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Using a Literary Genre Studies Unit to Explore African American History and Culture

Connecting various genres of literature to real life is a powerful way to introduce and discuss historical and current social events in the classroom. Narratives, biographies, stories, poetry and prose can all help students gain perspectives on the events, cultures and peoples that have shaped the past and continue to frame the discussions of tomorrow. Combining fiction and non-fiction texts in academic lessons gives educators a chance to teach about the purpose of and distinctions between information and fiction text – the differences and similarities. When teaching older students there is an opportunity to discuss how literature and information texts interact to form a more complete picture of a time and/or place.

February is Black History Month and Big Universe offers a variety of online texts to help students explore the rich history and culture of African Americans via a collection of stories about African Americans from three diverse literary genres!

Literature is a wonderful way to introduce and educate students about the history and contributions of African-Americans.

Biography

rosaparks  by Tonya Leslie       © 2008

ISBN: 9781600140884

Rosa Parks lived her life courageously. She refused to change bus seats because she was African-American. Children will discover the bravery of Rosa Parks during a time of racial segregation. Blastoff! Series

MLK    by Tonya Leslie

ISBN: 9781600140907

Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed about a day when people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This book introduces young readers to a man who fully believed in fairness. Blastoff! Series

priscillahollyhocks

byAnne Broyles (author), Anna Alter (illustrator) (illustrator)       © 2008

ISBN: 9781570916755

Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee famiily and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks whever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom.Includes an author’s note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.“Priscilla and the Hollyhocks tells a story too often ignored or overlooked ,Äî a story of how the west was not won but captured. Reading about Priscilla’s remarkable life makes all our hearts a bit warmer while filling our heads with a much-needed piece of American history.”,  Nikki Giovanni, poet

Folktales

highjohn  by Steve Sanfield (author)       © 1989

ISBN: 9780874837742

High John the Conqueror sometimes called simply High John or John was a slave trickster who always outwits Old Master. Much like Greek slave Aesop’s animal characters, High John was the subject of a series of subversive narratives, whose mission was to outsmart his oppressors. Tall tales of High John’s exploits flourished during slavery, but after emancipation they fell out of circulation and his antics were all but forgotten.

African-americanFolktales  by Richard & Judy Dockrey Young (authors)       © 1993

ISBN: 9780874833096

This collection of African-American folktales highlights the unbroken chain of a rich oral tradition. The stories share the richness and variety of a cultural heritage that has crossed the Atlantic, survived slavery, and triumphed over the ignorance of racism and bigotry

Contemporary Fiction

metalman  by Aaron Reynolds (author), Paul Hoppe (illustrator) (illustrator)       © 2008

ISBN: 9781580891516

Devon visits the Metal Man at his fiery workshop every day, despite the scorching heat of the city where he lives. At the Metal Man’s shop, sparks fly from his welding torch as he cuts and melts together old pieces of junk into works of art. Devon is fascinated by the Metal Man’s creations. Then one day, the Metal Man lets Devon put his own imagination to work.Aaron Reynolds’s urban voice and the gritty illustrations of Paul Hoppe bring an exciting beat and pulse to the story of a young boy discovering his own voice and vision in art with a kind mentor to lead the way.

hacker  by Leslie Mc Gill (author)       © 2014

ISBN: 9781612479583

Capital Central High School, or Cap Central as the students like to call it, is in the northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. Any urban school faces broad challenges, and Cap Central is no different. But some tight-knit juniors meet the difficulties head-on with courage, friendship, determination, and hard work. Keshawns life was about before and after. Before, Keshawn didnt have a computer. After, he helped his mom install software on their new computer. To monitor him. What a joke! It got him thinking. He could make money. So he offered his skills. Grades for cash. It was that simple. Only it wasnt. Then he realized Neecy was his way out. She needed good grades. But she wanted to earn them. Keshawn knew she would make it right. Fingers crossed. Reading Level: 3.5. Interest Level: Young Adult.

