Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Wow! I am loving these newly published picture books and a freebie!!!

I am linking up with Em from Curious Firsties to share my Wow! for the week. Click on the image above to check out Em's blog and other Wow! moments from other bloggers.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you will know I have an addiction for picture books.  I have a couple of friends from Scholastic who feed that addiction for me, and I am very thankful for it.  A big disclaimer - I do not profit from reviewing their books and only review the ones that "speak to me"...if you get my drift :)

I am very excited to share some of these with you today and to link up with Emily at Curious Firsties for my WOW moment this week :)

1.  "Eliot Midnight Superhero" by Anne Cottringer.

This is such a cool story.  It could tie in with a unit of study on superheroes or just be enjoyed on its own.  Eliot is a quiet boy by day, who likes to read and play with his toys, but at night, Eliot is transformed into a superhero!  Read some ideas for sharing this text here.  I just love the illustrations in this book, by Alex T. Smith.  The illustration of Eliot himself, is just adorable. There are lots of hidden "extra messages" in the illustrations on each page.  

This picture book is wonderful for exploring adventure and imagination and the problem/solution top level structure.  It would also be a terrific mentor text to use for exploring creative vocabulary and as a model for the children's own writing of a narrative adventure.  I am sure all children at some stage have dreamed of being superheroes and saving the world, so this is sure to be a real hit.

The title of this newly released picture book reminded me of "Finding Nemo" - "fish are friends, not food" and the cover illustration has a shark with big fangs (but looking not too scary with a little fish.  The paperback version has only been released this month (January 2014). Before reading this book, I am already making a text-to-text connection with "Finding Nemo", so let's read it and find out...Actually, let's watch the book trailer first as an advanced organiser....I am noticing that Nugget is a minnow and Fang is a shark and the use of tense in the book trailer, that they "were best friends", that's making me think that they may not be best friends anymore!
Oh, this is hilarious and the book trailer gives you a sense that this will be a story about friendships, perhaps fear and the effects of learning...reminds me a bit of the adult literacy students I used to teach and how their families sometimes became threatened by their new learning and how it sometimes changed relationships...I am keen to read it now!!!  So...here goes...

My first thought...the illustrations are bright and adorable.  As I am reading, I am thinking this would be a useful text for teaching:

Time (temporal) sequencing:  On Monday...that afternoon...On Tuesday...On Wednesday...
Wit/puns:  "Have you lost your gills?"; "Oh my algae"; "Holy mackerel!"...

Ah, now I am making a connection to "Finding Nemo" again, when the net comes down and catches the minnows.  Great text for problem/solution too!  I am loving it - it is sure to be a hit!  

3.  My third share is a set of companion texts that fit together so nicely - just like a jigsaw puzzle!

You can view Oliver Jeffers reading "Stuck" on YouTube here.  What a terrific story for mapping a series of events (story mapping)...but does anyone ever stop to question how Floyd could unattach the kitchen sink or front door to throw up in the tree?  Or if he would be capable of throwing the family car, a big boat, the house across the street or a lighthouse up into the tree? And where did the orangutan, rhinoceros and whale come from?...And...what did Floyd forget? Terrific, whimsical illustrations are sure to delight readers.

A free matching activity for "Stuck" is available here.  Comprehension questions and activities can be found here.
"The Gobbling Tree" by Mark Carthew is an excellent companion text to "Stuck" and it has just been released (January 2014) in paperback form.  You can view an animated version of "The Gobbling Tree" here read by the author.  Again, a terrific text for problem/solution, sequencing events in the story (story mapping), as well as rhyming words and onomatopoeia.  An activity for "The Gobbling Tree" can be found here and free teaching notes can be found here.

"Stuck" and "The Gobbling Tree" are crying out for a compare/contrast activity - maybe a Venn Diagram?  Now there's a plan...okay...you can download a freebie by clicking on the image below...

Please follow my blog (using the links in the right hand comment) to accept this giveaway.

This reminds me of another text by David Drew, "The Cat on the Chimney" which is part of the Realization technology series.  You can preview it here.  Students need to work out how to get Jitters the cat down from the chimney using certain equipment - great for integrating technology and problem solving.  What's exciting is that all three of these authors - Oliver Jeffers, Mark Carthew and David Drew - are all Australians, so that's another thing in common with these three texts. 
"The Boy and the Airplane" by Mark Pett (2013) is a wordless picture book about a boy who loses his airplane and his inventive solution for getting his toy airplane down from the roof.  It would make another terrific companion text along with the other titles above.  Students could write their own narrative to accompany the illustrations in this wordless picture book, or they could invent their own solutions for retrieving the airplane from the roof.

This has been such a Wow! week for me discovering these newly published picture books and linking them to some of my past favourites.

You can read about some of these and other new releases (with book reviews) here.

How do I love children's books?  Let me count the ways :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Reciprocal Teaching in English and Mathematics

I just love Reciprocal Teaching in both English (reading groups) and for Maths problem solving. I love instructional approaches that support higher order thinking, engagement and dialogue.

Reciprocal Teaching was developed by Palinscar & Brown and an evidence-based approach to improving reading comprehension through small group discussions. Traditionally, Reciprocal Teaching is based on four reading strategies - predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising (summarizing).  

