Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nine ‘Outstanding’ Teaching Skills Shared by ‘Exceptional’ First-Grade Teachers

Nine ‘Outstanding’ Teaching Skills Shared by ‘Exceptional’ First-Grade Teachers

When looking at various careers, there are some that get instant
Teaching the Little Scientist
respect; doctors, engineers, scientist, firefighters and military officers, etc. However, teachers often go forgotten even though they are, quite literally, teaching the next generation of leaders for every single industry. In every classroom, there is a chance that each will go off to be a scientist, engineer, poet, lawyer, and perhaps even a teacher. Therefore, it is a vital role in any society but what makes a teacher ‘exceptional, outstanding and highly effective’?

Back in 1998, the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement conducted a longitudinal study best teaching practices, to find out the key skills or traits held by highly successful first-grade teachers across the United States. Why? What can or should we all learn from these ‘exceptional’ first grade teachers? In truth, the study has proved to be sage advice since it was published, a primer for pre-service teachers, trainee teachers and yes even veteran teachers. Improving the teachers we already have is a critical goal for all schools that are preparing tomorrows leaders. Today, we will reexamine the nine traits that were shared by all if these outstanding teachers and the common themes that appeared in the 1998 study. In all of the classrooms chosen, the students were seeing huge success; the majority of all students were reading and writing above their current level in schools. Without further ado, let’s take a look!

Excellent Classroom Management - For a class to be efficient, engaged, and productive, classroom management is essential, yet sadly, it is something that not all teachers have a firm handle on. In the most effective classrooms, student behavior, engagement, cooperative exploration, dialogue, Socratic investigation, and depth of learning was “managed” as well as the joy and happiness of the students. In addition to this, administrators, librarians, specialists and instructional aides were also used to engage students in a harmonious school environment. The students learning and engagement is the top priority in a school that uses exceptional classroom management techniques. Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures, Whole Brain Teaching, Socratic Seminars, and hands-on multisensory engagement protocols are a critical part of Reading Boot Camps Outstanding teaching practices!

When effective classroom management “engaged minds” isn't in place, a classroom can quickly get out of hand and then nobody in the room is benefiting and the students aren't learning. Sometimes, teachers will have one method of keeping the class under control. However, students soon learn to work around this and then the teacher is left demoralized. With outstanding teachers, they have a variety of methods to keep a class engaged, curious, learning, and yes under control and prevent huge distractions that waste instructional time that is even more precious in today’s high stakes environment.

Ability to Motivate - Next up, the best teachers find a multiple ways to create a learning environment were the students work conscientiously for themselves as well as the teacher. The allusive intrinsic motivation is a worthy and critical skill that must be developed and internalized in all students. Students are supposed to take ownership of their education, work hard, stay curious and be intrinsically motivated, right! Teachers need to stay curious, continuously work on improving their skills, read, read, and get inspired and stay motivated by studying other outstanding teachers. Success really does breeds success! If a non-skilled teacher was to teach in the average classroom, the students might do as they are told for a while, but as soon as the teacher leaves, work would come to an end, they would start talking to their friends, and it would be bedlam. With the best teachers, they have an ability to keep students motivated even when they leave the room or even more impressive when they are out sick. Strengthening Pedagogical Knowledge is critical for all teachers, yet reading self improvement books is also a big priority for me to stay motivated! I read books like, John Medina’s- Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School," Steven Covey’s- "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," Sean Covey’s-"The 7 Habits Of Happy Kids."

Intrinsic motivation “self persuasion” is vital to lifelong learning, understanding, and enduring curiosity, this is pivotal because students need to know how to learn “alone” rather than relying on the teacher always being there. Dump truck pedagogy or teachers filling the empty bucket is fraught with peril for future success, students with without :self persuasion: skills leaves students at risk for failure when challenges arise. As students grow older, the teacher will have less one-to-one time and less engagement so developing intrinsic motivation in a student at a young age will give them the thirst for knowledge and academic challenges.

Teaching in Context - When teaching, good teachers will allow the students to discover the basics in a student centered environment. After leaving the classroom, they should then be able to apply this whether it is numeracy, literacy, or any other topic. With a great teacher, it is always hands on first, not about learning from a worksheet or a list of words, but exploring the ideas and phenomena in context. Often, the complaint about education is that it bears no relevance to the real world. Even in the first grade, context is very important laying the foundation for further learning and building critical background knowledge. Reading poignant books or singing emotional songs creates a 1,000 teachable moments. Reading aloud daily with your class and discussing the literacy devices, language, vocabulary, the authors inferred ideas, themes, perspectives, and feelings it invokes. Teaching in context prepares students for a more rote education that comes later. If they go through the education system thinking ‘what is the point?’, this thought will only get stronger as time goes on.

For example, most classes have vocabulary, spelling, writing activities, and reading comprehension skills taught daily as part of grade level standards. In order to prepare students for the next level, but teachers that focus on contextual teaching will integrate this knowledge to real reading and writing tasks. If they learn about a certain feature of fictional writing, this would then be followed with a real example in a popular book. As soon as they see it in action, they see why they are learning it and will have the ability to apply it outside the classroom.

Focus on Literature - When we think back to our own education, it is quite easy to recall times where we read a favorite books series; for many years, this has been a staple of school life. Today smart phones, video games, and cable TV stand in for amusement and diversion, reading for enjoyment and getting lost in a great book or series is lost in many classrooms today. This being said, a key trait in an outstanding teacher is to put a significant emphasis on real literature whilst digging deeper into the authors view points, explicit or inferred ideas, opinions, language, and literary devices used to learn why they wrote what they wrote and how it was written. By completing comprehensive literature studies that are integrated with multiple subjects, themes, ideas, students develop a deeper perspective on literary elements and literary devises, close reading comprehension strategies, and they expand their language and oracy skills exponentially. Reading Boot Camp is based on a concentrated focus on contextual language development “oracy” and deep integrated literature studies spiraled through Socratic inquiry process.

Of course, this can be fairly limited with students in the first grade and it won’t involve long essays but this is still improving their understanding. Over the years, there has been a criticism that students are taught to remember “rote learning” rather than actual hands on learning. For example, repeating a set of sight words over and over again will certainly help a kindergartner remember their sight words. However, they won’t be able to understand how to use the words in context. If you want them to be able to read sight words and build background knowledge, you have to teach them the ‘what, how, where, and the why the word is used’; why does the word “look” have multiple meaning? Without this information, how can students work out what the word ‘look’ means in a sentence? With literacy, this is critical to teach reading with an emphases on spiraling contextual examples, and what may be even more important is building oracy and dialogue skills built around literature. Literature studies help student develop critical thinking skills, empathy, reasoning, and it is something that all outstanding teachers do.

Positive Atmosphere - Let’s not forget, these 1st grade students are only six years of age and they have spent the majority of their life free from educational requirements or any type of restriction on their curiosity. The good old days before Common Core and test prep. Therefore, they need the same safe and secure environment that they should be getting at home. Gobs of positive behavior support, a nurturing atmosphere, and building on the positive encouragement they may or may not have receive at home. Manners and positive behaviors that are experienced and practiced become habits. If there are the odd discipline problems, they can be handled with care to improve the relationships between students rather than allowing them to deteriorate early.

When students achieve an academic goal or exhibit a positive behavior, this achievement is shared with the class and praised in person, this creates an atmosphere where all good deeds and work is appreciated and acknowledged. Soon enough, the students will be encouraging each other without any input from the teacher and the whole classroom feeds off of positivity. Creating a positive culture of praise and positive feedback that celebrates academic and behavioral goals is a classroom game changer! Corrective feedback from teachers and peers in a supportive atmosphere should be a classroom norm. Creating a Culture of Peer Critique and Revision Creates an Atmosphere of Positive Academic Success!

