Friday, April 8, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #7: Dr. Tim Rasinski Resources

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:



    Dr. Tim Rasinski is a "professor of literacy education at Kent State University" who specializes in research and education in early elementary reading and fluency best practices.  Dr. Rasinski speaks and presents to school districts, conferences, and literacy organizations all over the world. 
     I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with Dr. Rasinski, and his subject knowledge was evident and backed by vigorous research.  My favorite aspect of Dr. Rasinski's work is that he utilizes fun and engaging activities to teach words to students, including using songs, poetry, history, and different ways of thinking about words and where they come from.
   One of his most popular tools are Word Ladders (K-1, 2-3, 4-6).  The concept is a simple, fun, and engaging way to get students to dig a little deeper in how words are built.  I've included some word ladders in our Early Literacy site that I found online.


Don't forget to bookmark our Reading Interventions Symbaloo page for easy reference.  If you have another website you'd like me to add, feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #6: Solution Tree Free Book reproducibles

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:




 


Solution Tree is an educational research and resource publisher that has made reproducibles from their trade books available for teachers to download free of charge.  Although Solution Tree is known mostly for their work with the DuFours in implementing Response to Intervention and Professional Learning Communities, I am finding a number of great resources for teachers on their website dealing with Literacy, Math, etc.
   Solution Tree does require a sign-in and password for anyone wanting to download materials from the site- I'm told it's to keep other people from downloading their materials and selling them elsewhere.  The sign-in is easy and free.
   Once signed in, feel free to search through the titles that are offered.  These books are all available for purchase, but you can also see chapters and topics from each book.  Also included are links to download and use reproducibles included in the books.
   This particular link on our literacy site links to the book, 40 Reading Intervention Strategies for K-6 Students by Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins, and has plenty of thinking strategy worksheets for teachers to use in literacy interventions or lessons.  Below is a video of how I navigate the site:

video


Don't forget to bookmark our Reading Interventions Symbaloo page for easy reference.  If you have another website you'd like me to add, feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #5: Six Types of Struggling Readers Doc from Prairie Lakes AEA

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:







Prairie Lakes AEA Ed Services consultants have compiled a small list of free and easy to use resources for intervening on literacy skills for students in grades K-6.  The resources are all based on how a reader struggles as identified by the teacher.

Perhaps you have an Automatic Word Caller, where they are fluent, accurate, but struggle with a high level of comprehension?  Or maybe you notice a Slow Word Caller, where the student is accurate, but lacks fluency, expression, and phrasing?  This document has recommendations for both types of struggling readers, along with links to interventions directed to those specific needs.


I like many things about this document, including the implication of how to intervene with students that are great readers, and how to improve instruction using research-based intervention strategies.  Another nice aspect is that many of these strategies are available for teacher training at the University of Northern Iowa's Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy.  Motivated TLC Instructional Coaches would be well suited to look into this program for additional training.
 

Don't forget to bookmark our Reading Interventions Symbaloo page for easy reference.  If you have another website you'd like me to add, feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #4: AEA267 ELI Resources Google Folder

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:



     AEA267, in an effort to assist teachers in providing Early Literacy Interventions, has built a number of resources addressing specific reading skills for grades K-6 in a shared folder.  The folder includes PDF lesson plans, worksheets, center activities, and other reproducibles for teaching specific skills in small group settings.
     Skills addressed include fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, assessment, and phonics/ phonemic awareness.  If you have questions about a specific lesson plan, make sure to contact AEA267 School Improvement specialists Patty Foster and Teri Boezinger.

Once you click on the purple "Early Literacy Resources" button, you'll be directed to a Google folder page.  I would recommended that you click the blue "Add to Drive" button in the upper right corner- this will automatically save all the files into your Google Drive to access anytime.




Don't forget to bookmark our Reading Interventions Symbaloo page for easy reference.  If you have another website you'd like me to add, feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #3: TextProject.org

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:



 TextProject.org is a website created in California to support literacy for beginning and emergent readers by providing high quality digital literature, classroom resources, and vocabulary support for students in grades K-5.  Everything on TextProject.org is free to use and re-use.

   One of my favorite features of TextProject.org is the ability to find and save PDF versions of texts that are Common Core aligned.  Most genres are represented on the site, along with lesson plans and support materials for digital texts.
   As someone who loves read-alouds as part of a reading curriculum, Textproject.org offers free Read-Aloud Favorites searchable by grade, topic, and format.
The Read-Aloud Favorites allow you to search for a rich digital text to use in classrooms.
TextProject.org is still adding titles and resources to their site, so check back often.

Don't forget to bookmark our Reading Interventions Symbaloo page for easy reference.  If you have another website you'd like me to add, feel free to email or leave a comment below.
 


