Think Aloud Checklist Teaches Kids to THINK

Using a Think Aloud Checklist will help you focus your instruction

Think alouds are one of the best instructional practices to improve student comprehension.  By allowing students to listen to YOU think, they will be able to understand their own thinking.  But, sometimes, you lose track of the number of times you use, or don’t use each strategy.  The Think Aloud Checklist below will help you track and target each strategy.

Think Aloud Checklist

Strategy Think Aloud

Tally Mark for Each Time Strategy Used 

            Cue Words

Predicting

 
  • I predict… 
  • In the next part I think…  I think this is…

Questioning

 
  • Why did…   What did…  
  • How did…  
  • Where was… 
  • Should there…

Visualizing

 
  • I see…  
  • I picture…

Personal Response

 
  • I feel…
  • My favorite part…
  • I liked/disliked…

Clarifying

 
  • I got confused when…
  • I’m not sure of…
  • I didn’t expect…

Summarizing

 
  • I think this is mainly about…
  • The most important idea is…

Reflecting

 
  • I think I’ll… next time. Maybe I’ll need to… next time.
  • I realized that…
  • I wonder if…

Making Connections

  • Text-to-Self
  • Text-to-Text 
  • Text-to-World
 
  • This is like…
  • This reminds me of…
  • This is similar to…
  • If it were me…

Print out the chart above and put in your plan book to track your Think aloud usage.  You will be surprised how many times throughout the day you model for you students good thinking.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Encourage Math Learning

Encouraging math learning builds a child’s confidence.

It has always bothered me to encounter people that avoid math because “math learning” was not their thing in school.  However, math in the 60’s and 70’s very often the answer was either right or wrong. Very often it was thought you either got it or you did not.  So, how could you NOT have bad feelings about math?

Today’s math teaching encourages trial and error, math explanations and problem solving.  It encourages kids to give math a try and a good math teacher has high expectations for math learning. Parents can encourage their child’s interest in math.  Check out the ideas below and watch your child’s interest and confidence grow.

9 Ways to Make Math Learning Easier

  • Expect some confusion to be part of the learning process but emphasize that effort, not ability, is what counts. Math is understandable and can be figured out.
  • Ask your child what he or she did in math class today.  Ask him or her to give details and to explain.
  • Avoid conveying negative attitudes towards math.  Never tell children not to worry about certain kinds of math because it will never be used.
  • Let kids know that occupations require a sound based in mathematics. Careers in carpentry, landscaping, medicine, pharmacy, aeronautics, and meteorology all require strong math skills.
  • Give your child meaningful problems that use numbers or shapes while you are going about everyday life.  Ask the child to explain what he or she did.
  • Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger math skills.
  • Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their net earnings, making change and tips at restaurants. 
  • Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts like planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring our how long it will take to drive to your family destination. 
  • Encourage children to solve problems by helping them but allow them to try to figure it out themselves.    

Children’s math achievement is shaped- and- limited by what is expected of them. It is up to us to help them be successful.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Presidential and Inauguration Trivia

This year’s inauguration coverage will surely bring up presidential and inaugural trivia.  Try out the trivia below and see how many you can answer.  Then be ready for the commentators, who always seem to know all the answers!  Have fun!

Questions

  1. What President is associated with creating the US Forest Service?
  2. Who was the youngest elected President of the United States?
  3. As of Wednesday, January 20th, who will be the oldest president to be inaugurated?  (HINT: future tense)
  4. Which president had a dog named King Tut?
  5. Whose inauguration was the first to be televised?
  6. Who was the youngest President of the United States?
  7. Which President never got married?
  8. Who was the first left-handed President? 
  9. Which President holds the record for the shortest time served? 
  10. Whose inauguration was attended by the largest amount of people?
  11. What has been the most common first name of an American First Lady?
  12. How many US Presidents have been assassinated?
  13. Who was the tallest president?