Realistic Expectations - According to some teachers, they have to set unrealistic goals for their young students, the high standards and unrealistic expectations soon demotivates the students because they feel as though they aren't good enough or worse are failures. Imagine kindergartners and 1st graders feeling they are failures! With so much learning yet to come, it is important to gradually raise expectations, while educating and motivating students to take risk without fear of failing. Creating an classroom atmosphere that rewards struggle is a skill many teachers need to understand and develop. Failure, struggle, challenges, and academic risk taking can make some students shut down, or opt-out at a young age. Great teachers know how to keep students learning, motivated, curious and “struggling” with games, novelty, competition, praise, and just enough support to reinforce learning. Great teachers turn around students that opt out, lose hope, or feel like failures. At all times, outstanding teachers push, challenge, and have high expectation that their students will show exceptional growth. A teachers intuition must take precedence over fidelity to set of standards, curriculum or external expectations. Realistic expectations mean many things to teachers, staying motivated, curious and feeling amazing when students achieve a challenging goals daily, is a realistic in an exceptional classroom. Set SMART goals daily, weekly, and monthly that are low your student to take risk in a nonjudgmental environment.

Furthermore, we should also point out that these outstanding students weren't allowed to settle for something that wasn't quite good enough by their teachers. Rather than just scraping through, students were encouraged to continue improving by taking on more challenging tasks; at no point were they overwhelmed though, this actually had the opposite effect, students were building stronger intrinsic motivation as they pushed through the challenges.

Dedicated Time - Instead of ‘trying’ to find time to read or write, the outstanding teachers all set aside a large blocks of time in the day where everyone is working on listening, reading, writing, and discussing great literature. Whether it was 80, 90, or even 120 minutes, this is something students did every single day. Also, it wasn't just the same thing every day as the teacher would mix it up. For example, one day they would read to themselves whilst reading to a partner the next day. On every third day, they might even read as a group so the teacher can give feedback. Time on task, distributed practice over time or spiraling curriculum, and dedicated time targeting language and vocabulary is a primary goal to help my students succeed! Focus on critical literacy skills, we are what we practice and spend time improving on. If you want students to become cogent readers and erudite thinkers you need to read, read, and read some more!

Ultimately, this is a superb system to have because it provides each student with multiple opportunities and exposures in a spiraling ELA skills. If the teacher were to set up a fixed schedule of reading aloud with the class, reading with small groups, and then reading and researching alone, they would go through a natural process of improvement. On day one, they learn new vocabulary words ‘front load concepts’ or discuss literary devises / literary techniques as a group. On day two, they work with a partner and help each other with these new ideas. On day three, they have a chance to work individual on a topic they wish to explore deeper before then going back into a group to iron out any creases. After this, many successful teachers also had their students write and reflect in a daily journal which brings its own benefits.

Integration - Earlier, we discussed integration or “interleaved curriculum” within a single subject/topic and how students are allowed to discover how these multiple ideas, concepts, and theories applies in practical real world circumstances. After this initial level of integration, top teachers also create deeper connections between different subjects and this is important today with the mandate for students to develop higher order thinking skills. For example, reading and writing skills might be integrated with math or it could even be used with topics like science and history. Whenever a topic sees the students writing, there is a chance to enter an element of literacy into the class. Immediately, they notice how the knowledge is useful in more areas than just literacy class.

As these students grow older, it contributes to the thirst for knowledge once more. Instead of telling them why certain rules or writing techniques are important, why not show them? As you have seen from many of these tips, this is one of the biggest differences between a good and a superb teacher. Sure, they need to be taught certain information but we need to teach them the ‘why’ to go with it. Otherwise, they aren't quite sure why they have to remember it or what it means.

Self-Regulation - Finally, there is one last skill “self regulation or self persuasion” and it comes from the fact that teachers aren't always around to push, help, or explain. In classrooms, there will always be a reliance upon teachers as guides, sages, coaches, and learning partners, but great leaders help to remove this dependency somewhat. How? In essence, they help the students to help themselves and each other by creating a culture of constructive feedback and cooperation . Rather than waiting for the teacher to come around and give assistance or not asking a question at all, they are encouraged to be proactive, choose an approach themselves, ask a peer for feedback, a critique, or seek support from the teacher or peer to develop deeper understanding or clear up a misconception. Cooperation, collaboration, and dialogue are essential in every class.

In a classroom, the teacher is the only person “different”. For this reason, students will always learn more effectively from their peers, colleagues and friends; this is why group projects are so important as they get older. At no point are we saying that the teacher isn't needed because this would be ludicrous, but the classroom would certainly be more effective if students are teaching each other whilst the teacher is there for support, a guide, and a learning coach.

Conclusion - There we have it, “easy?” the nine key skills that all outstanding teachers have that help student thrive and exceeded expectations. If we are to see an improvement in the education system, it needs to come at the beginning because this is where the foundations are laid. If students get a bad start, they lose motivation and, more importantly, they lose trust in the system. With a solid start, their quest for knowledge will take them further than any teacher can accomplish alone. By utilizing these nine outstanding teachers traits, we could create a generation of incredibly effective teachers!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekly Daily Reports Cards


All home-school reports need to have the following components:

  1. Create an ongoing dialogue between the school and the home 
  2. Provide a clear goal and schedule for all home-school communications, what key information is provided daily to parents by the school on a daily basis
  3. Create a climate were parents are responsible for delivering positive reinforcement, consequences, and praise daily at home.
  4. School, parents, and students create a climate of success, by developing a deep understanding of the key habits that are necessary to be successful in school 

[DOC]Sample - Student Progress Report
Supplemental Educational Services. Progress Report Sample. (May be used for monthly and/or final reports for students in accordance with the Individual ...

[DOC]Policy 5420.01 - Reporting Student Progress - ELEMENTARY.doc.docx
The progress report provides information on the student's performance on the Pinellas Instructional Assessment Plan (PIAP) assessments for reading, writing, ...

Progress Report Form. Student's Name: Date: Sections I to VII (Completed by the Student). Sections VIII ...

[DOC]Standards-Based Student Progress Report - SHAPE America
The Standards-Based Physical Education Student Progress Report template is ... report template — found on the last two pages of this document — and how to ...

[DOC]Student Semester Progress Report
Student Semester Progress Report. Name_______________ CWID____________ Due Date ______. Instructor: Please note whether or not the above student ...

[DOC]AVID Weekly Progress Reports.doc - Fsusd
AVID Progress Reports. Student Name___________________________________________________ Week of: Class. Current Grade. Classwork and ...

[DOC]Assessment Progress Report & Rubric Evaluation
The Assessment Progress Report entails specifying the program outcome(s) or course ... Each studentcompleted a written laboratory report about techniques to ...

Student Name ______ ____________ Date Enrolled at NCSU ______. Date POW Completed ... Date Progress Report Submitted to Advisory Committee ...

[DOC]Weekly Progress Reports - Cranston Public Schools
WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT NAME ... Quiz / Test grades this week. Should the student be working on a long term project? Does this student have make up.

[PDF] weekly academic progress report - DeForest Area School District
DeForest Area High School. WEEKLY ACADEMIC PROGRESS REPORT. STUDENT___________________________________________________. For The ...

[PDF]Weekly Progress Report - Busy Teacher's Cafe
Weekly Progress Report. Name: Date: Behavior: ❑ Excellent. ❑ Very Good. ❑ Good. ❑ Needs ...

[PDF]The Classroom Behavior Report Card Resource ... - Intervention Central
The teacher decides whether to use Daily or Weekly Report Cards. Daily cards can be .... Student DailyReport Card: Intermediate/Secondary Level. ○ Student ...