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #2: Readworks.org

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:



Today's post is looking at the free literacy website, Readworks.org.  This site is loaded with free articles, lessons, and resources addressing reading skills for grades K-6.  Readworks.org has Lessons and Units covering well-known novels, and Reading Passages to choose from.  Using their "search" function, you can narrow down the lessons/ passages to specific grade levels or for specific skills.
   One of the more advanced functions (also free) is the ability to register and save your lessons to an online binder for future reference.  Once you sign up, Readworks.org will also email you periodically with updates and articles dealing with reading skills, social studies/ science cross-curricular units, or article lessons dealing with National holidays.
  Readworks.org is a highly-engaging tool for finding quick small group or individualized reading passages for interventions.

I did a search for 4th grade, Cause and Effect skill passages.  The results included varied science-based articles in a range of lexiles.

Don't forget to bookmark our Reading Interventions Symbaloo page for easy reference.  If you have another website you'd like me to add, feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Early Literacy Interventions #1: Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading Tool

Resources.  We need them to be effective at what we do; we also need them to be easy and engaging for both student and teacher.  Which is why I am putting out this series of blog posts.  Every few days I am going to highlight a resource on our shared Early Literacy Interventions website to give you an idea of what's in it and how it can work.  Here's our website:


Today's resource can be found in the "red" section of the symbaloo page above.  It is the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading search tool.  The tool allows you to search for reading intervention teaching videos in a variety grades and literacy categories.  Simply choose the grade, and the skill, then click "Show results."  Videos are short and show a teacher demonstrating the strategy in a small group.

Doing a quick search for alliteration and word awareness in 3rd grade gave a flash video showing a teacher using alliteration with a small group.
   Make sure to check out the FAIR search tool by clicking above.  Don't forget to Bookmark the symbaloo page above for easy access.
  If you have a site you'd like to recommend for our Symbaloo page, don't hesitate to email me or leave it in the comments below.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Teacher Leadership in Iowa- a Change, a Challenge, and a Chance

Now that all four of my districts have been approved to receive the Governor's Teacher Leadership and Compensation grant, I think it's important to put out some information for teachers interested in becoming teacher leaders.

How it works:
   The grant team in our district looked at numerous data points, reported needs, and student learning goals to develop leadership positions that can have a major impact on student achievement.  Since each district serves a unique population, TLC plans look different from one district to another.
   According to the TLC legislation, our team was to create enough leadership positions so at least 25% of the staff could potentially become a teacher leader.  This may range from being a member of a TLC Selection Committee, a District Leadership Team, or building leadership team, to being an instructional coach, technology integration coach, or curriculum and professional development leader.  Other positions include Model and Mentor teachers.
  Any teacher who is interested should speak with their building administrator.  Applications will be scored on a rubric, and interviews will be scheduled with the Selection Committee.  Ask your building administrators for more information on rubrics and how to apply.

Who should apply:
   The grant is for teachers looking to expand their role, learning, and influence on student achievement.  These positions are designed to equip and train teachers in best practice; you don't have to be the "best" or "most experienced" teacher to be qualified for a leadership position.  We're really looking for teachers that are willing to learn, lead, and try new and innovative best practice classroom teaching strategies.  You don't have to know or do the strategies already- just be ready to learn and collaborate on using a strategy.
   A common misconception is that teacher leaders will try and "fix" other teachers- there is no expectation for teacher leaders to do this.  Rather, teacher leaders will focus on students, improving outcomes for students, and impacting student learning.  No teacher leader will have evaluation responsibilities over other teachers.
   Every leadership position comes with plenty of training- mostly on Diane Sweeney's Student-Centered Coaching model for both K-8 and Secondary coaches.

What to expect:
  I'll be honest- no one in any of our districts has a clear-cut idea of what the daily tasks will look like for teacher leaders.  Since this is fairly new, we'll rely on your professionalism, passion, and excitement to impact student learning to help drive each leadership role.   The good news is that our District leadership teams can review the roles every year and adjust them as necessary.
   Every position will require extra time and effort- there's a stipend associated with each position to compensate your time.  It's quite possible you'll spend time working with students, presenting professional development, co-teaching, and heading to conferences and trainings.  Being in a leadership position definitely requires a growth mindset and a passion for working with teachers and students.
   At the end of each school year, teacher leaders will have an opportunity to reapply for the leadership position, or return to the classroom.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask me or your building administrator.  I'd really encourage those of you who are eligible to consider applying- especially if you are ready for a change, a challenge, and a chance to make a big difference for students.

For more information on the Teacher Leadership and Compensation grant in Iowa, including FAQs, CLICK HERE.