Highschoolhigh  by Shannon Freeman (author)       © 2013

ISBN: 9781612476803

Port City High is the big leagues to incoming freshmen Brandi, Marisa, and Shane. They are on a high school high and loving it. But high school closes as many doors as it opens. Will these besties stay tight or get swallowed up by Port City High?

 

Connecting To The Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards clearly outline what is expected of students at each grade level, for students in the United States. The Common Core State Standards can be found at www.corestandards.org

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.9: Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

 

Other Resources

African-American Children’s Stories and Songs http://www.howstuffworks.com/childrens-stories6.htm

Black History Month for Kids – University of Illinois Extension  http://urbanext.illinois.edu/bhm/historyforkids.html

Black History Month: Resources Aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CT) http://www.cea.org/commoncore/newsletters/2014/Black%20History%20Month%20CCSS%20-%20January%20Newsletter.pdf

Kicking Off I Love To Read Month

Screen shot 2014-08-17 at 7.37.52 PMCelebrate I Love To Read Month

February is I Love To Read month!  All month long students can learn, read and write about various topics.  By collaborating with other teachers, you can generate a calendar like the one below.  Educators and schools can download the I Love To Read calendar.

Sample Activities

  • Read to and with family/friends.
  • Visit the library
  • Read various literary genres
  • Writing and illustrating their own books (use Big Universe writing module at www.biguniverse.com)
  • Invite adult readers to read to a class
  • Kids all time favorite- dressing up to celebrate during I love to Read Week (usually the week of Valentine’s Day)
  • Use engaging resources found on Big Universe

I Love To Read Resources

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 6.51.09 PMSunshine On My Shoulders

by John Denver (author), Christopher Canyon (illustrator)       © 2003   ISBN: 9781584691419
From the Publisher:This heartwarming book—an adaptation of one of John Denver’s best-loved songs—is a lovely reminder of the good, pure things in life. “Sunshine On My Shoulders” celebrates friendship, sunshine and simple joy. Children and adults alike will love Christopher Canyon’s whimsical and humorous illustrations, that capture the innocence of childhood. This is one of a series of picture book adaptations of John Denver’s songs that reflect the gift of friendship and nature.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 6.52.45 PMBee My Valentine

by Miriam Cohen (author), Ronald Himler (illustrator)       © 2009   ISBN: 9781595723864
From the publisher: Although the children are told to send a card to everyone in their class, George gets fewer cards than everyone else. But his classmates quickly rally round and successfully cheer him up.

Making the Connection to the Common Core

(ELA Standards for 3rd Grade)

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.8
(RL.3.8 not applicable to literature)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.9
Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Close Reading Helps Students To Deepen Their Understanding Of The Text

Person holding a stack of booksWHAT IS CLOSE READING?

Close reading is synonymous with it’s name. It is closely reading. In more specific detail, it is teaching students to read a text and to analyze the text. Close reading requires students to interact with text and reread it. It is like reading with a magnifying glass. Close reading helps to develop a better understanding of the text for readers. Teachers can use the magnifying glass analogy with close reading to remind students to look and read closely. Primary students can pretend to use a magnifying glass to read closely, when they first learn this practice. Teachers can even have students make large magnifying glasses with cardstock paper and use these to practice, closely reading.

Introducing Close Reading To Students

First Read-Read For Information

  • What is the text trying to communicate?
  • What is the main idea?
  • Do you have any questions about the text?
  • What genre is the text?

Second Read-Reread

  • Encourage readers to reread to find new information
  • What is the purpose of the text?
  • Note new words and phrases in the text
  • Use vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in the text
  • Find the answers to text-dependent questions

Third Read-Deepen Understanding

  • What can you infer from the text?
  • What evidence can the reader cite from the text?
  • Make connections with the text to deepen understanding (text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-the-world)
  • Verify the answers to text-dependent questions

Why Is Close Reading Important?

Close reading gives readers the opportunity to interpret difficult text passages. Students may even read the text at a slower rate to examine the text so that they can better understand it. Readers can highlight important points in the text with a highlighting marker or a light colored crayon.

