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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Comprehension Strategies Aid Understanding

Comprehension strategies help students understand what they read.

Research has identified six comprehension strategies proven  to raise students’ level of understanding.  

Prediction/Prior Knowledge– Thoughtful readers use relevant prior knowledge to predict when reading. Use of this strategy helps students: 

  • Bring knowledge from life experiences to their reading
  • Form predictions based on this prior knowledge
  • Engage more deeply with the text

Questions and Questioning – Fluent readers actively and strategically engage when reading by asking questions. Questioning allows students to: 

  • Focus their reading
  • Clarify meaning
  • Critically reflect on what they have read

Think-aloud – By recognizing and talking out loud about their metacognitive processes students learn to:

  • Monitor their own thinking processes
  • Adjust their thinking to achieve clearer comprehension
  • Clarify meaning as hey continue to read

Text Structure and Features – Students who consciously attend to text structures and features are able to:

  • Comprehend and recall texts more effectively
  • Analyze and synthesize written texts
  • Think critically about their reading

Visualizing –  The use of visualizing techniques and visual representations helps students:

  • Use mental imagery as a comprehension strategy
  • Focus on concepts, and relations between concepts, as they read
  • Learn how to view information critically and thoughtfully

Summarization – Summarization is an essential comprehension strategy that enables students to: 

  • Focus on major points in the text
  • Establish in their own minds what they think the text is saying
  • Deepen their knowledge of what they have read. 

I have often shared these strategies with parents and teachers throughout my career as an elementary principal.  These six comprehension strategies are easy to teach, easy to use and can be used across many subject areas. 

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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SDI Strategies in Reading

SDI Strategies makes special education “special“.

Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI) strategies refer to the way teachers 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 Strategies in Literacy

  • Use books on tape, and books with large print and big spaces between lines.
  • Provide a copy of class notes to student.
  • Provide a quiet area for reading activities.
  • Help students notice the letters in the environmental print that surrounds them.
  • Announce reading assignments well in advance.
  • Have students use both visual and auditory senses when reading text.
  • Present material in small units.
  • Use graphic organizers to connect ideas.
  • Read and share stories with students.
  • Provide students with chapter outlines or study guides that highlight key points in their reading.
  • Offer to read written material aloud, when necessary.
  • Allow alternative forms for book reports.
  • Share informational texts and invite students to wonder about the new ideas presented.
  • Point out ways in which reading is important in everyday life (e.g., on labels, instructions, and signs).
  • Teach students how books are organized.
  • Use stories that have predictable words and words that occur frequently in the text.
  • Label objects in classroom.
  • Engage students in activities that help them learn to recognize letters visually.
  • Teach students to attend to the sounds in language.
  • Model and demonstrate how to break short sentences into individual words.
  • Have students clap out syllables and listen for and generate rhymes.
  • Focus on activities that involve sounds of words, not on letters or spellings.
  • Model specific sounds, and ask students to produce each sound in isolation.

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?

Other posts related to this topic:

ThreeRingsConnections.org October Posts

October posts can help kids learn at school & home

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

October posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

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’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday 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, 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’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of November, 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.

October’s Posts

October’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite October 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

Check out some topics coming next month
  • High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids
  • US State Capitals Trivia
  • Six Strategies to Raise Student Comprehension

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids

HLPs are the fundamentals of teaching

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) are a group of techniques developed by the Council for Exceptional Children and the CEEDAR Center. Designed originally as essential special education techniques, they are 22 techniques that all K-12 teachers should know and use across a variety of classroom contexts.

When using HLPs, teachers must consider the content they are teaching, the methodology and delivery of instruction. HLPs address four interrelated components of special education: collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavior practices, and instruction. 

Collaboration

HLP 1: Collaborate with professionals to increase student success.

HLP 2: Organize and facilitate effective meetings with professionals and families

HLP 3: Collaborate with families to support student learning and secure needed services.

Assessment

HLP 4: Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs.

HLP 5: Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs.

HLP 6: Use student assessment data analyzing instructional practices and make necessary adjustments that improve student outcomes.

Social/emotional/behavior

HLP 7: Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment.

HLP 8: Positive and constructive feedback is given to guide a students’ learning and behavior.

HLP 9: Teach social behaviors.

HLP 10: Conduct functional behavioral assessments to develop individual student behavior support plans.

Instructional

HLP 11: Identify and prioritize long- and short-term learning goals.