Answers

  1. Theodore Roosevelt
  2. John F. Kennedy
  3. Joseph Biden
  4. Herbert Hoover -31st President
  5. Harry S. Truman
  6. Theodore Roosevelt
  7. James Buchanan – 15th President
  8. James Garfield the 20th President
  9. William Henry Harrison – 9th president was less than 1 month
  10. Barack Obama – 44th President
  11. Elizabeth (although some used nicknames like Betty or Bess)
  12. 4:  Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy Lincoln at 6ft. 4in.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

 

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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  • Inauguration Day for Kids

Inauguration Day for Kids

Inauguration Day is an important historical moment.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration on Wednesday is an historic moment.  However, the recent political unrest has made some parents questioning how to share this moment with their children. I recently learned that the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced a lineup of television programming specifically aimed at getting kids and families involved in the inauguration and the process of it all.  Since most of the events surrounding the swearing-in will be virtually focused due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this may be the answer for parents.

On Tuesday’s Discovery Education program “I Do Solemnly Swear: The U.S. Presidential Inauguration” at 12 p.m. EST will aim to teach students about the history of the inauguration. The first lady elect, Jill Biden will also appear in the program.

On Wednesday, actress Keke Palmer is set to host an inaugural first: a curated livestream for youth titled “Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans” which will take place before and during the inauguration ceremony starting at 10 a.m. EST. Along with the livestream there will be a message from First Lady, Jill Biden, and a segment on presidential pets.

All programs can be watched live on the PIC social media channels YouTube,  Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. 

Regardless of our political affiliation, our kids will one day ask where they were when the 46th president of the United States took the oath of office. This is an opportunity to teach our kids about the United States of America.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Leveled Texts: Same Text at Different Levels

Using leveled texts are important to student success. 

Reading levels in classrooms can vary which makes it difficult for teachers to find resources to meet the needs of all their students.  It is important to give students information at reading levels that they can understand and build confidence. Using leveled texts are important to student success. 

Finding materials at a student’s “just right” level is beneficial for struggling readers, English Language Learners (ELLS) and students with high abilities. The Good News is you do not have to create your own different versions.  Check out the resources below for assistance.  

6 FREE Leveled Texts Resources

  • Newsela – I have shared this resource before and I think it still is one of the best sites.  The free site provides several “levels” of the same newspaper article, along with online quizzes. Spanish translations are also available for some of the articles. Additionally, for a small fee, teachers can also create a virtual classroom, assign articles, and monitor student progress. Spanish translations are also available for some of the articles.  
  • Tweentribune- Classroom teachers can register for a FREE membership.  Each weekday, the site posts age-appropriate news stories to interest students in Grades 1-12.  Each story is edited multiple times for different reading levels. The stories also have self-scoring quizzes and students can post comments. Quiz scores are delivered automatically to teachers and all comments are approved by their teachers before they are published.
  • For the TeachersFREE teacher resources for effective instruction.  Leveled articles are available for download. 
  • CommonLit is a FREE online reading program in English and Spanish that helps students develop comprehension and writing skills.  Teachers can access a collection of over 2,0000 high-quality, high-interest reading passages that are created for different reading levels.  Articles cover a range of subject matter and include assessment questions to evaluate comprehension.  100% FREE for teachers, students, and parents.
  • ReadWorks – Offers FREE content, curriculum, and tools to power teaching and learning from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  ReadWorks is continuing to offer expanded support for educators and families facing interrupted learning during the 2020-2021 school year.  Check out the educator and family resources.
  • Learn with News provides FREE English learning material on news stories.  Stories are written in 3 versions at different Lexile levels.  (Levels 1,2,3)

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Sports Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults

Sports trivia keeps your brain sharp.

Trivia is a great way to exercise your brain, keep your mind sharp and learn a few things about a topic.  This month it is time to test your Sports knowledge. sports trivia.  Truth be told…. Sports trivia is one of my weakest categories in our weekly trivia games.  So… it is time for SPORTS TRIVIA!

