I was recently talking to a friend about some of the posts on the blog and realized that it would be good to create a Table of Contents for quick access. So here it is! All the postings for the September and October in a single post. One Stop Shopping! Enjoy!
As a teacher and principal, I have shared the importance of reading to children many times with parents. In our parent surveys, the overwhelming response was that parents read to their children on a regular basis. However, our kindergarten students did not perform well on the “Concepts of Print” (COP) assessment administered each Fall. The assessment, created by Marie Clay (1993), includes items to assess a child’s knowledge of both print and written language skills. Knowing how these skills work together helps support learning to read and write. Most of our students understood that a book told a story (that print had meaning), but few had much knowledge of “how print works”.
So what should we do about Concepts of Print?
As a staff, we decided to share the COP assessment finding with parents at the Kindergarten Orientation in May. We showed parents how to read a story to their child and how they could informally add a few COP skills to their reading routine. We explained that by showing their kids the parts of the book, letter/writing concepts and how to read a book during their daily reading with their child, they could help support their child’s reading progress. The results were amazing! The new Kindergarten students scored 50% higher than the three previous years of the fall COP administration. That was only 3 months after sharing the information with parents!
What did we learn about our Concepts of Print trial?
Our results reminded us of two important concepts about parents, kids, and reading. First, parents are their child’s first teacher; so, let’s show them ways to help be successful. Secondly, kids are like sponges, absorbing information from the world around them. Why do we wait to teach COP skills until Kindergarten?
Parent Pointers: Concepts of Print and Reading to Your Child
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.
Becoming an Effective Student Teachers Is Up to You!
Recently I received an email from a former student teacher asking for advice on her upcoming student teaching placement. She was so excited to embark on this new adventure and wanted to do a good job. Her excitement and willingness to learn was evident in the note, both great characteristics to have when starting student teaching. We met the next day for coffee and I ran through a somewhat shortened list of observable characteristics of effective student teachers. Our conversation motivated me to put together a more cohesive, organized list to help other student teachers. The list has no hierarchy of importance since I believe they are ALL important to a successful student teaching experience.
5 Most Common Characteristics of Effective Student Teachers in the Classroom
Ask questions. Time is a precious commodity in a classroom so be prepared to ask questions when a moment arises. Prepare your questions ahead of time and be sure to write down the answers. Remember you have a lot to learn and only a short time to student teach. Your Cooperating Teacher (CT) will understand if you are full of questions!
Be prepared. Better yet, over prepared and be ready to CHANGE. If anything is constant in school, it is CHANGE. Student performance, schedule changes, assemblies you name it, there will be changes. Even if flexibility has not been easy in the past, it is a necessity in the teaching world. The best solution is to have a back-up plan and be ready to think on your feet.
Help without being asked. Offer to be helpful when you see something that can be done. Your CT has probably been running solo for a long time and may forget to ask you for help. There is always a list of things to get done in a classroom. Your CT may be aware of them but have ranked them low on the priority list. If you find yourself with nothing to do, look around and seize the opportunity. Of course, check with your CT first. Helping in this way can make a big difference in strengthening the relationship with your CT.
Take notes and photos. There is so much to see and learn in a school. You may be unsure of what is important and useful, so take it all in now. When reviewing later, tag items for future use. A general rule of thumb is to NOT photograph students. Talk to your CT about school policy on this issue.
Show Their JOY! Let’s face it, everyone knows if a teacher enjoys their job. Be enthusiastic and don’t forget to smile. Don’t hide the JOY!
5 More Characteristics That Didn’t Make the Top 5 BUT Are Important Too!
Visit other classrooms. Each teacher is different, and you will learn something new in every classroom. It is best to work with your CT to arrange visitations. Some teachers may be hesitant to open their doors for a variety of reasons. It is important that the teacher you are visiting is comfortable with your observing.
Share knowledge. Student teachers very often have been exposed to recent research that may be helpful to your CT. Don’t be shy to share a recent article, or new technology that you may have learned. Student teachers can be an excellent source of professional development in a school. Collaboration is a major focus in schools today.
Discuss needs. It’s best to discuss with your CT the areas that you think you may need additional support. Outlining them early in your placement will help your CT plan opportunities for your placement.
Welcome input. Accepting that student teaching is a learning experience will make feedback easier. Welcoming feedback as an opportunity for growth which will better prepare you for future formal observations.
They are “Worker Bees”. Worker Bees Live in Schools. As a lifelong member of the hive, I know it would be be hard to find a great teacher that wasn’t busy, busy, busy. Show your CT that you are willing to do extra work outside the scheduled day.
Prior to the Big Day!
Clean up social media – We all use it and therefore anyone can see it. Be sure to clean up any social media items that may appear to be unprofessional in nature. When in doubt on an item, check with your CT.
Dress appropriately. In other words, dress professionally. Always consider yourself on a long-term job interview and always look your best. Your wardrobe does not have to be fashionable or expensive to be professional. It doesn’t matter how the teachers around you dress, they’re employed!
Punctuality is Important. Your great planning will go unnoticed if you are not punctual. Rushing around can be interpreted as unprepared. Plan to arrive each day 15 -30 minutes early. Talk with your CT on the expectations of your schedule.
Silence the phone. We all know that our phones are our lifeline to the world. However, they should NOT be part of student teaching. My best advice is to manage your phone at a time that you are NOT with students. Being present with your students is much more than just being in the classroom. Send your students the message that being with them is important and you’re not going to be interrupted by your phone.
Welcome to the 2nd month of threeringsconnections.orgMonthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3. I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.
Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies
Draw a picture
Guess and Check
Use a table or list
Find a pattern
Working backwards (try a simpler version first)
Problem Solving – Here we go!
On a baseball team, Chris, Jerry and Matt each played one of three positions of pitcher, catcher and second baseman, though not necessarily in that order. The second baseman, playing his first season with the team, had the lowest salary. Chris, who along with Jerry had played two seasons with this team, earned more than the pitcher. Who was the pitcher?
Declan wants to swim 20 yards out into the ocean. He swims out 5 yards in 4 seconds but then in one second a wave pushes him back 2 yards. If this cycle continues, how long will it take Declan to get 20 yards out for the first time, even if only for an instant?
A group of 63 students went to the museum. Some students took the bus, the rest went by car. If 41 students took the bus and 3 students rode in each car, then how many cars were needed?
Lowyn likes to celebrate her birthday for a whole week. On the first day she eats one cookie. On the second day she eats 2 cookies. This continues on until the seventh day when she eats 7 cookies. How many cookies did Lowyn eat that week?
Doug spent $44 This is twice as much as Kelly and Marian spent together. Kelly spent $9. How much did Marian spend?
61 + 12 = __ – 7 Find the number that belongs on the line.
If 40 – 6 = Q, how much is 45 + Q
Matt is the pitcher. Neither Chris nor Jerry played second base (it wasn’t their first season). Matt played second base. Chris earned more than the pitcher so he’s not the pitcher, Matt is.
The answer is 29. Every 5 seconds he gains 3 yards. After 25 seconds he is 15 yards out. In 4 more seconds he will be 20 yards out for the first time (even if only for an instant).
The answer is 8. 63-41=22. If 3 students traveled in each car, there were 8 cars. 7 cars had 3 students for 21 total and an 8th car was needed for the 22nd student.
The answer is 28. 1+2+3+4+5+6+7=28
The answer is $13. Half of $44 is $22. Since Kelly spent $9, then Marian had to spend $13 to equal $22.
80 goes on the line. 61 + 12 = 73 and 80 – 7 = 73
Q = 79.
Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems