Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Transitions between activities

I have had several interesting conversations with some teachers in
the last few weeks about how they have children in their classes
having difficulty with transitions. The children either don't want to
leave the activity they are currently engaged in or it becomes a power
struggle with the child wanting to choose what activity to do next.
This leads to frustration on both sides; the teacher and the student.
So here are some things to consider: One, think about using a picture
schedule. This is particularly helpful with children who may not be
reading yet or children who are very visual in nature. Keep the
schedule at child eye level. You would be surprised how many times I
have entered a classroom only to see the picture schedule located way
up on a wall out of the children's reach. Review the schedule with
the children throughout the day to help them see what will be coming
up in their day.
Two, give a five minute warning prior to the transition. I have even
used timers with countdown areas on the clock for children to see the
time elapsing and then used the picture from our picture schedule to
alert the children of the transition that is coming up. That way
children can "gear up" for the change in the routine.
Three, make sure to give simple but clear directions about the
transition. Remember the saying KISS? (Keep It Simple Stupid) It is
the same theory really. Some children have difficulty with multi-step
directions. It isn't that they are upset about the transition, it is
that they don't understand the directions you just gave to them. So
give directions in a simple format and with some children consider
restating the directions to ensure their success.
Those are just three suggestions for helping your transition from one
activity to another in the classroom. There are many others out
there. What have you used with success? Please share in the comments

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Strategies Students Use While Reading

Hello to everyone!  We are so sorry for the time lapse in writing.  As  many of you know, getting school started can be a time consuming process!  But now things have settled down and we can go back to our weekly postings.  
We have received questions from classroom teachers asking," What are some strategies that students can use while they are reading?".  There are several strategies that students can use while reading.  One strategy is for the student to adjust their reading rate.  The student can adjust their reading rate for the purposes of skimming, reading for pleasure, or reading to recall information.
Another strategy is for a student to predict or confirm information.  They can support their predictions with the text.  Students can also use prior knowledge to confirm information while they are reading. Readers can also raise questions while they are reading.  The student knows that the text may not answer all of the questions.
Students can reread text.  They reread the text to improve recall, revisit favorite parts, and/or to understand confusing parts. Another strategy students can use while reading is to self-correct.  The student knows when a word or phrase doesn't make sense and makes the correction in the reading without help.  
Finally, students can monitor their own understanding.  They can identify parts of a text that are or aren't understood and ask for help when needed.   These are just some of the many strategies that students can use while they are reading.  What are some strategies you have taught your students?