Sunday, June 22, 2014

So... Where have I been???

In the past year, I've been involved in a variety of education-related activities including tutoring and teaching adults, and blogging has unfortunately taken a back seat.  However, I have been asked on rather short notice to do something that I've always dreamed of doing...  teaching music to children again!!  This will be a summer-long program as part of a "camp-like" activity at a private studio, but I am approaching it like a general music class in a public school.  That seems to be the best approach since I have been given a variety of ages with a variety of experience levels, and I hope to capitalize on all of their strengths in some way.  I am very attracted to both the Orff and Kodaly methods, although I obtained a Gordon certification several years ago from a summer workshop.  I hope to weave elements of all of them together to create an active, fun experience for my kiddos.  We have an acoustic piano and a few keyboards that I plan to use like Orff instruments.  What I mean is that I'm not going to teach a traditional "piano approach" especially since there's not enough for everybody.  I'm going to focus mainly on the moving, singing and musicianship, using particular notes, ostinati and other simple accompaniments to just incorporate them into the group experience.

I just wanted to share a few things that have helped me prepare for my first week.  Believe me, I had a frenzy of seeking, filing, evaluating and organizing potential materials, and trying to decide how to sequence and plan!  I have used a few activities from Mrs. Miracle's Fast and Slow kit, and plan to use the others in the coming weeks.

I have also referred to the book Discover Orff and plan to post more about that in the coming weeks.  Here is an idea of what last week's plans looked like.  (Last week was my first week!)  I'd like to learn to plan better, but this was truly a last-minute, skeleton approach just to keep me on track.  Most of my kids are early elementary schoolers who already know their ta's and titi's.  I think we may have had a class or two before I started writing this stuff down beforehand.  I'd love to hear any feedback you may have.  Yes, I know, I've been shooting from the hip. ;)

·        Sing Hello and warm up our voices
·        Do rhythm pattern work, introduce quarter rest
·        Bee, bee:  teach it, do it fast / slow
·        Engine Engine #9:  Make a train, do it fast/slow
·        Bear hunt:  teach the song.   show instruments, do a picture walk.  Ask which instrument does what and assign them.  Some things done with voices, let students explore, and take parts.  Others who don’t get instruments can act it out. 
·        Add patting and snapping to Workin on the Railroad.  Divide class into those who can snap and those that can’t.  Those who can will only snap.  Those who can’t will only pat. 
·        Go to the piano room.  Review warm-up exercise.
·        Have students take turns improvising phrases on the black keys.
·        Do rhythm cards, but add the rests.  Have students go to the piano to play their rhythms on either same or different notes. 

·        Sing Hello and warm up our voices
·        Do rhythm pattern work, introduce quarter rest
·        Review Bee, bee, act it out
·        Settle everyone down and clap while speaking it.  Then, take away the words and just clap.
·        Bring out cards and pocket chart.  Have students “notate” the phrases in the pocket chart.
·        Review Working on the Railroad with patting and snapping.  Then bring out rhythm sticks and jingle bells.  Give to respective groups and perform. 
·        Introduce kruzdanz, teach and practice the movements.
·        Introduce hoppo has the hiccups. Practice by rote.
·        Move to the piano room.  Have students warm up fingers.  Introduce C and F on the piano.  Have each student at a keyboard, play a C or an F to the pulse.  Then, we’ll sing Brother John while playing to the pulse. 

·        Sing Hello and warm up our voices
·        Don’t forget tonal pattern work with neutral syllables!! 
·        Do rhythm pattern work, with / without quarter rests
·        Review comparing / contrasting bee, bee with Here is a bunny.  Let them hear different groupings.
·        Do Kreuztanz again
·        Hippo Has the Hickups; first experience with rounds
·        Do first listening lesson with Mountain King. 
·        Move to piano room.  Warm up fingers, review C and F

·        Reinforce playing in time singing Brother John

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Teaching Factoring With Flash Cards

Factoring is one of those abstract concepts that I often find it difficult to teach, and difficult to connect to students' lives.  I have a student now who is preparing for the FCAT, which is Florida's standardized test that is being fazed out with the implementation of the Common Core.  Factoring is one of the concepts he needs work on, and I believe I've discovered a more interactive way to teach it. 

First, I created some multiplication flash cards that contain most of the larger facts with which he still needs practice.  I will give them to him to take home and study.  But before that, I will ask him to carefully look at them, and see if some of them have the same answers on the back.  (Of course, numbers like 24, 36 and 48 will be products on multiple cards).  I will ask him to place like products in piles together.  Then, we will select one, for example, 24.  We will then review the three cards together; 12 X 2, 6 X 4, and 3 X 8.  I can then encourage my student to count out 24 2-color counters, and examine the varying ways that the set can be divided evenly, using the cards as an aid.  As each grouping is created, the student can record the fact on a chart.  I will also remind my student of the principle of multiplying a number by 1, and include that in the chart as well.  After this guided practice, I can introduce the related vocabulary.  If time permits, I can release more responsibility to my student, and let him try another number with multiple products with greater independence.  If anyone has any other fun, exciting ideas, I would love to hear them. 

