Recently while observing student teacher lessons I realized that each of them used Exit Tickets as their closure activity. Although they each teach different grades and subjects, they all used Exit Tickets as the “go-to” strategy to check for understanding. And it worked!
What are Exit Tickets (slips)
An exit ticket is a formative assessment tool used to assess student learning and to plan future lessons. Typically, a prompt or a question, it is given to students at the end of a class that is tied to the objective of the lesson taught that day. They are usually in a multiple-choice format or an open response. These mini assessments are meant to be no more than 1-5 minutes and not graded.
10 Exit Ticket Benefits
Allows students to self-assess
Clarifies main concept of the lesson
Keeps students engaged in the lesson
Assesses student understanding
Creates an additional review and reinforcement opportunity
Invites students to ask questions or clarify thoughts
Guides teacher lesson design based on student understanding
Helps organize small group instruction
Provides data on student progress.
Opens a communication channel between teacher and student
Exit slips are easy to use for teachers and students. They can be used at every grade level. So, why not give them a try?
Answering open-ended response questions is an important task in third and fourth grades. Looking for evidence is the key and organizing your thoughts. As the length of reading passages increases, many students struggle locate information. Teaching kids a “list of steps” and pairing it with an acronym helps students respond to a written article. Kids like acronyms because they are easy to remember. Three strategies to try in your classroom are: R.A.D., R.A.C.E and C.E.R.
R.A.D. (Restate, Answer, Details)
RESTATE the questionto start the beginning of the answer.
ANSWER the questionby going to your notes and looking for the answer. Read and circle any information that you have in your notes that will help you answer what is asked.
DETAILS should be included from the text as evidence.
R.A.C.E(Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain)
RESTATE the question.in your topic sentence.
ANSWER the question that is being by including it in your topic sentence.
CITE evidence from the text to support your answer.
EXPLAIN how the evidence from the text supports your answer.
C. E. R. (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning)
CLAIM – A statement that responds to the question being asked using words from the question.
EVIDENCE – Provide (facts) from the text as evidence to support your answer (claim). (No opinions, just the facts)
REASONING – Explain how these facts support your claim. You may need to include background knowledge along with the facts to explain your reasoning.
Using one of these strategies will help students answer open-ended questions. It will also be helpful when students face high stakes testing. Having an acronym to hang on to will help reduce test anxiety.
I LOVE this site. ReadWorks is Amazon shopping for EVERY type of teacher! Everything that you need to support your student’s comprehension. It’s all in one place and FREE.
ReadWorks is a nonprofit that provides K-12 teachers with nonfiction and literary articles that support reading comprehension and vocabulary learning. Resources are easy-to-use, research-based, and FREE (I guess I said that enough). Articles are leveled for reading instruction and can be printed, used digitally or projected on a Smartboard.
Over 5000 K-12 passages
Search by grade or by Lexile
Written by experts, curated by educators
On curriculum topics
Multiple choice and written answer questions
Explicit and inferential questions that build a deeper understanding of the important elements of a text
Carefully selected, high-impact words
Multiple definitions and authentic sentence examples
Practice with word families and metacognition
A 10-minute daily routine that dramatically increases background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina
Two texts related by topic or theme
Question sets to draw connections and comparisons
Less complex versions of original passages.
Designed to provide access for struggling students.
Preserve the integrity of the original text, including vocabulary, knowledge, and length.
Lessons and Units
Based on trade books.
Support instruction of longer texts.
Include complete lesson plans with guided practice and independent practice.
Audio versions of all reading content
Ability to highlight, annotate and adjust text size.
ReadWorks encourages teachers to share their resources with other colleagues. Pass it on!
Nine months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 13 September posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 9 down and 3 more to go! Have a great month!
For teachers and kids, the beginning of the school year means “Reading Assessments”. We test to see if our students’ reading levels have increased, remained the same or decreased over the summer. However, although we get an independent reading level, we know that the reading level may not always be 100% accurate. Asking the right comprehension questions can help kids be better readers.
The following Behaviors/Skills and Questions can be useful when working with students who are at an independent reading level from K through N.
Knowing the skills and behaviors at levels above and below a student’s level will help teachers and parents ask better questions to support comprehension. This strategy can help our students on their independent reading level as well as our Review/Reinforcement and Enrichment students.
Comprehension/Behaviors Skills (F & P Levels K/L)
dialogue to understand characters
cause and effect by understanding characters and events
how problems and events are related
for information to confirm predictions
evidence from the story to support their ideas or thinking
predictions based on prior knowledge and the text
the solution to the problem
important ideas in the text
predictions based on character traits
Comprehension Questions (F & P Levels K/L)
Retell the story in
Who is speaking? How do you know?