Sports Trivia Questions

  1. Which sport did George Washington play with his troops?  
  2. In inches, how big is the diameter of a basketball hoop?  
  3. Which team is as well-known for their comic antics as for their on-court skills?  
  4. Which type of ball was basketball played with until 1929?
  5. Who is the only tennis player to have won each of the four grand slam events at least four times? 
  6. What was the first sport in which women were invited to compete at the Olympics?  
  7. Why did the year 1994 see no baseball World Series?  
  8. In which sport are the terms ‘stale fish’ and ‘mulekick’ used?  
  9. Which is the only country to have played in every World Cup?  
  10. What city of Asia hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008? 
  11.  Which NFL team is the first to win 3 Super Bowls?
  12. In which athletic event did Bruce Jenner win the gold medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics? 
  13. In American Football which famous Miami Dolphins quarterback retired in 2000? 
  14. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in which sport? 
  15.  How many players, including the goaltender, make up an ice hockey team? 
  16.  What was banned from 1967 to 1976? 
  17.  In feet, how high is a basketball hoop?  
  18.  What three movements are required for an athlete to successfully complete a triple jump?
  19.  Name the only major team sport in the USA with no game clock?  
  20. What is the maximum time limit allowed to look for a lost ball in golf?  

Sports Trivia Answers

  1. Cricket 
  2.  18 inches 
  3.  Harlem Globetrotters 
  4.  Soccer ball 
  5.  Steffi Graf 
  6.  Tennis, in 1900  
  7.  Player’s strike 
  8.  Snowboarding 
  9.  Brazil 
  10.  Beijing
  11.  The Pittsburgh Steelers 
  12.  The Decathlon 
  13.  Dan Marino 
  14.  Basketball 
  15.  Six
  16.  Slam dunk 
  17.  10 feet 
  18.  Hop, step, and jump 
  19.  Baseball 
  20.  5 minutes 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Multisensory Learning is Beneficial

All kids can benefit from multisensory instruction.

Multisensory instruction can help kids learn information more effectively because kids learn in many ways.  Some learn best with information they hear; and some when they see it.  Others when they are learning and moving; and others when they touch something. A multisensory approach means learning through more than one sensory system at the same time.  Therefore, when designing instruction, it is important to include different senses to give kids more than one way to make connections and learn concepts.

Multisensory lessons engage students on all senses at one time.  They are impactful because no matter the learning strength of each child (be it auditory, visual, tactile, or kinesthetic) it targets the learning strengths of all students at one time. It allows us to teach once and reach all our students. Therefore, all kids can benefit from multisensory instruction.

Multisensory Pathways

All learning happens through the following senses which act as pathways to the brain. These are the primary pathways to a child’s brain:

Auditory – Children who are strongly auditory learn best through the sense of hearing.  These students need to hear themselves speak what they are learning.

Visual – Children who are strongly visual learn best through the sense of sight.  These students need visuals that show the meaning of what they are learning.  

Tactile – Students who are strongly visual learn best through the sense of touch.  These students must have the opportunity to use their hands to learn.

Kinesthetic – Students who are strongly kinesthetic learn best through body movement. These students must move to focus and learn.

Are you wondering if this works?  The best answer to that question is asking “do you learn better by one of the 4 modalities”?  Most people will have at least one preference and most always can name one modality that is not their strength.  What is yours?

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Adjustments for Special Ed Students

Lesson adjustments can help students be successful

Learning to modify lessons is hard work at first. For novice or student teachers it is one of the most difficult concepts to master.  It is best to try lesson adjustments even if you are not entirely sure it is the right modification. 

As a special educator, begin designing your lesson with the General Education student in mind. Then, reflect on the things that your Special Education student would have difficulty doing in that lesson.  Once you identify those areas, then adjust your teaching to meet those needs either by modifying the work, reducing the workload, or providing supports. This design strategy can be used to modify a student’s assessment, homework, or classroom assignment. Lesson adjustment ideas include but are not limited to:

Lesson Adjustment #1: Modify the Content

  • Provide an alternate assignment that allows a student to display their talents along with the information. 
  • Give a similar but different assignment at a student’s reading or math level. 
  • Align student interest to the content.

