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. 


Sunday, February 3, 2013

 For today's Cyber Monday post, I thought I'd share Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site.  There are synopses and reviews of thousands of children's books as well as ideas for classroom discussions and post-reading activities.  I have found this resource especially helpful because I've been looking for nonfiction books to use in the primary grades.  The Common Core Standards encourage us to provide children a more even balance between fiction and nonfiction texts.  The earlier children are introduced to nonfiction at appropriate reading levels, the less intimidting nonfiction will be as they grow as readers.  But there is also plenty of great fiction to be found here too, along with a free newsletter. 

 Happy teaching!  Enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Currently

Okay folks, it's time once again to link up with Farley at Oh boy! 4th Grade!  She always has such cool stuff going on over there.  Here's my Currently.

I'm still feeling a little behind, but I'm slowly catching up.  I just can't believe it's February, and the school year is like more than half over! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dynamic Characters freebie

This week, my fourth-grader and I have been exploring a few books by Particia Polacco, especially Chicken Sunday and Babushka Baba Yaga.  Both of these books demonstrate a theme of acceptance and looking beyond prejudice.  Both have characters whose attitudes change over the course of the story.  That's why I created this Dynamic Characters Chart  Sorry it's rather plain, not all full of cute-ness ;(  Oh well, one day I'll have the cute-ness factor figured out.

This comes just in time to link up with All Things Upper Elementary for the Free For All Linky Party!

Hop on over and get yourselves some freebies that everyone is so kind to share.

Happy teaching!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Predict-o-Gram Freebie

This week, I learned a new word study strategy from my Foundations of Reading class.  It's called Predict-o-Gram.  The idea is that when a handful of familiar and unfamiliar words are presented to students, they predict where they will appear in the book to be read.  This helps students to think about the context.  I made a little freebie to demonstrate this strategy Here  (Does anybody know how to link to the document with the image??)

Steps for using this strategy:
1.  Decide on 6 - 10 words from the book, which are important to the understanding of the text.
2.  Show them to students, and use them in context.  (You could have students turn-and-talk to use them in sentences with a partner).
3.  Have students predict whether the words will be used to describe the characters, the setting, the problem or the solution, and place them on this recording sheet. 
4.  Adfter reading, confirm if predictions were correct. 

This could either be used in a large-group mini-lesson, or in small-group guided reading. 

Note:  Some of this information was paraphrased from Figure 8.11 on P. 262 of Nettles (2006) Comprehensive Literacy Instruction.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cyber Monday... I'm back!

Hello again, I have been neglecting my posts just trying to get caught up after the holidays.  I am in my second semester of graduate school, taking two courses; one covers the Florida accomplished practices, or FEAPs, and the other covers the foundations of teaching reading.  In discussions with my classmates, I ran across this great resource from The Los Angeles Office of Education  This is a varied list of phonemic awareness assessments for primary students.  I would suggest using these as formative assessments to be used for forming groups and planning systematic instruction.  There are detailed instructions for administering each, and some even have video demonstrations!  Best of all, it looks like they don't take very long, and we can frame them as games!  YAY! ;)