Embedded Reading

Simplify, Scaffold, Succeed!!

COACH Inspires!!

I’m having a wonderful day with passionate and dedicated language teachers at Los Alamitos High School!

We started the morning with Jason Fritze reviewing the ACTFL Core Practices.   

Here you will find the PowerPoint for the Community-S. presentation.

Here is the PowerPoint for theEmbedded Reading Intro for Coach that we used today!

Go here if you want to see/use thegrandma-all levels copy .

Interested in the Embedded Reading using Enrique and Eres Tú?  Click here:   Eres tu con Enrique

Right now the participants are working in language groups examining best practices and the skills needed to incorporate Core Practices with COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT in the real classroom.  They are being led by members of the (devoted and skilled) COACH team.

We are watching video clips of teachers in the classroom, with their own students and identifying (and appreciating!)  what we see.   What a wonderful model.  Bit by bit this idea of opening ourselves up to others in the profession is taking hold…and I really think that it will radically change classrooms across the country.

Kudos to COACH for all they do!

with love,

Laurie

Hearts For Teaching is Alive and Well Again!

Thank you to all of you for your patience and flexibility while the site was down!  The Hearts For Teaching blog posts will now be found here.    Since many of you have asked, I’ll post a blurb here on the Embedded Reading site when a new Hearts For Teaching post comes up so that you can stay connected. (or you can follow me there too!)

The newest post is “Time To Slow Down.”  Remember, this is about my kids and my classroom; what you do is always up to you!

with love,

Laurie

It Ain’t All Rainbows and Lollipops: Hearts For Teaching Blog Post

Hearts For Teaching Blog Posts will appear here until September 1st.

Just in case you were thinking that it is all rainbows and lollipops….I don’t want to mislead you…it isn’t.  And almost ALL of the things aren’t have to do with me.  Well, me and the fact that teachers are expected to do so many things.

Remember the “Magic Attendance Poster”?

Well….it only works if I have remembered to get the cards in before classes start!!

And the posters the kids are handing in?

Well….if I don’t remember to ask each student if his/her name is on the poster I have no idea who to give credit to!!

The list goes on…..

It’s the consistent follow up that makes the difference….and I will ALWAYS have to work on that!!

Here are a few other things I haven’t yet completed:

  1.  Signing the twenty 504 plans that came in and noting each child’s needs somewhere where I will remember them.
  2. Creating and printing the syllabus for Back to School Night on Thursday.
  3. Entering the grades from last week’s quiz and the posters. (Although I did get the grade book set up!)
  4. A parent phone call that I really need to make. (Although I did get the other four done.)
  5. Turning in the three days of emergency sub plans required by the district for each level of instruction.

And that list, too, goes on….

Just remember, if you are a blog follower, that we too are teachers just like you.  We tend to post about the successes, but we ALL have our lists, and our less-than-successes to share.

with love,

Laurie

Part 2 An Anchor For The Storms: Hearts For Teaching Blog Post

   

This year I decided to add a second poster option for my Spanish 2 students (primarily 7th graders).  About 1/3rd had had me as a teacher last year and I didn’t want them to have to do the same poster over again! Also, it was so successful that I wanted to see if it also worked with our Goals !

In Our Class We Try To…

Respect

Include

Communicate

Understand

Think

Improve

This week we focused on Respect and Understand as we began to get to know each other and how the class would run.  Next week we’ll add Communicate.

These goals, like the statement in the previous post, serve as a touchpoint for us all year long.  I was able to use them over and over again just this week.

Check out some of their work above and below!

with love,

Laurie

PS  I’ve invited the principal and two assistant principals to come in and choose their favorite poster (from both options)  I will color copy and frame them to be hung in their offices!!

An Anchor For The Storms Part 1:Hearts For Teaching Blog Post

The first weeks of school seem “easy” to some teachers.  In their rooms, students seem to follow the rules and do what is expected.  It is sometimes referred to as the “honeymoon” period, when everything is sweet and wonderful.

I don’t usually experience that, and maybe many language teachers do not.  Our expectations are different than the expectations of other teachers.  Our rooms are set up differently than the rooms of other teachers.  Our relationships with students are often different than those of other teachers.  For those reasons, it is extremely important to set the boundaries.   What are the parameters of behavior?  What is acceptable?  What isn’t?

Because I teach using TPRS® (thank you Bryce Hedstrom for this!) my students are going to be in a highly-participatory, interactive classroom.   This is new for many of them and it takes some time for us to work it out!!   So for me, the first few weeks are very, very important and my brain is highly alert for ways to time,  orchestrate and/or take advantage of the first and best opportunities to share HOW this class will work.  Once we get things rolling, then I relax a little bit!