  • There is a focus on text-based answers that require students to carefully read and examine the text. Using the Common Core State Standards we teach students to closely read to understand complex text.
  • Students are taught to answer text-dependent questions. In close reading, students are required to think about the text and understand what they are reading. When teachers teach close reading, they give students skills that help students comprehend text throughout their lifetime.

Important Points About Close Reading

  • Students read a text passage. They may then reread it, and use the close reading technique to better understand it.
  • We want students to use close reading whenever they encounter complex text.
  • Teacher and parents can help students by teaching them to develop a habit of close reading.
  • Close Reading is needed in society today. Students need to foster habits of close reading to develop automaticity in reading comprehension.
  • Close reading is a necessary skill. People need the ability to read closely in order to understand complex text. In all areas of life, adults and children need to closely examine text. People need to closely read driving directions. Students need to read and reread the test directions and questions.

The Common Core State Standards and Close Reading

  • There is a focus on text-based answers that require students to carefully read and examine the text. Using the Common Core State Standards CCSS,  we teach students to use closely read to understand complex text.
  • Students are taught to answer text-dependent questions. In close reading, students are required to think about the text and understand what they are reading. When teachers teach close reading they give students skills that help students comprehend text throughout their lifetime.

This is an example of an informational text that students could read. Students can closely read the text and then answer text-dependent questions.

thumbTsunamis

by Jennifer Swanson (author)       © 2014
ISBN: 9781624015069

Life on Earth is never boring. What actually happens when Earth unleashes its fury? This title gives you an up-close look at the power of our planet. With well-researched, clearly written informational text, primary sources with accompanying questions, charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, and maps, multiple prompts, and more, you’ll know all you need to know about tsunamis! Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Core Library is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

Find this book at www.biguniverse.com

Online Books and Instructional Guides

nonfiction books

Educators and parents can utilize these helpful teacher’s guides to help with planning instructional lessons. These content-rich planning guides include engaging ideas to assist with instruction in close reading. Online books offer a great opportunity to enrich student’s vocabulary and content knowledge. Big Universe offers hundreds of titles in many different languages on thousands of topics. Find these informational and engaging texts at www.biguniverse.com.

thumbCay, The Reading Guide

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author)       © 2006
ISBN: 9781602915176

Struggling readers frequently lack basic reading skills and are not equipped with the prior knowledge and reading strategies to thoroughly engage in the classroom literature experience. Give your students the background and support they need to understand and enjoy literature. With these reading guides, your students will practice reading comprehension skills, sharpen their vocabulary, and learn to identify literary elements. Paperback books range in reading level from 4 to 10. Reproducible.

freeclipart appleConnecting To The Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards clearly outline what is expected of students at each grade level, for students in the United States. The Common Core State Standards can be found at www.corestandards.org/

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

      CRAFT AND STRUCTURE

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.5 Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

      INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND IDEAS

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.8 Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.9 Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

      RANGE OF READING AND LEVEL OF TEXT COMPLEXITY

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

 

 

Penguin Unit: Cool Resources

Screen shot 2014-08-17 at 7.37.52 PM

Winter is a great time to teach students of all ages about cold weather animals. Kids love to learn about these cool animals. Using these materials, educators can teach beginning research skills while meeting ELA standards. Here are some excellent resources for whole group instruction or independent learning.

Resources

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.21.51 PMPenguins

by Anne Wendorff       © 2009   ISBN: 9781600142062

From the publisher: Did you know that penguins toboggan? They sometimes travel by sliding over ice on their stomachs. Beginning readers will discover the physical characteristics of penguins and learn how they move in water and on land. Blastoff! Series

You can Check their understanding

Using and glossary and table of contents

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.20.45 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.19.08 PM

Through classroom research projects you can begin to introduce the big concept of text features. Map reading skills is an important skill covered while researching these animals.  Where are they located?

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.23.05 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.26.24 PMPenguin Chicks

by Ruth Owen (author)       © 2013

ISBN: 9781617726330

From the publisher: Through the bitter Antarctic winter, a father emperor penguin nurtures and broods a large egg while his partner is out at sea, feeding. When the chick hatches, mom returns from the ocean to meet her new baby for the first time and bring it a nourishing meal of regurgitated fish. So begins the life of one of the most fascinating birds on Earth! In Penguin Chicks, readers will learn the details of how these baby birds grow up in a penguin nursery among thousands of other chicks. Each little penguin grows bigger and bigger until the day when its parents no longer arrive with a meal. Then the chick must trek to the freezing ocean to look for fish and begin its adult life. The colorful interior spreads and gorgeous photos of penguin chicks are sure to delight emergent readers. Penguin Chicks is part of Bearports Water Babies series.

Include Fiction, too!  This will allow your students to compare the differences between fiction and nonfiction.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.29.05 PMThe Penguin Lady

by Carol A. Cole (author), Sherry Rogers (illustrator)       © 2012

ISBN: 9781607185451

From the publisher: Penelope Parker lives with penguins! Short ones, tall ones; young and old—the penguins are from all over the Southern Hemisphere including some that live near the equator! Do the penguin antics prove too much for her to handle? Children count and then compare and contrast ten different penguin species as they learn geography.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.31.16 PMHomesick Penguin

by Ken Bowser (author), Ken Bowser (illustrator)       © 2014

ISBN: 9781939656032

From the publisher: Penguin likes to visit his friend Duck. But he begins to miss some of the things at home. How can Duck cheer up his homesick friend? Concept: Empathy/Caring for others. Book features: Big Words and Big Questions; original illustrations.

Connection with Common Core

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.2 — Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.7 — Participate in shared research and writing projects

Teaching Academic Vocabulary

thumbVOCABULARY AND THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS

Why learn new vocabulary? Vocabulary makes reading and writing exciting! Words make things come alive. Words help readers to visualize things and create a picture in their mind of what they are reading. Long ago, storytellers told stories and the audience visualized what was happening. Words are powerful.

In addition, vocabulary acquisition is part of the national Common Core Standards. The Common Core Standards provide a consistent and clear understanding of what students are expected to learn in English Language Arts. This helps teachers, parents and guardians know what they need to teach children. The Common Core Vocabulary Standards focus on words and phrases, and their relationships.

Refer to the Common Core website, www.corestandards.org for a complete list of standards for all grade levels K-12.

Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4a Use context (e.g., cause/effect relationships and comparisons in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4b Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4c Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

Strategies To Increase Student’s Academic Vocabulary

1. Be Aware of Words

Teach students to pay attention to new words. Students can become word detectives. They can use a highlighter or crayon to highlight or circle the word. Show them how to look it up in the dictionary and see what it means. Go to a reference tool (a dictionary, thesaurus, online dictionary, etc.) to find the definition. Then further expand their knowledge by using the word in a sentence or finding the word in a sentence of a book they are reading. Teach them to write the word down in their student notes or on flashcards.

2. Practice…Practice…Practice

Try to practice the word at least five to seven times in the next few days with the child. This helps the brain to remember the word for the long term.

Practice Words By:

• Looking them up in the dictionary

• Finding examples of words in written text

• Using the word in conversation

• Finding the word in a newspaper or magazine. Cut it out and make a collage.

Make a word book and create a new page for each word. Each page should contain:

  • a word
  • the definition
  • an example of how the word is used in written text
  • a synonym for the word
  • a visual representation of the word ( a picture, symbol or graphic)

3. Read a Large Variety of Books

Reading is an important step in increasing vocabulary knowledge. Students should read a wide variety of materials and genres. Reading books online and keeping a log of the books they have read helps to motivate students to read. Students can also add books to their bookshelf for others to see. Big Universe Learning, www.biguniverse.com offers thousands of books online in a variety of genres. Students can even read books from Big Universe Learning on a cell phone as well as a computer or tablet!

4. Use a Dictionary or Reference Tool

Dictionaries are readily available in today’s society. A small portable dictionary is a helpful tool. Online dictionaries are handy and can often be accessed from a cell phone.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4c Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

5. Learn Greek and Latin Roots

Expand the child’s vocabulary by teaching Greek and Latin roots. Many words in the English Language are made up of word parts from other languages. called roots. Greek and Latin roots are the most common. A root helps to figure out the meaning of a word. An example of this is judgment.
Root        Meaning        Example

Jud           judge              judgment

ECCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4b Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis).

6. Study and Review Words Regularly

Review the vocabulary that students have learned. Encourage students to practice the words that they have learned with their classmates, friends and/or family. Try to teach students at least one new vocabulary word per day. Record the word on a calendar so that they can see their progress.

Online Books That Help With Vocabulary Acquisition

nonfiction books

Educators and parents can utilize these helpful teacher’s guides to assist with planning. These books offer a great opportunity to enrich student’s vocabulary and content knowledge. Big Universe offers hundreds of titles in many different languages on thousands of topics. Find these informational and engaging texts at www.biguniverse.com

 

 

thumbBuilding Vocabulary Skills and Strategies Level 5

by Joanne Suter (author)       © 2010
ISBN: 9781602911246

Here’s a great vocabulary program that is equally appropriate for younger students working at grade level and older students who have “forgotten” or never mastered the basics. The friendly look and tone of this series belies the comprehensive sweep of the instructional sequence. Every topic—from primary level phonics to the specialized terminology of essay tests—is developed “from the ground up.” Includes answer key, 144-pages.

 

thumb-1Lifeskills Vocabulary 1 Reproducible Book with CD

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author)       © 2013
ISBN: 9781612476711

With these workbooks you can teach real life words and skills that students can practice immediately. Furthermore, while teaching about employment forms and money management students are learning essential critical thinking, writing, and reading comprehension skills. Words are learned in context through a variety of high-interest activities including: safety signs and symbols, finding a job, personal health, cooking, smart shopping, legal documents, making a budget, and more. The self-directed activities require virtually no preparation and can be completed in one class period. Topics Include: Safety Signs and Symbols, Finding a Job, Employment Forms and Manuals, Personal Health Care, Government and Law, Media and Communication, and more…

 

freeclipart appleConnecting To The Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards clearly outline what is expected of students at each grade level, for students in the United States. The Common Core State Standards can be found at www.corestandards.org/

The Common Core standards for grades K-5  are clearly outlined below.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4.A
Use context (e.g., cause/effect relationships and comparisons in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4.B
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4.C
Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.A
Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.B
Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.C
Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4.A
Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4.B
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4.C
Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.A
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.B
Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.C
Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.A
Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.B
Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.C
Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., company, companion).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.D
Use glossaries or beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5.A
Distinguish the literal and nonliteral meanings of words and phrases in context (e.g.,take steps).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5.B
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe people who are friendly or helpful).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5.C
Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believed, suspected, heard, wondered).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).

Researched Based Ways To Practice Fluency In The Classroom

BUILDING FLUENCY

Pupils In Class Using Digital Tablet With Teacher

Good readers are fluent readers. Fluency is the ability to read text accurately, quickly, and automatically. This is known as automaticity. Fluent readers should also be able to read the text with proper expression, just as we speak.

Fluent readers exhibit some or all of the following characteristics. Fluent readers:

  • Read smoothly and easily
  • Pronounce words correctly
  • Pause at commas or periods
  • Read dialogue the way someone would speak aloud
  • Read sentences in chunks or phrases

Researched Based Strategies To Improve Fluency

1. Develop orthographic/phonological foundations (phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, phonics).
2. Increase vocabulary and oral language skills.
3. Explicitly teach high-frequency words and provide adequate practice.
4. Teach common word-parts and spelling patterns.
5. Teach decoding skills and provide adequate practice.
6. Provide students with appropriate texts to assist in building fluent reading.
7. Use guided oral repeated reading strategies for struggling readers.
8. Support, guide and encourage reading in multiple genres and text types.
9. Implement appropriate screening and progress monitoring assessments.
10. Instruct phrase reading and sentence reading.

STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE READING FLUENCY

Itasca Community Library

The following reading strategies help to improve students’ reading fluency. It is best to use all of the strategies when teaching children to read. Educators can use each type of reading at different times throughout the school day. Parents can use one strategy per day with their child to help build fluency.

Repeated Reading

In repeated reading, the child reads the text more than once. Repeated reading helps to develop fluency because the student reads the text multiple times, and becomes more fluent with the text. Teachers and parents should help the child with any errors or difficulties they encounter on each read of the text. This strategy helps students to gain confidence in reading and develop automaticity in reading. Parents can also practice repeated reading with their children. Children love to reread to books, especially when they are young.

Echo Reading

In echo reading, the teacher reads a phrase or sentence and the students repeat the phrase or sentence. Hence, the students are echoing the teacher. Poems are a good source of text to use when echo reading. The teacher would read one line of the poem and the students would echo the teacher by reading the same line back.

Choral Reading

Choral reading is reading aloud in unison. In a classroom setting, the teachers and the students read the same text passage together, aloud, at the same rate.

In the home, parents can choral read books with their children. Parents might announce, “It’s choral reading time!” Young children love to read books chorally with their families. Brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends can read books chorally with young children. It is fun to involve the entire family.

Timed Reading

Educators and parents can measure how many words students are reading correctly in one minute using the timed reading technique.

Procedures for Timed Reading:

  • The student reads a passage at their independent reading level
  • Two copies of the timed reading passage are needed. The teacher has a copy of the passage and the student has another copy of the passage.
  • A one-minute timer is needed. Many cell phones have timers. The teachers stops the reader at exactly one minute.
  • Use a pencil or pen to mark the last word read by the student when the one minute is up.
  • Each word that student read correctly is counted. The total number of words read correctly in one minute is the student’s score.

Mispronunciations, substitutions and omissions are counted as incorrect. In addition, if the student skips an entire line on a reading passage, each word on the line is counted as an error.

If the student had difficulty reading the word after three seconds, the teacher should give the student the word. The word should be counted as an error because the student was unable to read the word in three seconds or less.

Students can practice timed reading with a partner, a one minute timer, and a text passage that is at their independent reading level.

Partner Reading

In partner reading, the students take turns reading with a partner. One student is the reader and the other student in the listener. The students then reverse roles so that both students are able to read aloud to a partner.

Appreciation for Art and Artist

Art education is great way to engage your students!

 

By collaborating with other teachers, you can discover ways to integrate art into your curriculum. If you are timid about art education and don’t know where to start, try these resources to increase your background knowledge. Then introduce these topics with your students and have them incorporate these aspects into their projects.

Learn art basics with this series

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 11.52.36 AMWhat Is Texture?

by Stephanie Fitzgerald (author)       © 2011   ISBN: 9780778792345
Young artists will feel inspired as they explore texture in famous works of art. Readers will learn that objects can have many kinds of textures. They will also learn how objects of different textures can be used in art and how artists can create the illusion of texture on a flat surface.
Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.04.42 PM Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.04.26 PM

Explore drawing books.

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 11.55.11 AMExplore and Draw Horses

by Ann Becker       © 2010   ISBN: 9781606943533
Learn basic art techniques and interesting facts while drawing horses. Perfect for illustrated reports.
Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 11.55.26 AM

You can even have students learn about famous artists.

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 11.57.18 AMVincent van Gogh: Modern Artist

by Richard Bowen (author)       © 2014   ISBN: 9781422289785

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous and influential painters who ever lived. His work and the dramatic story of his life have captured the minds of people from around the world for more than a century, inspiring artists and art fans alike. Few artists have had the kind of impact on their art that Vincent van Gogh has had on modern painting. Learn the story of one of the most important artists of all time in Vincent van Gogh: Modern Artist.

