Poverty and Education

After working in a low income areas for years I think this is so relevant to Teachers who sometimes forget about the whole child

upper elementary antics

poverty and education

How does poverty affect education?  For the past 10 years I have worked in low income schools that receive title I funds because of the socioeconomic demographics of the school.  And I started to realize and notice some misconceptions out there by others and sometimes even teachers that affect how we educate our students.  My blog is based on my experience with teaching students in low socioeconomic areas and it is always a struggle.  Oftentimes, they come to me below grade level and they are not where they need to be, and it is not small gaps that I have to bridge there are enormous gap that I have to bridge.   I mean 2 to 3 year gaps.  Once we had a discussion in a staff meeting on how can we bridge these gaps and found out there was so many myths and misconceptions out there about what was affecting…

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Helping your students dig deeper!

AREADING RESPONSE WITH LITERACY CHARTS 

Getting my students to think critically when reading is a constant struggle, no matter what content I am teaching, getting my students to read critically is not easy.  I have taught science, social studies, math, writing and reading, and my kids hate to read, they like to skim, search and find versus actually taking the time to read.  In upper elementary where the students are tested heavily we want them to read to learn more than learn to read. That means reading for comprehension and thinking critically about what they read so that they can answer test questions.

I racked my brain trying to come up with strategies to help get my kids where they needed to be for test day (many hated to read because it was difficult) but in reality I ended up being just happy with growth and them gaining skills they could use in the future.  There are so many strategies out there that have been very helpful but I had to remember about my students and their life experiences.  They are not your average students! 😊

So last year my teammate (the bilingual Reading teacher) showed me literacy charts. It was something that was introduced as part of the national writing project in 2004 for ELL students. It was used to make a connection between reading and writing. I loved the concept but wanted something a little more in depth for my struggling readers.

With literacy charts, my students can make the connection between their reading and writing by establishing the elements in reading and how it connects to their writing.  So I made my own that helped my students dig deeper when reading a text.  The students had to fill out the literacy charts before, during, and after their reading.

Students can use their literacy charts as a rubric for writing by ensuring they have all elements of the story, for peer editing, and also for finding important information in science and social studies. Below are some examples of my scholars work.  Of course, there is always room for growth but this guides them in the right direction.

 

I did have to model a few times to ensure that students were picking out the important information as well as proving their answers with textual evidence.  With practice I was able to hold my students accountable for their reading a they began to think deeper. Eventually, they were able to complete the charts independently during independent reading time. I have the charts in my TPT store if you want to help your students dig deeper. (click here).

Respond to reading with any novel or text (literacy charts)

Why I changed How I do my Vocabulary Instruction in the Classroom

upper elementary antics

Why I changed my vocabulary instruction

Well everyone the struggle is real! What struggle, you say the reading struggle.  I have taught every subject in upper elementary and when a student struggles, no matter what subject, it all comes down to reading comprehension. And after working with classes full of struggling readers, yes whole classes, I was able to understand a little bit better on what was some root causes of their struggle.  VOCABULARY!!!  I noticed the biggest obstacles was that in adequate vocabulary hindered my student’s comprehension.  I found that many students could say the words and may even read fluently (shockingly) however, they had no idea what a lot of the words meant.  That is when I realized that my vocabulary instruction was lacking.  So I made a point to change my instruction.

I still did not feel it was adequate and done in the proper order.  In my district they want us to…

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Figurative Language Freebie!

Updated link for the figurative language freebie

upper elementary antics

B81904BF-482B-4A39-B052-176F667ADC3AFigurative language is a common theme in standardized testing in upper elementary.  Students have to determine what the author or poet is trying to convey through inferencing and interpretation. Getting students to not always think literally is a challenge and knowing the common figures of speech is a just a start.  So I have a freebie to offer from a guest post Education.com that is a fun way to interact with the language.

Learning about figurative language is not just for the birds!  Check out this word search, then head over to https://www.education.com/resources/figurative-language/ for more resources.

figurativelanguage_wordsearch_birds

figurativelanguage_wordsearch_birds_answers

Also check out my TPT store for some of my resources including my poetry analysis lesson https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Poetry-Analysis-Packet-3305675

F6A5F4D1-8851-4A9E-BFB6-49C985A88D1B

View original post

Figurative Language Freebie!

B81904BF-482B-4A39-B052-176F667ADC3AFigurative language is a common theme in standardized testing in upper elementary.  Students have to determine what the author or poet is trying to convey through inferencing and interpretation. Getting students to not always think literally is a challenge and knowing the common figures of speech is a just a start.  So I have a freebie to offer from a guest post Education.com that is a fun way to interact with the language.

Learning about figurative language is not just for the birds!  Check out this word search, then head over to https://www.education.com/resources/figurative-language/ for more resources.

 

figurativelanguage_wordsearch_birds

figurativelanguage_wordsearch_birds_answers

Also check out my TPT store for some of my resources including my poetry analysis lesson https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Poetry-Analysis-Packet-3305675

F6A5F4D1-8851-4A9E-BFB6-49C985A88D1B

 

 

How to teach poetry when your students struggle with reading!

How to teach poetry when students struggle with reading!(1)

How I teach poetry in fifth grade!   Unfortunately, when I teach poetry I can’t get as deep as I want to and do all the fancy projects that I would like.  However, I do have to prepare them for state test which always has some type of poem, so I teach my poetry so that they are able to analyze the poem on a test and to go through and answer the questions to be successful.  First, I start off by introducing our giving background knowledge for whatever poem we are going to use for our lesson.  I used a poem called “The Blacksmith” for my lesson so I show a short YouTube video about what is a blacksmith, so the students can understand some of the imagery used in the poem. I usually teach one poem over several days or do it as a close read.  This means we read the same poem several times for several days.  Depending on the era or the context of the poem, I give them any additional information to ensure they comprehend why the poet is using certain language and imagery.     For example in “The Blacksmith”  we discuss the differences between being a blacksmith today versus back in Colonial Days.  Then, I give them the vocabulary that I feel they may struggle with, we used a paragraph with the vocabulary words and analogies (giving the students an opportunity to see and use the words in context) and any additional information they may not know to help them out for example review the different types of figurative and sensory language.    After I finish with the background and the vocabulary we dig into the elements of a poem.

This is from our second poem

After the first read students had to record the structures they noticed in the poem

 

First, I let them read it by themselves without taking any notes or writing anything on it (annotating). I want them to read without thinking about questions.  Second, I read it with them while asking and  answering text dependent questions as we go. I help them to pick out any figurative language, sensory details, and/or imagery that they notice. We discuss any word or words that they may not know while we’re reading, that were not part of the vocabulary that I gave them in the beginning. During the second reading we go through and do some strategies we look for the rhyme scheme, we look for poem structure like the stanzas, the lines, we also start looking for poetry elements, and the different language that’s being used, after we have picked out all of these things then we go into doing a gist for each stanza.  We talk about the setup of the poem like a poet is the writer of a poem.  If there is any, we start talking about the sensory images and details that may be in the poem and then we go through and mark up each stanza or section of each stanza and writing a gist for each stanza. Just like we would a reading passage. We do the gist for each stanza. 

After we have thoroughly analyzed our poem, we complete comprehension questions. These questions are set up like our state assessment questions.  Students write out what they noticed in their comprehension about different stanzas and the figurative language that is involved.

Using this method has made my kids more successful on their test. For the last four years there has been poetry on the test. Sometimes it is paired with a another text where they have to do a comparison between that text and a poem, a poem and a drama, and a poem and an expository text so being able to analyze and understand the format and meaning of a poem is a very important standard in fifth grade. So,

Poetry Analysis Square cover

my poetry analysis packet available at my TPT store

I have made an analysis packet that I use with my kids so that they can follow along and analyze a poem, I also added extra poems so they can get some practice.  If you would like to get my Poetry Analysis Packet at my TPT store just click here.

I’m very excited about teaching poetry as a close read because for the past couple years my students have been more successful when they take their state test and it has also helped me to understand poetry a little bit better myself ( I hated it in High School) and being able to analyze a little bit better has helped me to not to dread teaching it.  However, later in the year, when we get closer to the state assessment I revisit poetry to ensure they remember the strategies I taught. The students start having aha moments and seem to develop a love of poetry, Because now they are able to figure out what it’s really talking about.   What are some strategies that you use to teach poetry I am always looking for new ideas?

11 Mistakes New Teachers make with Classroom Management

Avoid these 11 pitfalls to your classroom management

Last year our school worked with Teach across America ( I think that is what it is called, I am so bad with names) where student-teachers worked with seasoned teachers for a year and are now going into their own classrooms.  Well as one of our student teachers was hired and went to another school she asked for advice to get her started.  And everyone gave ideas on what to do and I remember when I was teaching my first year and wishing that someone would have told me some things I probably shouldn’t do.  Here are 11 mistakes that I have seen happen with new teachers and some I have probably done myself.  I hope this is helpful!

 

Save yourself the Headache

  1. Inconsistencies, if something is a rule or procedure stick with it and be consistent with the consequences.

 

  1. Handle problems publicly, first you want to avoid embarrassing a child plus many times when you handle things privately you find out what may be the real issue behind the behavior.

