Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More inferencing ideas!

Lesson idea #1

Length: 20-25 minutes

      Cut out 8-10 pictures from magazines that you think would be fun to make an inference with.
            Glue magazine pictures onto a piece of construction paper
            Large Sticky Notes

1)    Show students the pictures. Take one picture and make an inference and show them how to write their inference down on a large sticky note. “I think she is saying/thinking…” or “I think he is feeling…” and then stick it below the picture.
2)    Your students job is to pick one of the pictures and make an inference and stick it below their picture they chose. If you see students flocking to only a couple of pictures, encourage some of them to go to another picture.
3)    After they are done, collect all of the pictures and read aloud the inferences that were made.

Lesson idea #2

Length: 10 -15 Minutes

No Materials Needed!


Play the game: Pass the ….

This is a game that requires no talking, but great acting skills. To begin have all students in one large circle. Tell them we are going to be playing, Pass the… The person who starts passing is going to have an object in their mind and they are going to use their body to show what it could be, No TALKING is allowed!

When the last person passes it to the person who started it, students can guess what the object was. Take three guesses, if no one has guessed correctly the student then may share what it was.

The first time, the teacher should start the object as a practice run through. After playing and you feel your kids are ready, break them into smaller groups to play this game.

Lesson idea #3

            Tuesday by David Weisner

Tuesday is a wordless book (it might have 5 words all together) to make the story you need to make inferences to tell what is going on in the story.

As you “read” the story, encourage students to make inferences to tell the story. Have one or two students comment on each page to create the story. Prompt students and point to different parts of the illustrations if you think they are missing something. Remind students to look at expressions, and body language and the scenery to help tell the story.

**Inferencing can happen anytime and anywhere. Encourage students to make inferences in books they are reading or looking at.

Lesson idea #4

Zoom by Istvan Banyai

This is another wordless book. Each page makes you zoom away from it was first looking at. This book is fun for students to use the setting to help figure out what they are looking at and can help develop inferencing skills because they are encouraged to be detectives that pay attention to small details.

Lesson idea #5

            The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

            This is another fun read aloud. Not only will your students laugh at the funny moles that trying to figure out what invaded their underground home. As you work your way through the story it can be interesting to listen your students make inferences about what the moles think of this “Great Fuzz.”
Lesson idea #6

            The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

            Use this funny little mouse to help your students practice inferencing. The illustrations bring this story alive and my students thought it was one of the funniest books of the year! It also is a story about sharing, there are lessons to be learned from every story.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Booger Pickers, Booger Pickers, Please No More!

I don’t know if I have ever gone a year without having “gold miners” in my classroom. I have the full spectrum of booger pickers in my room. If you are a teacher or a parent I am sure you know what I mean.  If I forget a kind let me know and I will make sure I add it to my list.

Sneaky Picker- This is the kid who has their back to you, so they think you don’t know what they are doing.

Nose-Cover Picker- This is the kid that remains great eye contact with you, but will ever so slowly use one hand to cover the nose and use the other finger to go for it.

Head In Their Lap Picker- This is the kid who puts their face in their laps and then proceeds to pick it.

Backpack Picker- This is the kid who pretends to go their backpacks to get something out, but really just trying to hide the fact they are picking their nose.

I am not ashamed picker- This is the kid who isn’t afraid to pick it, look at it and then eat in front of you.

I am sure there are more, but in my classroom these are the most common of them all. What do you do when you got so much picking going on?

At the beginning of the year we talk about germs a lot! From hand washing to covering your sneeze to blowing your nose, we try to cover all of our bases.

I make my kids sign a no picking booger contract and I hang it in my room all year long. The contract says, “I promise I will never pick my nose!” Then I make all my students sign it. So when my class becomes forgetful (especially in the winter) I revisit the contract and review.

Am I the only one with this problem?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Inferencing!?!? What is that? (!)

Grades: K-3

Day 1
Length: 10-15 minutes

No materials needed!

Good readers can make inferences. As readers, we need to make inferences because the author does not always tells us how someone is feeling or thinking. It is our job as the reader to make inferences.

To make an inference we use someone’s facial expression, body language, and tone of voice to help us know how they are feeling or what they are thinking.

Today, we are going to practice using our facial expression and our body language to show different emotions.

