Thursday, September 18, 2014

Increasing Literacy by Increasing Interest

One of the most basic ideas that is expressed to teachers to increase their student's literacy is to meet their interests..... which works until you teach Science and Social Studies and most non fiction is cut and dry... aka boring.

I discovered this summer some of the very best REALISTIC fiction books to go along with my Social Studies topics. Check this great books out:

The best part about all of these books is that this entire series is INTERACTIVE! They are similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I remember reading growing up. Totally awesome and attention grabbing!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Should Floods Be Controlled? (A Visual Tug of War)

This summer while Pinterest-ing (that's a word, right?) I saw an awesome idea about discussing and debating a topic or question by using a visual tug of war. You can post the question on the board and the students voice their opinion on a sticky note. I have been waiting to try it and love the results of our basic beginning!

We have worked our way through our first unit of science. Earth science has been a blast to teach! As a culmination type of activity, we have been studying how we can use technology to intercept or change constructive and destructive forces in nature.

Our beginning was studying about floods- what they are, what they do, how they occur, etc. We learned how they can be stopped (dams, levees, floodways, etc.).

The first step of our Visual Tug of War was to have our thoughts organized. I teach several different classes so each class made a chart of the Pros and Cons of controlling flood waters:

Then we pretended that we were the city council and had to make a decision on if we should control the yearly flooding (pretend for us). They had to decide on an answer to my question:

Then they had to explain their reasoning:

While my first attempt at this did not have rebuttals and defense statements, I think they accomplished the overall activity. It was great and the students did an awesome job of applying their learning!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What exactly is a Book Cabinet?

At my old school we had an AMAZING literacy coach who set up a book cabinet for our school. She took a large metal cabinet like this one:

and placed it in the hallway so it was accessible to everyone. Then she went about getting donated books from parents and the community. All the books were free to children in the school and there were all levels available!

Since I'm in a new school this year,I am continuing the tradition since learning that many of the students here have no books at home. How can you build literacy without books?! I am excited about this new venture and have advertised to parents on Facebook, our website, and via newsletters. If you want to do the same kind of project, here's the image that I'm using!

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