Sunday, October 28, 2012

GLAD to see a Common Core Strategy Return

How many of you are familiar with GLAD strategies?  GLAD stands for Guided Language Acquisition Design in case you have never heard of this. These are being used again in our district as part of of our lesson designs when building Common Core units. Why is this such a big deal. It works!
Teachers often put these pictorials on large sheets of white butcher paper and use a projector to lightly trace the image with a pencil. This is then put up in the classroom and created in front of the students using markers while you are talking about what is being created. This might be the only time my students are quiet. This process fascinates them. Now to make this more dramatic I use scrapbooking chalk to add the color quickly and easily but I am asking them for their input..."Hummm I need to make this an ocean  so what color should I use?"  The first day might just be the map but as I teach them about the journey the Pilgrims took on the Mayflower I am adding labels. This can be done right on the paper but I have mine color coded and on velcro so it can be more interactive. Notice that the Mayflower is on a separate stick that the children can move across the ocean to show the path they took.  I have have students come up and add pieces as they become more familiar with the story. Make them think. When the Pilgrims got to America what do you thing they made their houses out of? There were lots of trees in the forest. Who wants to put some of these on my pictorial? Where did they find food? Do careful questioning based on the story you have read and you are using a non fiction piece of text to build their understanding and they are putting evidence on this picture to support their comprehension. Our curriculum specialist came up with this idea and I loved it! The labels help to build academic vocabulary. Clap out the syllables and pay attention to beginning sounds. Students can add their own pictures to this unit as you move forward and it stays up while you are teaching about an important American holiday. What do you think about this?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hey, What's The Big Idea?

So I have been busy for the last few weeks getting ready to roll out some CC units for our second and third grade teachers. Not an easy task for an old kindergarten teacher. The big buzz is learning how to backward plan when doing your unit lesson designs. Teachers need a true understanding of some new terms. The Big Idea is a statement that crosses disciplines and allows students to have a deeper understanding of the content being taught. They need to be able to apply this to their own lives. Wow! That changes the game big time and will be far more demanding for teachers to develop. Essential questions lead students to the Big Idea as they learn the content of the unit of study. Teachers will help students to formulate answers to essential questions as they read both fiction and non fiction and hold collaborative discussions. That was a mouthful. How will this look in kindergarten? I am moving on to that next. We need to keep Big Idea and Essential questions in kid friendly language. Collaboration is a huge piece of  Common Core and our kids will need practice with this over time. 
I made this Big Idea statement on 81/2" X 14" paper and gave them essential questions with nice backgrounds to make this a bit more exciting. It will be fun to create these for each unit so teachers can put them up in their room and refer back to them as needed...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Sparkle Has Arrived

So my life is all about Common Core and I have created four little emergent readers for this time of the year that your students should enjoy. No matter what, I am sure they will all like the Halloween one the best since our students love to dress up in costumes.  I have some non fiction readers that are science based and a fire safety reader has also been included. Anything missing? I hope not. Need some sparkle after all the testing and progress reports? Doesn't that seems to rear its ugly head five seconds after school has started? If you are interested they will be available in my store at Teachers Pay Teachers and I will try to get them up soon at Teachers Notebook. Have a great week of teaching!
Who is doing backward planning and is using Big Ideas and Essential Questions? I have some great ideas for that spinning  around in my head. We are hitting that hard right now!