For the last decade or so, I have started students with the following statement (or something very similar!_:

The purpose of communication is to put a picture into the mind, and/or heart, of another person. 

It is not a quote;  it’s one of my belief statements….in the classroom and in life.  I use it to “anchor” the classroom.

What do I mean by “anchor”?

Well, teaching can sometimes feel as if you are out on the high seas in the middle of a hurricane.   It’s hard, with all that is going on and all that is required, to keep upright and to keep going in the right direction.   Sometimes you need an anchor to keep you from blasting off in the wrong direction without meaning to.

So I use all or parts of this statement to come back to over and over again.

It is an introduction to the concept of visualization.  I want students to visualize what they hear and read.

It is a reminder that clarity is important.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

It is a reminder that words have power.  We should use them wisely.

It is commitment to not only communicate with the minds, but also the hearts, of everyone in the class.

But most of all, it gives me the starting point for checking for understanding?  Is the meaning (the picture) clear?

I ask students to create a poster (8″x10″ minimum) with that statement.  They keep them in the front of their folders and I post copies of many of them around the room.   As always….students blow me away with their work!!  (Check out samples from some of this year’s 6th graders above and below!)

with love,

Laurie

 

Creating Community: Hearts For Teaching Blog

Creating community is more than a series of activities…..it is a commitment to finding ways for students to support each other.  That is not always easy!  Supporting and encouraging others is not a part of every community that we teach and live in.  It isn’t always a part of our family history, nor the dynamic of our students’ home lives.

Like everything else we do, it requires patience and a constant series of safe opportunities for student to be a part of.  Once students begin to experience what being part of a community really means, they begin to buy in and often lead the way…..but that can take some time.

My first period class (so far!) seems to be a group that is willing to step up, so I asked them to start something this morning that blossomed throughout the day.   It was the day of our first quiz.  (I try to give some sort of assessment each Thursday because it helps me to plan for the next week.)    The first period group was a little nervous, but no surprise, they felt good about their answers.

Today’s quiz was really more about teaching them the logistics of taking a test/quiz in a deskless classroom, and to build their confidence about quizzes in the weeks to come.  After the quiz was over, I asked them to share their thoughts about how it went.  They were relieved that it wasn’t too difficult and some of them admitted that they had been pretty worried about it.

So….

I asked them to write “Good luck!” to the next class on the whiteboards that we keep under the chairs to write on.    When the next period came in, each student had a note saying ‘GOOD LUCK!” on the white board under his/her seat.   At first, they were puzzled.  Why did they wish me good luck?  Who wrote it?  Do they know me?  But after a few moments, they began to share their messages with the students nearby and several took pictures to save and send.

Then they erased the messages and took their own quiz.   Towards the end of the period, a student asked, “Aren’t we going to make Good Luck boards too?”  Of course we were, but I was waiting to see if they would ask…..and they did!!

The last period of the day wrote “Good morning” on their boards and emphatically informed me that next Wednesday they needed to write “Good luck” for the 1st period class to see Thursday morning.

Just a quick, easy, safe way to build community….and yes…I took a quick look at each board before they left the room…..just to be sure all of the messages/drawings were appropriate. :0)  It is middle school after all!

Check out the pictures below! (I wish the one of all 31 of them had turned out!)

with love,

Laurie

Hearts For Teaching Blog: Chair Guy For The Win!

Note:  For the next two weeks, the Hearts For Teaching Blog posts will appear here on this site.  I will move them over when the Hearts For Teaching Blog is up and running well again!! (probably Sept. 1st)

I’m really focusing on my “hard to win” students these first few days.  The sooner I can get them on board, the sooner they start making progress.  Once that happens, there is no stopping them.  It’s getting them started that is the challenge!

Right now, these students fall into two categories (mostly): a. students who have been asked to repeat a level and b. students who have had more success with being obnoxious and funny than with classwork.

Some of my sweetest moments this week have come from these kids…..so I wanted to share my “chair guy” story with you.   Chair Guy started Day #1 by being the loudest, smart-mouthed and most vocal kid in Spanish 2…..and of course, all in English.  On the second day of class a new student entered just as we were about to start the first activity.   All of the chairs were full.  The student looked around for a seat, and in a split second it was obvious that no chairs were readily available.

“Sucks to be you!”, yells out Chair Guy.  The entire class looks at him, and then at me.  Chair Guy isn’t even aware that he has said/done anything questionable.   I go over to my desk and picked up a Wildcat Way (the school’s recognition rewards that can be turned in for prizes etc.)