[PDF]weekly academic progress report - DeForest Area School District
WEEKLY ACADEMIC PROGRESS REPORT ... TEACHERS: The parents of this student have requested aweekly updating of his/her performance in your class.

Praise the student daily for behavior improvement, consider classroom reinforcers. 5. ... Consider issuing report cards at lower frequencies (bi-weekly, weekly) if ...

[PDF]daily progress report - Student Engagement Project
The Daily Progress Report is a goal sheet that students carry with them ... can be sent home daily or weekly, depending on teacher objectives, student goals, ...

[PDF]New Teacher's Survival Guide - Ms. Sanchez' Class
Teacher-Student Problem-Solving Conference Worksheet. 28. Behavior ... Daily Progress Report (Form). 35. Weekly Progress Report 1 (Form). 36. Weekly ...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Grade 3, 4, 5, and 6 Math PERCENTAGE GAIN, PROFIT AND LOSS WORD PROBLEMS | Editable PERCENTAGE MATH Story Problems | Two Step Percentage word Problems

1. Victor sold 2 Batman watches for $30 each: on one he gained 25%, and on the other he lost 25%: how much did he 
gain/profit or lose by the sale?

2. Kaylen bought a mint Hello Kitty watch for $18, which was 20%, more than its value: She sold it at 100%, more than its value: what sum did she 
3. Sandy sold her horse for $350, there was a loss of 20%: Part A. What was the original purchase price? Part B. what would have been the gain/profit or percentage of profit by selling the horse for $630?

4. Eric sold Victor a very attractive Batman watch for $100, by which he gained 25 percent: what percent, would he have gained by selling it for $120?

5. Abraham sold 10 oranges for $4.00 and gained 50%: how much did each orange cost initially?

6. Heidi sold her customized skateboard for $141, and gained 75%: what did she pay for it?

7. Mariana bought a precious Orangeglo Watermelon for $3.00, and sold it for $5.00 dollars: what percent, did she gain ?

8. Vashtie
 bought a peculiar tent for $150, and sold it for $40: what was the per cent, of loss ? 

9. Fernando bought a watch for $40, and sold it for $60: what percent, did he gain ?

10. Vanessa bought a colt for $2,500, and sold it for $210,000 after dressage training: what percent, did she gain?

11. A keg of cherry soda holding 5 gal., lost 6 qt by a thirsty crew of kindergartners: what was the loss percent?

12. By selling saladitos and lemons at 75 ct. each, Leheny
 cleared 100% of the initial cost: what percent, would she have cleared by selling them at $1.00 each ? 

13. Fashion designer Lilly frequently bought cloth at the rate of 6 yd. for $30, and sold it at the rate of 5 yd. for $40: what percent, did she gain?

14. Mariana sold cherry melons at $4 each, and lost 20% of the initial cost: what percent, would she have lost by selling them at 3 for $10: what per cent would he have gained by selling them at 2 for $10?

15. Leheny
 bought a lot of Ponderosa lemons, at the rate of 120 for $30; but finding them damaged, she sold them at the rate of 120 for $20: what per cent, did she lose? 

16. Mr. Taylor sold a rare invisible watch for $120, and gained 200 percent: what was the initial cost?

17. Kato bought a truckload of oranges for $100, and in selling them gained 250 percent: how much did he gain ?

18. Elizabeth having a clowder of 40 kittens, sold 25 percent, of them: how many did she have left?

19. A herd of 50 deer increases 10 percent, in one year : how many are then in the herd in one year? In five years? In ten years?

20. Angelica having $200, spent 10 percent, for Easter candy, and 25 percent, of the remainder for Eater dinner: how much did she pay for the Eater Holiday?

21. A wise 4th grader met some eager 1st graders, if she gave each of them 3 books, she would have 12 books left, but if she wanted to give each of them 5 books, she would not have enough books, by exactly 8: how many eager 1st graders were there?

22. Mr. Taylor wishes to distribute some books among his new students; if he gives each of them 2 books, he will have 9 left; but if he gives each 4 books, he will have 3 left: how many students does he have?

23. Mia wishes to divide some cherries from her orchard among her friends; she finds that if she gives each of them 5 baskets, she will have 21 left; but if she gives each 8 baskets, she will have none left: how many friends does she have?

Multiplication Word Problems

1. Jordan bought 4 baseball caps at $5.50 each, 4 shirts at $13 each, and 3 pair of shorts at $15 each: how much did everything cost?

2. Voshtie and Quetzali start hiking from the same place and travel in the same direction; one hikes, 5 miles an hour; the other hikes, 7 miles an hour: how far will they be apart in 10 hours?

3. Kato and Abraham start running from the same place and travel in opposite directions: one travels 8 miles an hour, the other travels 9 miles an hour: how far will they be apart at the end of 1 hours? 2 hours? And 3 hours?

4. If a computer scientist man can earn $1,600 in 1 week, how many thousands of dollars can she earn in 8 weeks? In 52 weeks?

5. If $900 worth of camping provisions last 9 girl scouts 12 days, how many girl scouts total will it sustain for one day?

6. Celena a computer science major went shopping with a $1,500 scholarship; she bought 4 computer science text books at $120 each; 1pair of VR360 goggles at $195; and a VR360 camera for $275: what did she spend in total, and how much did she have left?

7. If a high school graduate earns 49 dollars a day, and a college graduate earns 203 dollars per day, how much will both earn individually in 5 days? 20 days? 100 days? 300 days?

8. Paul bought a rare Pokémon Holofoil card at the swap meet for 30 cents and sold it on eBay for $18.50: what would he have made if he had 12 rare cards, and sold them at the same rate as the first?

9. If 12 horses can be sustained in a 100 acre pasture for 10 months, how many horses will it feed for 1 month?

10. Mr. Teach the pirate bought a cask of tasty root beer containing 20 gallons, at 2 gold doubloons a gallon; 5 gallons having leaked out in transport, she sold the remainder at 4 gold doubloons a gallon: how much did she make?

11. A stage coach departs from Tucson, and travels at the rate of 8 miles per hour: at the same time, a locomotive departs from Tucson, and travels in the same direction, 24 miles per hour: how far will they be apart at the end of 12 hours?

12. Ady bought 10 pounds of green tea at 70 dollars a pound; after using 2 pounds, she sold the remainder at 14 dollars a pound: how much did the 3 pounds which she used cost her in the end?

13. Lalheny bought 6 gallons of Rocky Road supreme ice cream for her dolceria, at 8 dollars a gallon; she sold the first 4 quarts, at 5 dollars a quart, and the next 3 quarts, at 4 dollars a quart, and the remaining quarts at 3 dollars a quart: how much did I make in profit?

14. If Vanessa a computer programmer earns $3,500 per month, and spends $519 a week on food, rent, utilities, and expenses, how much will she save in 4 weeks? How much can she save in 8 weeks?

15. Kaleb has 15 comic books, and his older brother has five times as many, less the 6 he gave his cousin: how many books do Kaleb and his brother have in total?

16. If Mariana a game developer employed one computer programmer for 6 weeks, at 700 dollars a week, and another for 5 days, at 200 dollars a day: how much did she have to pay both?

17. Alexea bought a baby goat for 110 dollars and paid six times as much for a pony: how much did both cost her?

Division Word Problems

1. If Erick can travel 9 miles in an hour on his skateboard, how many hours will it take him to travel 36 miles?

2. Elizabeth gave $2,800 for a Ramuda, at $200 a head: how many horses did she buy?

3. Amaya earned $186 doing chores on her family farm: if she spends $15 a week on books, how long will it last?

4. If Victor shared 72 oranges equally among 9 boys, how many oranges will each boy receive? How many oranges will each boy receive if the total numbers of oranges was tripled?