Lesson Adjustment #2: Reduce the Workload

  • Put fewer problems on each page to lesson visual distraction
  • Reduce the number of multiple choices
  • Eliminate True or False questions – These questions can be extremely tricky because there is ALWAYS a language connection which makes it especially difficult for students with language-based disorders.
  • Give choice – Give the student ownership and motivation to choose which problems they will answer.  You give them all the questions and the number they must answer, and they choose the questions.  This helps motivate them to complete the assignment because they have ownership of their learning. their own assessment. 
  • Decrease the required essays. 
  • Select specific problems for them to answer and omit the extra problems put in as review problems.
  • Assign even or odd problems only.

Lesson Adjustment #3: Provide Supports

  • Allow extra time
  • Permit calculators
  • Brainstorm prior to the assignment
  • Provide a quieter setting for students to work 
  • Give a word bank to fill in the bank or to write an essay
  • Provide Guided Notes to help focus content into a document
  • Allow students to type or orally report their responses.
  • List steps to complete a task
  • Give specific examples
  • Highlight tricky or key words in questions
  • Have adult read assignment to student.

Remember that you will be tweaking your modifications throughout the year as your students make progress.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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5 Resources for Special Education Teachers

Finding effective strategies and resources is an ongoing process for special education teachers.  The continuous changes in the field, before and during COVID has made it harder to keep up on new studies, research, and new technologies. For student teachers the learning curve is bigger than ever before.  Check out some of the new resources that I have reviewed that you might find helpful.

Resources for Special Education Teachers

Great Resources for Special Education

  • I have recommended Teacher Vision before but not with a focus on special education needs.  This site is divided into easy to read/use sections with links for classroom management, educational technology, assessment accommodations, and instructional strategies.  Printed materials, activities, books, and charts are available to adapt and supplement your classroom materials.   If I had 1 site to choose to find ways to support my students, this would be it.
  • Do2Learn provides thousands of free pages that will help students improve on social skills, behavior, and academics.  Resources include many activities to support social, emotional, and academic needs of students.   Be sure to check out the extensive resources for preschool students.
  • The National Center for Learning Disabilities can help further your knowledge on many types of learning disabilities   Do not be scared off by the front-page focus on legislation issues.  There are many videos and articles to improve parent-teacher relationships, assistive technology and  Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and 504 Plans.
  • Keeping up on latest research and special education laws by state can be tiresome.  Check out The Education Commission of the States for every state. New York Friends here is the link to NYS Education Special Education website. 
  • Learning Disabilities Online provides information to help children with learning abilities achieve their full potential. There are many links to  instructional strategies, information, and solutions for teaching issues.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Christmas Trivia for Kids & Adults

Test your memory with some Christmas Trivia this holiday season!

One of my favorite games to play at Christmas parties is Christmas Trivia. These questions can bring more fun to a crowd of any size or any age. Check out your Christmas knowledge while having dinner, exchanging gifts or challenging some family members. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Trivia Questions

  1. Who does the voice of The Grinch and the story narration in the 1966 cartoon?
  2. What department store created Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?
  3. What is the best selling Christmas song ever?
  4. What Christmas special was based on a New York Sun editorial?
  5. Which company was the first to use Santa Claus in an ad?
  6. How many ghosts show up in A Christmas Carol?
  7. What do people traditionally put on top of a Christmas tree?
  8. What was the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time?
  9. Three of Santa’s reindeer’s names begin with the letter “D.” What are those names?
  10. In the movie Elf, how does Buddy get to the North Pole?
  11. How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish?
  12. What where the first artificial Christmas trees made of?
  13. What does it mean when a bell rings?
  14. How many total items would you receive if you received all of the gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”?
  15. On what street did a Santa Claus miracle occur?
  16. In what year did Hallmark introduce its first Christmas cards?