 

  1. Only give verbal instructions, you want to ensure students understand what is expected so having written instructions along with verbal will relieve headaches in the long run.

 

  1. Try to teach or give instructions before everyone is quiet, you are teaching the kids that it is okay to talk while you are trying to teach and at that point no one is learning.

 

  1. Use a lot of negatives i.e. don’t, stop, etc., there are some times that you will of, course say negatives but do not make it a habit. Students will view you as negative plus they are getting your attention which was the goal.  I try to mention what I would like to see.  (i.e. Stop running in the hallway! vs. We walk in the hallway)

 

  1. Make consequences go on forever, sorry it’s just too much of a hassle to remember someone has no recess for a week plus most of the time they will forget why they are being punished that weakens its effect.

 

  1. Not use proximity, there were so many times I have heard teachers who state that they had no idea something is going on in their room. If you are walking around while you are teaching you nip a lot of issues in the bud before they happen.  No one is going to see everything but you do not want that to be a staple in your classroom because kids talk and it will not be long before your class is known as that class!

 

  1. Hold grudges, remember they are kids and don’t think before they act so don’t continue punishing a student for one infraction.

 

  1. Not reward positive behavior, I probably should have put this first but if you do not recognize the students who are following your procedures and rules they will stop following them because they believe that is the best way to get your attention.

 

  1. Be standoffish, I already wrote a post about this but you want to have a relationship with your students and be approachable. It will help your class run smoother because they want to follow your rules and procedures because they like you.

 

  1. Not have a classroom management system in place, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN!!! See what your school uses but your class is your island and you need to have something in place to ensure things run as smooth as possible.

 

Please share some things new teachers may want to avoid, I look forward to hearing from some veterans.

Why I changed How I do my Vocabulary Instruction in the Classroom

Why I changed my vocabulary instruction

 

Well everyone the struggle is real! What struggle, you say the reading struggle.  I have taught every subject in upper elementary and when a student struggles, no matter what subject, it all comes down to reading comprehension. And after working with classes full of struggling readers, yes whole classes, I was able to understand a little bit better on what was some root causes of their struggle.  VOCABULARY!!!  I noticed the biggest obstacles was that in adequate vocabulary hindered my student’s comprehension.  I found that many students could say the words and may even read fluently (shockingly) however, they had no idea what a lot of the words meant.  That is when I realized that my vocabulary instruction was lacking.  So I made a point to change my instruction.

 

I still did not feel it was adequate and done in the proper order.  In my district they want us to do a balanced literacy structure in our classes which I definitely wanted to start but my students had no background knowledge with word parts or decoding skills.  I began with teaching prefixes, suffixes, and affixes.  Being able to break apart words was so important, when my student started decoding the words by breaking them up they felt so accomplished.  They had those aha moments when reading.  Another major part was that this knowledge helped them with context clues. If you give the students the skills to figure out words as they read, they feel empowered. This also helped when teaching dictionary skills which is quite important because there are so many multiple meaning words in our language that that may have to be another post alone LOL.

 

So the gist is if you want to improve students reading skills improve their vocabulary skills. Many of these ideas are actually part of our curriculum but they are more of a spiraled instruction versus explicit instruction.  However, my point is there has to be explicit instruction if you want to improve vocabulary.

 

Well, how do you explicitly teach vocabulary?  Most curriculum’s give you the vocabulary you need to teach with whatever story, text, and/or content you teach, the thing you have to remember is to explicit teach it versus glossing over it as part of your lesson.   Here is a routine for teaching vocabulary:

Vocabulary Instruction

 

Before Reading Routine:

  1. Have students say the word
    1. Teacher says the word and students repeat it (echo)
    2. Show the word
    3. Teacher says the word and students repeat it (echo)
  2. Provide a definition (kid-friendly)
    1. Teacher provides kid-friendly definition and the students repeat it
    2. Use the word in a sentence
    3. Use a picture (teacher made/found)
  3. Have students discuss what is known about the word
    1. Tell students to think about the word “What do you already know about the word?” Pause
    2. Turn and tell your partner one idea about the word. “Be ready to share with the whole group”
  4. Provide examples and nonexamples of the word. Provide more than one!
    1. Example (thumbs up)
    2. Nonexamples (thumbs down)

 

After Reading Routine:

  1. Engage in deep processing activities by asking questions, using graphic organizers, or having students act out the word.
  • Semantic map
  • Word Web
  • Etc.
  1. Scaffold students to create powerful sentences with the new word
    1. Have students work in partners to create sentences using posted sentence starters