“Hmmmm”, I say to Chair Guy, slowly waving the Wildcat Way, “I think you meant to say–I’ll find you a chair.”

Chair Guy looks at me for a second, puzzled, and then he gets it.   He stands up, goes to the corner of the room, picks up a chair from a few that are stacked in a corner.  “Where would you like to sit?, “he asks the girl, “I’ll put it anywhere you would like.”   She points, he puts the chair down, and I hand him the Wildcat Way with a thank you.

Not 10 seconds later ANOTHER student enters the room.  Chair Guy is on his feet in a second.  “WELCOME!!, ” he yells, “I’ll get you a seat!  Where would you like to sit?”  The student gets a personally-chosen seat and Chair Guy gets another Wildcat Way.

Now, the next day, a student comes in late.  Chair Guy jumps up and says, “Welcome!  There’s a chair for you over there!”  No kidding.  I don’t know who is happier, me or Chair Guy!!

On the way out he says to me, “You know, I’ve never gotten any of these before.  It’s easier than I thought to do the right thing.”

Welcome to the class Chair Guy!!!!  So glad he’s here.

It isn’t always that “easy”.   But I’m finding that it is much, much easier in the first few days.

with love,

Laurie

Spanish is Easy!

I am SO excited to be teaching Level 1 again this year!  The classes are mostly 6th graders with a few 7th and 8th graders here and there.  Last year I jumped in with this level on November 1st…..almost 14 weeks in….so to be here from Day 1 is fantastic!!

I decided to try to convince them that Spanish was going to be easy….on Day #2.

On Day #1 I had used the phrases:

Hay un problema.

Se llama.

Hay ____ estudiantes en la clase.

So they didn’t have much to start with.   Now….let me say up front that I didn’t expect them to acquire anything from this exercise…..I just wanted them to experience success!

Me:  Your job is to respond to me when I speak Spanish to you.  If you do not understand what I said, please stomp your feet until I hear you and stop to explain so that you understand.  (I blab in Spanish until they stop me)  Excelente!  What English word do you hear in “Excelente”?

Students: Excellent!

Me:  Excelente!  If you DO understand me, just say Ohhhhhh.    Me llamo la Maestra Clarcq (we had done this yesterday.)

Students:  Ohhhhh.

Me:  Gracias.

I ask a student to set the timer on his phone for 10 minutes.

Me:  Clase, (I point to poster hay-there is or there are) un marcador (marker).

Some students stomp.  I write “marcador” on the board.

Me”  What word do you see/hear in English when I say MARCADOR?

Some students respond; Marker

Me:  Clase, Hay un marcador.

Students:  Ohhhhh.

Me:  El marcador es importante.

(If a class stomped, we stopped, I wrote it and gave the meaning.  If not, we went on)

I wrote usa (uses) and dibuja (draws) on the board.

Me:  La Maestra usa el marcador.      Students:  Ohhhh.

Me.  La Maestra dibuja con el marcador.     (if students stomp I stop and explain)

I drew a “lovely” stick figure of a person on the board.

Me:  La Maestra es talentosa.   Students stomp.  I explain talentosa/talented.

Me:  I’m going to ask you a question in Spanish.  You can give me your honest opinion.  ¿Es la Maestra MUY talentosa (I stretch my hands out wide) or UN POCO talentosa?  (I make the “little gesture with my fingers))  

I restated the sentence depending on the class answer.

Me:  Es obvio.      Students stomp.  I provide the meaning (It’s obvious.)

Me:  Clase, who thinks that they could draw a better person than I did?

Hands of course go up and I pick one student to come up to the board and draw a person.  (I quietly asked them to do it fairly quickly)

While the student was drawing…..

Me:  Clase, hay )point to poster again) un artists famoso en la clase.   Students stomp and I write artist famoso (famous artist) on the board.

Me:  Se llama Mercedes (or what the student’s name is!)

Each time I am making sure that students “ooh” or stamp after my statements.

Me:  Mercedes usa el marcador.  Mercedes dibuja con el marcador.  Mercedes dibuja una persona con el marcador.   Mercedes es famosa a Eich Middle School. Es famosa en Roseville.   Es famosa en California.  Clase, Mercedes es MUY (with gesture) famosa.

By this time the artist was finished and we had the artist sign his or her work….to the sound of much applause (Es obvio!)

About this time the timer also went off….if not…it was close and I could simply go back and repeat sentences until it did.

Now………..

I told the students this:

I am going to write down what we just talked about on the board.  While I am writing it in Spanish, I want you to share with a partner what it means in English.

(Please forgive any errors because the period was ending quickly!)

Here is a sample!