5. If Lilly travels10 miles in a half hour on her bike, how many hours will she travel on a 40 mile ride? How many hours will she travel on a 70 mile ride?

6. At 36 cents each, how many lemons can Marriah buy for 4 dollars? How many at 18 cents each? If she sells them for 50 cents each how much profit will she make at 36 cents each, and 18 cents each?

7. Five DVDs cost 35 dollars, how much is that individually? What is the sale price of each DVD when they are 50% off?

8. If 6 Pokémon "Trainer cards" are worth one "Holofoil card", how many "Holofoil cards" can you get for 30 "Trainer cards"? For 42 "Trainer cards"? For 54 "Trainer cards"? For 60 "Trainer cards"?

9. If Kitty can build an android in 42 days, how many days will it take 7 girls to build it? For 4 girls to build it? For 14 girls to build it?

10. Ten women bought an amusement park for $600,000: how much did each one pay?

11. An apple orchard contains 20 rows of trees, and 6 trees in each row ; if the farmer added 5 more rows, how many trees would there be in total?

12. If purchase lemons at the rate of 2 for 60 cents, and sell 17 lemons for 48 cents each, how much profit do she gain?

13. If Felix can eat a certain quantity of provisions in 56 days, how many days will it last 7 people?

14. Sandy, Keylen, Lilly, and Mia bought a quarter horses for $23,036: how much did each one pay?

15. Alex paid $10.80 for 14 antlions: how much was that apiece?

16. Heidi earns $3,600 in 12 weeks: how much is that a week? How much a day, allowing 5 working days to the week?

17. Angelica's family of 5 people spends $4,000 in 5 months on expenses, how much would maintain them in 8 months, if 3 more family members were added?

18. At the beginning of the year, Angelica stated a cupcake business with a capital of $6,000: four months later, Lilly formed a partnership with Angelica, and invested $600 in the bakery: the profit/gain for the year was $2,500: what was each one's share of the profit?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Daily Weekly Language Review Grade 1-8 DLR PDF

Daily and Weekly Language Spiral Review PDF Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5, 6, 7 and 8 DLR

Grade 6 [PDF Daily Language Review 6th GRADE   “6th Grade Weekly Language Review”:

Grade 5 [PDF]Language Review “5th grade Weekly Language Review”

Grade 5 [PDF]Created by: Joanne Warner “Teacher Made 5th grade Weekly Language Review” “Weekly Language Review”: Created by: Joanne Warner 5th Grade ...

Grade 8 [PDF]Download - Plain Local Schools  “8th grade Weekly Language Review”:

Grade 3 [PDF]Daily Language Review   “3rd Grade Weekly Language Review”:


Grade 4 [PDF]Created by: Joanne Warner
Grade 4 Weekly Language Review”

Grade 2 [PDF]Friday  “ Grade 2 Weekly Language Review”
Test preparation. • Review 5 items daily for. 36-week school year.

Grade 3 [PDF]Daily Language Review - Riverside Secondary School Daily Language Review, Grade 3 

[PDF]Grade 5 - SCIS Teachers
Daily Language Review. Wednesday. WEEK ... Grade 4. EMC 6518-PRO. Grade 5. EMC 6519-PRO. Grade 6. EMC 6520-PRO.

[PDF]Grammar - Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
Grade 3. Grammar. PRACTICE BOOK .... Antarctic Life. Penguin Chick. People and Their Pets. The Perfect Pet. Unit Review. Unit 1 • Our World iii ..... 4. Drove him to school. 5. He sits quietly in the car. 6. Unlike his other school. 7. Bigger and ..... One time, my mom got stuck in Antarctica. She could not fly home for a week.

[PDF]Grammar Practice Book - Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
Pipiolo and the. Roof Dogs. Unit 1 Review: Sentences. Unit 1 • Challenges iii ..... Please tell me what the vocabulary words are for this week. 2. Write each .... 4. I can't believe I. 5. please say. 6. won the contest. 6. Miss Alaineus • Grade 5/Unit 1 ...

[PDF]Grammar - Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
2. 3. 4. Review: Sentences. 6. The Summer of the Swans. Grade 6/ Unit 1 ... 4. She even knows a little Chinese! 5. The dean of the language department at Isabel's university approves. ... I received your letter last week, but I've been quite busy.

3rd Grade Weekly Language Review by Joanne Warner | Teachers ...
Rating: 4/4 - ‎369 votes - ‎$12.003rd Grade Weekly Language Review is an entire year of spiral review (36 weeks). ... Pre-K - K · 1 - 2 · 3 - 5 · 6 - 8 · 9 - 12 · Other ... Subjects. English Language Arts, Grammar, Vocabulary. GradeLevels. 3 ... PDF (Acrobat) Document File ... I believe this is due in part to the way our textbooks introduce a skill for a week or 2 at ...

5th Grade Weekly Language Review by Joanne Warner | Teachers ...
5th Grade Weekly Language Review is an entire year of spiral review (36 weeks). ... Pre-K - K · 1 - 2 · 3 - 5 · 6 - 8 · 9 - 12 · Other ... Subjects. English Language Arts, Grammar, Vocabulary. GradeLevels. 5 ... PDF (Acrobat) Document File ... I believe this is due in part to the way our textbooks introduce a skill for a week or 2 at ...

[PDF]What's in Daily Language Review? - MsJordan
partners to work independently. day's, or even a week's, lesson as a test ... Daily language Review,Grade 1 ° EMC 579 • Q2004 Evan-Moor Corp. ... Page 5 ... Page 6 ... 3. it's. Fix the sentence. 4. will you come too. Daily Language Review.

[PDF]Monday Tuesday Daily Language Review • Grade 1 -
Daily Language Review Grade 1 EMC 579. Skills Scope & Sequence. Week 1. Week 2. Week 3.Week 4. Week 5. Week 6. Week 7. Week 8. Week 9. Week 10.

[PDF]Drawing-Grade 2-5,Limit 12 Students- 2 week course ... - PToffice
Knitting-Grade 3-8,Limit 10 Students- Must attend at least 3 of 4 weeks. ... Creative Writing- Grade 3-5& 6-8-Limit 10 Students- 1 week course, 2 weeks offered. ... *Review numbers and counting sequence *Compare numbers *Addition and ... enhancing English Language proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and ...

[PDF]Daily Language Review - Evan-Moor
Weeks. Word Meaning from Context. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17,. 20, 23, 25, 29. Evan-Moor Educational Publishers Daily Language Review, Grade 3 |2 ...

[PDF]Appendix B - Common Core Standards
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS ... into text complexity gradebands as defined by the Standards: K–1, 2–3, 4–5, 6–8,.

[PDF]A Guide to Effective Instruction in Reading - eWorkshop
The Importance of Stories for Oral Language Development . . . . 3.16 .... Sample Guided Reading Lesson 3: Grade 3 (Fluent Readers) . . . 6.34 ... Appendix 6-5: Record of Individual Reading Progress . . . . . . . . 6.42 ...... providing parents with strategies for home review and practice of literacy skills and encouraging and ...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spiraling curriculum Spiral Teaching Approach

Why is the spiraling curriculum approach the best? Is a spiral curriculum the best instructional teaching practice for at-risk students? YES!
  • The "brain based" spiral teaching approach is uniquely suited to closing the achievement gap in a fast logical way
  • Spiraling math and reading curriculum challenges and stretches advanced students
  • Using a spiraling teaching approach in reading provides repeated exposure to foundation concepts that build phonemic awareness and literacy
  • Teaching a spiral curriculum exposes students to advanced concepts in a way that encourages students to take academic risk 
  • The spiral teaching approach gives fast formative data to students, parents and teachers
  • Builds long term memory and stops the, "cram, memorize, test, then forget everything model" 
  • Developing real long term learning is easier with the spiraling teaching approach.  

