Friday, March 4, 2011

Differentiated Instruction

What is differentiated instruction? On a simple level, it means starting where kids are rather than adopting a one size fits all approach to teaching that seems to assume that all learners of a given age are essentially alike. It involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of concepts; and to developing materials so that all students within the classroom can learn, regardless of differences in ability. This type of instruction requires teachers to modify their teaching instead of expecting the children to modify themselves to fit the curriculum.

Differentiation is not teaching at a slow pace so that everyone can keep up, allowing pupils and groups work through tasks at their own pace, or expecting some students to do better than others. It does not mean that you give more of the same work to your advanced students just to keep them busy.

Teach each child from where they are. Provide different activities/levels of activities/support as needed to teach, remediate, or stretch your students. Teach the same concept...just vary the way that you present it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Reads

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch up on some good reads! Here are some age appropriate suggestions:

K - 1 A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
10 Apples Up on Top by Dr. Suess

1 - 3 Thanksgiving Turkey Trouble (Ready Freddy series) by Abby Klein
Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake by Barbara Park

4 - 5 Little House on the Prairie Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Ralph Mouse Collection by Beverly Cleary

Check out this site for other great reads for Fall!

Hope you enjoy this time with your families! Happy eating and HAPPY READING!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Explicit Vocabulary Instruction

Greetings! Hope the new school year has gotten off with a great beginning for you! We are crazy busy here at school with the new challenges the new school year brings. We are really full (lots of kids) and are creatively using our space to still teach all children on their level in reading! YAY for AMES faculty and staff!!!
Students do gain much of their word knowledge through being well read. However, explicit instruction of certain words can contribute greatly to their vocabulary development. This instruction should involve a lot of techniques that actively involve students in word learning, use discussion to teach the meanings of new words, use contextual a word functions in various contexts and of course, and use the definition to give information about the word.
According to Stahl and Fairbanks (Review of Educational Research 56, 72 - 110 (1986) ), there are several instructional activities that provide students with definitional information. These include, but are not limited to:

Teach synonyms.
Teach antonyms.
Rewrite definitions.
Provide example sentences.
Provide non-examples.
Discuss the difference between the new word and related words.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone had a great summer! It was a busy one for the Shirer's household...we visited several historical sites and enjoyed some great food!!! I also spent a lot of time reading this summer and will share more about some of my favorites at a later time.

Arnold will begin testing with DIBELS on Wednesday, August 11th. We hope to finish testing by the following Monday afternoon! These assessments will help us place all our children in their appropriate reading group.

That's all for now!
Mrs. Shirer

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Reading

I can't believe that another year is over! We have seen lots of growth in our students this year in reading. Please stress the importance of summer reading with your students. I am planning on sending a grade appropriate suggested summer reading list home with each of your students.

Have a great, adventure-filled but restful summer! Read at least one good book for pleasure!! I have my Nicholas Sparks books picked out for pleasure and I am reading Steven Layne's Igniting a Passion for Reading to help fill my toolbox with more strategies for teaching reading.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


THEY ARE HERE!!! Finally...a letter is ready to send home with the DIBELS reports in order to explain them to our Arnold families. These letters will go home approximately every 4 1/2 weeks with our students who are receiving extra help in reading. This is to keep our families up to date with their student's progress.

We are fast approaching the end of the school year. Here are the fluency goals for grades 1 - 5:
1st grade - 40 wpm (words per minute)
2nd grade- 90 wpm
3rd grade- 110 wpm
4th grade-118 wpm
5th grade-124 wpm

Fluency is rate of reading as well as accuracy. It is proven through research that having good fluency plays a big factor in reading comprehension. This is just one of the reasons we spend time working on fluency.

Check back soon for end of year information for groups.
Happy Easter!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Strategies for Reading at Home

To Our Arnold Family Members:

You are your child's first and most important teacher. It is important that you read to and with your child every day. However, there's more to reading together than just saying the words. Try asking them questions like these when you read together:

Talk about the story...
What does the auther say about....
Why was it important that....
Do you think this could really happen? Why or why not?

Talk about words and sounds....
Name some rhyming words for....
Let's count out the syllables in....
How many words on this page begin with the letter....
What are some words that mean the same as....

Talk about new words...
What is....
What's another word for....
What do we call.....

Remember your child has a password for Skatekids Online and can access it anywhere they can get on the internet. It is a great tool for working on reading skills and something you can enjoy together.

Check back in a couple of weeks for an update on DIBLES information! Have a great week!
Mrs. Shirer