HLP 12: Systematically design instruction toward specific learning goals

HLP 13: Adapt curriculum tasks and materials for specific learning goals.

HLP 14: Teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies to support learning and independence.

HLP 15: Provide scaffolded supports.

HLP 16: Use explicit instruction.

HLP 17: Use flexible grouping.

HLP 18: Use strategies to promote active student engagement.

HLP 19: Use assistive and instructional technologies

HLP 20: Provide intensive instruction.

HLP 21: Teach students to maintain and generalize new learning across time and settings.

HLP 22: Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide students’ learning and behavior.

I believe HLPs are the fundamentals of teaching.  They are high leverage: not only because they matter to student learning but because they are basic for advanced skill in teaching. With expectations for student performance increasing over the years, it seems only common sense that (HLPs) can be effective for ALL students.

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?

Great Resources for High Leverage Practices

Other posts related to this topic:

ThreeRingsConnections.org September Posts

September posts can help kids learn at school & home

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

September posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

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’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday 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, 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’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of October, 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.

September Posts

September’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite September 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

Check out some topics coming next month
  • Brain Breaks in Learning
  • US State Flags Trivia: Part II
  • Stories with Holes
  • Fifth Grade Standards for Learning
  • Learning Games and Websites & Apps
  • Academic Vocabulary Grades 1,2, and 5

RACE to Answer the Question

Using the R.A.C.E strategy to answer the question.

The RACE strategy can help mid to upper grade elementary students write  thorough and meaningful responses when answering questions about a text.  In other words, writing about what they comprehended about what they just read.  Often, kids will read to get it done but when you ask questions about it…. they do not recall what happened.

Including this skill in a lesson came up last week when I was brainstorming strategies with a student teacher. After considering numerous ideas we chose the RACE strategy to help students scaffold their written responses with evidence from the text. The RACE (Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain) strategy helps students to break their responses into 4 parts.

  • Restate the question – Ask students to restate the question in their own words.  Often by removing the “Ask” word (who, what, where etc.) the restated question becomes the topic sentence.
  • Answer the question -Just the answer PLEASE.  Sometimes there may even be more than 1 questions but details or opinions are not needed. 
  • Cite text evidence – Students need to find evidence in the text to support the answer.  Teaching kids sentence starters like the author states, or the text says reminds kids that they are looking for evidence.  Teach them to think like a detective!
  • Explain and Extend – Finally, they get to make the connections between what they answered, and the evidence found. Teaching kids to start their “E – Explain and Extend with a sentence starter such as “In conclusion” is a great way for students to conclude their paragraph. 

The RACE acronym helps students remember which steps and in which order to write a constructed response. The RACE strategy is easy to teach and easy for kids to remember.

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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Halloween Jokes for Kids

Halloween jokes to get you howling!

I admit it.  Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  But, when a three-year-old tells you a joke, thinks it hysterical and it is Halloween, it’s time for some Halloween jokes!

15 Halloween Jokes to Get You Howling

  • Q: Which fruit is a vampire’s favorite?
  • A: Neck-tarine!
  • Q: How do you fix a damaged jack-o-lantern?
  • A: You use a pumpkin patch!
  • Q: What dog breed would Dracula love to have as a pet?
  • A: Blood hound!
  • Q: What do ghosts wear when their eyesight gets blurred?
  • A: Spooktacles
  • Q: What would be the national holiday for a nation of vampires?
  • A: Fangs-giving!
  • Q: What is a skeleton’s favorite musical instrument?
  • A: A Trombone!
  • Q: What does a panda ghost eat?
  • A: Bam-BOO!
  • Q: What do birds say on Halloween to get candy?
  • A: Twick-or-tweet
  • Q: Who was the most famous skeleton detective?
  • A: Sherlock Bones
  • Q: What does the skeleton chef say when he serves you a meal?
  • A: “Bone Appetit!”
  • Q: What kind of monster loves to disco?
  • A: The boogieman.
  • Q: When is it bad luck to be followed by a black cat?
  • A: When you’re a mouse.
  • Q: How do you make a witch itch?
  • A: Take away the W.
  • Q: What do you call a witch’s garage?
  • A: A broom closet.
  • Q: What is in a ghost’s nose?
  • A: Boo-gers

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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9 Strategies to Help Readers

Research has outlined 9 strategies that all good readers use to help comprehension.  The 9 habits are organized around strategies to help comprehension before, during, and after reading a selection.

Check out 9 habits to improve comprehension.