As a special education teacher "Spiraling Curriculum" really helps me as a teacher grow all my students skills. My at risk and special education students are making two years of growth using a spiraling approach for reading and math instruction. Students learn in a holistic way and they learn one of the most important compensatory skills and life skills, "developing academic skill and knowledge takes repeated exposure, rehearsal, and concentrated practice over time" Spiraling Curriculum in my Opinion is the Most Effective Approach to Teaching Complex Subjects! Sean Taylor M.Ed

When it comes to complex topics in schools, there has been much debate as to the most effective teaching technique. When not treated with care, the students can get frustrated and this leads to them switching off. Often, this is due to the teaching technique but today we are going to discover the ‘spiral curriculum’.

What is it? - For many years, learning would be concentrated in short bursts. However, the spiral learning technique looks to spread this out over more time. Over a period of months during the school year, complex topics will come up time and time again. This way, the students aren't under pressure to understand everything from just one session. Instead, the work soon ingrains into the mind until they can repeat all of the important points.

Does it really Work? - After reading the title, you can probably tell our stance on the matter, yes, it really does work for all students. When this technique has been employed by highly trained teachers, the results of students were an vast improvement compared to students who learned in the traditional single topic or concentrated way. Not only does it lead to good results in the short-term, there is also evidence to suggest that students have a higher chance of remembering information later in life. As many of us know, most of the knowledge we learned in our school years is now gone so this could be pivotal.

In addition to high performing students, spiraling can also be used on those with learning difficulties. In the early stages of the program, the difficulties can be identified. Then, the key concepts will be the areas of concentration over a period of weeks and months. Eventually, the student will recall this information when the spiral comes back around each time.

Comparisons with ‘Massing’ - As the more concentrated form of learning, massing is the basic approach that we see today and there are some reasons why spacing (spiraling) can be more effective. Firstly, something we have already touched upon is that students lack attention and motivation with massing. As soon as they get lost, at any point during the lesson or series of lessons, they switch off automatically. Considering the topic doesn’t come back around, this area of their examination is left blank. 

Furthermore, massing can be effective but only for the short-term. For example, the night before an exam students might stay up all night ‘cramming’ information. For the test the next day, they will be in a great position to succeed. If they were to take the same test even five years down the line though, most of the knowledge would be gone. If the education system is interested in producing work-ready individuals, spiraling needs to be used as it enables the student to hold information for a longer period of time. Additionally, there is a focus on progressing from simple points to more advanced areas. Suddenly, the complex themes don’t seem too outlandish when it is broken down in this way.

The Future - With all of this in mind, all that’s left to answer is ‘why isn't this approach used widely across the US?’ and this is a good question. Although there is no definitive answer, we could perhaps look to the targets of the schools. Since they are interested in short-term results above all else, they feel as though massing is the answer for this. Sadly, short-term performance is seen as more important than long-time learning.

Finally, we could also say that spiraling isn't well-known which is another problem. Also, students could find spaced learning a little more difficult despite being more efficient and leading to better long-term results. Perhaps once the benefits are widely known, we could see a change in the national curriculum. Until then, it seems as though massing on a single topic will continue to be used.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Selling an Academic Mindset: Parents and Teachers Roles!

Selling an Academic Mindset: Parents' and Teachers' Roles! 
Five Traits of an Academic Mindset!
1. They Seek Help and Ask Questions
2. They Seek to Understand the Why!
3. They Actively Listen and Engage in Dialogue to Find Solutions
4. They Have Clear Academic Intentions and Focus on Goals
5. They Find Joy, Bliss, and Enjoyment in Challenges and Learning
Ultimately, there are many different factors that contribute to the
successful education of a child today. As well as the availability of high-quality educational facilities and teachers, the students and parents themselves need to be sold on the goal of pursuing a formal academic education. Once they understand (buy-in) the importance of a positive academic mindset, and they realize it is a long hard difficult path to get an education. The real hard work starts, it will take parents, teachers, and community to complete the goal of getting a quality education. Formal education is, learning new ideas, developing complex skills and deepening knowledge and understanding that that will benefit students in some unimagined future, this idea is not tangible to young minds. Students are supposed to take ownership of their education, work hard, and be intrinsically motivated, right! Students and parents are told and sold they will be in a stronger position when they take control of their education, buy-in, they will achieve the academic results they want to see. That is a hard or impossible sell in our school reform climate today! Yet today, many parents and students have lost hope and faith in getting a formal education, they are opting-out and not buying in!. Furthermore, this is limiting how effective teachers can be these days.
At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents. Jane D. Hull
In today’s world, the description ‘teacher’ is slowly losing its meaning because they aren't allowed the autonomy to teach as they once would. Instead, today teachers are seen as the enemy, "Common Core Taskmasters", and even test prep technicians. School reform in the guise of accountability is creating unneeded frustration for parents and teachers.Teachers are now advocating and promoting education ideals they may not believe in. Having to sell "Academic Rigor", "College and Career Ready", "Common Core", "Race To the Top" , really just more test and punish, the "accountability culture" is impossible when they don't have parents and students on board. The reform driven ideals of Common Core and College and Career Ready are alienating parents teachers, and students. Frustration is not a good starting point for success, it is creating a rift with the stake holders that need to work with each other the most. When parents aren't getting involved with the education of their child, teachers have to take control of the situation and do their best to sell the idea to the adults. When the student doesn’t buy into the idea of education, we get a generation of failed students but who is to blame? In recent years, a huge proportion of the blame has gone directly to teachers because they are the face of education and we feel as though they haven't done well enough to sell the idea to parents and students. However, is this really the case? 

Parent Involvement in Early Childhood
• Children whose parents read to them at home recognize letters of the alphabet and write their names sooner than those whose parents do not.
• Children whose parents teach them how to write words are able to identify letters and connect them to speech sounds.
• Children’s early cognitive development is enhanced by parent supportiveness in play and a supportive cognitive and literacy-oriented environment at home. These advantages often continue into the school years.

• Children in grades K–3 whose parents participate in school activities have good work habits and stay on task.

• Children whose parents provide support with homework perform better in the classroom.
• Children whose parents explain educational tasks are more likely to

Middle and High School
• Adolescents whose parents monitor their academic and social activities have lower rates of delinquency and higher rates of social competence and academic growth. 
• Youth whose parents are familiar with college preparation requirements and are engaged in the application process are most likely to graduate from high school and attend college.
• Youth whose parents have high academic expectations and offer consistent encouragement for college have positive student outcomes. State Laws on Family Engagementin Education National PTA® Reference Guide

Of course, poor school results will instantly draw attention to the people in charge of educating the students (i.e. teachers). If someone kept failing their driving test, you will immediately look towards their driving teacher. Despite the impact the teacher has, you cannot deny that the involvement of the parents can be even larger. From the day the child is born, they look up to their parents for guidance, inspiration, and action. Even as we grow into adults, we still look to them for advice and therefore a certain part of ourselves were molded by parents. When we place blame on teachers, we completely ignore this and blank their role with students. 

“family involvement is one of the strongest predictors of children’s school success, and that families play pivotal roles in their children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development from birth through adolescence.”

Effectively, we are saying ‘parents shouldn't have to worry about selling education to their children because the teachers can do it’ but is this really enough? Sadly, teachers are limited in their involvement with students in today's overcrowded classrooms and they cannot just pick up a magic wand and immediately eliminate all the problems with society. If the parents aren't showing an interest in their child’s education in the first place, the student will suddenly think ‘hang on, what is the point in trying if my parents don’t even care how well I do?’.

