Saturday, June 27, 2015

My take on Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller....

I have heard a lot on teacher blogs, Facebook, and Instagram about Debbie Miller's books.  I have to admit that it's hard to keep my attention with "teacher books"  because I have a short attention span.  I have changed my mind after I read this book.  I have always struggled with getting my students to REALLY comprehend and understand what they are reading.  Most teachers do but just might not admit it, they don't teach these things in college (at least not at my college.)  
Here is the book, I have the 1st edition:

Click on the book to send you to amazon.  I checked mine out at our state teacher resource library.

 We move through the year with her, watching as she scaffolds for us and her students explicit reading instruction that truly works.

In Chapter 1, Miller goes straight to the crux of the matter: Gradually release responsibility to students; teach a few strategies of great consequence in depth over time; give students the gifts of time, choice, response, community, and structure.

Chapter 2 tells us how and why we should create a sense of community in the classroom. "Real classroom communities," writes Miller, "are more than just a look. Real communities flourish when we bring together the voices, hearts, and souls of the people who inhabit them." We must be "deliberate" in September if we are to create the type of environment in which growth and authentic learning will occur.

The Reader's Workshop is the topic of Chapter 3. Wait a minute, you may be saying, how does one have a "Reader's Workshop" when most of the students are not yet reading? "Readers' workshop in September," Miller writes, "is less about teaching children how to read and more about modeling and teaching children what it is that good readers do, setting the tone for the workshop and establishing its expectations and procedures, and engaging and motivating children to want to learn to read." And so Miller shows us, in detail, how we can go about this foundation-building. She begins with "Book Selection," then "Reading Aloud, Mini-Lessons, Reading and Conferring," and finally "Sharing."

In Chapter 3, we learn how and why to give children choices when selecting books. Miller also discusses briefly phonics and word identification---two things that she believes should be taught side-by-side with comprehension strategies.
In the next two chapters Miller goes in depth into the comprehension strategies of schema and visualizing. She then devotes a chapter to "Digging Deeper." It is now January, she notes, and "the time is right for increasing the sophistication of the read-alouds, showing them how to engage in more challenging dialogue and making connections from our past experiences to more in-depth learning." Timing, as they say, is everything. It is this type of knowledge and the ability to build the foundation.

Chapter 8 through 10 are devoted to the remaining reading strategies of inferring, questioning, determining the importance, and synthesizing (summary.)  A list of references and a detailed index are included.

I have learned:
-to have students pick out a few books and discuss with the class why they chose them (book talks.)
-Sticky notes are very important:  They can write on them to recommend a book to other students or if they are stuck on a word, they can write it and then look in the glossary for the definition(glossary practice is another great skill.)
-Schema:  I LOVE using this word with my students because it is another word for prior knowledge. Students can read a few pages and then stop and give stories about anything that they can relate to it.  You, as a teacher, can also read to your students and do the same thing.
-As I read parts of the story, the students can draw mental pictures of what I am reading.
 Some books that she recommends in the classroom:
Image result for the snowy day 
Image result for koala lou
Image result for chrysanthemum book 
(for meaningful connections)
(for creating mental images)
(for inferring)
(for asking questions)
Nonfiction series from:  Dorling Kindersley Reading, Eyewitness books, First Discovery Books
(for synthesizing info)
There are much more in this book that she recommends.
If you are thinking about getting this book, you NEED to!  I can't wait until August!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Awesome FREE site for teachers

Instagram is the best...I saw on one of the teachers that I follow that she posted about a site called:
This site has awesome FREE professional developement, lessons, teacher contests, and much more.  Need some CLUs?  Register for a webinar. I took a few screenshots of what is available on this site.  I just completed my first webinar. 

Teacher reading time...

I'm following suit with y'all and catching up with my teacher reading.  I'm very frugal but luckily in Louisiana, we have a resource center that will ship books and resources to you for FREE! These just came in today! I have the 1st Daily 5 book but not this edition and I have seen some of you post awesome comments about Debbie Miller so I thought I would read this one as well! Any thoughts on these books?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Awesome Partner apps for centers or small groups

Hey Y'all!  I hope you are having an awesome summer.  On a previous post, I posted about some awesome apps with Augmented Reality so I wanted to share some extra apps that my class loves.