First I am going to be acting out different emotions and I want you guys to make an INFERENCE of how I might be feeling. Feelings to act out; happy, sad, surprised, embarrassed, mad, etc. (This is a great way to introduce “fancier words” or words that are synonyms to the above emotions.

After students make several inferences, allow students to partner up and have them do different emotions and the other student should make an “inference” about how their partner is feeling.

Day 2

Length: 20 minutes

            No, David! By David Shannon (I love my big book that I have of this story)

·      Today while we read No, David! By David Shannon we are going to make inferences about how David or his mom might be feeling based on the words and the illustrations.
·      Begin by looking at the title page. (You might want to act out this picture for your students). Ask what do you think this person is thinking or feeling? I think she is thinking “you are in big trouble mister!”  I made an inference using this illustration.
·      As you read each page, challenge your students to look at each illustration and try to figure out what David is feeling or thinking. Reinforce the word “inference” every time your student successfully makes an inference.
·      Inferencing questions: What do you think he is thinking? What do you think he is feeling? What do you think is going to happen to them?
·      After reading, reinforce that the students made some great inferences and review some of the inferences that they made.

** This book is also good to make Text to Self Connections, but keep your students focused on inferencing. My students loved when I read this book, we could of read this book close to 15 times through out the school year all for different purposes.
***Make a reader’s theater script with this book!

Day 3

Length: 20 Minutes

      David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon

·      Remind students about inferencing. Inferencing is when we use facial expression, body language and tone of voice to figure out how someone might be feeling or thinking.
·      Have students make an inference about the front cover.
·      Before reading, have students choose a neighbor that they are going to share their inferences with as we read the story today.
·      Pause on pages and ask one of the following prompting questions. What do you think happened? How do you think ____ is feeling? What do you think _______ is saying/thinking?
·      After reading, review some inferences that you listened to and praise students for making good inferences.

Day 4

Length: 20 minutes

      David Goes to School by David Shannon


Like the previous two stories, the illustrations by David Shannon makes inferencing easy! While you read encourage students to share their inferences either with a buddy or with the whole group. Feel free to redirect if need be. Some of my students liked to get carried away and I reminded them that they have to use the illustrations that are there and cannot make up any inference they wanted. To redirect give another example from you, tell them what you are looking at to make your inference and then share it.

Day 5

Length: 25-30 Minutes

      No, David! By David Shannon
      Type up phrases that you hear around your school to make a class book!  (See a list at the end of this lesson)
            No, ____________! (I always made a No, First Graders book)


·      Today we are going to be making a classroom book that is similar to No, David! By David Shannon. We are going to be the illustrators and just like David Shannon we are going to make sure our pictures are large and shows how someone is feeling, thinking or doing because of the words that are on the page. For example, If you heard me say, “Sit Down!” what would you be doing? What would your face look like?
·      Reread No, David! Don’t feel like you have to stop every page for students to make an inference. The purpose to reread this story is to get students and idea of what kind of illustrations and what they could draw for their page that they are going to be responsible for in the class book.
·      After reading, show students what they will be doing by completing the title page with a picture of you and your body language. Remind students to draw big and to use details.
·      Give each student a page of your pre-made book.
·      Collect drawings and place in a book called “No, ______________!”

*When the book is finished use it as a read aloud and have students make inferences! One rule is that if it is there drawing they cannot be the ones who make the inference.

Phrases you might hear in an elementary school:

Slow down!
Be quiet!
Put that down!
Sit down!
Come back here!
Put the toy away!
Not right now!
Don’t do that!
Who put this here?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Assessments, Why and What Ones Should I Give?

The beginning of the school year is stressful to say the least. There is a mile long to do list with no end in sight. Teachers spend day and night going to meetings, setting up their classrooms, making name tags, creating a theme for the classroom, putting up bulletin boards, making a back to school packet with information (that may or may not be accurate come January), lesson plans for the first days of school (maybe a week if your lucky), creating a rewards system, etc. What’s crazy is I probably didn’t even mention a tenth of what a teacher has to do before the students even walk into the classroom.
            Another “biggie” on the to do list is deciding which assessments to give! Every year I would change or tweak the beginning of the year assessments to help give me feedback to help drive my instruction. We assess students at the beginning of the year for a couple of different reasons; to benchmark the students so we can see their academic growth, to help establish homogeneous groupings for small group reading instruction and math instruction, and to drive our instruction and focus on areas of need, to name a few.

