many?" questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects.
Compare numbers.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.C.6: Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.C.7: Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.

Most activities use a set of cards and counting tokens. Here’s what you need to get started. Preparing for preschool number activities:

Cards

Cards will be used in two ways, (1) as displays of dots for kids to count, and (2) as templates for kids to cover with tokens. Make your cards from heavy-stock writing paper, marking each with an Arabic numeral (1-10) and the corresponding number of dots.

Make your dots conspicuous, and space them far enough apart that your child can easily place one and only one token on top of each dot. The larger your tokens, the larger your cards will need to be.

In addition, you might make multiple cards for the same number--each card bearing dots arranged in different configurations. For example, one “three” card might show three dots arranged in a triangular configuration. Another might show the dots arranged in a line. Still another might show the dots that appear to have been placed randomly. But whatever your configuration, leave enough space between dots for your child to place a token over each dot.

Tokens

Kids can use a variety of objects for tokens, but keep in mind two points.

1. Children under the age of three years are at special risk of choking, so choose big tokens. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a ball-shaped object is unsafe if it is smaller than a 1.75” diameter golf ball. Other objects are unsafe if they can fit inside a tube with a diameter of 1.25” inches.

2. Kids can get distracted if your tokens are too interesting, so it's best to avoid the fancy plastic frogs or spiders

Games to play

One you have your cards and tokens, you can play any of the preschool number activities below. As you play, keep in mind the points raised in my evidence-based guide to preschool math lessons:

Start small. It’s important to adjust the game to your child’s attention span and developmental level. For beginners, this means counting tasks that focus on very small numbers (up to 3 or 4).

Keep it fun. If it’s not playful and fun, it’s time to stop. Be patient. It takes young children about a year to learn how the counting system works.

The basic game: One-to-one matching

Place a card, face up, before your child. Then ask your child to place the correct number of tokens on the card—one token over each dot.

After the child has finished the task, replace the card and tokens and start again with a new card. Once your child has got the hang of this, you can modify the game by helping your child count each token as he puts it in place.

The Tea Party: Relative magnitudes

Choose two cards, each displaying a different number of dots, taking care that the cards differ by a ratio of at least 2:1. For instance, try 1 vs. 2, 2 vs. 4, and 2 vs. 5. You can also try larger numbers, like 6 vs. 12.

Next, set one card in front of your child and the other in front of you. Have your child cover all the dots with tokens (pretending they are cookies) and ask her

“Which of us has more cookies?”

After she answers you, you can count to check the answer. But I’d skip this step if you are working with larger numbers (like 6 vs. 12) that are beyond your child’s current grasp. You don’t want to make this game feel like a tedious exercise.

As your child becomes better at this game, you can try somewhat smaller ratios (like 5 vs. 9).

And for another variant, ask your child to compare the total amount of cookies shared between you with the cookies represented on another, third card. In recent experiments, adults who practiced making these sorts of “guesstimates” experienced a boost in their basic arithmetic skills.

Bigger and bigger: Increasing magnitudes

Instead of playing with the tokens, have your child place the cards side-by-side in correct numeric sequence. For beginners, try this with very small numbers (1, 2, 3) and with numbers that vary by a large degree (e.g., 1, 3, 6, 12).

Sharing at the tea party: The one-to-one principle

Choose three toy creatures as party attendees and have your child set the table—providing one and only plate, cup, and spoon to each toy. Then give your child a set of “cookies” (tokens or real edibles) and ask her to share these among the party guests so they each receive the same amount. Make it simple by giving your child 6 or 9 tokens so that none will be left over.

As always, go at your child’s pace and quit if it isn’t fun. If your child makes a mistake and gives one creature too many tokens, you can play the part of another creature and complain. You can also play the part of tea party host and deliberately make a mistake. Ask for your child’s help? Did someone get too many tokens? Or not enough? Have your child fix it. Once your child gets the hang of things, try providing him with one token too many and discuss what to do about this "leftover." One solution is to divide the remainder into three equal bits. But your child may come up with other, non-mathematical solutions, like eating the extra bit himself.

Matching patterns: Counting

Play the basic game as described above, but instead of having your child place the tokens directly over the dots, have your child place the tokens alongside the card. Ask your child to arrange his tokens in the same pattern that is illustrated on the card. And count!

