Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Looking for the perfect reading experience this and next week?

Fluency, we know, is one of five pillars for reading instruction.   I did some action research on the effectiveness of RT and the results were overwhelmingly positive.  My students made significant gains in reading fluency and had fun doing it.  Wicked motivating. So I thought I'd share this...

Reader's Theater works best in a 3-5 Script Reading.  Day 1 is a cast reading and vocabulary day.  Day 2 is a first reading with students giving and getting feedback.  Day 3  is dress rehearsal  and DAy 4 is the Big Show.

Invite another class to watch. This motivates readers to reread and reread until they perform it with prosody and perfect expressive pacing.

I have rubrics and other resources if you would like to launch a RT with your students.  I have science and social studies scripts as well.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Teaching Vocabulary

Concept Circles are an effective tool you can add to your literacy toolbox.  C.O.D.E. suggests we ask students to delve deeply into new word learning and Concept Circles can offer that kind of deep learning.

Here is a link with info explaining this strategy and also will find the PDF for CC's on this link.  I've included a file to download on HGS Announcements.   I plan to use this weekly for words students will be collecting on Vocabulary Bookmarks and adding to their personal Word Walls.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 26 Literacy Workshop


-Common Core Standards Shift 6?  Academic Vocabulary
-C.O.D.E.   (Vocabulary Instruction)
-Literacy Strategies/HGS Agreements:  Revamp Time

Your Comments about today's topics are welcome!
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt 

You are welcome to join the HGS Literacy Team folks for a Webinar session delving more deeply into C.O.D.E. and its uses.
December 10.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vocabulary Bookmarks

Your students might love the Bookmark Strategy!

Learning new vocabulary begins with making a first connection.  I am assigning these to my students who will collect interesting, unusual, and new words from their independent reading books.

Later students will delve more deeply into learning the new vocabulary.  We could use these for Academic Vocabulary too.

Click here  <<<----

(You will be asked to give your name and email address before downloading.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

National Writing Day Celebration

Let us all celebrate National Writing Day...teachers, students, parents...all of us!  Take a few minutes to write a message to someone you know or to someone you don't know.

  • Maybe you might write to a family member you sometimes take for granted and express how much he/she means to you.
  • Maybe you might write to a relative or a friend who does not live in your hometown and tell that person you miss him or her.
  • Write to someone who encouraged you or inspired you and say thank you.
  • Write to a public official with a suggestion for a current issue.Take a few minutes and send your message by text, email, or snail mail.
Mention that you're celebrating National Writing Day!

I have lots of cards, postcards, and stationery in my room!

Monday, September 16, 2013

This could be a riot!

I've never taught this strategy but I am on it!

I  think it will hit on activating prior knowledge, encouraging collaborative learning, writing to learning, reflecting on learning.  Nice.

Please let us know if you used this.  You'll be in the drawing for a delicious fall treat. (Comment here or email me (-:)

This can be done orally too.  Teacher can record on chart the ideas.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week: Closure Ideas

I've heard it said time and time again that our best learning comes during reflection.  I struggle a little with changing up closure to a lesson or discussion.  I found this resource while searching for variations on a Ticket to Leave and 3,2,1.

Click here to download a PDF-------->  Voila!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The winner is...

Congratulations, Carol Morrison.  Your vocabulary instructional strategy was voted the FAVORITE at our Literacy Moment sharing!!!!!

Hope you enjoy your prize.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Close Reading and our Book Talk

Audrey, Cheryl, Renee, Rebecca, Colleen, and Jo,

Bless you all for making the Book Talk meaningful and worthwhile.  Wow!  Our collective experiences and insights are amazing.

I wanted to share these Prezi projects with you but time was not on our side so I skipped them.  They offer a different slant on What is close reading  and How do we prepare for a close reading?

My take away from today is the work we did with planning for a close read based on the excerpt from Tuck Everlasting.  I only wish I had written down all of the ideas!  I snagged a few.  I love the idea of exploring feelings the words evoke.

Thanks again!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

K-2 Read Write Think...all rolled into one!