Christmas Trivia Answers

  1. Boris Karloff
  2. Montgomery-Ward
  3. White Christmas
  4. Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus
  5. Coca-Cola
  6. Four
  7. An angel
  8. Home Alone
  9. Dancer, Dasher, and Donner
  10. He hides in Santa’s sack
  11. Feliz Navidad
  12. Goose Feathers
  13. An angel gets his wings
  14. 364
  15. 34th Street
  16. 1915

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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ThreeRingsConnections.org November Posts

November posts can help kids learn at school & home

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

Happy November! Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health, and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I have seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school every day to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, but they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning, and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I am hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of December, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

November Posts

November’s Favorite Posts

My Favorite Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Take a look at a few posts coming next month
  • Lesson Adjustments for Special Ed Students
  • Multisensory Learning is Beneficial
  • Christmas Trivia for Kids & Adults

Five Finger Retell Rule

Use the 5 Finger Retell Rule by assigning story components to fingers.

Recently, while working with one of my grandkids, I learned about 5 Finger Retell as a way to retell a story.  The Five Finger Retell Rule for reading is designed to help kids recall the five key elements of the story. Although I had summarized many a story with either my own children or primary students, I never used this simple strategy.

The 5-Finger Retell Rule engages kids to repeat a story in their own words, immediately after reading or hearing it.    The trick here is that they use their own hand to organize their thoughts by assigning story components to a finger and their palm. The 5 Finger Retell helps students to analyze the story by setting, character, problem events, and solution or ending. It can be used to summarize the content orally or complete a written summary.  

Since many kids have a hard time retelling/summarizing a passage or story this helps kids focus on the most important parts of the story. In addition to summarizing they acquire listening and forecasting skills by asking the BASIC 5W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. This helps them make connections to things they know and understand which is critical for comprehension.

Five Finger Retell Rule

  • Thumb – Setting
  • Pointer – Characters
  • Tall Finger – Problem
  • Ring Finger – Events/Episodes
  • Little Finger – Ending/Solution
  • Palm – Add your palm for the book title and you have an entire story right in your hand.

The best part of the Five Finger Strategy is that kids can do it anywhere anytime.  No lesson prep, manipulatives or long discussions. Once you teach, model, and review the finger assignments, the kids are ready to go.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids

Thanksgiving jokes can add some fun to your celebration.
Thanksgiving jokes can add some fun to your celebration.

Why not add some Thanksgiving jokes to your Thanksgiving celebration this year?

Teaching kids to appreciate jokes is a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Why not take some time to be silly this Thanksgiving and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll).  Happy Thanksgiving!

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Gladys.
Adult: Gladys who?
Kid: Gladys Thanksgiving. Aren’t you?

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Harry.
Adult: Harry who?
Kid: Harry up, I’m hungry!

Q. Why did the farmer run a steamroller over his potato field on Thanksgiving Day?

A. He wanted to raise mashed potatoes.

Q. What is a turkey’s favorite dessert?
A. Peach gobbler!

Q. Why did the police arrest the turkey?

A. They suspected it of fowl play!

Q. What do you call it when it rains turkeys?

A. Foul weather!

Q. What smells the best at a Thanksgiving dinner?

A. Your nose

Q. Why do pilgrims’ pants always fall down?
A. Because they wear their belt buckles on their hats!

Q. Why did the cranberries turn red?
A. Because they saw the turkey dressing!

Q. What did the turkey say to the computer?
A. “Google, google, google.”

Q. What kind of music did Pilgrims listen to?
A. Plymouth Rock.

 Q. What’s the best thing to put into pumpkin pie?
A. Your teeth

 Q. What always comes at the end of Thanksgiving?
A. The letter “g”.

Q. Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
A. The outside.

Q. What do turkeys and teddy bears have in common?
A. They both have stuffing.

Q. Where does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?

A. In the dictionary

 Q. What do you get when you cross a turkey with a centipede?
A. Kid: Drumsticks for everyone on Thanksgiving Day!

Q. What did the turkey say to the turkey hunter on Thanksgiving Day?
A. “Quack! Quack!”

Q. What key has legs and can’t open doors? 

A. A turkey.

Q. Who isn’t hungry at Thanksgiving?
A. The turkey because he’s already stuffed.

 

Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Evidence-based Learning Strategies

Evidence-based learning strategies are effective for student learning.