Matching patterns: Conservation of number

For this game, use cards bearing dots only--no numerals. To play, place two cards--each bearing the same number of dots, but arranged in different patterns--side by side. Ask your child to recreate each pattern using his tokens. When she’s done, help her count the number of tokens in each pattern. The patterns look different, but they use the same number of dots/tokens.

The cookie maker: Making predictions about changes to a set

Even before kids master counting, they can learn about the concepts of addition and subtraction. Have a puppet “bake cookies” (a set of tokens) and ask your child to count the cookies (helping if necessary). Then then have the puppet bake one more cookie and add it to the set. Are there more cookies or fewer cookies now? Ask your child to predict how many cookies are left. Then count again to check the answer. Try the same thing with subtraction by having the puppet eat a cookie.

Don’t expect answers that are precise and correct. But you may find that your child is good at getting the gist. When researchers asked 3-, 4- and 5-year olds to perform similar tasks, they found that 90% of the predictions went in the right direction.

The Big Race: Increasing magnitudes and the number line

As your child begins to master the first few number words, you can also try these research-tested preschool number activities for teaching kids about the number line. Games can be very useful for reinforcing and developing ideas and procedures previously introduced to children. Although a suggested age group is given for each of the following games, it is the children's level of experience that should determine the suitability of the game. Several demonstration games should be played, until the children become comfortable with the rules and procedures of the games.

Deal and Copy (4-5 years) 3-4 players
Materials: 15 dot cards with a variety of dot patterns representing the numbers from one to five and a plentiful supply of counters or buttons.

Rules: One child deals out one card face up to each other player. Each child then uses the counters to replicate the arrangement of dots on his/her card and says the number aloud. The dealer checks each result, then deals out a new card to each player, placing it on top of the previous card. The children then rearrange their counters to match the new card. This continues until all the cards have been used.

Variations/Extensions:

Each child can predict aloud whether the new card has more, less or the same number of dots as the previous card. The prediction is checked by the dealer, by observing whether counters need to be taken away or added.

Increase the number of dots on the cards.

Memory Match (5-7 years) 2 players
Materials: 12 dot cards, consisting of six pairs of cards showing two different arrangements of a particular number of dots, from 1 to 6 dots. (For example, a pair for 5 might be Card A and Card B from the set above).
Rules: Spread all the cards out face down. The first player turns over any two cards. If they are a pair (i.e. have the same number of dots), the player removes the cards and scores a point. If they are not a pair, both cards are turned back down in their places. The second player then turns over two cards and so on. When all the cards have been matched, the player with more pairs wins.

Variations/Extensions
  • Increase the number of pairs of cards used.
  • Use a greater number of dots on the cards.
  • Pair a dot card with a numeral card.
What's the Difference? (7-8 years) 2-4 players

Materials: A pack of 20 to 30 dot cards (1 to 10 dots in dice and regular patterns), counters.
Rules: Spread out 10 cards face down and place the rest of the cards in a pile face down. The first player turns over the top pile card and places beside the pile. They then turns over one of the spread cards. The player works out the difference between the number of dots on each card, and takes that number of counters. (example: If one card showed 3 dots and the other 8, the player would take 5 counters.) The spread card is turned face down again in its place and the next player turns the top pile card and so on. Play continues until all the pile cards have been used. The winner is the player with the most counters; therefore the strategy is to remember the value of the spread cards so the one that gives the maximum difference can be chosen.

Variations/Extensions:
Try to turn the spread cards that give the minimum difference, so the winner is the player with the fewest counters. Roll a die instead of using pile cards. Start with a set number of counters (say 20), so that when all the counters have been claimed the game ends. Use dot cards with random arrangements of dots.

Have a great time playing this games this summer that target important math skills. Happy playing!

Creating Reflective Learners

Students are more successful when they monitor and reflect upon their thinking and learning. Cultivate a classroom of self-reflective learners using these strategies:

I use a learning goal and scale. I create a classroom culture in which students feel safe self-assessing and sharing their honest progress towards learning goals. I set a purpose for each lesson by using a specific and measurable learning goal or objective written in student-friendly language. I remind students that a learning goal identifies what they will learn or be able to do by the end of the lesson. I tell students that they will be setting goals, reflecting on their understanding, and monitoring their progress toward these goals. I teach students how to show a numerical finger cue corresponding to the learning scale under their chins to rate their understanding throughout a lesson. I explain that honest ratings help me as a teacher because I am able to see what they understand and areas in which they need more help.