Does what you just read
remind you of anything? How does this
help you better understand the text?
name) in detail.
What happened? Why did it happen?
What in the story makes
you think that?
What do you think will
happen next? Why?
What caused (problem or
event) to happen? How do you know?
What do you think
(character’s name) will do? Why?
School Age Readers and Writers – (5 to 9-year-olds)
Give your child encouragement when he or she is doing homework or a writing assignment. Remind your child that writing involves several steps like panning, composing an initial draft, revising, and final editing. No one does it perfectly the first time.
Read different types of books to expose your child to different types of writing. Kids love a variety of fiction and non-fiction formats including plays, chapter books, series books, books with sequels, short stories, diaries and logs, and graphic texts.
Create a writing toolbox — Find a special box and fill it with drawing and writing materials. Think of everyday opportunities for your child to write —the family shopping list, thank -you notes, birthday cards, or sign on the bedroom door.
Ask your child to read out loud what he or she has written.
Create a book together — Make a handmade book together by folding pieces of paper ion half and stapling them together. Your child can write his or her own story, with different sentences on each page. Ask your child to illustrate the book with his/her own drawings.
Show your child how to summarize a story in a few sentences, for example, or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both strategies help a child comprehend and remember. After reading a story together, think out loud so your child can see how you summarize and predict.
Pick books that are at the right reading level —Help your child choose reading materials that are not too difficult. The goal is to give your child lots of successful reading experiences
Partner Reading – Take turns reading aloud to each other. Whether it’s a page or a sentence, it’s another way of getting a couple minutes of reading fun.
Learning to read is not easy and takes time. Many parents wonder on the best ways to help their kids learn to read. With 8 grandkids under 9, we have various levels of reading going on in our family. Ranging in age from 7 months to “newly 9” we have readers of all sizes and abilities.
I created the following list to make it a little easier for my adult children to have a few “reading ideas” to help their kiddos. Reading is very comprehensive and therefore, there is a wide range of activities at each level. The important thing to remember is reading builds on foundational skills. Therefore, each level is important for reading success. Don’t worry if your more advanced reader wants to do a lower level. Even advanced readers can continue to learn and grow from some of the Preschool Reader activities. Last week we started with our series with Very Early Readers (Birth – 2 years). This week we continue with Preschool Readers (2 – 5yrs).
Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)
Discuss what’s happening, point out things on the page, ask your child questions
When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.
Talk about print everywhere. Talk about written words you see in the world around you and respond with interest to your child’s questions about words.
Ask your child to find a new word every time you go on an outing.
Watch My Lips – Encourage your child to watch your lips and mouth while you make certain sounds. Have your child think about how his/her own lips and tongue move. You can say something like, “Can you feel how your mouth moves the same way at the beginning of the words sun, snake, and sour? Watch my mouth while I say them.” Exaggerate the letter s when saying the words.
Play sound games— Give your child practice blending individual sounds into words. For example, ask “Do you know what the word is? m-o-p?” Say the sound each letter makes rather than the name of the letter. Hold each sound longer than you normally would. This will help your child recognize the different letter sounds.
Trace and say letters while saying the letter’s sound at the same time. Use a pan filled with rice, sugar or beans to involve touch, sight and speech.
Play word games — Use a dry erase board to play word games with your child. First, write out a word like mat. Then change the initial sound. Have your child sound out the word when it becomes fat and then when it becomes sat. Next change the final sound, so the word changes from sat to sag to sap. Then change the middle sound, so the word changes from sap to sip.
Punctuate your reading.?! -. Discuss how punctuation on a page represents ways of speaking. You can say, for example, “When we talk, we usually pause a little bit at the end of a sentence. The way we show this pause in writing is to use a period.”
Dig deeper into the story — Ask your child about the story you’ve just read together. Try questions that require your child to draw conclusions. Say something like, “Why do you think Clifford did that?” A child’s involvement in retelling a story or answering questions goes a long way toward developing his or her comprehension skills.
Tell family tales — Children love to hear stories about their family. Tell your child what it was like when you or your parents were growing up or talk about a funny thing that happened when you were young.
Storytelling on the go — Take turns adding to a story the two of you make up while riding in the car. Either one of you could start. Start with a beginning middle and end and work up to a longer story. A fun activity that stretches the imagination!
Every minute counts in becoming a good reader. Why not set a goal to try to do at least one activity a day? Be prepared to have days when it doesn’t get done. It’s only a goal. Most of all, enjoy the special time with your child.