Or even read art related stories.

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 11.58.46 AMArt’s Supplies

by Chris Tougas (author)       © 2008   ISBN: 9781551439228
In this delightful tale of the power of the imagination, Art’s supplies come to life in the studio, creating mayhem and magic — and art! Pastels, pencils and paints, crayons, brushes and markers, everything gets in on the act of creating a mess-terpiece of fun. Chris Tougas’ brilliant illustrations and clever text explore the essence of the creative process in a way that children will understand.

Solid Research in a Virtual World

Teaching children and teens to navigate the internet and other digital resources for information is an essential part of education in the 21st century. With more and more of our lives moving online and many of our students having lived their entire lives online, it is imperative that we take the time to teach our students how to conduct smart searches, discriminate between results and to interpret the information that they find.
How many times have you assigned a research project only to get Wikipedia as the main provider of content in the bibliography? Frustrating I know, but I also know I am not going to get them to stop unless I show them a better way. Here are my top 3 tips to helping students navigate the virtual world to find solid information.

research-clipart-RcdKAKEgi

 1)Teach basic research skills just like the old days! Students need to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. They also need to learn information writing skills and the art of discovering reliable and credible resources. None of these things have changed. The biggest change is the location and format of information in the digital age.

primaryresearch Research for Writing: Doing Primary Research         

by Valerie Bodden        © 2013

ISBN: 9781566601481

A narrative guide to conducting primary research, complete with an overview of methodologies, tips for collecting and applying qualitative and quantitative data, and helpful resources.

 

studyskills2   Study Skills Book 2                        

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author)       © 2013

ISBN: 9781612476667

From reducing the stress of test taking to looking up words in a dictionary, these binders have it all. Includes organizing for study, improving memory, taking notes, goal setting, and more. Topics Include: Time Management, Planning and Goal Setting, Developing a Learning Style, Paraphrasing and Summarizing, Answering Essay Questions, and more…

 

2)Give your students a digital research toolkit with tips and tricks of the trade.  Also talk to them about how the internet works in general.  Help them understand and use online digital reference databases and how to use language intelligently.How is searching Google different than a library academic database? Research is a lot like traveling with new language skills and customs to learn.

usinginternet  Research for Writing: Using the Internet

by Valerie Bodden        © 2013

ISBN: 9781566601511

A narrative guide to conducting research on the Internet, complete with an overview of methodologies, tips for generating search words and evaluating sites, and helpful resources.

21centurycoach  Using Technology, Information, and Media-Book T  

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author)       © 2011

ISBN: 9781612473338

Thirty-six activities and lessons (Lessons 37-72) teach students information literacy, understand how the information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given need, locate those sources, evaluate the sources critically, and share that information. Includes: Defining Types of Information; Sharing Information; Defining Media; Creating Newsletters; Defining Technology; Blogging. 16 graphic organizers & assessments.

 

3)Practice in the classroom. Have fun. Let the students pick out topics and then go searching on the internet together to see what you find. This is the perfect time to demonstrate the tools and techniques that you have been talking about and also to walk with students through analyzing the source of the information.

 Pupils In Class Using Digital Tablet With Teacher

 

 Common Core Connections

A.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

A.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

 

References and resources

How Teens Do Research in the Digital World http://0-files.eric.ed.gov.opac.msmc.edu/fulltext/ED537513.pdf

Media’s K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum maps  https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/classroom-curriculum/alignment

Teaching Students Better Online Research Skills  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/22/32el-studentresearch.h32.html?tkn=QWCCgXpStXBSdGy%2BRabLBT9BSW

Learning to Research in the Library http://www.ipl.org/div/aplus/library.htm 

Music and Its’ Impact on Learning

You’ve probably read research that correlates learning and music. So, turn up the volume and have your students research about music related topics!

Research Musicians

This is a great biography unit. There are many books written about popular musical artists. Simply filter by the word “music” and your students will see some great resources to use to begin their research. Many of these resources have websites included in at the end of the book. This will allow students to spend more time on task.