I use Robert Marzano’s “Assessing Student Learning” from his Art and Science of Teaching. It’s posted in my room and at the end of each lesson I ask to students to score themselves. I’ve found that using this learning scale has made a tremendous difference in my students’ motivation and investment in their own learning. They are accountable for their progress and take ownership of their mastery.  You can grab a copy of from my store. Just click on the picture. 



I track their scores using an iPad app called Easy Assessment. It’s a dollar. I set it up with the kids in each group.  I love that I can export the scores out to excel to have as hard data.

I promote self-advocacy skills. Have you ever had a student that just sits like a bump on a log and stares aimlessly into space instead of asking for help? Teach your students how to advocate for themselves and ask appropriate clarifying questions by creating an Asking-for-Help anchor chart. This chart should consist of questions that students can ask when they need help or do not understand a goal, such as:
  • May I please have more information?
  • May I have some more time to think?
  • Would you please repeat the question?
  • Where can I find more information about that?
  • May I ask a friend to help?
  • Would you please give me another example?
  • Where can I find that answer?
  • Would you please show me another way to solve the problem?
  • Would you please clarify that?

After I have completed the anchor chart, laminate it, show it to class, and discuss appropriate and inappropriate ways they are to ask for help. Insist that students speak in complete sentences when they request help. Redirect students to use the questions whenever they are confused.

I create student portfolios. Portfolios are a great way for students to demonstrate growth and showcase their work as a holistic means of assessment. These are also powerful tools for communicating student performance during parent-teacher conferences. Create a checklist of work samples that I want to include in each student portfolio. For example, I may want to include a piece from each subject area that shows growth, one that shows mastery, a piece that each student is most proud of, and one that students are currently working on. I explain to students how this is an ideal opportunity for them to demonstrate what they have learned and to share their learning goals with their families. I direct students to choose pieces of work within each subject area that they think exemplify their personal growth and progress. If using the stamp kit, tell students to stamp each piece of work with the appropriate stamp. I prepare students to justify and explain their ratings for each piece during the conference. Parents love seeing samples of student work and always moved when they hear children discuss their learning and progress. Be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy as these proud moments can invoke tears of happiness and joy.

Some things for me to reflect on before returning in the fall. Have a great week.

June Pick 3 Pinterest Linky

 For most of us we have began summer vacation. Mine started with a trip to New York City with my mom-who had a chance to sing at Carnegie Hall as part of John Rutter's choir. It was a great way to start off the summer!

Summer is also when we all start thinking about next school year. All that planning has to start at some point during the summer. I am not alone in this. I'm moving schools because my FTE went away and I'm hoping to move into my first house before the summer is over.

First up the planning. Looking at the whole year is hard. Looking at more than one grade level is even harder. But being in special education means that you have to know what is going on with each grade level where you have students. I have found it is the only way to make what I teach in isolation transfer and make sure they can assess the grade level curriculum.

First, when working with other grade level teachers putting things in Google is a must. In many ways even those of us that want nothing to do with computers find Google easy to use. I can across this freebie. I can go out and plan the year and share it with teachers. The fact that its in Google means I can change it as the year changes. This works perfectly with my online daily planner because I share it too. For many of us who have to make sure that we have some kind of grade level collaboration evidence throughout the year-this is perfect.
 Like most of things that land in a binder-it gets forgotten once its there. I like the idea of posting it on a wall. I find that when I see things on a daily basis it holds everyone accountable.

The cool thing about long range planning is once its done it take the stress off of the big things. The little things can always be changed as they come up.

                                                                               


So, I'm buying my first house this summer. My parents have been asking what I will do first after moving in. Honesty, I don't know. As a teacher, I don't have that kind of money--but I'm leaning to starting with the kitchen. The previous owner had put in new cabinets but there is not a back splash.  My kitchen is not this big but as a nature love the idea of pebbles as a back splash it so cool. I can get them a Lowe's and they just peel and stick to the wall--even better.
  Have a great beginning of summer. Until next time,








About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
Instagram

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

Instagram

Followers

Follow by Email

Search This Blog