I don’t usually just post one link that I think is terrific, but understood.org has posted some great information to support learning during the COVID-19 crisis. We certainly need some good information in these difficult times.
The website Understood.org is a website that I’ve used for years to support the needs of students that learn and think differently. However, I think there postings on Coronavirus are very well done and certainly continue to fit their mission of helping us to learn and think differently. I’ve added some links below, however, there are additional links on the site. I think it’s certainly worth a look by my blog followers.
Growing up, St. Patrick’s Day for my family was not one day a year. We were Irish all year. It was who we were and what we did. Irish Music on the radio every Sunday afternoon and Irish Step Dance lessons were a way of life. When my dad referred to “the holiday” we all knew he was talking about St. Patrick’s Day.
As a teacher and
principal, I found the wearing of green clothing, gold coins and leprechaun traps
to be a great day of fun for the entire school community. Now, as a
grandparent, I want my grandkids to join in the fun but a “wee bit of Irish
info” is a good thing too.
For my trivia team friends,
check out the answers below. Maybe we’ll
see some questions about “the holiday” this week.
10 Easy St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions
St. Patrick is the patron saint of what country? Ireland
What animal did St. Patrick drive out of Ireland? Snakes
What’s the color you usually associate with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day? Green
What is the good luck symbol associated with St. Patrick’s Day? Four leaf clover
What are the small, mischievous spirits called? Leprechauns
What does the shamrock symbolize? The Holy Trinity
Something you kiss to get the “gift of the gab”? Blarney Stone
Which of these meals is often eaten in America on St. Patrick’s Day? corned beef and cabbage
What you might find after it rains if you’re luck? Pot of Gold
What does Chicago dye to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day? River
12 Challenging St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions
What was the first official color of St. Patrick’s Day? Sky Blue
What color is the flag of Ireland? white, orange, and green.
What do the colors of the Irish flag represent? Orange is for the protestants, the green for the Catholics and the white represents the hope for peace between Catholics and Protestants
Where did the first St. Patrick’s Day parade take place? New York City in 1762
What symbol appears on Irish coins? Harp
What didn’t flow on St. Paddy’s Day for most of the 20th century? Beer
What is the color named Ireland’s nickname? Emerald – The Emerald Isle
What do you get if you don’t wear green on St. Paddy’s Day? A pinch
Which American St. Patrick’s Day tradition began as an accident? dyeing rivers green
What will kissing the Blarney Stone bring you? eloquence
What is the Hibernian Society? A charitable group that helps Irish Immigrants
What country was St. Patrick born in? England
Great Resources to Teach About St. Patrick’s Day
TeacherVision: Always a great site and a “go to” for me to find great resources. Check out the collection of resources that are easy to use for St. Patrick’s Day
PBS LearningMedia: Great site for classroom resources. Check out the collection of resources to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
A rubric is a set of guidelines for measuring progress towards a standard or objective. Using one helps students and teachers share the same understanding of how progress will be measured and what constitutes mastery of that skill or goal. Unlike letter grades, rubrics allow you to measure a child’s progress by identifying skills mastered and which ones need additional work. They can be written as a number, a checklist, or a narrative.
Rubrics can be developed by individual teachers, school or districts but the most powerful ones are developed WITH students. Children sometimes have a tough time understanding what a “good job” means in a classroom. Often, it’s said without clarity and sometimes it looks different for different kids. Also “good job” can vary from teacher to teacher or time of the day. So, as teachers, we have to be sure that we are using language that kids understand and that understand the skills they have to achieve. Once rubric language is taught to kids, teachers have to consistently use them to improve student learning.
I used to explain to students the reason for using rubrics
by using this example. When your parent tells you to clean your room, you do it,
they check it and they think you did not do a good job. Kids immediately
saw the need for a rubric. They had
experienced the difference between “mom’s clean and kid clean”.
Rubrics give details into a rating and can be created for all kinds of things! What’s important is that kids and adults need to understand what they need to do at each level so they understand how they are doing.
RubiStar Home ( http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php ) is a free tool to help teachers create rubrics. Teachers can either register to create their own rubrics or search for already created rubrics using a simple search tool.
Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.
Last year my 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Resolution Success! This year I weighed whether to continue the blog or to spend the majority of my time with a larger writing project. After much deliberation and support from family and blog followers, I’ve decided to continue blogging for another year. So, my 2020 Blog resolution is to continue writing the Threeringsconnections blog AND still getting the newsletter out on time each month. Let the balancing of efforts begin! 2 newsletters down and 10 to go. As for other “writing”… woohoo! 2 grants written. Awards in May. Fingers crossed! Batting 500%
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!