There are some widely used evidence-based learning strategies that are effective for many students.  Teachers that fill their toolbox with a variety of strategies will have choices when trying to reach the varied student needs in their classroom. Check out 7 strategies with acronyms that are well known for a variety of subject areas.  

STOP (Boyle & Walker Seibert, 1997) for phonemic awareness, phonics or decoding.

Stare at the unknown word
Tell yourself each letter sound
Open your mouth, say letter sounds
Put letters together to say word

SCROL (Grant, 1993) and POSSE (Englert, 2009) for reading comprehension;
Survey the headings
Connect the headings to one another
Read the text
Outline major ideas with supporting details
Look back to check the accuracy of what’s written

DRAW (C.A. Harris, Miller, & Mercer, 1995) for math calculations;
Discover the sign
Read the problem
Answer the problem or draw
Write the answer

TASSEL (Minskoff & Allsopp, 2003) for on-task behavior during class;
Try not to doodle
Arrive at class prepared
Sit near the front
Sit away from friends
End daydreaming
Look at the teacher

WATCH (Reid & Lienemann, 2006) for study skills;
Write down assignment and due date
Ask for clarification or help
Task analyze the assignment, schedule tasks over available days
Check all work for neatness, completeness, and accuracy

SPLASH(Simmonds, Luchow, Kaminsky, & Cottone, 1989) for test taking

Skim the test
Plan your strategy
Leave out tough questions
Attack questions you know
Systematically guess
House clean

Acronyms are easy to teach for teachers and easy to learn for kids. Helping children develop a strong repertoire of reliable “brain-friendly” learning strategies are effective for student learning.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Thanksgiving Riddles Make You Laugh

Thanksgiving Riddles to make you laugh

Thanksgiving should be about gratitude, togetherness, and relaxation. For many of us, this year has been exceedingly difficult. Let us try to lift all our spirits and had some fun and laughter to our Thanksgiving celebrations.  So, if you have a few loved ones around the table or you have a “Family Zoom Call”, why not try a few Thanksgiving riddles to add some laughter. 

Thanksgiving Riddles

Q. If roses are red, violets are blue, what is stuffed, brown and blue?

A. A turkey holding its breath

Q. I can be hot or cold, I can be made with fruit, vegetable, or meat but either way you see it, on a Thanksgiving table I will be a treat. What am I?

A Pie

Q. You see this festive event along the street on this special day, from Felix to Mickey to Dora and Bugs Bunny, all people will make way. What is it?

A. The Thanksgiving Parade

Q. I have ears but I cannot hear, and I have flakes, but I have no hair. What am I?

A. What do the Pilgrims, Indians and Puritans have in common? 

A The letter i.

Q. What can never be eaten at Thanksgiving dinner?

A. Breakfast and lunch on Thanksgiving

Q. What do grateful, thankful, wonderful, and joyful have all in common?

A.  ful

Q. Can you tell which side of the turkey has more feathers?

A. The outside

Q. What is brown, big, and red all over? 

A. A turkey with cranberry sauce.

Q. Can a turkey fly higher than an ostrich?

A. Yes, because an ostrich does not fly.

Q. Pious and devout, I wear black and white clothes and funny hats. I am not a nun nor a priest, but I was an adventurer. Who am I?

A. Pilgrims

Q. When the Pilgrims walked off their boat into the new world, on what did they stand?

A. On their feet

Q. What has feathers, a bowed head and kneels?

A. A turkey praying to not be eaten

Q. If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? 

A. The Pilgrims

Q. What is hard, oddly shaped and brings you good fortune on Thanksgiving?

A. A wishbone

Q. How do you make a Pilgrim and turkey float?

A. Put 2 scoops of ice cream, a root beer and a pie and turkey in a glass

Q. What is that favorite sport of pumpkins and gourds?

A. Squash

Q. If it took 3 women 4 hours to roast a turkey, how long would it take 4 women to roast the same turkey?

A. None the turkey is already roasted

Q. What is red and has feathers all over?

A. A turkey blushing

I think we all deserve a little whimsy this year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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  • Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids

Math Learning Starts at Home

Parents can play a role in math learning.