I have extended this to include the active comprehension strategies (e.g. connecting, inferring, visualising/visualizing etc) with ten role cards for reading groups and eight for Math problem solving groups.  The set for reading groups includes the following roles: Orientating, Predicting, Reading, Clarifying, Questioning, Visualizing, Summarizing, Connecting, Inferring and Giving Feedback.  The set for Reciprocal Teaching in Mathematics includes these roles: Predicting, Clarifying, Questioning, Visualizing, Connecting,  Calculating, Summarizing, and Giving Feedback. Both U.S. and Australian spelling are included in each set.  I am currently creating interactive notebook sets for each approach as well.

You can read my published research about this approach here or a review of the Reciprocal Teaching research here.  Just today I updated my RT in Math cards to include mini graphic organisers for small group problem solving.  I updated the reading ones last week as well.  Click on the images below to find out more.

" I like the way the information is in an easily read format that they can hold themselves and pair & share. Having the maths comprehension prompts really encourages independent thinking and problem solving. A great idea. I also have the one for the reading group that will compliment what I already do in my guided reading groups." Year 3/4 teacher, Australia.

Check out my latest baby - RT and Math interactive notebook pages - hot off the press!!!  Click on the image below to preview this resource.

"Ohhh, I really like this. It is going to make a fantastic addition to our math notebooks. I love making the students accountable for their own learning, so one of my favorite things is that you ask them to rate themselves as a group." 
Year 5 teacher, U.S.A. 

A friend in the States just sent me these photos of the cards and interactive notebook pages in action:


And this is what her students had to say about the RT cards:
The feedback I received from my kiddos was pretty unanimous. They all REALLY loved the Reciprocal Teaching cards, because they felt as if they each had an equal "voice" when in their groups. They also liked the question stems on the role cards and one student mentioned that it led him to think of other questions!
Year 5 teacher, Las Vegas.

This is the new set for English (reading groups) with mini graphic organisers:


"I just looked at the new reading ones too. Super cute. I really like that you've added the graphic organizers to both."  Year 5 teacher, U.S.A.

"These cards are wonderful. They explicitly invite students to use a rich and meaningful vocabulary when discussing texts and understanding the various comprehension strategies. These cards engage and empower students."
Year 5 teacher, Australia

"I have the candy version of these cards and I love them. We use them at least once a week in our classroom when we are doing our group work. I love it assigns roles to the students with easy to follow directions and questions. It helps guide them to ensure that everyone in the group has a chance for interaction and discussion. Even though I laminated mine, they're becoming so beat up from being used so often. I would love the new set because it looks like it would take a lot less ink print too!"  Year 5 teacher, U.S.A.

"I have found a lot of students have trouble especially with inferring and I believe your cards could help with a more visual aspect to learning."  Year 5 teacher, Australia

"I especially love these cards. Term 4 of last year I did reading rotations with my 3/4's around a poem and inferring. These cards would have been excellent prompts to help the students to predict what was happening in the poem, look for meanings of words they didn't quite understand/ know. They would have also helped when they were looking for inferences in the poem and asking questions of the poem itself. I like how the cards are made up and could be handed to different groups for different activities on the same poem or different members of the same group. I also like the activity sheets that are done up to go with each card - this will help students to see what is expected of them. Thanks Kylie for such a great resource." Australian teacher. 

I am really proud of these new versions.  My previous version is my best selling resource in my TPT store.  I don't normally do product posts, but I am so excited by these updated versions, I just wanted to share :)

I will be posting more about the RT approach in the coming weeks.  

Please comment below if you have used RT in your classroom and if you have had success with this approach.  I will be sharing links to freebies to support this approach in the near future.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The 4H reading strategy - an innovation on QAR + a freebie :)

I just love the 4H reading strategy and have found it is much easier for students, than the language of Question, Answer, Relationships (QAR) by Taffy Raphael.  

The 4H strategy is really simple - is the answer literal, right here in the text? Is the answer hidden, do I need to think and search? Is the answer my own opinion or based on my past experience; so is it in my head?  Or, is the answer how I feel and therefore in my heart?

The Here, Hidden, Head and Heart (4Hs) strategy is an adaption of Question Answer Relationships - QAR (Taffy Raphael) and Three Level Guides.  The questions support close reading of texts and multiple re-readings. 

I have created several resources (including freebies) using the 4H strategy that you can check out in my TPT store.   There is also a set of free bookmarks for the 4H strategy that you can download from my store.  

Click on the images below to find out more...

I hope you have as much success as I have using the 4H strategy with your students :)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Launch of the Adventures in Literacy Land Collaborative Blog!

It's finally here!  It's been over two months in the making, but today we announce the launch of our new collaborative literacy blog…9 pm tonight (Brisbane time)!

Twenty bloggers with a specific interest in literacy (reading specialists, reading coaches, literature teachers, etc.) have joined together in this effort.  I'm so excited to reveal the authors!
This group represents more than 250 years of teaching experience in the field of literacy.  We plan to share information on the best practices in literacy, keep you abreast of current trends, and provide you with excellent teaching resources.

Stop by Adventures in Literacy Land each day this week (starting at 9 pm tonight) to meet the authors of this blog and read their introductory posts.  Be sure to enter the Blog Launch Giveaway for a chance to win one of four $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificates.

EVERYONE who enters will win an exclusive prize pack.  Please join us on this new journey!

Note to self:  9 pm tonight (Brisbane time) - the launch begins!!!