Monday, March 31, 2014

What Are You Reading? (April Edition)

She's reading Pete the Cat.
Causes & Cures in the Classroom:
Getting to the Root of academic and Behavior Problems
by Margaret Searle (being read by Bobbi)
What I love about this book is the quick flow charts to get at identifying the root cause of a problem.  One flow chart dissects possible root causes of reading comprehension difficulties.  I have used the flow charts to begin collaborative discussions during a team coaching session.

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better
by Doug Lemov (being read by Bobbi)
This book was given to me by a recent acquaintance I made at a CCSS meeting - an amazing literacy coordinator from Appleton, WI.

The Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain 
by Maryanne Wolf (being read by Jaimie)
This book offers some wonderful insight into the reading brain and has given me many things to ponder, wonder, and think about.  A great professional book that is written almost in the form of a novel.

Reading Power 
by Adrienne Gear (being read by Jaimie)
This book promotes the use of effective strategies for teaching reading comprehension, specifically focusing on what students do while they are reading.

Self-Directed Writers
by Leah Mermelstein (being read by Julie)
This book gives teachers strategies on how to have a successful writing workshop by creating writers who are self-directed. Her explicit strategies include:
  • creating an appropriate physical environment
  • scaffolding instruction with shared and interactive writing
  • planning units, focus lessons, conferences, and shares that are aimed at helping students become self-directed
Close Reading and Writing From Sources
by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey (being read by Andrea)

Interventions that Work
by Linda Dorn and Carla Soffos (being read by Heather)
Dorn and Soffos offer literacy-based interventions that fit into a RtI model.

"Developing Phonemic Awareness in Young Children"
by Hallie Kay Yopp (being read by Heather)
An article that provides a variety of activities for young readers.

"Fluency: Bridge Between Decoding and Reading Comprehension"
by John J. Pikulski and David J. Chard (being read by Heather)
An article that highlights components for an effective program that includes fluency.

"Saving the 'P' Word: Nine Guidelines for Exemplary Phonics Instruction"
by Steven A. Stahl (being read by Heather)
An article that provides an overview of phonics, why it is important, and effective strategies.

Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners - the SIOP Model
by Jana Echevarria, MaryEllen Vogt, and Deborah J. Short (being read by Heather)
A book that provides information on effective lesson plan models for English Language Learners.

Educational Leadership (EL)
from Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (being read by Carrie)
I continue to love by professional subscription to Educational Leadership. The articles provide a quick read for the months when getting through a full book seems impossible, and the topics are current and timely. For example, the March issue on assessment provides great opportunities for staff development and learning, with a text that was accessible and relevant.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Using Metacognitive Think-Alouds for Explicit Instruction

Today's post is brought to you by Bobbi Campbell.

Making Sense of the Common Core State Standards:

After several coaching experiences at one building, the literacy leadership team decided that an area of focus should be modeling what a think aloud could look like, focusing on explicit modeling of metacognitive skills. We created a video and a script for use at a school to stimulate conversation about using explicit modeling to demonstrate metacognitive skills.

The following script supports the recorded focus lesson. It can be viewed using GoogleDrive.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Don't Fall Victim to the Other Vortex

Today's post is brought to you by Andrea Reichenberger.

We’ve been dealing with more than one Polar Vortex, an Alberta Clipper, and just that normal time of year when we start to feel that teacher slump.  It’s a vortex all of it’s own and it happens in November and it happens again in February.  (This year’s Wisconsin weather isn’t helping.) As a coach, I have made it a priority to find solace and strength in my network of fellow coaches in order to help the teacher’s through this phase.  

When you add the element of change (whether it is evolving curriculums, increased accountability, or changing instructional practices), every new task presented seems overwhelming to them.  We need to be careful, frustration is contagious and negativity spreads faster and wider than any other virus.  

So, what are the positives? Teachers in my school are beginning to visit the coaching suite more often than they have in the past.  Word is out that the coaches are here to help.  Not to mention that we always have Starburst (only the Fave Reds or the Very Berry) and Dove chocolates on hand as well as a really nice couch! Lately, teachers just want to talk through an idea they have in their head, ask questions or for a resource, and sometimes they need a safe place to vent their frustrations. That is okay.  We, as coaches, just need to keep ourselves from falling victim to that vortex. (As we don’t have a choice about the other!)  We try our best to stay positive and focus on the progress that we are making. A list is always a nice visual to help remind us!

  • We have our first high school lab classroom set up with a visiting teacher already scheduled.
  • Seventeen teachers are signed up for an early morning PD session we are offering entitled: Getting Started With Close Reading.
  • Several teachers have chosen to focus on creating more student-centered classrooms and are working to incorporate the gradual release model into their instruction (AND they are excited about it!)