Just as parents can help their children be ready to learn to read, they can give children a good start in math learning, too.  Developing proficiency with informal math concepts and skills are easy to do and can start before children enter school. 

Math Learning Before Children Enter School

  • Find natural opportunities to count, to sort objects, to match collections of objects, to identify shapes (while reading bedtime stories, going up stairs,  setting the table, etc.)
  • Play games such as dominoes and board games
  • Count a collection of objects and use number words to identify very small collections
  • Talk with your child about simple math problems and ideas.  (How many spoons do we need to set the table? Give me the cup with the two flowers on it.  Find the other circle on the page. Sort the blocks by shape.)

Math Learning After Children Enter School

  • Expect some confusion to be part of the learning process but emphasize that effort, not ability, is what counts. Math is understandable and can be figured out.
  • Avoid conveying negative attitudes towards math.  Never tell children not to worry about certain kinds of math because it will never be used.
  • Encourage your child to use computers for tasks like developing charts, graphs, maps, and spreadsheets. 
  • Ask your child what he or she did in math class today.  Ask him or her to give details and to explain.
  • Let kids know that occupations require a sound based in mathematics. Careers in carpentry, landscaping, medicine, pharmacy, aeronautics, and meteorology all require strong math skills.
  • Give your child meaningful problems that use numbers or shapes while you are going about everyday life.  Ask the child to explain what he or she did.
  • Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger math skills. Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their net earnings, making change and tips at restaurants.  Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts like planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring our how long it will take to drive to your family destination.
  • Encourage children to solve problems by providing assistance but letting them figure it out themselves.

Remember math is not just a 40 minute subject taught in school each day. Math concepts are needed for problem solving which is a lifetime skill.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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US State Capitals Trivia

US State Capitals

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Monthly, we’ve looked at questions in many categories: General Knowledge, movies, World History & Geography, US History, US State Flags and this month US State Capitals. Next month is World Flags!

  1. Connecticut                                   Hartford
  2. Delaware                                        Dover
  3. Alaska                                              Juneau
  4. Georgia                                            Atlanta
  5. South Carolina                             Columbia
  6. Arizona                                             Phoenix
  7. Ohio                                                   Columbus
  8. Louisiana                                         Baton Rouge
  9. Michigan                                         Lansing
  10. Rhode Island                                  Providence
  11. Tennessee                                        Nashville
  12. Hawaii                                              Honolulu
  13. Wyoming                                         Cheyenne
  14. Missouri                                          Jefferson City
  15. New Mexico                         Santa Fe
  16. Alabama                                           Montgomery
  17. New Jersey                                      Trenton
  18. California                                      Sacramento
  19. Massachusetts                              Boston
  20. Washington                                    Olympia
  21. Montana                                          Helena
  22. Oklahoma                                        Oklahoma City
  23. Kentucky                                         Frankfort
  24. Colorado                                         Denver
  25. Minnesota                                      Saint Paul
  26. Texas                                                Austin
  27. New York                                        Albany
  28. Kansas                                             Topeka
  29. South Dakota                                Pierre
  30. Florida                                             Tallahassee
  31. North Dakota                                Bismarck
  32. Nebraska                                        Lincoln
  33. Wisconsin                                      Madison
  34. North Carolina                             Raleigh
  35. Oregon                                             Salem
  36. Illinois                                             Springfield
  37. New Hampshire                           Concord
  38. Maine                                               Augusta
  39. Utah                                                  Salt Lake City
  40. Colorado                                         Denver
  41. Nevada                                             Carson City
  42. West Virginia                                Charleston
  43. Virginia                                           Richmond
  44. Pennsylvania                                 Harrisburg
  45. Maryland                                        Annapolis
  46. Mississippi                                     Jackson
  47. Vermont                                          Montpeller
  48. Idaho                                                Boise
  49. Iowa                                                  Des Moines
  50. Arkansas                                         Little Rock

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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7 Websites to Support Special Education

Check out the websites filled with special education resources.