Picture Match is a nice little interactive game from Read Write Think for K-2 students. Picture Match asks students to match objects to the first letter of their names. After students have mastered matching beginning letters to objects they move on to identifying short and long vowel sounds to objects whose names have those sounds. At the end of each activity students can print a PDF of their successes (Richard Byrne "Free Technology for Teachers)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week

The Double Journal Entry is a strategy which works wicked well as a during reading fosters that active reading we want our kiddos to be practicing.  I have found it terribly helpful to do a Think Aloud with this one first. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Winner of the Drawing

Blog Commenter!!! Amanda Beals reels in goodies!

Thanks to everyone!  Your Comments added so much to our blog community. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Author Committee Survives!

Literacy Strategy of the Week

Tic-Tac-Toe Notetaking Grid

A few years ago I learned about this strategy from Valerie Sprague.  My students are still learning how and why it's necessary to take notes when are searching for info and they find it.  They tend to want to skip this step.

This tool works really well for all classes.  I put a template for younger students and one for older students on our staff room fridge.  It's neat because they can cut these out and place them in piles for their topic paragraphs.  I learned about another neat idea where the kids sketch an idea in the middle square and add notes about it all around! 

More ideas-------------->

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Technology and the CCS

This article came across my Facebook page this morning.  I immediately thought:  Our Action Plan for Literacy seems to be hitting the nail right on the head.

What do you think? 

Breadbox Poppy 
Would you like some seeds?  Leave a Comment :-)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week!

Quick Writes

  • This strategy helps our kiddos develop writing fluency and reflection skills...where I hear true learning takes place.  
  • Terrific tool for informally assessing what your student actually is thinking about your lesson.
  • 2-10 minutes in length
  • Open-ended prompts work well.
1.  Math:  Describe the difference between a factor and a multiple.
2.  Science:  After studying erosion... How does erosion change the surface of the earth.
3.  Social Studies:  How did humans use natural resources during the Stone Age?
4.  Phys. Ed.-  Describe the correct form for doing a push up.
5.  ELA:  What is a decision your character had to make which had significant consequences for them?

More info on p. 68  of Thinkquiry Toolkit!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MCLP Literacy Leadership Conference: April 2013

Hi Val, Cheryl, Renee, Megan, and Jen,

Please share 2-3 of your big take-away's from today's experience.

This is SOME team!  Thank you,  Megan, Renee, Valerie, Cheryl, Jennifer!!  We missed you, Rebecca and Jenn.

Our work today will make its way to every staff member as soon as we can arrange a time.  Stay tuned.

Our Literacy Team has reflected on our 2012-13 Literacy Action Plan by using an MCLP rubric to assess literacy across the content areas.  We're "mostly" there.  Based on our assessment using the rubric, we have listed these as possible topics for next year...our 2013-14 Literacy Action Plan:

  • Assignments which require higher order critical thinking about content:  using Performance Tasks from Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium AND using these released items as exemplars for creating our own (Text, Task, Standards).
  • Develop a plan for bringing more technology opportunities to K-5: i.e.  Buddy Grades and Projects which allow for presenting researching findings;  Planning 6 week units for each grade with IT support; getting an iPads into K-5 students' hands.
  • Big need!  We hope to plan opportunities for all teachers to  regularly use a variety of print and electronic texts as sources of content info in addition to textbooks.
  • Big need!  To implement consistently opportunities for all students to routinely conduct research and draw conclusions based on critical evaluation and synthesis of multiple sources.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Month: The Frayer Model

I will place a copy of the idea in mailboxes!!  This is one we need to be using grade 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8.  Leave a Comment for eligibility in the drawing...coming soon!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week: a Linda Hoyt strategy


An "after reading" strategy that encourages reflection...where the best learning takes place.  Possible uses:
Thank you for sharing this one, Kathy M.!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week


Terrific strategy for all grade levels and across content.  We've used these in teachers' meetings as well.  Our kids need these opportunities to show us what they know and what they're thinking. 

Carol Duffy, Lamoine's 5th grade teacher, challenges her students to mini- research exercises and asks students to use 3,2,1 for their notetaking.  It matches up well with KWL before they begin the research.  Neat way to encourage content reading and thinking.