Learning to read is not easy and takes time. Many parents wonder on the best ways to help their kids learn to read. With 8 grandkids under 9, we have various levels of reading going on in our family. Ranging in age from 7 months to “newly 9” we have very early readers to advanced readers.
I created the following list to make it a little easier for my adult children to have a few “reading ideas” to help their kiddos. Reading is very comprehensive and therefore, there is a wide range of activities at each level. The important thing to remember is reading builds on foundational skills. Therefore, each level is important for reading success. Don’t worry if your more advanced reader wants to do a lower level. Even advanced readers can continue to learn and grow from some of the Very Early Reader list activities. This week we start with our very early readers.
Very Early Readers (Birth to 2 yrs.)
Read together every day. Uninterrupted 2 minutes of time is time well spent.
Keep a book or magazine with you all the time to read with your child. Every minute counts.
Re-read a favorite – Kids love to hear books again. Repeated reading helps kids read more quickly and accurately. It helps promote their reading confidence. Research shows that repeated reading builds language skills.
Read with fun in your voice. Why not use different voices for different characters. A little acting can go a long way!
Let your child choose —Give your child the chance to pick his/her own books. Letting children choose their own books nurtures independence and their own interests.
Read it and Experience it — Help your child make the connection between what he/she reads in books and what happens in life. If you’re reading a book about animals, for example, relate it to last month’s trip to the zoo.
Make books and reading into something special by taking your kids to the library, helping them get their own library card, reading with them, and buying them books as gifts.
Have a favorite place for books in your home, or even better, put books everywhere!
Talk about what you see and do together.
Talking about everyday activities helps your child’s background knowledge, which is crucial to listening and reading comprehension
You can play games that involve naming or pointing to objects.
Say silly tongue twisters—Sing sings and read rhyming books. These help kids become sensitive to the sounds in words.
When you read aloud, read with expression.
Coming Next Week: Preschool Readers (2 to 5 years)
Coming in 2 Weeks: School Age Readers and Writers (5 to 9 years)
The start of the school year brings some new reading terms for parents of children in the early grades. Many teachers use Guided Reading to teach reading. The days of everyone reading together out of one book has been replaced by small-group instruction. The small groups are composed of children that have similar Guided Reading Levels (GRLs). The level is assessed on a child’s word-knowledge, comprehension and fluency. These levels are also used to determine a child’s independent reading level.
Fountas and Pinnell, (F & P) is one of the most popular assessment tools. The levels range alphabetically from A to Z, with level A representing the lowest level and level Z the highest. This allows the teacher to work closely with each student to help them become better readers by introducing them to increasingly challenging books and instructional focus.
How Are Book Levels Determined?
Books are assigned Guided Reading Levels based on several general expectations and capabilities of a reader. As the levels progress, the books become more difficult. Each level is based upon the increasing complexity of ten benchmark common book characteristics that readers encounter at all stages of the reading process from when your child picks up his or her first book through the time when he or she becomes a fluent reader. These guided reading categories are:
Themes and Ideas: Big ideas communicated by the author
Genre: Type of book
Text Structure: How the book is organized
Content: Subject matter of a book
Sentence Complexity: Difficulty of the sentence
Language and Literacy: The writing techniques used by the writer.
Vocabulary: The frequency of new words introduced in the book.
Words: How easy the words in the book can be figured out (decoded) by a reader
Illustrations: The correlation and consistency of images and pictures in the books to the words printed on the page
Book and Print Features: How the printed words are on the page.
How Can I Find Books at My Child’s Guided Reading Level?
Ask your child’s teacher for the appropriate Guided Reading Level (GRL) to practice reading at home. In the classroom, books are often labeled so kids can easily grab a book at their reading level. Your school or local librarian can be helpful to find books at your child’s level. Many book publishers also include a Guided Reading Level on their books.
I’ve written a post about Overdrive as a database to access free books for adults and kids. However, I was not aware that they also have collections of books on different subjects. One of the listed subjects is Education. The collection includes books for both teachers, parents and students. Books are in both digital and audio files.
Using your library card you can borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration and you’re ready to go. Books can be borrowed from 7 to 21 days.
Sample: Overdrive PD Teacher Books
Building A+ Better Teacher Green 2015
How Children Succeed Tough 2013
Mathematical Mindsets Boaler/Dweck 2015
Montessori From the Start Lillard and Jessen 2004
Secrets of the Teenage Brain Feinstein/Jensen 2013
Teach Like a Pirate Burgess 2012
The Coddling of the American Mind Lukianoff/Haidt 2019
Over the years I’ve collected a collection of education books. Take a look at the list below and let me know if there are any books that you may find helpful in your placements. I can bring them to your placement on our next observation. Access to your very own professional lending library!