Take care, and happy teaching. ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Using Context Clues Lesson Plan

Hi again, I'm back and feeling so behind. ;)  Here is a mini-lesson plan that I composed that I thought some of you might find useful.  It is designed for a reading workshop setting.  That method is becoming more popular recently, and I'm glad it is. 

Context Clues Lesson Plan

Content area:  Reading / Language arts         Grade level:  K - 2       Date:  Winter 2013

Students will use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in a workshop context.

Standards addressed:
·        CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding
·        CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4c Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.

·        I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
·        Chart paper & markers
·        Classroom library from which students select their own books

Words to be taught:
·        Ferocious
·        Mend
·        Alien
·        Cyclops

Teacher Modeling and Guided Practice:
The teacher begins the mini-lesson by saying that we can often figure out the meanings of words by looking at the rest of the sentence, or the rest of the page.  The teacher then writes the following sentence on the chart paper or whiteboard:

My sister leaned over and whispered a special kipp in my ear.

The teacher reads the sentence, tracing the words with his/her finger, and underlines the word kipp.  S/he asks, “Can someone explain what is going on in this sentence?”  After someone retells the idea, the teacher asks students to lean over and whisper in their partner’s ear.  Then, the teacher asks for guesses asto what the word Kipp means.  Although the desired response is secret, other possible responses could include story, tale or joke.  The teacher asks, “How could you tell?”  A discussion of the other words should follow.  Then, try this example.

We picked a batch of beautiful fribs from the garden.

Repeat the steps above, focusing on the word fribs.  They could be any kind of fruit or vegetable or flower.  Students briefly discuss the context of the sentence.   Then, introduce the book, I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and ask students for predictions about the content.  The teacher begins to read the big book edition, or places th small edition on a document camera.  The teacher stops after reading the page depicting the ferocious alligator.  Ask students what the word ferocious means, and offer reasons that could include the large teeth, the size of the animal in the picture, or what they know about how alligators catch prey.  Repeat for the page depicting the need to mend the ripped-up sheets.  Ask students if they have had a parent fix clothes that have ripped.  For the words Alien and Cyclops, have students take more control of the process by pointing out the unfamiliar words and thinking aloud. 

Independent Practice:
Release students to read independently or with a partner, books on their independent reading level.  ESOL students may benefit from partner-reading the same book together, discussing each page.  Give each student two sticky notes, and advise them to mark pages where they find unfamiliar words.  Have students use the process discussed in the mini-lesson to attempt to figure out the meanings of the unfamiliar words, and write down thoughts on the sticky notes.  The teacher circulates and conferences with students, using a class checklist to identify students who have used the process successfully at least once.  Note:  some students may need to choose books that aren’t familiar to them so that they will encounter some new words.  It may be advisable to build in some time to select new books before beginning this lesson. 

Closing and Reflection:
After a period of independent reading, bring students back to the large group setting.  Give students the opportunity to turn and talk to a partner to discuss how they used context clues.  Then, invite volunteers to share their sticky notes and explain how they used context clues.  Continue to assess with the class checklist to determine who has used the strategy successfully.Add this strategy to posters or bookmarks containing comprehension strategies, or things that readers do, and continue to use it throughout the year. 

Analysis and Extension
Inevitablly, some students will need to revisit this strategy before it becomes an integrated part of the student’s reading process system.  This strategy would also make a great subject for a guided reading group lesson.  Students of similar abilities who are in need of it can receive reteaching of this strategy in guided reading groups.  Cut-up sentences and picture cards can be used as additional scaffolds for English learners. 

I taught this lesson to the English learner whom I tutor.  I used the above examples containing kipp and fribs for the introduction and guided practice.  Instead of using chart paper, I used cut-up sentence strips.  I would remove the fake word, as we discussed what type of word should replace it.  Since her reading level is a bit higher than the imaginary class presumed in this lesson, I deligated much of the reading to her.  She had difficulty pronouncing words which she hadn’t encountered before, especially the target words to be taught.  This is a conundrum that I encounter a lot with English learners.  There are times when it is appropriate to call on the cuing systems, and there are times when it is more appropriate to simply introduce a correct pronunciation.  I’m not always sure of these decisions.  Despite this, she was able to use context clues successfully in another, easier book which she read independently.  From this evidence, I gathered that the lesson was successful. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Teaching for Sustailable Development

Hello all, today, I wanted to share some things with you that I've been reading about lately.  Since I was in undergrad teacher prep, I've belonged to Kappa Delta Pi, an education honors society.  They serve pre-service, as well as in-service teachers, along with administrators and other educators.  They provide a wealth of professional development and other resources to their members. 