World Poetry Day is celebrated each year on March 21st. The special day was started by the United Nations in 1999 as a day to celebrate the greatness of this type of writing. Younger students find the simple rhymes, actions and colorful imagery an opportunity to have FUN. Older students find it a way to learn about topics and/or express their own ideas. However, there are many other reasons to enjoy poems at home and school.
5 Reasons to Love Poetry
Encourages kids to read aloud.
Helps students find reading easier because they can predict the beat of the poem.
Imagery helps expand student vocabulary.
The “non-rules” of free verse allow creativity in word choice. Imagery promotes adjective use.
2 Favorite Websites
Each website below includes many resources to make poetry teaching easy and FUN! The resources include articles to help you understand how to teach it and many lessons and activities.
ReadWriteThink: An amazing resource you can use to help teach your kids about poetry. (It’s an amazing site on all literacy topics) There are many interactive lessons for kids of all ages to help them understand more about poetry and how to write a poem. There are lessons on a wide variety of styles (haikus, shapes, riddles, nursery rhymes).
Poetry4Kids is a site created by Kenn Nesbitt, a children’s author. I like this site because it includes funny poems for kids (and kid-like adults) to read. You will also find classic children’s poems, games, lessons, and activities. Be sure to look at the rhyming dictionary and videos. One stop FREE resources for all your needs. Fun to explore!
If you’ve been hesitant to try poetry in your classroom, why not make World Poetry Day the start of a new beginning? You’re going to love it!
Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day, is a yearly observance in the USA inaugurated by the NEA (National Education Association). It is held on the school day that is nearest to 2 March, Dr Seuss birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American artist, book publisher, animator, poet, a political cartoonist as well as an author. He is best known for authoring over 60 children’s books.
The Read Across America initiative began in 1997 to encourage children to read more and get excited about reading. The holiday mainly focuses on motivating children to read as it improves their performance in school. On this day, hospitals, bookstores, community centers, churches, libraries as well as schools host many events. So, it’s time to grab your Dr. Seuss hat get reading!
You don’t have a hat, nor Seuss book to read?
Relax, my friend and take the lead
Put your memory cap on and do not worry
The Seuss characters will return to you in a hurry.
OK my Seuss -ish poem was not very good, but you get the idea! Enjoy Friends!
The Smithsonian History Explorer is a web site designed to help K-12 teachers quickly find and use hundreds of standards-based classroom activities, interactive games, and other resources. Resources are from the National Museum of American History and are matched to the National Standards of History. Topics can be searched by resource type, grade level, historical era, and/or cross-curricular connections. Visitors can also choose to browse content using the following categories:
Writing gives children an opportunity to share their ideas and express their creativity. But writing is not easy and many new writers struggle when faced with a blank page. Writers, both novice and experienced, need encouragement but they also can benefit from getting some ideas (prompts) to get them started.
Giving your kids a variety of topics to help them extend
their vocabulary and language skills. Kids can find their “voice” through
writing poems, songs, jokes or stories. But don’t limit their choices to
“common” types of writing. Encourage them to see and find “writing” in
the world around them. Commercials, plays, TV shows, ads, emails and
blogs are all opportunities to share their writing.
Magical Garden: Gardens grow many foods for us to eat. But what if you had a magical garden? What magical things grow in your garden?
Valentine’s Day: Valentine’s Day is this month. Have you given a compliment to anyone to make them feel good? If not, it’s not too late. Write down a compliment for 5 different people that you see often. IF you decide to share it with them you might see some big smiles.
Soup of the Day: When it’s cold outside, don’t you just love a bowl of soup? How about a soup made with your favorite foods? Write down your recipe with 15 different foods to make your “Soup of the Day”. Do you think it will taste great?
Fortune Cookie: Fortune Cookies have small pieces of paper included inside with a message. Sometimes it’s a prediction, a lucky number or some advice. Write down 5 messages that you would like to find inside YOUR fortune cookie. Then write down 5 messages that you would like to find inside a family member’s fortune cookie.
Talk to me: How many times do you find yourself asking (and sometimes answering) your pet questions? Are you hungry, do you want to go out, how’s my boy today? Write down five answers to 5 different questionos you might ask your pet. Perhaps your pet will answer like a comedian or maybe he/she is having a bad day. Be creative!
Check out my monthly post of writing prompt ideas to help inspire our new authors. Let’s make 2020 the Year of the Writer! Enjoy!
There is something special when your child starts to be a writer. Writing gives children an opportunity to share their ideas and express their creativity. While writing kids get to use their pre-reading and writing skills in a way that is relevant to them. Writing prompts can help.
But writing is not easy and many new writers struggle when faced with a blank page. Writers, both novice and experienced, need lots of encouragement to be successful. But they also can benefit from getting some ideas (prompts) to get them started. Think of it as that “slight push” you give your child when they first learn to ride a 2-wheeler.
