Sunday, 16 August 2015

Effective Oral Communication Skills

Effective communication skills showcase various levels of communication and thinking ability.  This post talks about a system that helps students communicate by learning to retell, relate and reflect.  Each step requires more experience than the previous step.  When students retell, they are able to discuss or write an original story using their own knowledge.  Relating to the original story allows students to make personal connections.  Finally, being able to reflect on the meaning of the story engages students in the ability to infer what the story is about (the heart of the message) and predict any consequences or future implications for that story.

     Students have been accustomed to retelling texts and relating texts to their own personal experiences.  I have found that when students are asked to reflect upon their experiences or responses, there is generally a pause.  I have worked diligently on building these reading strategies in my classroom.  I often begin with a graphic organizer such as a train to assist in retelling a story.  In order to teach retelling, it must be understood.  What is retelling and its purpose? 
Retelling will give you insight into a child’s comprehension process of a text.  Retelling can help you determine:
- How much or what a student remembers
- What a student considers to be important details
- How a student sequences information
- How a student organizes information

This train graphic organizer assists students in retelling a story.  I have also used this retelling bookmark when conducting guided reading sessions. 

 Click on the bookmark link below to download your free copy:

Relating will also give you insight into a student’s comprehension process of a text.  Relating can help you determine:
- How a student connects to a text
- If a student can recall a personal experience that connects to the present text

Here's a sample of a relating task card based on the characters.  Students learn to relate to the text based on separate categories:  characters, setting, problem & solution and order of events.

Here are some relating prompts:

- This reminds me of...
- I remember (when)...
- This is like...
- This sounds like...
- This makes me think of...
- I can identify with this...
Reflecting will give you insight into a text.  Reflecting can help you determine:
- If a student can draw conclusions about a text
- If a student can make future predictions or inferences

Reflecting is often the most difficult task.  However, breaking down the elements of a story assists in the reflection process.  

Here are some reflection prompts:

- I wonder if....
- I believe that...
- I realize that... 
- I know that...
- My predictions are...
- I understand... 

Retelling, relating and reflecting are all important steps in the reading process.  Better responses are created once all students have grasped these elements.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Decorating Your Own Work Space

So it's that time again!  Getting your class ready for your students.  What about your own work space?  I've scoured my house looking for some things that I could spruce up a bit.  I used borders, buttons, decals, stickers, masking tape and washi tape plus a dab of tacky glue.  Here's my first creation:

This was an old bulletin board that took on a new look with fabric.  I had two small pieces so I joined them together and then added a border.  I love a black and white theme.  This year, I've decided to add red as my "pop" colour.  Red masking tape and red buttons finish the look.

I used some recycled cans to make "catch alls" for my desk.  I'm thinking of using them for pens/pencils, markers, highlighter pens and rulers.  

Finally, this papier mache box got a whole new makeover.  

Off to find some new things to remodel!  Now it's your turn.....

Back to School E-Book for Grades 5 & 6

If you're a grade 5 or 6 teacher, there's a valuable resource out there for you. It's the Grade 5-6 Back to School E-Book compiled by Wise Guys. This book is filled with fabulous free tips and links to incredible resources to start your school year off right.  Any seasoned or beginning teacher will benefit from these tips.  Just click on the link below to get your free download today.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Math Tip Monday - Back to School Math Ideas

I would like to thank K's Classroom Kreations and Theresa's Teaching Tidbits for hosting such a fabulous monthly Math Tip blog hop.  For the month of August, the focus is on Back to School Math Ideas.  I have taught all grades between Kindergarten and 6.  One of my most successful back to school math tip is to create glyphs for class decor and math interpretation as well!

What is a glyph you ask?  Glyphs are a pictorial form of data collection.  Students in school often create art projects that can be transformed into mathematical glyphs.  Glyphs are a collection of data organized in a way to help students get acquainted with one another at the beginning of the school year.

Here's my name glyph as an example:

Each letter represents something about me.  For example, the first letter is a checkered pattern. This indicates that I'm a "girl".  I ask the boys to use stripes.  The next letter indicates another things about me, and so on.  I usually provide at least 12 glyph directions just in case names are lengthy.  If the options run out then the students start over again.  

In the past, I have helped students trace letter shapes to make glyphs large enough to create a paper border across the room with glyph readings provided.  Here's a sampling of the glyph instructional chart:

This is a great back to school math icebreaker.  

Saturday, 1 August 2015

What's in Your Cart? Back to School Sale

Thanks to Jenna from "Speech Room News" for hosting a linky party on what's in your cart for back to school?  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale from August 3rd to 4th.

Here are three items I'd recommend from my store?

This Back to School Word Fun Bundle is sure to be a hit with your students.  From making silly sentences and illustrating them to working with fun back to school idioms, they will be entertained the first few days of school!

My Writing Genre bundle will keep you organized for the whole year.  This is filled with ideas, anchor charts, templates and specialty writing paper for descriptive, friendly letter, narrative, recount, opinion, procedural, and paragraph writing.  Plus bonus choice boards are included for your early finishers!  Links to each individual preview are added.

This one is my all time favourite.  You will receive several recount book covers and templates as well as a sign out system for a home school writing connection.  Students can choose from topics such as favourite/favorite sports, vacations, birthday parties, Halloween costumes......Links to each individual preview are added as well.

Now what's in my cart?  Here goes:

I've been keeping my eye on this bundle.  It's about building better responses from Runde's Room.  A good resource for your upper elementary classroom.

Teaching Hands has developed this program to help implement her B.U.I.L.D. Math program.

Here's another one from Runde's Room:  Growth Mindset Cursive Writing.  It looks like some challenging thinking is about to happen at the upper elementary level.

Thanks to Jenna for hosting this linky party.  Just stop by her blog to see other fabulous wish list ideas.  Happy shopping!