Check here for more info:

Commenting Keeps Our Conversations dynamic and alive.  Please jump on board and leave a Comment.  Be sure to log in to Google first. 
Folks who Comment are eligible for a Goodie Basket Drawing.  Comment away...all you want!  Let your peers know about your experiences using Literacy Strategies. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Forum

A small gathering of four ELA teachers met from around the region, and wonderful conversations happened. We missed the presence of those who could not make this forum.   Sally Leighton and Lyn Wilson shared terrific news about their schools' NECAPs. Their readers and writers are showing fantastic achievement gains. Time to celebrate!!  Valerie Sprague and Jacquie Leighton were present and shared highlights and successes in ELA as well.  Here are a few of the forum topics from the afternoon session:

  • Lucy Calkins and Writing Workshop. 
  • What's ahead with assessment:  2014-2015 and the new face of local and national assessments?
  • What's working well?
  • School-wide Writing Prompt at Hancock
  • Better answer protocols...a major factor for test prep.
  • Readers' Theater...Jacquie shared her unit.  These practices allow middle school readers build fluency, self-efficacy as oral readers, and work collaboratively to perform weekly theater.
  •  Closing Reading:  Sally shared her excitement for a new resource she's using to teaching close reading.  We all want to start up a Book Group on this one!!
  • Next meeting early April, TBA.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week

This one supports collaboration, reflection and builds community.  I am using it next week in Grade 7 so students can receive feedback on their speech topics.

Good for before and after reading/discussion.

I'll leave a few templates in the Teachers' Room.  This strategy works for all content areas and across grade levels.

pp. 169-170  Thinkquiry Toolkit 1


Our kids will get a charge when we use this Person Selector Tool to randomly pick names.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Literacy Strategy of the Week

Sum It Up

Click here------->  Sum It Up and Lesson Closure strategy
Scroll to bottom of this link where you'll see the red links for the templates.  

Leave a Comment or 2,3.... to qualify for the prizes.  TBA.

Tunk Lake
Think Spring!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Suggested Scoring Protocol

This is an opportunity for teachers to practice using the RSU 24 Expository Writing rubric.  We won't have time to score ALL writings...just not enough time. 

1. Bring student writings with the SCORE SHEET stapled to front of each writing.
2. Make 3 piles and stack the writings according to grade level.
3. A good goal for the hour:  Score 2 different writings as 1st Scorer (Cover your score with a Stickie!!) AND score 2 more writings as a 2nd scorer.  Reminder:  Very few of the writing are likely to be scored because we are double scoring.  
4. Score papers until the last 15-20 minutes of PLC.
5. How do the scores match up? The two scorers for a paper will meet to discuss scores.  Reach a consensus if possible.  Use that rubric. 
6.It's okay if you only had time to discuss one or two papers with a partner.

Ticket to Leave:
Was this a worthwhile PLC? Explain.

Leave in Jacquie's mailbox.

Still won't let me comment!!  Probably need Abe to figure it out!


Made you look!! ... I want the White cat with the Black tail!

Or any Cat with Any Tale!!
I want the black cat with the white tail!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Literacy Team Meeting Agenda

Snack and Chat

1.  March 1st:  PLC
     Scoring Writing:

2.  Weekly Literacy Strategy:  Brainstorm a list for the year

3.  Teacher Library & Blog Activity

4.  Close Reading and Text Dependent Questions:  Demonstration of Strategy

5. Other?

Next Meeting Date:  ??

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Strategy of the Week

Click on the link --------->  Exit Slips | Classroom Strategies | Reading Rockets    


Leave a quickie Comment to be eligible for the drawing.
Grand Prize Winners:  3 teachers will win a goodie basket of prizes.  Stayed tuned for more details.  You may Comment more than once each week.  Oh, yeah.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Readers Theater

While looking for RT resources for grade 7, I came across this wicked awesome collection of RT scripts.  Wow!    Readers Theater is a terrific way to build oral reading fluency which many readers struggle with...I've been learning a lot about RT in my coursework through UNE.  

Dr. Young's Second Grade RT Collection 
Aaron Shepard

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Newest Admins to the Blog


Megan Stetler
Michele Wagstaff
Kristen Braun


Jenn V., Jen G., Megan Smith and Jacquie

I have sent Admin invites to Cheryl, Valerie, Renee, and Rebecca.

Post News to your heart's content.  