Writing Prompts Motivate
When creating prompts, think of different ideas that will spur an interest to write. Giving kids a variety of topics helps them extend their vocabulary and use different language skills. Kids can find their “voice” through writing poems, songs, jokes or stories. But don’t limit their choices to “common” types of writing. Encourage kids to see and find “writing” in the world around them. Commercials, plays, TV shows, ads, emails and blogs are all opportunities to share their writing.
Today’s technology can capture the attention of a wide range of audiences making it easier than ever to reach people on the other side of the world. I would never have dreamed 30 years ago that my thoughts on education would be seen worldwide! I am so honored to have so many blog readers. It’s the comments and ideas that I get from my readers, students, colleagues and parents that help me choose my posts. Thank YOU for helping so many kids learn.
Let’s use 2020 to develop some writers. Check out the new prompts that will be posted each month throughout the year to inspire our new authors.
January Writing Prompts
HAPPY NEW YEAR: Try creating a HAPPY NEW YEAR acrostic. Choose words or phrases that relate to your wishes for 2020. The H, for example could be “Hope I’ll learn how to dance this year.”
Say Something Nice in 2020: Everyone likes to hear a compliment. Choose 5 people in your life and write down a compliment and give it to them. You’re sure to get a smile.
Soup of the Day: Create a recipe for your favorite “unusual soup”. Perhaps one that makes you silly, old or talking another language! Write the 10-15 ingredients that make your soup special.
Winter Clothes: The winter season brings cold weather to many parts of the U.S. Dream up some new clothing ideas you would like to invent for your new winter clothes. Be creative. Maybe some skis attached to your flip flops?
Fortune Cookies: Fortune cookies have a piece of paper inside with a message. Write 5 messages that you would like to find in a fortune cookie.
Why not add some Christmas jokes to your Christmas celebration this year?
As I sit watching the first snowfall of the year, I’m reminded of the snow days that my kids and I would enjoy together. Yes, there was some shoveling with hot chocolate afterwards, but we also played games, hung out in our pajamas and enjoyed the SNOWDAY!
With Thanksgiving behind us we look forward to Christmas a short 24 days away. Why not use some holiday time to teach your kids some Christmas/winter jokes? Joke telling helps kids learn new vocabulary, strengthens comprehension and helps communication skills. Best of all, the holidays are a great opportunity to laugh together as a family. Why not take some time to be silly this Christmas season and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll)? Merry Christmas!
Q.What Christmas song do wild animals sing at Christmas? Answer: Jungle Bells
Q. What happens if you eat Christmas decorations? Answer: You get tinselitus
Q. What do you call Santa when he stops moving? Answer: Santa Pause
Q.What comes at the end of Christmas Day? Answer: The letter “Y!”
Q.What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Answer: Snowflakes. (or Frosted Flakes!)
Q. What does an elf study in school? Answer: The elfabet.
Q. What do you get if you mix a vampire with a snowman? Answer: Frostbite!
Q. What does Santa suffer from whenever he gets stuck in a chimney? Answer: Santa Claustrophobia
Q. How do sheep wish each other happy holidays? Answer: Merry Christmas to ewe.
Q. What does Mrs. Claus say when there are clouds in the sky? Answer: It looks like rain, deer.
Q, What do you call a greedy elf? Answer: Elfish!
Q. Why wouldn’t the Christmas tree stand up? Answer: It had no legs.
Q. What kind of ball doesn’t bounce? Answer: A snowball.
Q. What did one snowman say another snowman? Answer: You’re cool.
Q.What is every parent’s favorite Christmas carol?Answer: Silent Night.
Q, What do you get when Santa plays detective? Answer: Santa clues!
Q. What falls but never gets hurt? Answer: Snow.
Q. What do you call a shark that delivers toys at Christmas? Answer: “Santa Jaws!”
Q. Where do snowmen keep their money? Answer: In a snow bank.
Q. What do snowmen like to do on the weekend? Answer: Chill out.
Q. What does Jack Frost like best about school? Answer: Snow and tell.
Kid: Knock, knock. Adult: Who’s there? Kid: Murray. Adult: Murray who? Kid: Murray Christmas, one and all!
Kid: Knock, knock. Adult: Who’s there? Kid: Pizza. Adult: Pizza, who? Kid: Pizza on earth, good will toward men!
My local friends the closest location is Danbury, Ct. (Approximately 40 mins. from Fishkill area.
Scholastic Books Warehouse offers for a limited a limited time only deep discounts on books. This holiday you can purchase “Buy One, Get One Box” from hundreds of books, gifts, and school supplies. There is even a Build a Box opportunity! Refresh your school, home, and classroom libraries, and stock up on gifts for everyone.