Then, I read it in Spanish, sentence by sentence, and they said the English.  Talk about excitement!!

Many of them took a picture to share at home and several asked me to text it to their parents, which made me smile.

I reminded them that they hadn’t acquired it yet, so they should not be surprised if they don’t remember it all.    But…..that Spanish was going to be this easy!!!

I started without asking many questions, or “circling.”  That is a skill we work on together and we will start next week.  But just for today, I wanted them to know that by

a. listening well

b. responding when they understand

c.  showing me when they don’t

that Spanish will be easy!!!!

with love,

Laurie

Winning Them Over One By One: Day #2

Note:  For the next two weeks, the Hearts For Teaching Blog posts will appear here on this site.  I will move them over when the Hearts For Teaching Blog is up and running well again!! (probably Sept. 1st)

Winning Them Over One By One: Day #2

So, on Day #2 the students walk in and sit down.  Four out of six classes totally forgot about the names in the back of the room until the bell rang….and then….someone said, “Oh!  Our cards!”.   But once everyone remembered, all went well.

Ok….not all.

My first and third period classes looked something like this as they brought up their cards:

Student in the front of the line hands me the card.   I smile, and say, brightly, BUENOS DIAS!.  The student looks at the floor and trudges back to his or her seat.   This repeated itself 31 times!!!!!!!!

Once everyone had gone through the process, I looked at the class and said, “Clase, hay un problema.”  And then explained in English that having your heart broken 31 times in a row is no way to start the day.

So…..they all got up again….I greeted them with a smile, a HIGH FIVE and a BUENOS DIAS!.   In the first period class, right about the middle of the line, one boy deliberately “missed” the high five.  (Ay!)  So, when everyone was done I invited him up front.  He gladly came (if not I would have gone over to stand next to him.)   I explained to the class in Spanish (these are level 2 students) that everyone gave me a high five except for “Alberto.’  Why?  Because Alberto and I had a very special handshake that was way more complicated than a high five and he was going to teach it to them right now.

“Albert” whispered to me, “I don’t know what to do.”  I whispered back, ‘Just miss my high five and then we’ll do a fist bump.”  So “Albert” demonstrated the more complicated and special high five and I asked 3 or 4 other students if they wanted to try it.  There was about 25 hands in the air so I let them do it with a neighbor and then we went on.  “Albert” got the message, and so did the rest of them.

:o)

with love,

Laurie

Hearts For Teaching Blog: Day #1 The Magic Attendance Poster!!

Note:  For the next two weeks, the Hearts For Teaching Blog posts will appear here on this site.  I will move them over when the Hearts For Teaching Blog is up and running well again!! (probably Sept. 1st)

By the time some of you read this it will be really old news….but here goes!!

 

Day 1 of Year 35 completed!!!

As you saw by my earlier post….my classroom is bare bones right now.

I have added the following:

1. Posters of the Super Seven in the past/present from Scott Benedict at Teach For June.

2. A calendar with the days of the week, months of the year.

3. Posters with colors.

4. Two Sr. Wooly posters (Billy La Bufanda, Soy Guapo and Puedo Ir al Baño)

5. A world map.

Not much really!!!!

Except for this:

If you look closely, you will see cards behind each card:

It is my magic attendance poster!!!

Confession #1: I am HORRIBLE at taking and reporting attendance.

So, on Thursday, I taught all of the kids to grab their name from the poster in the back of the room as they come in and bring it up to the front and hand it to me. (If their name is NOT there then they bring me a blank card and I know to check the roster for schedule changes etc.)

The first day, I asked students their names.  They could a) just show me the card.  b) say their name or c. Say Me llama and their name.  (Right away I could show them that they will respond in a way that is comfortable for them!) This way I didn’t have to try to figure out the pronunciation of names and I asked if they had a nickname that they preferred.   I also asked them if I had spelled it correctly.  It was quick, personal, and easy!!

This way I get to connect with every kid on their way in the room!!! It is very easy to see who is not here because each class roster uses a different color marker. Before I submit attendance, I can see if any names are left on the board in a flash!!

Confession #2: I messed it up 4/6 times on Thursday!! I forgot to hit “Submit”. So THAT was the first Student Job assigned on Friday. Friday I didn’t miss it once!! And….check out the next post for the Day #2 story!!

Other benefits:

I now have the cards for each student in my hand. I can use those for “random cold-calling” for games etc. I can have a student put them back (in the back of the pile each period) or do it myself later in the day.

PS You will see numbers on the bottom of the cards. They stand for Spanish 1 or 2, the period of the day, and a count of how many students in the class. Just little helpful things for me.

This was a great way to start things off!

with love,
Laurie

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