There are many special education websites that support student learning. But finding the best one can be time consuming. Check out the websites below that provide many good FREE resources to help meet the varied needs of your students.

Special Education Websites

  • National Center on Intensive Intervention

    Practical information for classroom teachers.  There are multiple resources that include strategies for reading, math, and behavior issues.  There are also instructional videos. 

  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports                                                         The center has extensive resources on effective school-wide disciplinary practices.

  • RTI, National Center on Response to Intervention                                                 The Center supports the implementation of RTI by disseminating information about proven and promising practices in Response to Intervention (RTI) frameworks.  

  • Reading Rockets                                                                                                                          Reading Rockets offers many strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Reading resources help struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

  • What Works Clearinghouse                                                                                            User-friendly practice guides for educators with research-based recommendations for schools and classrooms with an extensive list of effective interventions.  Topics include: students with learning disabilities, adolescent literacy, beginning reading, character education, dropout prevention, early childhood education, early childhood education for children with disabilities, elementary school math, English language learners, and middle school math.     

  • Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)                                                      CAST has online tools that help educators build options and flexibility into each element of the curriculum (goals, methods, materials, and assessments).  The extensive information will help engage all students. 

  • National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials                                        This website provides information about accessible instructional materials, and how to obtain and create alternate format materials. It also has information about hardware/software resources and specific resources wih visual impairments. 

Knowing a variety of good special education resources helps to keep teachers updated on new strategies to support student learning. 

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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How Do Kids (and Adults) Learn Best?

Use best practices to help kids learn.

 How do we learn?  As I review lesson plans, I am reminded of my days teaching students in a Talented and Gifted program.  Although I was an experienced classroom teacher, it was not until I was challenged in this new role, did I truly learn how to differentiate instruction effectively, I learned to find ways to structure lessons to optimize learning, based on researched instructional strategies that made a difference in student learning. Researchers that I relied on were: Glasser, Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock. 

So, for my student teachers, check out the some VERY condensed basics in planning your lessons.

WE LEARN……

10% of what we READ

20% of what we HEAR

30% of what we SEE

50% of what we both SEE and HEAR

70% of what is DISCUSSED WITH OTHERS

80% of what we EXPERIENCE PERSONALLY

95% of what we TEACH someone else.

William Glasser

Instructional Strategies That Affect Student Achievement
CATEGORYPERCENTILE GAIN
Identifying similarities and differences, using metaphors and analogies 45
Reinforcing effort and providing recognition 34
Homework and practice 28
Nonlinguistic representations 27
Cooperative Learning 27
Setting objectives and providing feedback 23
Generating and testing hypotheses 23
Questions, cues, and advance organizers 22
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Pollock, J., Classroom Instruction that Works, 2001

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

 

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI)

SDI makes special education “special“.

Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI) refers to the teaching strategies and methods used by teachers to instruct students with learning disabilities and other types of learning needs (strengths and weaknesses). SDI’s help a child achieve their academic goals listed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

SDI Features

  • Delivered by a special education teacher or a related services provider.
  • Provided in any location, if the location is consistent with the student’s IEP and the student’s least restrictive environment.
  • Directly addresses the student’s IEP goals.  Goals are designed to enable the students to achieve grade-level content standards and/or close the learning gap.
  • Is planned, organized and meaningful and is delivered in an explicit, intentional, and systematic manner.
  • It is specific instruction that is delivered to the individual student. 
  • Closely monitored to ensure that the intended results, i.e., a reduction in the learning gap, are being achieved.
  • Addresses any area of individual need including academic, behavioral, social, communication and/or health.
  • Does not involve lowering standards or expectations for the student.

Check out a great Guidance Document developed through the NYSED Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE-TASC) which explains SDI and is a step by step resource to help teachers select the best strategies to meet student needs.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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