For every item you buy, choose an item of equal or lesser value for FREE
Shop from a large assortment of already reduced items
No limits on how many items you can buy
Build-a-Box is included with the BOGO offer (yes, Danbury has it)
Perfect way to maximize school purchase orders, grants, and Title 1 funds
Coupon is $10.00 off a purchase of $100.00. OR $25.00 off a purchase of $100.00 using Scholastic Dollars.
Danbury, CT Warehouse Sale:
Weekday Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Saturday Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Closed Sundays
The Danbury location is a Build-a-Box event. As many books as you can fit in a box for less than $29.95.
The State of Tennessee believes that by teaching reading strategies to parents, parents can help their child at home. They’ve got it right. Of course, parents want to help their kids. Why not give them some basic information? Yeah Tennessee!
When the state of Tennessee set a goal in 2007, to increase literacy skills for children across the state, they decided to enlist the help of parents. The Tennessee State Improvement Grant document was created to support family members to help their children at home. The document outlines reading strategies for parents to use with their child at home.
Although this document was created over 10 years ago, it is still a good document to help families. The information has good ideas and is user-friendly. It is also a great refresher for new teachers, student teachers and classroom substitutes. The overview includes:
Five Areas of Reading Instruction
How to Choose the Right Book at the Right Reading Level
Vocabulary Building Strategies
Reading Comprehension Strategies
Sometimes, we just need a little help from our friends. Thank you Tennessee!
Great opportunity to fill your bookshelves at home or in your classroom. The book store has a selection of over 20,000 high-quality used books, cds, dvds and audiobooks. Books are organized and sorted to make shopping a breeze.
Entrance to the Friends’ Book Store is on the south side of the building – just look for the blue awning.
Store hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm.
Telephone: 845-485-3445 x 3423
Cash, checks (with valid ID) and MasterCard, Visa, and
Discover cards are accepted.
Follow them on Facebook too to check out special sales and events:
Ten 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 October 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: 10 down and 2 more to go! Have a great month!
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!
The Concepts of Print (COP) assessment was created by Marie Clay (1993), The assessment includes items to assess a child’s knowledge of both print and written language skills. These two skills work together to help children learn to read and write.
Many students entering kindergarten understand that a book tells a story (the print has meaning). However, very few understand “how print works”. Concepts of Print (COP) skills involves kids knowing parts of a book (using the correct terms) and understanding the letter/writing concepts included. Since many parents and teachers read to children daily; why not add a few of the COP skills.
Concepts of Print (COP) in Daily Reading
Point to the Following Parts of the Book
Front and back of the book.
Top and bottom of a picture.
Author’s Name (define that the author writes the book).
Illustrator’s name (define that the illustrator draws the pictures).
Show How to Read a Book
A sentence is read from left to right.
Pages are read from left to right.
Point to each word while you read.
Read pages from left to right.
A story has a beginning and end.
Words and Writing in Books: Basics
A capital letter is at the beginning of a sentence.
Words and sentences have capital letters and lower case letters.
Point out 1 word in a sentence, Point out 2 words.
Point out that a word is made up of a group of letters.
A comma explains to the reader that it tells the reader to pause or slowdown.
There are punctuation marks at the end of a sentences (period, question mark, exclamation mark) Explain that the marks tell the reader how to read.
Research: Clay, M. M. (1993). An observation survey of early literacy achievement. Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912.
An Exit Slip (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 can be 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.
5 Exit Ticket Ideas
3 things I learned today
2 things I found interesting
1 question I still have
And the Survey Says…
Use the Exit Slip to survey a class on a topic. It can be used to launch a new topic or build class culture.
Activate Prior Knowledge
What do you know about _______?
All About You
What is your favorite __________? This helps to build a shared community.
Give me a number?
Simply asking students to self-assess their learning. This could be as easy as #3 – I get it, #2- I don’t totally understand it or #3 – I don’t get it and I need some help.
Exit Slip Prompts
Some basic prompts can be used for many different types of lessons. Having a collection of prompts at your fingertips will ensure that you are engaging student voice in every lesson. For plan book ease, number your prompts and just add the number to your plan book. Try some of the basic prompts below and modify as needed.
Did you enjoy working with your group today? Explain why?
Write one positive and one negative thing about working with your group today?
Did you enjoy working with your partner today? Explain why?
Name 1 thing that you learned in today’s lesson that you didn’t know?
From today’s lesson, what question would you like to see on the next test?
What was the main idea of today’s lesson? Can you write one sentence about it?
I didn’t understand ________ in the lesson today.
What was the 1 thing that you learned in today’s lesson that you didn’t know?
What was the 1 thing that you learned in today’s lesson that made you go “WOW”?
I would like to learn more about….
THINK of Exit Slips as giving you the answer to 2 Big Mysteries. How YOU (the teacher) taught the lesson and where are you going next in the curriculum. Why wait until the “official” test results are in to know how kids scored and how we did?
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!