Do your students have trouble determining a topic for writing or deciding what details they want to share related to a topic they are writing about? Years ago, I learned about Alphaboxes from Linda Hoyt. An Alphaboxes chart is quick, brainstorming activity that warms up the brain in a non-threatening, let's-ease-into-this kind of way.
Looking for texts for elementary-age readers? Check out these free (or almost free) websites for engaging, content-rich texts. There's no reason to read boring texts!
As you create learning experiences for your students, here is a list of reading and writing resources to use for ELAR learning in the secondary classroom.
Written by Randi Anderson
Throughout the past year I've spent extensive time talking, collaborating, and brainstorming ideas all focused on classroom discussions circles. The research around discussion circles is astounding for student growth. In fact, classroom discussion has an effect size of .82 which translates to a TWO YEAR gain in student achievement. See Hattie's Effect size chart for reference.
The theme this week is "You are unique!" This week we are learning about the parts of the body. Each book, song, and rhyme is thematically linked. The questions we are exploring is "How are we the same? How are we different?" Here is a google slide deck with book and song suggestions.
The art of conversation is a life skill that must be taught to students. This past month, I worked with intervention educators on reading and writing strategies for high school students.
I recently dove into researching best-teaching practices for increasing student vocabulary. This is a topic I am asked to present on frequently, probably because it is one of the most complex areas to teach. This summer I read, Responsive Literacy by Editor, Patricia L. Scharer. Here are some of their ideas for helping students strengthen language comprehension.
A word cloud is an image composed of words or phrases. Individually or as a team, students create an image in which the size of each word or phrase indicates its importance to the overall meaning of the topic or text. Word clouds can be created for concepts, characters, events, and themes across content areas.
Each day, fluent reading is being practiced. Here are some fluency techniques to help your students read with prosody and for meaning during your shared reading time.
Echo reading is "I read you, then you repeat read". This is an easy reading confidence builder.
The beginning of the year is all about building RELATIONSHIPS and ROUTINES. As educators, we must build relationships with our students before they will trust our instruction and dive deep into learning. Here are several relationship building activities to do the first couple of weeks of school that will get your students reading, writing, and moving!
Scavenger Hunt / I Have, Who Has
The goal of this activity is for students to find out something special about each of their classmates. They will discover that they have many things in common and a few differences. This is a great opportunity for students to get up and move around the room too!
A few weeks ago, during a small group reading observation, I watched a group of five learning-disabled students struggle with key vocabulary in a reading passage. While the goal of the group was to develop comprehension, it was clear that these learners needed a strategy and practice for decoding new words. Here is an easy-to-implement strategy that can be used to warm-up for reading group.
Here are a couple of ideas that take about 5 minutes of class time and get learners actively processing content from previous lessons.
Here are 4 vocabulary games that can be played using vocabulary from any content area. These games are great ways to practice declarative knowledge and, specifically, academic language.
You might be surprised to know that the thinking process of identifying similarities and differences is one of the most powerful ways to accelerate learning achievement. Research shows that when learners are guided to compare or classify, their achievement level almost doubles!
Alphaboxes is a great strategy for collecting and using key vocabulary that your students can use with content vocabulary or with collections of character traits or rich words. Before reading have students brainstorm words related to the topic or concept. You can also give students a list of key words to look for in the text. During reading, have students add words that are unfamiliar or important to the topic. After reading a selection, give the students 3-5 minutes to work with a partner to compare words listed on the chart and fill in the alphaboxes with as many words from the reading as they deem important for understanding. The words can be stated or implied in the text. Remind students that only “important” or key words are added to the alphaboxes chart.