Brainstorm Siegel 2012
Bright From The Start Stamm 2008
Classroom Instruction That Works Marzano & Pickering 2001
Article-A-day is a strategy that teachers use in a classrooms that assigns students a non-fiction article to read each day. This technique strengthens a student’s background knowledge, vocabulary and stamina. This research-based classroom routine combines writing & oral sharing. The technique is used in whole-class or small groups and also as an independent project.
A great FREE resource to support your Article-A Day program is ReadWorks. The site provides article sets that include 6-9 articles related on nonfiction topics. The articles are leveled from Kindergarten – 8th Grade. The resources can be printed, used digitally or projected on a Smartboard. ReadWorks encourages teachers to share their resources with other colleagues.
Step 1: Students read an article independently. For students who cannot read independently yet, the teacher reads the article out loud twice.
Step 2: Each student then uses their own “Book of Knowledge” to write down, or draw a picture of, two or three things they learned from reading and would like to remember in their own “Book of Knowledge.” A classroom Book of Knowledge can also be created if the article is used in whole class instruction. The strategy builds writing skills and strengthens the reading-writing connection.
Step 3: Student volunteers share with the class, in 1-2 minutes, what they’ve learned and want to remember.
IF 10 minutes is all you need to make an impact on reading comprehension, why not give it a try?
A popular book study in our K-12 Professional Development offerings was Visual Thinking Strategies by Philip Yenawine. Teachers at all grade levels found this strategy helped expand student discussions. Special Education teachers found Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) very helpful to explore new content.
In VTS discussions, teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art/photographs or media literacy. Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions to engage student discussion.
What’s going on in this picture?
What do you see that makes you say that?
What more can we find?
Teachers use facilitation techniques to expand student responses. By pointing at the areas being discussed and paraphrasing student comments, teachers helped link and frame student answers. For those teachers being observed using an evidence-based tool, the following evidence can be seen when using Visual Thinking Strategies.
Students are engaged in exploring new content through effective questioning.
Engages all students in discussion.
Allowing “Think Time” before responding.
Topics can be expanded through follow up, rephrasing and applying student responses.
Engages Students in Learning
Examples are used to illustrate new learning.
New learning connects student knowledge, interests and culture.
Problem solving is highlighted as a technique in student learning.
Examples are differentiated to meet student needs.
VTS As An Assessment Tool
Teachers and peers comment on student responses.
Uses Non-verbal cues (nods, quizzical looks etc.) to encourage students.
Effective feedback is specific and descriptive.
Teacher comments help clarify student responses.
Feedback is immediate to support student learning.
Visual Thinking Strategies helps students to truly understand and transfer learning. It helps them explain, interpret and apply new learning.
Seven months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 12 July posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 7 down and 5 more to go! Have a great month!
The best way for kids to become good readers is to read, read, read! This post includes a variety of resources that will keep them engaged and provides hours of fun. The resources are both free and kid-friendly. They include reading resources for all levels from beginners to advanced readers.
Site includes a variety of resources for many areas. Perfect for preschool, K-2 , special ed and English Language Development. A paid membership is needed for access to all resources but there are many FREE.
Parents often wonder how to help their child with reading. The comprehension question often comes up when they see their child reading the words but are not sure if they understand what they are reading. So, how can you help them when you are not a reading teacher.
The important part is asking questions to start your child thinking about their reading. It’s totally fine to repeat the same or similar questions after each story. It helps your child learn to think about their reading; before they read, while they read and after they read.
Quick Comprehension Questions
Does anything in the story remind you of something that has happened to you?
What questions pops into your head about what you read?
There are some great pictures in the book. Can you tell me about one of them?
Can you summarize what you read? What happened overall in the story?
What were the names of some of the characters? Did you have a favorite character? Why?
What do you think the title of the story (chapter) means?
Can you think of another title of the story? Why would that be a good choice?
Do you think other kids would like this story? Why?
Remember to balance your questions with fun. After all, don’t we all just want to read without interruption sometimes? Think of it this way. Every question is one more and better than none. And every question or discussion is helpful. Enjoy!
Yesterday, while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, I heard a joke on the radio cracked me up.
Question: “What did the baby corn say to mamma corn?”
Answer: “Where is pop corn?” OK, so it’s a little funny or (corny) but there was lots of traffic!