Looking ahead, we are coming to a crossroad, we need to see some changes in attitudes about what we really want for our children, and this starts with dialogue, involvement and understanding. Know we have frustrated alienated parents, a teacher shortage and kids opting out! In truth, this could be very dangerous because it builds resentment towards teachers, schools and the whole education system which is the opposite to what we are trying to achieve. If we are to see progress, we need to have the teachers and parents working together once again to sell education to students and make real changes to our education system. Once this can occur, the motivation and inspiration will return and results will be seen by all.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision

Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

When it comes to the art of giving or receiving corrective feedback
or participating in peer critiques, students' need to rehearse and practice the procedures and protocols daily. Peer critique, critical feedback, formative feedback is a topic that has been widely discussed and studied, yet is only slowly gaining importance in schools today. Schools that want to help student develop problem solving skills and critical thinking are adopting the cultures of peer critique, revision and cooperative problem solving. From the teacher’s perspective, they have to give the right constructive feedback, critique or clarification, but in a way that doesn’t sound or feel judgmental and or a personal attack, yet still helps get the main point across. When a school adopts the protocols and procedures at all grades students know that they are always go to critique all work and make it better through inquiry, problem solving and peer critique.
At Two Rivers Public Charter School, they have developed their own system of critiquing and it involves the students assessing, analyzing and looking for ways to help their peers’ improve their work at all levels. They are training their students to seek better ways to improve the inquiry process for all students, using Socratic methods, problem based learning, and peer critique that starts at kindergarten.
Before we go any further, we should point out that the school has outperformed the average score for the state on PARCC assessment for ELA and math. Furthermore, they have been rated as ‘Tier 1’ school since 2012 by the DC Public Charter School Board. During the school year of 2015/2016, they had one of the highest attendance rates in the region at 94%. Therefore, we can see that creating a culture of inquiry, peer critique and problem solving they are doing many things right and parents and teachers believe a large percentage of this is down to the culture or critical thinking, peer critique, problem solving, and revision.

Every day, the students come together to participate with peers in the Socratic inquiry process, regardless of grade, they review, analyze, and critique the work of their peers’. With three basic rules in place (Peer Critique Protocols), every question or comment they make must be kind, specific (truthful), and helpful, and this allows students to reflect on learning and advance or adjust their understanding. When a peer says ‘ I really feel you are using great details in your writing, but could you change the sentence syntax? it is not as clear as it could be, it can be improved by ‘….’’, it helps both parties discover and develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Over time, students see multiple examples of what exemplary work looks like, they examine quality and standards, and internalize the values of a strong work ethic. Students grasp that low-quality work produced with little or no effort is never considered done! Students develop correct judgment; they learn to compare and contrast their own work and see how revision will improve their work. Growing a culture of peer critique and Socratic inquiry helps student develop critical thinking, this process is transformative for staff and students.

Peer Critique Protocols

Using "nonjudgmental" peer critique protocols that develops the students ability to give and receive meaningful feedback, that supports their academic growth and the growth of peers, creates students that are lifelong problem solvers. Your students will greatly improve their writing and other work by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of others. Giving and receiving critical feedback is the key to becoming erudite scholars. Giving critical feedback and receiving critical feedback helps students become better "Problem Solvers", critical feedback is all about finding a better, stronger, or more proficient way to solve problems! Critical feedback is about being hard on the work not the person.

Peer Critique Non-Negotiables

1. Be Kind: Always treat others with dignity and respect. This means we never use words or tones that are hurtful, including sarcasm.

2. Be Specific and Truthful: Focus on particular strengths and weaknesses, rather than making general comments like “It’s good” or “I like it.” Provide insight into why it is good or what, specifically, you like about it.

“This part is very clear, yet this part is unclear….”
“I notice the details are not very clear….”
“I suggest….”
“I notice….”
“I wonder if this way….”
“If this were my work, I would….”

3. Be Helpful and Supportive: The goal is to positively contribute to the individual or the group, not to simply be heard. Echoing the thoughts of others or cleverly pointing out details that are irrelevant wastes time.

4. Participate: Peer critique is a process to support each other, and your feedback is valued!

Rather than teachers giving critical feedback and then hoping for improvement or being resented, students now have something to compare and contrast their own work against and all students lift and push each other up to highest heights. As well as reviewing the work of others, they will also look at perfect examples or examples of work that has achieved the highest grade. With anchor text, anchor charts and multiple student exemplars, they split up into cooperative pairs and examine exactly why the work has achieved a highest grade. Once they see the components that make up ‘excellent’ work, they can further explore these ideas and use them within their own work. Immediately, they will have improved and learned new skills. Revision is the process of critical thinking, problem solving and adjusting knowledge, skills and or work.

As you can see, this has some great short-term benefits because they will improve their work with each critiquing session. However, it also has some fantastic long-term benefits because it will change the culture we see within the classroom. For many years, it has been a culture of ‘teacher knows best’ and that teachers are the only ones that can give advice. Now, we have an atmosphere where every student wants to help one another and this can only grow stronger with time. As they spend many years with each other in class, they will naturally help each other, point out mistakes, and explain how improvements can be made. Even without prompting, they will point out spelling mistakes, errors in understanding or miscalculations and this is something that has been lacking in many classrooms for years.

As children, we are focused on ourselves but this opens up a whole new world where the growth of our friends is just important as our own growth. All things considered, this is a fantastic school culture to adapt and promote, one that now has proven results since its implementation. When the culture is created within the class, all students will be involved, no student will ever be left behind, and the whole class can grow as a group with kind, specific, and helpful feedback!

Creating a culture of critique and revision:

Helps build student oracy
The ability of students to express oneself articulately, fluently and grammatically in speech. Students will become confident in voicing their ideas, opinions, advice and learn to give a friendly critique.
Helps students reflect on the learning of others
Students examining their understanding and the understanding of others, this examination and questioning is an important tenet of the Socratic method. Students reflect and think critically about new knowledge, learning and background knowledge develops faster and students make adjustments to their learning and understanding as needed.
Giving and receiving critical feedback helps develops a growth mindset
Giving and receiving critical feedback helps students become better "Problem Solvers", constructive feedback is the process of finding a better solution, a more resilient or cogent way to improve skills and ability. Building knowledge and problem solving skills are the key to adapting and overcoming problems! They see multiple solutions that may not have occurred to them working individually.
Helps students to actively listens and reflect on their learning and their peers
Students retention of information is increased, their understanding is expanded, reflection, enjoyment, and engagement in all learning activities. Seeks to understand the ideas, feelings, thoughts and viewpoints of others. Listens to others with the intention of understanding.
Helps students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers
(“critical thinking: process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action")
Maybe, if we set our goals to inspire our students to become Polymaths and not College and Career Ready widgets, maybe we will see a Renascence in education.

“The 'polymath' had already died out by the close of the eighteenth century, and in the following century intensive education replaced extensive, so that by the end of it the specialist had evolved. The consequence is that today everyone is a mere technician, even the artist...” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, "having learned much") is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Peer Critique Protocols

Peer Critique Protocols 

Using "nonjudgmental" peer critique protocols that develops the
students ability to give and receive meaningful feedback, that supports their academic growth and the growth of peers, creates students that are life long problem solvers. Your students will greatly improve their writing and other work by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of others. Giving and receiving critical feedback is the key to becoming erudite scholars. Giving critical feedback and receiving critical feedback helps students become better "Problem Solvers", critical feedback is all about finding a better, stringer, or more proficient way! Critical feedback is about being hard on the work not the person.

The Power of Critique and Redrafting


1. Be Kind: Always treat others with dignity and respect. This means we never use words that are hurtful, including sarcasm.

