The Chalk Blog

Teachers and Books - Read ‘Em and Reap!

Great "curl-up-next-to-the-fireplace" book ideas

Hey, topnotch teachers! Whatcha reading on the sidelines these days? Reading for pleasure in my free time? What’s free time anyway? Is there such a thing -  and if so, why don’t I have some?  

Research tells us we must offer students choice for independent reading and teach them self-selection skills so they’re able to find and finish books they love and learn from. But, that’s a whole other course 5040: Increasing Comprehension with Close Reading in Your Classroom - or two 5009: Reading Instruction for the Head and Heart.

This blog post is really for you, teachers. Educators trying to practice what they preach will read books for both pleasure and learning. So, what are you reading right now?  Besides the read aloud or novel you are teaching or re-teaching, what are you reading for your own enjoyment or benefit? 

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Topics: Literacy, Teaching Excellence

Accommodations, Modifications, and Interventions [VIDEO]

Keeping Up With Educational Jargon

There is so much educational jargon to keep up with these days, and oftentimes it's hard to remember it all. In this video blog, Keely does an excellent job of explaining, and giving examples, on how to use the words 'accommodation,' 'modification,' and 'intervention.' Review these words and the appropriate uses for them here!

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Topics: Video, Literacy, Special Populations

Vocabulary Instruction [VIDEO]

Are you looking for ways to improve vocabulary instruction in your day to day lesson plans? Keely from our Learners Edge Curriculum and Instruction team has some very helpful tips and tricks for you! 

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Topics: Video, Literacy, Instructional Strategies

Literacy Enrichment - National Poetry Month Ideas

Welcome, awe-inspiring April!  You are my favorite month and here’s why: 

  1. Despite severe winter fatigue this year, we keep the faith that spring will appear!
  2. Your showers bring May flowers.  
  3.  You are National Poetry Month.

You don’t have to be a poetry super-fan like me or teach language arts to engage poetry in your classroom instruction. Poetry has the power to connect all of us - students and teachers alike - quickly and deeply. In celebration of April, surviving winter to welcoming spring, please allow me to offer some of National Poetry Month’s highlights from former 6th graders and me. 

How to enjoy National Poetry Month: 

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Topics: Literacy

Spring Break Reading List & Tips

The feeling of relief that comes with spring break is high on the list of teacher “perks,” don’t you agree? Surviving winter with report cards and parent-conferences requires professional superpowers. And looming standardized testing dates strain most teachers with anxiety and apprehension. If it weren’t for a precious little spring break slotted right in between these two teacher stress-points, we might all just go hide in a cave and hibernate. But never fear, spring break is near!   

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Topics: Literacy

Reading Fluency - Taking Time to Practice

 

Reading is a complex skill - this truth is visible and audible. Consider the critical path from phonemic awareness to phonics & word study to decoding to fluency to vocabulary - all the way to comprehension, everyone’s desired destination. Now consider the roadblocks that cause readers to stall or stumble on the road to reading proficiency.   

According the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy (July 22, 2017), if solid reading skills aren’t formed during a child’s early years, the odds of dropping out down the road increase significantly. Kids who aren’t successfully reading at grade level by the third grade are four times less likely to finish high school. Think about this statistic - it’s staggering.  

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Topics: Literacy

Reading Connections: Getting to the Heart of Reading

Books that Changed Us - Our Curriculum & Instruction Team Shares Some Reading Love 

I’ve been recently inspired by a trending professional book called, "Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters," by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. It presents how to better support all readers in developing lifelong reading habits and promotes reading values beyond the skills. Using a simple framework and “disrupting thinking,” it challenges teachers to guide students deeper into reading connections by considering the following: 

  • What you noticed in the text (Teachers typically do this - skill-based strategies.) 
  • What happened in you, your thinking, as you read the text (Do you ever ask this?) 
  • What you took to heart, what touched you or made you look at yourself or your world in a new way (How about this one?  It goes deep!)  

I love how this launches readers’ thinking over and above the search for “right answers,” and inward to their own minds and hearts. Wow - this resonates with me!  As an avid reader, I began to consider these thinking cues and recognized them as the prompts that keep me coming back for more and more books. I get to the heart of reading and I can see and feel how the reading changes me - or doesn’t.   

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Topics: Literacy

New Course: Phonics Instruction

 

Teachers - ever heard of the Reading Wars?  In writing a new course on phonics instruction, I was enlightened by brushing up on the history of reading instruction. In my undergraduate and even graduate level education courses, I never studied the background of teaching beginning reading. But now I know, educators and researchers have wrestled with best practices for reading instruction, specifically framed in an ongoing “war” between the methods of “phonics” and “whole language.”  I reflect upon my own early reading development and recognize that I was “supported” with a mixture of instructional methods.  And for this I am grateful! 

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Topics: Literacy

Victorious Vocabulary Instruction for Remarkable Reading

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Ever heard these words of “wisdom?” Do you agree? 

Not me, no way!  I’m 100% certain that words make all the difference. In a world of tweets, Facebook, SnapChats, Instagram, and so many more instant social media platforms - words are flying everywhere!  

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble,” says Yehuda Berg, international speaker and author.  I agree wholeheartedly - words have power. As an educator, I recognize the importance of supporting students in building a vocabulary that helps them understand and actively engage in this world of powerful words. 

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Topics: Literacy

Reading List Recommendations from our Team

All Learners Edge courses are written by the Curriculum and Instruction Team. We are former educators who believe in personal and professional development. Each team member enjoys creating content and writing. As you can imagine, our team members are also voracious readers which is good because one of the perks of our job is that we get to read A LOT! We all love to learn and sometimes even read for FUN! 

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Topics: Literacy

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Offering more than 100 print-based or online courses for teachers, you can earn the graduate credit you need for salary advancement and meet your professional development needs. Contact us today to get started!

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