Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One of my responsibilities as Academic Coach is to model lessons. So this year, once a month in a weekly content area meeting, I plan to model one of the literacy strategies as outlined in the book Power Tools for Adolescent Learners. Teachers will then be responsible for incorporating this strategy in their classroom and then completing a reflections sheet on what they liked/disliked about the strategy and sharing this with their colleagues at our weekly content area meeting.

I had the opportunity to observe one of these literacy strategies being used by a colleague in a world geography class. It was amazing to see how eighth graders could get so engrossed in a picture book.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Making Connections and Posing Questions in Civics

In Civics, we use a lot of primary source readings. I have found in the past that it is sometimes difficult and challenging for the students to fully comprehend what they are reading. So far this year I have focused on making connections and having students pose questions as they read the material. Initially, I incorporated the reading of a picture book and walked them through how to make connections to self, other text, and the world. Then presented the students with a more difficult reading in which they were to make connections back to the picture book. I found that it did make it easier for the students to comprehend the second reading when they could make connections back to the picture book. Initially it took some time for students to become acquainted with this new strategy. But now, students use it consistently. This strategy along with the questions that are posed by the students have been very enlightening not only for the students, but for me as well. Students are more involved with the reading and it has greatly enriched our classroom discussions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Literacy Lesson Plan

I have really enjoyed using the literacy strategies that were taught at the conference in my Physical science class. It's amazing how 8th grade students enjoy picture books and literature being read to them.

I have implemented strategies such as: Somebody Wanted But So, graphic organizers, foldables and Marginalia. I can truly see a difference in my students interest and comprehension of the lessons being taught in class.

I plan to continue using these strategies as well as others with my students and share them with my team members during our planning time.


Monday, October 12, 2009


At Blair Middle School five power strategies are in place to ensure the success of all students. With this teachers are to provide opportunities for students to read and write in all classes, connect learning to their real lives, demonstrate higher level thinking skills when problem solving, justify their answers, and analyze and track their own data to measure learning and growth.

As I diligently work to ensure that I provide these opportunities, I've found strategies from the Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy helpful. In my efforts to provide opportunities for my students to read and write in all classes and to connect to their real lives, with the assistance of our building's gifted education specialist, Lynne Barrett, I've used the RAFT writing technique as the format for an Earth's Biome project. This is strategy 5.7 in the text.


Power Tools Workshops for Your Colleagues

The workshop that inspired this blog and led to these postings is being offered November 16-17, 2009 in Williamsburg, VA. The blog authors have already attended and gained much from their time with the Dynamic Duo of Jan Rozzelle and Carol Scearce. Consider registering for the workshop, Power Tools in Adolescent Literacy.

If you have already been to the workshop, share the "best" aspect of the workshop with others in this blog and encourage others to attend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Literacy Lesson-Accomplished!!!

Hello All,
Just wanted to let you all know that I did implement my Literacy Lesson on Matter last Thursday and Friday. It went great!

We focused on the Mag 7 (Asking Questions). I read a poem from the picture book Science Verse entitled, What's the Matter? and the kids loved it. We went through and form questions about each one of the stanzas and then I gave them a graphic organizer called Main Idea/Detail Chart in which they took notes on about Matter and its states. Upon completion of our notetaking on Matter, we then went back to our poem and answered the questions that they formed.

The lesson ended up with the students creating a 3 flap foldable on Matter's States-Solids, Liquids, and Gases while listening to the song Shake, Rattle and Roll on an iPod download. The song Shake, Rattle, and Roll help the kids to remember what the particle movement was like within a solid, liquid, or gas.

It was definitely an experience and I know my kids got much more understanding from using the strategy of Asking Questions!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Technology Power Tools for Literacy

I was very excited about using the new strategies that I learned at the conference in my technology class. I was truly amaze by my students, the strategies we learned really work in the class room. The conference and new strategies energized me for a new school year.