2. Be Specific and Truthful: Focus on particular strengths and weaknesses, rather than making general comments like “It’s good” or “I like it.” Provide insight into why it is good or what, specifically, you like about it. 

  • “This part is very clear, yet this part is unclear….”
  • “I notice the details are not very clear….”
  • “I suggest….”
  • “I notice….”
  • “I wonder if this way….”
  • “If this were my work, I would….”

3. Be Helpful and Supportive: The goal is to positively contribute to the individual or the group, not to simply be heard. Echoing the thoughts of others or cleverly pointing out details that are irrelevant wastes time.
4. Participate: Peer critique is a process to support each other, and your feedback is valued!

Five Best Practices for Effective,yet Sensitive Critiques
Admit and Exit Tickets Protocol
Peer Critique Protocol - EngageNY DOC
Peer Critique Protocol

Student To Student Feedback Strategies - Teaching Channel
Strategy for student to student feedback for any grade level. Using sentence frames, students can critique other students' work with valuable feedback.

Strategies to enhance peer feedback | Assessment for Learning
Some strategies are particularly suited to younger students, where often the ... way of communicating to students that they wish them to provide peer feedback.

[PDF]Descriptive Feedback and Some Strategies - Standards Toolkit
Formative Instructional Practices- Feedback strategies. Feedback ... Feedback is the means by which teachers enable students to 'close the gap' in order to take.

5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful ...
Teacher feedback must be informative and encouraging for students to ... eventually developstrategies for tackling weak points themselves.

[PDF]Actionable Feedback Strategies for the Classroom - rapps
Actionable Feedback Strategies for the Classroom. • Picture and Symbol Cues. Young students who may not be readers can benefit from visual cues that help ..

Peer Critique Guidelines
We encourage these habits and skills at PLU, and ask you to "Peer Review" (review and critique each other's work, especially in draft form) in many classes. Peer Review is taken seriously: your role is to help the author improve the piece and the quality of work it represents.

Peer Critique: Two Strategies for Getting Students to Give Feedback
One of the activities I most struggle with as an instructor of visual communications is getting students to give thoughtful and detailed critiques of ...

[DOC]Peer Critique
Peer Critique: Writing is a challenge for everyone. From academic papers to creative writing even seasoned writers experience difficulty and frustration.

[PDF]Peer Critique Assignment Description
Peer Critique Assignment Description. Objectives. By writing peer critiques, students should refine their abilities to: • Critically analyze all aspects of speech ...

What are some peer critique guidelines for commenting on another ...
Peer critiques during the draft stage of an essay are of great help to college students. The following guidelines will help students perform a thoughtful critique of ...

[DOC]English 271, Peer Critique - NDSU
Intensive Peer Critique. Essay writer's name ... Critique your classmate's draft with your Tyson text close by. And, of course, let the writer know what ...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Morning Meetings Circles Time | Math Songs

Morning Math Songs For 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade and 6th Grade | Fractions, Measurements, Multiplication, Angles and Geometry, Coordinate Planes and Ordered Pairs, Rounding,and PEMDAS 

Making Morning Circle Time and Class Meetings Meaningful for
Students at Risk. Morning meeting sets the table for the days learning objectives, front loads new academic content and spirals through key concepts to strengthen leaning usually through multi-sensory activities. Morning Circles and meaning can include songs, videos, sharing, read aloud or chants. Mornings are prime learning time to get student engaged and excited about the days learning. Circles are time for math songs, playing rhythm instruments, read a story, and participate in movement games and mindfulness and relaxation activities. Morning Circle Time and Class Meetings should include one or two songs and a educational chant. 


Morning Math Songs For 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 
5th Grade and 6th Grade

Morning Math Chants 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Is the Finnish Education Model Better at Building a Love of Learning?

Starting Kindergarten at age 5, 6, 7, or even 8: The evidence for and against starting academics too early. Why Starting Kindergarten "Formal Academics" Later May Give Students The Best Chance at Success? What is the best school starting age? 

Is the Finnish Education Model Better at Building a Love of Learning? Focusing on Relationships, Language Development, Play, Socialization, Imagination and a Love Nature!

Between four and six, children may be intellectually interested and developmentally ready for reading,
“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori
writing letters, words, numbers and symbols, and traditional school activities, yet they aren't required to attend “formal kindergarten” at this age in Finland. WHY? At this early developmental stage, Finnish 
children enjoy Friluftsliv, literally means "free air life", their job is to play, and develop into happy well adjusted kids. Despite decades of research and data on early childhood education and the benefits of delaying formal learning, we choose to push even harder and faster today! The social emotional benefits of starting academics later has shown greatly reduced occurrences of ADD/ADHA, less stress, more intrinsically motivated learners, and very happy students that thrive academically. Today, our students are pushed into the rigorous Common Core system and expected to thrive and survive academically in usually a packed all-day kindergarten. What really changed at the age of 4, 5 or 6? How or why is a 5 year old suddenly ready to sit through a full day of Core Curriculum, learning that now includes a push for more rigorous academic subject matter? What is the benefit if any? 
Lucy Ward | The Guardian  "Children should learn mainly through play until age of eight, says Lego
"According to Rasmussen, the evidence for play-based learning has built enormously over the last decade, but parents don’t know about it. “Both in the formal education system and in the homes of children, the focus on the value of play is rather limited. That’s really something we want to work on – to improve the understanding of the value of play and what play really can do, where more and more it is squeezed by a desire both from the formal system and from parents that children should learn specific literacy and numeracy quite early.” 

What students may miss out on in a Common "Hard" Core Kindergarten!!
  1. Building Strong Relationships with Students and Teachers
  2. Learning to Make Friends and Develop Empathy
  3. Learning to Get Along with Others and Taking Turns 
  4. Learning to Work with Others as a Team Member
  5. Learning to Get Organized and Keep Things Organized 
  6. Learning to Take Care of Themselves and their Belongings

From the very first week, the new Common Core kindergartners have to spend three and a half hours on literacy instruction every single day. After this, they spend an hour and a half on math and just twenty minutes on what is now called ‘physical activity time’ (recess). Shockingly, just four weeks into their school career many will have two standards based tests- one in literacy and one in math. Each test has 56 questions - on the FOURTH week of school! This is more about profit and less about catching struggling or at risk students. 

“curriculum and standards must first connect with the lives and spirits of our children if we’re to have any lasting success. Unless we reach into our students’ hearts, we have no entry into their minds. We can get students to pass tests and complete assignments. But there is a price to pay. We will never inspire our students to learn for their own sake and to love coming to school.” Regie Routman 

As we move through time, kindergarten is changing and becoming more rigorous, some are saying that kindergarten is the new 1st grade. We see more and more stories of Kinder teachers that are fighting back, trying to keep toys, imaginative play, recess and fun child centered activities alive and at the forefront. A child centered kindergarten that develops happy well adjusted children should be the goal. A recent article about the push back by Kinder teachers was in a district that wanted to remove dolls, toy food, and even developmental stations like my favorite the play kitchen. Essentially, we are saying that there is no more time for playing in kindergarten which means that our children are being introduced to the academic world earlier and earlier. NO TIME FOR PLAY IN KINDERGARTEN? 