Before You Read:

Check it out! Students should check out a selection before reading to develop a “road map” for the selection.  Students should look at titles preview headings and subheadings, examine illustrations and graphics and identify the kind of writing (genre).

Think about what you know about the subject.  Think about what you already know so that you can use that information to make connections with what you read.

Decide what you need to know.  Having a purpose for reading provides a focus for comprehension and helps readers distinguish between important and less important information.

While You Read:

Stop and Ask, “how does it connect to what you know?” To comprehend, readers must connect what they read to what they know.

Stop and ask, “Does it make sense?” Good readers stop periodically and see if what they have read makes sense.

Stop and ask, “If it doesn’t make sense, what can I do?”  What separates good readers from those who struggle is the ability of good readers to try different strategies to fix their understanding when it breaks downs.  Readers can reread, use context clues, look at graphics or check out summaries for clarification to help understanding.

After You Read:

React to what you have read.  Good readers analyze what they have read and make connections between the text and their experiences.

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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November Learning Activities

November learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out November  learning activities.

November 2020

3 Election Day (US) – Do a voting activity

9 The first giant panda was collected alive in China in 1927. – Look at the giant pandas through the live cam at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

11 Veterans Day (US) – Write a letter to a veteran to thank them for their service.

12 Elizabeth Cady Stanton born (woman’s rights advocate)1815 – Read a story about Stanton and talk about women voting

13 World Kindness Day – Write about an act of kindness or do an act of kindness.

15 America Recycles Day – Create an art piece out of recycled materials

18 Four standard time zones for the continental USA were introduced, 1883. -Research what they are and find them on a US map.

20 Universal Children’s Day – Draw a picture of what you think you will be doing in 2040

26 Thanksgiving (US) (4th Thursday in November) – Make some Thanksgiving placemats

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 Flags Trivia: Part II

October Trivia: Learning, Fun and Memory booster.

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Monthly, we’ve looked at questions in many categories: General Knowledge, movies and World History & Geography and US History. Last month we started identifying US State Flags.  This month is US State Flags: Part II.  Next month is US FLAG capitals!  

  1. Flag of Texas
  2. New York Flag 3X5ft Poly
  3. Flag of Kansas
  4. Flag of South Dakota
  5. Flag of Florida
  6. Flag of North Dakota
  7. Flag of Nebraska
  8. Flag of Wisconsin
  9. Flag of North Carolina
  10. Flag of Oregon
  11. Flag and seal of Illinois
  12. Flag and seal of New Hampshire
  13. Flag of Maine
  14. Flag of Utah
  15. Flag of Colorado
  16. Image result for Nevada Flag Picture 2020
  17. Image result for west virginia flag picture 2020
  18. Image result for virginia flag picture 2020
  19. Image result for Oklahoma flag picture 2020
  20. Flag of Maryland
  21. Image result for Mississippi Flag
  22. Flag of Vermont
  23. Image result for Idaho Flag
  24. Image result for Iowa Flag
  25. Image result for Arkansas Map

 

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

Answers

  1. Texas
  2. New York
  3. Kansas
  4. South Dakota
  5. Florida
  6. North Dakota
  7. Nebraska
  8. Wisconsin
  9. North Carolina
  10. Oregon
  11. Illinois
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Maine
  14. Utah
  15. Colorado
  16. Nevada
  17. West Virginia
  18. Virginia
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Maryland
  21. Mississippi
  22. Vermont
  23. Idaho
  24. Iowa
  25. Arkansas
Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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SQ3R a Reading Strategy That Works

SQ3R strategy that is highly effective in the classroom and for homework

Recently, when coaching a student teacher, I shared the SQ3R strategy that is highly effective in the classroom and for homework.   The letters stand for a proven five-step process that makes study time more efficient and effective- Survey, Question, Read, Restate and Review.  Here is how this method works:

What is SQ3R?

Survey – Look over the material to see what it is about.  Check out the chapter heads.  Look at photos and graphs. Read the words in bold type.  This will give an idea of what is important.

Questions – Once your child knows the main idea, develop some questions that the assignment might answer.  Who is the main character?  What is the key idea?  Where does the story take place?

Read – Now read the assignment.  As your child reads, have her look for answers to the question she is already developed.

Review – Next, have your child tell you the story (or the important parts of the chapter) in her own words.   Ask her to tell you the most important ideas covered.

Review -Has your child found the answer to all his questions?  What else did she learn?  What surprised her?

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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