Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Dolphin Tale" Ideas and Resources

My class is very excited about the new movie "Dolphin Tale."  In science, we've been discussing how scientists can use a model to help them investigate their questions and variables.

Here are a few resources I've either found or created that you can use to support reading, writing and science through ideas from the movie "Dolphin Tale."

Power Point that can be printed or shown on an Activeboard/SmartBoard

Science Worksheet to go with Scientific Method and Power Point

Writing Prompt to go with Power Point

Scholastic Resources

Winter's Tail

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Memorable Moment # 11: Name Changes

My parents christened me with a first, middle and last name when I was born. When I got married, I took on my husband's last name. In spite of these facts, my student's want to bestow new names on me each year. In the past few years, I have been all of these:


"Ms. Yogurt"

"Mrs. Yo-yo"


And let's not forget, my personal favorite:

"Ms. Oder"

I really do shower. The last one was a result of a child's speech impairment, not my personal hygiene habits.

picture references:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reading Throughout the Day

Some of you know I've recently switched teaching pre-schoolers with disabilities to teaching third grade students with disabilities.

In Florida, third grade is a "high stakes grade level." Children who do not pass the reading section of our achievement test face a mandatory retention.

My assistants and I are working diligently to help our students develop and improve their reading skills. We have a few systems and procedures that we have in place to help our students maximize reading opportunities throughout the day.

In this post I'll list our systems and procedures, and then in future posts, I'll explain in more detail how we specifically address each item.

1) Guided Reading Groups led by the teacher using district adopted curriculum materials (for my district this is Harcourt StoryTown)

2) Scripted Phonics lesson led by a classroom assistant using SRA Reading Mastery materials

3) "Book Buckets" that include individual leveled readers from ReadingA-Z and a reading log.  Update: In December of 2011, we added some chapter books to this time.  For more information, see this post.

4) Sight word practice. We store this in our book buckets and simply write targeted a sight word on an index card, hole punch it and collect them on a binder ring.

5) Shared poetry using poems from curriculum materials and other supplements.

6) Shared reading focusing on robust vocabulary and focus skills such character, setting, recalling details, etc.

7) Accelerated Reader using individualized goals and reading levels.

8) Read aloud chapter books.

9) Read aloud grade level short stories led by a classroom assistant.

10) Reading "choice time" activities (popular songs with lyrics..karaoke style, Boggle, Boggle Jr, Spell It Puzzles, Bananagrams, Scrabble, Scrabble Jr, etc).

* For more details on how steps 1, 2, 6 and 9 look in the classroom, visit this post.

We've just started our third week of school and I feel as if we are really starting to move with our reading groups and instruction. It took us a bit of time to finish assessments, formulate groups, and teach our students procedures for each of the areas we've attacked.

Hopefully, by the end of the year, we'll be able to report some good growth in our students' reading skills. I say "we" and "our" with intent because it require a team effort between the students, their families, my assistants and me!