One secret to Finland's and Scandinavia's huge academic success is parents talk, read, sing, play and engage with children. All parents have a minimum of two years of parental leave. Early play and Imaginative engagement with children helps develop advanced language skills and language helps children build strong imaginations and I.Q. Imagination is fundamental to becoming someone who love reading and school   Scandinavian parents use rich complex languages, communicating in two or three languages even with their babies.  The Danish phrase "leg godt", which means "play well", the Norwegian phrase "Friluftsliv", literally means "free air life", or outdoor play, the Finnish phrase "käsityön ystävät" which means, friends crafts, or handicraft! Wow, we don't really give "play" much value in today's test, punish, and blame culture. We need to develop a play mindset and educate parents and teachers on the importance and value of engaging with their children using imaginative play. We all need to start limiting TV time and or using Smart Phones around children and go outside and play!
Looking deeper into this change, there was even a study not so long ago from the University of Virginia. Ultimately, the study was put in place to assess the views of kindergarten teachers between 1998 and 2010. Over this 12-year period, the shift towards a more academic level of teaching was clear to see. Within this, there was a particular shift towards literacy at a more advanced level than had ever been seen. In 1998, just 30% of the teachers in kindergarten agreed that children should learn to read at this age. By 2010, this had completely changed and it is now thought to sit at around 80%.

Asking questions is what brains were born to do, at least when we were young children. For young children, quite literally, seeking explanations is as deeply rooted a drive as seeking food or water. Alison Gopnik

What effect has this had? As you would expect, increased academic studies means that the amount of time spent on arts, play kitchen time, and music has decreased. Instead, children at this age are now used to dealing with worksheets, textbooks, and even many assessments. Before we judge whether this is right or wrong, we need something with which we can compare. Luckily, the education system in Finland is vastly different.

I was never a good student. I had to be dragged into kindergarten. It was hard to sit and listen to somebody talk. I wanted to be out, educated by experience and adventure, and I didn't know how to express that. Robert Redford

Finnish Education - Compared to the US, Finland is very different in their education system and it is highlighted at the very beginning of a student’s learning career. In Finland, the compulsory kindergarten (called ‘preschool’) starts at the age of 6. Even at this age, they still aren't introduced to worksheets and textbooks but instead play with tools, paints, musical instruments, and spend most of the day outdoors. Of course, this isn't the first time the Finnish education system has reached the news because they were recently praised for the fantastic performance of 15-year olds. As well as achieving strong grades, these grades were consistent each year.

"The connection between child development and the outdoors can be seen clearly in Scandinavian educational systems. The cultural heritage of Scandinavia venerates nature experience. There’s even a word in Norwegian for it – friluftsliv (frí-loofts-live). The literal translation is “free air life.”'
 "Friluftsliv promotes direct experience in the natural world — picture a three year old gamboling about in the woods, picking up leaves and peering into hollow logs: that’s friluftsliv." by Erik Shonstrom | May 19, 2014 

Inside Kindergarten - Recently, a US teacher went to see the Finnish public preschool and initially found that the school day was just four hours long and they focused outdoor discovery and free play. After an hour on outside with the boys scooping shovels of mud and playing in the snow, the morning started at 9.30 am with ‘Morning Circle', "a communal time of songs, sharing, dancing and chants" for the boys whilst the girls were playing board games inside. At this point, they had already enjoyed an hour outside with their friends. According to one of the teachers, they were still learning through play. In fact, she was sure that the learning was more effective because the children are having fun and they don’t even realize that they are learning. 

"We cannot choose fidelity to a program, curriculum or test over fidelity to a child.” Debbie Miller, author of Reading with Meaning

In support of the teachers, a recent study actually proves her point. When children play, they develop important social, physical, cognitive, and emotional skills. Assuming that the fun has been designed for children, the study suggests that the children develop a thirst for learning and their motivation for learning increases at the same time. As you talk to more and more teachers across Finland, the passion for this type of learning remains the same. Let’s face it, these same children were running around with freedom just a few weeks ago. Finland has decided that it isn't a normal way to learn with textbooks, worksheets, and having to sit still for prolonged periods of time.

Before we continue, we should say that it isn't all fun and games because the children still take part in handwriting lessons. However, they are far less strict and they will only occur around once a week. With less of a curriculum in place, there isn't necessarily a ‘typical’ preschool day that the whole city or country follows. For example, one school has field trips on a Monday, ballgames and exercises during the middle of the week, and then musical days on Friday. Despite this general layout, it could change from one week to the next and between schools.

As we said earlier, Morning Circle is a particularly popular session in Finnish schools and it sees the students spend time together sharing, singing, dancing and chanting. At the end, they are allowed to choose a learning station of their choice whether it is arts and handicrafts, pretending to run a bakery, or building forts from sheets. Regardless of what option the child chooses, there is still learning but in a more natural holistic way. For example, the ‘pretend to run a bakery’ game has them dealing with pretend money, organizing, backing,  taking orders, asking questions, and counting. If the teacher needs to step in and help with calculating change, they can do so. Suddenly, they have worked out how to give change from a particular bull which improves their math skills. In their minds, they have just sold one of their classmates a bunch of cupcakes. 

Two Variants of Learning - In Finland, all kindergarten teachers are expected to offer two different types of learning - free form and guided. In examples we have given, you have seen them both because the children playing in the mud was more free whilst the running of the shop was guided and directly contributed to learning. Immediately, it is clear to see that the teachers want their students to have fun while learning and there is actually an old saying in Finland that suggests learning without fun is knowledge forgotten down the line.

Moving Forward - By no means is the Finnish curriculum a finished article, each year they are making changes and finding what works best for their students. For example, teachers weren't allowed to teach reading in years gone by but this has now changed. If a child shows an interest in reading, they will sit down with students and help them to learn. However, the child remains in control and they are more likely to retain the knowledge because they aren't being forced to focus when they aren't ready. Sadly, many children are being left behind in the US and many other countries with a strict curriculum because children aren't ready at a young age. Then, the curriculum moves on without them and they struggle from that moment forward for over a decade.

Just like in the US, parents meet with teachers every so often but this is to discuss the child’s interests and whether they are ready to learn reading and other key skills. In the US, children of the same age are forced to learn complex rules of the written language just because the curriculum says so. Whether these 5/6 year olds are ready or not, they have to adapt at such a young age and get on with it. Currently, over 40 states are obliged to follow the Common Core State Standards or the  College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards. Within these Standards, there are numerous expectations for children of this age. 

Despite the strict regulations and expectations we have for the nation’s five year olds, there is no evidence whatsoever that they benefit in the long-term from this type of rigorous system. In New Zealand, we recently saw a study that compared 11 year olds in their ability to read. In one group, the children started to learn at the age of five whereas the other started at seven. By the time each group had reached the age of 11, they were at the same level and the later starters had caught up.

Although we can’t see the advantages to starting at such a young age, could there be disadvantages that exist? Above all else, the late starters are certainly getting to enjoy their childhood for a longer period of time and there are a few key developments occurring when this is allowed to happen;

Relationships - Rather than being thrown into the classroom and starting formal education, starting later enables relationships to develop between students and teachers as well as the students themselves. As they play together, they appreciate how the group atmosphere operates and this is important considering they would have been the center of attention for such a long time. Suddenly, the friendships become stronger, they learn how to appreciate the opinions of others, and they still build skills from the foundation level.

Thirst for Knowledge - For many years, there has been a overwhelming feeling towards education that it isn't enjoyable. If you ask a group of teenagers whether or not they enjoy their school experience, the majority will say that they don’t because they feel as though it is forced upon them - who can blame them when they have been adhering to a curriculum and completing tests since the age of five?

However, starting later allows the children to develop the thirst for knowledge and then they crave learning and develop their skill set. Considering everyone catches up by the age of eleven, should the two years between five and seven be spent in a different way (just as we have seen in Finland)? Rather than pushing them into a classroom and hoping that they excel, we can set them up for learning in a better way so that they become more efficient as they grow older.

Summary - Ultimately, this is an extremely interesting topic and one that could spark debates all around the world. Do we start children off with worksheets too early? We have certainly seen the emotional and various other skills that can be learned through play, arts, music, etc. According to many studies and the research we have seen, we might just see greater results by starting formal academics later and Finland continues to be the cornerstone of this change!