The following assessments I gave to my first graders. 
**If you teach a different grade you will want to look at what students should of learned in the previous grade and what you will be teaching in the first term. 

Language Arts
Letter Names
Letter Sounds
Write ABC’s
Sight Words (1st term)
Beginning Sounds
Medial Sounds
Ending Sounds
Fluency (Grade appropriate passage)
Guided Reading Level A-Z (Fontas and Pinnell)
Words Their Way spelling inventory

Number ID
Orally Counts
Count by 10’s
Count by 5’s
Days of the Week
Months of the Year
Coin ID and Value
Time to the Hour
Shape ID

This list may sound extensive, but the information gained from these assessments was irreplaceable. After these assessments, I knew my students and I was better able to fulfill their academic needs. These assessments took about 5 weeks on average to complete. Remember to get valuable feedback takes time. I also delegated some of the assessments to trustworthy parents.

TIP: How do I keep track of all the information?
   I would make a simple spreadsheet in Microsoft word for language arts and math for each term. I would list the skills across the top and the names I would run down vertically. Organizing the assessments in this way, helped me be able to quickly glance at areas of concern, with out having to look at each individual paper. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I love to read!

Wow! I didn't realize how time flies so quickly when you are having fun! 

I have now seen Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love come to life on the big screen and amazed at how the story came through. I am surprised because I usually detest when books are made in to movies, but I was pleasantly surprised! I now want to sell all of my belongings and go travel the world specifically learn to speak italian and eat, find a "Richard" to tell me like it is, and find my true love in Bali. 

A girl can have dreams you know! 

I also this week have read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Yes the title is a mouth full, but it is worth reading in between the Daily 5 and Debbie Diller's Making the Most of Small Groups! If you like historical fiction this is a winner! 

I also have been impressed upon to read a classic Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I am loving the inner monologues and the unique characters! I don't know about you, but I could read forever! 

If I could only channel my passion for reading to ALL of my kiddos, hmmm...  

I am looking for book recommendations! Please send them my way:)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Do you Zumba?

     I can't tell you how much I love going to my new Zumba class! It totally beats typical running on the treadmill or riding a stationary bike. It takes a couple of times to actually get the movements down and for you to feel totally comfortable moving your body, but during the class I can't stop smiling. I have a perma grin on my face! 

Have you Zumba'd before?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ugh! It's raining!

As summer comes to a close, it has to rain! I normally don't complain about a good rain shower. I usually call it a day, find a blanket, curl up and read a good book! It's hard to do this when you actually have a to-do list that is ever expanding and you feel as though there isn't enough time to get it all done. 

Hopefully, the rain won't lull me to sleep anytime soon! I guess I should be thankful for the cooler weather:) 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Owen and The Scream

This is another integrated art lesson plan, that uses Kevin Henkes' book Owen and Edvard Munch's painting of The Scream to help talk about being afraid! 

Grades: K-2

Length: 1 Day

Objectives: 1) To make inferences about how Owen and his parents might be feeling or thinking. 2) To make Text-Self Connections.

Questions: Why does Kevin Henkes use the Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream in Owen?

            Owen by Kevin Henkes
            A print of The Scream
            White paper


         1)    Show students a copy or a picture of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream.
         2)    Ask students the following questions: Why they think the painting is called The Scream? Why do you think the person is screaming?
         3)    Tell them you are going to read the book Owen and that you want them to stop you when The Scream reminds them of something that they see in an illustration.
         4)    Read Owen by Kevin Henkes. Throughout the read aloud ask students how Owen is feeling? How are the parents feeling?
         5)    Ask them to share their Text to Self Connections, as well, while you read. 
         6)    When students spy Kevin Henkes’ version of the scream, ask students to make an inference about how Owen might be feeling. Why do you think Owen is feeling that way? What is happening in the story?
         7)    After reading, give students time to think about a time they have felt afraid or felt like screaming. Have them share with a buddy.  
         8)    Today the student’s job is to create a drawing of when they felt afraid and felt like screaming. (If they are having a hard time coming up with a time when they felt afraid, share a time that you have felt afraid. I like to use getting lost at the store and not knowing where my mom was.)    
         9)   When students have completed their artwork, choose how to celebrate their work (gallery walk, buddy share, whole class share, or group share).