This month, I was reading an article by Rosalyn McKeown of UNESCO in The Record, the KDP journal.  McKeown discusses ways to give students a critical consciousness for participating fully in a democracy and a global society.  The goal of sustainable development is to solve problems in a manner that promotes the good of all humanity and life in general.  Sustainable development brings together the environment, society, economics and cultural diversity.  Teachers are encouraged to design multidisciplinary units of study.  For instance, geography and science can be used to explore biodiversity.  Social studies can be used to promote equity among all people.  Mathematics can help students understand very large and very small numbers, such as the PH levels of soil, or parts per million, referring to pollution in water.  There are many videos on the UNESCO website which discuss sustainable development in more detail, and I highly encourage all of you to check them out. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Currently March

Hi everybody, I can't believe it's March already!  In addition to my work with students, and Grad school, I'm now teaching a new music class for toddlers.  So, I'm staying very busy.  I haven't posted as much as I'd like to this month, but that will change, I promise. ;)    I so love what I do, and I look forward to coming up with more interesting ways to share it with you. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Prime and Composite lesson plan

Hello again!  Today, I'm sharing another lesson plan that I've written for my first "core curricular" class in Grad school.  I have adapted a typical math lesson on prime and composite numbers to include multiple modalities to suit varied learning styles.  Instead of creating a Google doc, I decided to just paste it into my blog post this time for easier access. 

My independent practice sheet was a freebie from Ms. Ashley's Resource Room  Thanks so much for sharing! 

Prime and Composite lesson plan

Content area:  Math          Grade level:  3 – 4          Date:  Winter 2013

Students will demonstrate understanding of, and classify prime and composite numbers with 80 percent accuracy. 

Standard Addressed:
CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.B.4 Find all factor pairs for a whole number in the range 1–100. Recognize that a whole number is a multiple of each of its factors. Determine whether a given whole number in the range 1–100 is a multiple of a given one-digit number. Determine whether a given whole number in the range 1–100 is prime or composite.

The goal of this lesson is to demonstrate the abstract concept of prime and composite numbers with varying modalities.  In addition to the teacher’s explanation and mental modeling, students will view and interact with the graphic organizer as well as manipulatives. These added visual and kinesthetic modalities, along with guided interaction, support English learners, as well as other learners with varied learning styles.  This lesson assumes that students are already fluent with many multiplication facts, and understand the concept of dividing a number into its subgroups of factors. 

Introduction & Guided Practice:
The teacher begins by passing out bags of two-color counters to each table, and asks students to model the number 16, as if they had just completed a multiplication problem.  Volunteers explain how they have grouped the counters, either in arrays or small clusters.  Then, all counters are returned to the bag, and the teacher asks that students model the number five.  The teacher encourages discussion among group members regarding how the counters will be grouped.  After students struggle for a few minutes with this dilemma, the teacher calls students’ attention to the graphic organizer that s/he has placed on the board or document camera (see below).  The chart has two columns for prime and composite respectively.  “What differences did you find when grouping five and sixteen?” asks the teacher, as s/he copies students’ replies on a list displayed for the class.  When the students voice the fact that five can’t be divided evenly, it is drawn on the Prime side of the chart, displaying 5 and 1 as its only factors.  Students then volunteer possible groupings for 16, which include 4 and 4, 8 and 2, and 16 and 1, and are drawn on the composite side of the chart.  Students then pick a number at random between 1 and 12, and the class decides together, using two-color counters whether it can be divided evenly.  Then, a student volunteers to draw its factors on the appropriate side of the chart.  This is repeated once again to provide additional guided practice.  The teacher asks students what important words they have used when discussing this process with group members, and adds any to the list which students have omitted.  These can include prime, composite, factor, multiple, etc.  This provides English learners with practive using the academic vocabulary surrounding this concept. 

Independent Practice:
   The teacher then distributes the independent practice sheet (see Here), which also contains a completed concept map at the top.  There are five or six exercises on this sheet which involve deciding whether numbers are prime or composite, and listing the factors of composite numbers.  Students are permitted to ask fellow table group members for clarification if they have questions.  They are also permitted to model with the counters if needed.  The teacher circulates to answer questions and monitor student activity.  S/he may need to provide additional scaffolding to some students. 

Students will return to large-group setting after a predetermined time, and offer any conclusions or discoveries that occurred to them while practicing.  One or two volunteers may add another number or two to the graphic organizer.  The teacher collects the independent practice sheets, which do not need to be finished. 

Assessment & Extension:
The independent practice sheet will serve as a formative assessment to determine which students have successfully classified the attempted numbers with 80 % accuracy.  This concept, as with most others, will then be incorporated into future authentic problem-solving activities. It can also serve as a center activity for those who have met the objective, and a guided math group activity for those who have not.   Additional practice can be gained from textbook exercises assigned for homework for those comfortable with the concept. 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Middle School Science Freebie

Okay folks, I must admit, I'm just a little out of my comfort zone here.  I don't have any experience with middle-schoolers.  I was asked to write a content-area literacy lesson for this age roup for my foundations of literacy class.  So, here is the result!  It asks students to make connections between their own knowledge, other texts, and a digital article from Time for Kids magazine.  And, there's a little science at its core.  The article touts the amazement of finding a complete, dead whale whose species had only appeared as bone fragments in the past.  I wanted students to connect this discovery of a current species to the inferences that scientists make about dinosaurs and other fossil evidence.  At the end, there's an extended writing activity where students make inferences about an animal skeleton image before seeing the picture of the actual animal, which is an African lion.  For those of you that teach at the secondary level, or even upper elementary, feel free to try it out and let me know what worked, and what didn't.  Please also let me know if the images aren't present, and I will Email them to you.