Interested in Posting News?  Email Jacquie.
All Hancock teachers can Comment

Monday, February 4, 2013

Penny for your thoughts

Literacy Moment: The Blog

  • Sign in to Google
  • Complete Poll
  • Comment Away Anywhere and Reply to one another.
  • Follow blog through Email:  Easy to Follow
  • The blog is a Pilot to test the viability of sharing news around Literacy
  • Need Authors from K-2/3-5/Specials/Principal
  • Blogs work if the news is up do date and relevant, interesting and meaningful, fun and engaging...
  • Blogs work if the "community" Comments and Replies
  • Public Blog
  • March Writing Prompt

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Student Friendly Writing Checklists

I found these "Student Friendly" Writing Checklists which align really well with our RSU 24  Writing Rubrics.

Leave a Comment and let us know what you think.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writing in RSU 24: Reflection on the 2 year Writing Initiative

Please share your thoughts, questions and comments.  Just click on Comments below.

What are we doing with Writing Agreements in our individual schools?
  • How are those Writing Agreements working?  ELA folks? Content folks? Specials?
  • What is not working with these Writing Agreements and other Writing Efforts?
  • How should we move forward to sustain Writing?
  • What's ahead next year for RSU 24 Writing expectations?
  • How will we map our Writing Curriculum as a way to continue improving Writing literacy?
  • Should students be writing on demand as in Writing Assessments for the district level?  (Local Assessments in Writing?)
  • Should the RSU adopt the 6-8 ELA Springboard program?
  • ELA students at both high schools are Springboarders?  How is it going?
  • Why not provide RSU 24 Content Teachers a forum for discussing Writing Agreements to inform district decisions?
  • Why not provide RSU 24 Specials Teachers a forum for discussing Writing Agreements to inform district decisions?
  • Both Forums must have a voice!
  •  What will/should Writing Agreements look like in music, art, physical education, guidance (where guidance has a curriculum being taught)?  
  • Are Kid Friendly rubrics in the making?
Today's lengthy and deep discussions were clearly showing that our students are writing a great deal more district wide.  Additionally, our Writing Expectations must be revisited and evaluated for relevance and effectiveness with more buy in and involving more non ELA teachers in the district Writing work.  Conversely, much work lies ahead of us with some shifts in how we agree on Writing Expectations.  Science, math, and social studies teachers need opportunities to lead decision making around these agreements.  6-8 science, math, an social studies Writing must be embedded in the curricula being used...not mandated as in the past agreements.  6-7 Science Programs provide students with tremendous Writing opportunites.  8 Science may look a bit different with the writing piece.  Socials Studies 6-8 offers tremendous Writing opportunities as well.

The Springboard ELA program is a real possibility.   March inservice will include presentations on this program.  No decision was made to adopt!

Atlas Rubicon is a curriculum mapping program new to the district and spreading in popularity.  Stay tuned for more coming to a school near you.  This mapping system is used to map the expectations around literacy, where the gaps might be, where could we use more professional development, etc.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

You are Here!

Literacy Team Members, PLEASE Check In Under Comments

Thursday, January 17, 2013

School Wide Writing Prompt

If you could have 100 of any one thing, what would you want?  Why?  Your writing may be published in the HGS newsletter.

Give students 60 minutes to plan and write this composition.  An additional 30 minutes is okay.  Total of 90 minutes.

At our March 1st PLC's, we'll practice scoring these writings.  

K,1,2 Teachers, please talk among yourselves about the writing directions for your younger writers.  The directions I posted above follow similar directions as those on the 5th and 8th grade NECAPs.  Do what you consider appropriate.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ELA Grades 6-8 Literacy Forum

Meeting Notes:  Folks who could make it included Lyn Wilson, Valerie Sprague, Jacquie Leighton, Sally Leighton, and Carol Duffy. We missed our other members who could not make it. 
  • Everyone created a blog to begin using.  Valerie, who currently blogs with her sixth grade homeroom, learned more about Comment features and etiquette of commenting. Her Sixth Grade Blog design has a new look.  Sally and Carol both created homeroom blogs as well.  We looked at how to add images and hyperlinks.   We talked about how effective blogging can be when students have an audience for publishing and communicating. 
  • Discussion about the length of literacy blocks for middle school ELA students continues to be a part of our support at the forum.  
  • Lyn shared more about the CCS, the 2013 NECAP.  She brings information to us from the State Literacy folks and keeps us in tune with the Shifts.   Carol and Sally shared info about the writing test samples.  Students will be interacting with multi-media content and demonstrating research skills much more than our current Writing Test.  Carol suggested we look at these samples.
  • Next Meeting Topics:  Sally Leighton will share a Writing Strategy which has helped many of her students elaborate on writing ideas.  VERY effective.  
  • Another topic:  continued topics about blogging and blog features (widgets, adding video, Commenting Etiquette, etc.  See below for last night's Agenda and links we did not time. 
  • Another topic:  a look at the writing test of 2014. 
  • Another topic:   You choose  (-:

Meeting Agenda:
  • Using Blogs in the Classroom
  • Lyn Wilson:  Sharing her resources and insights
  • Other?
Using Blogs in the Classroom: a Wiki    <------- Click

Youtube Intro to Blogging

Commenting Skills:  A Biggie on Blogging

Classroom Blogging Ideas:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Literacy Team Agenda/Meeting Notes

1.  Explore Close Reading Texts for upcoming Book Talk.

     Book Talk Dates?

2.  Share Action Plan.

3.  Writing Sustainability Plan 1st  RSU 24 Meeting on January 24.  I agreed to attend.  Can I take along your hopes, concerns, questions, suggestions?  These are the topics I was given which will guide the work:
·      Recommendations for specific district level writing expectations
           (ELA, Core Content Classes, Other Classes)
·      Review current rubrics (strengths, needs)
·      Determine the need for “student friendly” copies of our rubrics
·      Review current anchor papers (gaps, usefulness)
·      Determine recommendations for developing district level writing prompt cycle/process

3.  Next Meeting?  Plan for Spring Writing Prompt.  After MCLP?

Meeting Notes:  Present...Cheryl, Renee, Jen, Megan, Jenn, Jacquie, Valerie

1.  We spent some time trouble shooting the access of the blog.  We have a few glitches which Jacquie will talk to IT about.
2.  Jacquie would like to give this blog a chance to serve as a  "venue" for our literacy talks and literacy sharing staff-wide.  
3.  Literacy Team Members:  Please leave a Comment under the Writing Prompt Post to show you are "in" as a Commenter (at least.)  
4.  Jacquie asked about the role of the TEAM given MCLP is ending.  The Common Core Standards and professional development on "unpacking" the standards is needed.  This Team could facilitate that.  When?  Not enough time during Staff Meetings.
4.  Next topic:  A school wide writing prompt as a means to understanding the rubric, looking at student writing K-8, celebrating our 100th day of school, and practicing writing.
5.  Each Literacy Team Member will facilitate blind scoring at a March PLC.  
6.  Our next Lit Team Meeting:  February 26.  We'll plan for the Blind Scoring Protocols.
7.  March will be the month for a Book Talk on Close Reading.   Thursdays seem to be the  best afternoons for most folks.  I'll get back to you on those dates.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How Important is Teaching Literacy in All Content Areas? | Edutopia

How Important is Teaching Literacy in All Content Areas? | Edutopia

"Let's define literacy. It was once known simply as the ability to read and write. Today it's about being able to make sense of and engage in advanced reading, writing, listening, and speaking."
-Rebecca Alber

Friday, January 4, 2013

Close Reading and the CCSS, Part 1

Close Reading and the CCSS, Part 1: Dr. Douglas Fisher discusses close reading and how it relates to the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts.

1. Comments?  Questions?  
2.  What is a way you weave instruction in reading, listening, writing, and speaking into the content you teach? Please share!   


6  Instructional Shifts

1. Text Complexity Standards:  reading, writing, & speaking

2. Nonfiction and Fiction balance  K-5  ;   Nonfiction tips the scales 6-12.

3. Greater Emphasis on Knowledge in the Disciplines:  6-12

4. Close Reading: Understanding and Inferring author's point of view, Author's use of Text features and organizational styles to promote POV. College/Career Readiness depend on annotating and thinking while reading.


5. More Writing From Sources... Expository, Argumentative, Narrative:  Inference Wheel, Summarizing, Quoting, drawing text evidence, etc.  Thinkquiry Toolkit

6. Academic and Content Vocabulary: Tier 2 & Tier 3 words
  Word Clouds: Science Lesson:  <-----CLICK THERE.