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.17.10 PM

Read Music Stories

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.19.20 PMDancing Turtle

by Pleasant DeSpain (author), David Boston (illustrator)       © 1998   ISBN: 9780874835021
Turtle loves to dance and play the flute. But her exuberance puts her at risk when her music attracts the attention of a brave hunter who brings her home to make turtle stew. After she is caught, her only hope for escape is the hunter’s children … and her own wit. This folktale, first told by the indigenous people of Brazil, is now told throughout Latin America. Like the people of Latin America, Turtle always seems to survive any challenge by using her courage and wit. Beautiful watercolors radiant with the dense foliage and hardy wildlife of the Amazon rain forest, guides the reader through this timeless adventure story.
Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.21.07 PMThe Bremen Town Musicians
by Brian Wildsmith (author), Brian Wildsmith (illustrator)       © 2012   ISBN: 9781595724328
A retelling of the Grimm Brother’s beloved tale about five animals who travel together to Bremen, and encounter an unexpected result along the way.

Introduce Instruments and Music Basics

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.22.58 PMPatterns in Music

by Gloria Chen (author)      © 2010   ISBN: 9781607193081
You can find different kinds of patterns in the world around you. See where we found patterns!

Learn about other Cultures Through Music

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.24.39 PMMusic Around the World

by Char Benjamin   ISBN: 9781433304217
Do you enjoy listening to music? Do you know that there is a pattern to music and the instruments we use to make music? Tapping and clapping are movements that can form a pattern. For example, tap, tap, clap, tap, tap, clap. Can you find a pattern with your favorite instrument?

Teach Rhyming and Rhythm

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.26.41 PMMotherlove

by Virginia Kroll (author), Lucia Washburn (illustrator)       © 1998   ISBN: 9781584694458
The love of a mother is a truly remarkable thing – in both humans an animals. It gives and forgives, directs and protects, and puts the heart in a home. I rhyming verse, this book captures the many special qualities of motherlove.

and lastly, one of my favorites to support young readers and early literacy with fun and silly rhyming and rhythm.

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 12.27.47 PM Down by the Bay

Letter Writing and Literature

Some may say, letter writing is becoming a lost art. Through the use of literature, you can excite your students in the art of letter writing and learn to write for a purpose. Students can learn parts of a letter by seeing samples within texts  and create a check list.  Item on the checklist would include  date, salutation/greeting, body, closing, post script.  Then they can generate a letter to someone.  Then have them use  their checklist.

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 8.45.19 AMYou Are a Really Good Friend of Mine

by Laura Liliom (author), Lilit Vagharshyan (illustrator)  ISBN: 9781931854535
Her good friend has moved far away to another country. What to do now? How can they stay friends without seeing each other? They learn that there is friendship in thinking about each other, in writing to each other, in remembering each others’ favorite things, but most of all: it is in the heart.

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 8.47.44 AMSam and Nate

by PJ Sarah Collins (author), Katherine Jin (illustrator)       © 2005   ISBN: 9781551433349

Did you know that apes do not have tails? Or that baleen whales have two blowholes? Sam and Nate do.  Sam and Nate tells the story of a developing friendship between two boys. Through letters, notes, school projects, a pregnant teacher and a substitute who has never taught children before, Sam and Nate support each other as best they can, but get into some funny scrapes while they’re at it.

Other resources

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 8.19.46 AMFrom Tablets to Texting

by L. Rigdon (author), Nicholas Jackson (illustrator)       © 2012   ISBN: 9781620461822
This book begins with informational text about cuneiform and hieroglyphics and ends with an alternative perspective: a girl writing in her diary about the connections between ancient and modern communication. The clever story engages readers and introduces history content.

Other ideas include

Taking a trip to the post office

Establishing Pen Pals

Writing to an Author

Making stationary or post cards.

  • Common Core State Standards
  • English Language Arts
      • Writing

        • Grade 2
          • 2.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
          • 2.W.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
          • 2.W.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

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