It reminded me that when I was a K-2 principal I sometimes added a joke to the afternoon announcements. Yes, they were silly but for kids 5-7, just developing a sense of humor, I was a great comedian! For teachers, I was sometimes a welcome laugh (ok maybe a giggle) at the end of the day.
Time to Pull Out the Old Joke Book?
My delay in traffic reminded me that it might be time to share my wealth of “kid jokes” with a couple of my grandkids. In fact, I may have already missed the window on my oldest grandson. My guess, at the ripe old age of 8, I might see some eye-rolling. If not from him, certainly from his dad, my oldest son. But such is the life of a GG!
Academic Benefits of Getting Kids to Love Jokes
If you are looking for something other than “just for the fun of it”, developing a kid’s sense of humor also has academic benefits. Parents and teachers can help develop their child’s sense of humor by explaining why something is funny. This helps them be able to recognize if again. Afterall, a child is not born with a sense of humor. It develops over time. Don’t we all know adults without a sense of humor? Let’s start our kids young!
Great motivator to get kids to read.
Helps build larger vocabularies. Often jokes revolve around understanding different meanings of words. They provide a great opportunity for discussion.
Jokes are short with simplistic vocabulary and sentence structure.
Higher order thinking skills developed –Additional connections are needed for the joke to make sense or be funny.
You Funny GG!
That comment came from my 3-year-old grandchild when I was being silly. When kids are toddlers, it’s the funny faces and silliness that cracks them up. But, when they get to be school age, we GG’s must work a little harder for a laugh!
Ready for Jokes? Let the Laughs Begin
Teaching kids to appreciate jokes is a great opportunity to laugh together as a family. Come on, give some of the jokes below a try. Take some time to be silly with your child and share a laugh (or eye roll). Enjoy!
Q. Why did the cow cross the road?
A. To get to the udder side.
Q. What do you call a cold dog sitting on a bunny?
Six months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All _____June posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 6 down and 6 more to go! Have a great month!
In most schools, at the end of each school year, your child completes a final reading assessment and the results are sent home to parents. This information will tell you whether your child is reading at, above or below grade level expectations. The letter or number tells you that your child can read at this level independently (without help from an adult). Once school begins again, your child’s teacher will be teaching skills at the next reading level. Summer reading is important to strengthen your child’s reading ability.
So, what can parents do to support their child’s reading growth over the long summer? The summer reading goal for parents is to help their child NOT lose ground on their child’s reading level. Research has consistently shown that readers, particularly struggling readers, lose ground over the summer. The summer learning loss is particularly greater between students from low -socioeconomic and high-socioeconomic families. A quick and easy way to maintain your child’s reading level is the ABC/123 strategy.
ABC/123 Every Day
The ABC/123 Strategy involves spending less than 5 minutes a day and ask your child 6 simple questions about what they read during their 10-minute reading each day. Using the acronym Ask, Build, Connect (ABC) parents have a quick, fun way to support your child’s reading growth.
2 Easy Steps
Ask your child 1,2, or 3 questions in each of the 3 categories (A, B, or C) listed below for a total of 6 questions daily. Feel free to ask all 6 questions in the same category, if your child is engaged in discussion. However, it is important not to eliminate the categories since each category is important for kids to think about when reading.
Ask questions – Questioning is at the heart of comprehension. Children benefit from questions that help them focus their reading and clarify more clearly what they are reading. Ask questions about details, plot, characters, opinions. The main idea is to get them to remember or find details in their reading.
Build Vocabulary – Vocabulary is key to reading comprehension. As children learn to read more unfamiliar texts, they must learn the meaning of new words that are not part of their oral vocabulary. Ask them to tell you words they found that were new to them. Talk about their meaning and other words that could have been used instead of the author’s choice.
Connect with the World – Helping your child make connections with what they read helps them “think” about their reading. Ask them questions on how the story interested them or how it was like another book they read. Encourage them to also think about how the book may connect to the world. Older children will create many connections and will be more specific on details.
The National Center on Improving Literacy has released a great eLearning resource on Phonological Awareness. The Ask & Answer: Phonological Awareness will help families and educators learn about this important skill. The document can be reviewed as presentation or downloaded as a Word document to be read easily.
The Question and Answer document describes key literacy terms in reading instruction. Additionally, it shares ways parents can help their child’s literacy development at home. Educators may find this tool useful to review key literacy terms and teaching practices.
Phonological Awareness in 7 questions:
What is phonological awareness (PA)?
Why is PA important?
How does PA typically develop?
How should PA be taught?
What should instruction look like for children with, or at risk for, literacy related disabilities or dyslexia?