Word cloud is the 1st app that I want to share.  This app is made by the inventors of  I used this app in my small reading groups.  I gave each group a spelling list and each student typed in a spelling word and as a group, they decided on a font, color, and setting for the words.  I would then check for accuracy and the students would finish the list.  It's an easy way to get the students to practice their spelling words.
Math Duel is an awesome partner app.  Students can compete by answering addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems.
Both players can set their own settings.  Who doesn't like a healthy competition?
Draw Wireless is an awesome partner app that 1 iPad can connect with another iPad by using bluetooth.  You don't even need wifi.  I would have 1 student write a number sentence and the other student would answer the problem.  Different ways to use this app are endless.
Hello Crayons is another spelling word practice app that I use the same way that I use Word Clouds.  You can use the color, marker, sharpie, or paintbrush option.  
Monster Hunt is an educational memory game that up to 4 players can play on 1 iPad.
I hope that you can find some of these apps useful in your classroom.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

iPad day presentation

I have some awesome iPad apps to share for you to use with your class.
1st app
Quiver 3D (originally ColAR mix)
Download the free quiver app on your device.

Download and print the ready-made images at (formerly colAR mix).  (Free images are available and there are also others to purchase.)   

Students work in pairs to color the image and create a story to accompany their illustration.  We used this in Writing Workshop where we focused on creating stories with a beginning, middle, and ending. 

Here is a graphic organizer created by Houghton Mifflin that you can use with this project:
Examples how to use Aurasma:
Parent’s Night Project: Self-portraits using Aurasma
Students can create their self-portraits at the beginning of each year, and these can be posted on a bulletin board before Parent’s Night.  Any type of art medium can be used, and these can also be laminated.  Students then work in pairs to record videos of each other that will welcome their parents when they visit through the magic of Aurasma. 

Before beginning, download the free Aurasma app onto your device.

Terms to know:  One student will video the other to create the overlay, which is the video itself that magically appears when the device is placed over the trigger, which in this case is the self-portrait.  The overlay and trigger image are linked together in Aurasma to create the magic of an aura. 

Here is a PDF created by Karen Ogen with easy instructions for creating your own augmented reality:

Here is a video tutorial created by Steve Morgan for creating your own augmented reality:

Here is a great site by Erin Klein with more information:
Interactive Word Wall Project: Video skits using Aurasma
This project can be used with any set of vocabulary or word wall words in which students are learning the definitions.

Students work in teams to choose a word, which they write on an index card or in a journal.  They work together to write a skit that will demonstrate the meaning of their word.  After practicing their play, a student from another team is chosen to record them acting it out.  This video will be the overlay to attach to the trigger image.  In this case, the trigger image which will be the word itself written on the index card or journal.      
End of the Year Project: A welcome book for next year’s students using Aurasma
Students worked in pairs to choose an area of the classroom that they wanted future pupils to know about.  They can draw an illustration, which would become the trigger image.  Together they can write a script of what they would say, and someone was chosen to record it or to be recorded. These videos were the overlays, which were linked to the image in Aurasma.  When all were complete, they can be stapled together to create a class book.        

Holiday Project:  Students create puzzles with an Aurasma message
As holiday gifts for parents, each student can draw a picture on a blank puzzle.  These puzzles were the trigger images for overlays, which were videos of the student delivering a holiday message to their parents through Aurasma.  The gift of the puzzle was sent home before the holiday break, along with instructions for parents on how to view the special surprise. 

To purchase pre-made blank puzzles, go to where they can be bought for $1.50 each.  To make your own, use cardstock or glue white printer paper to a cardboard backing.  (We used the backs of old notebooks that we had been collecting.)  After the student draws the picture, simply cut it into puzzle pieces.  (We cut ours into six large pieces.) 

Be sure to create the overlays after cutting the pieces so that the trigger image will be the put together puzzle. 
·         Draw the image.
·         Cut it into pieces. 
·         Put it together. 
·         Create the overlay on the assembled puzzle as the trigger.  

Book reviews using Aurasma
Students each chose a favorite book that had been previously read.  They wrote about their books using this template:

Students worked with a partner to video each other in order to create the overlays.  The trigger images were photographs taken of the book covers.  When they were linked in Aurasma, they were placed in a special basket in our classroom and labeled “AR” so that friends could view each other’s recommendations.   
Here are some pics that I found on the internet of teachers who used Aurasma in their classroom...
This example is where the teacher had the students record themselves reading the words from the story and then took a picture of the cover of the book as the trigger image.
This is an awesome idea for an open house.  Have the students draw a picture about themselves and the students would make a video.  When the parents would scan the trigger image, they will see their child's video.  Parents LOVE this!
3D Flashcards: Fun way to practice skills using AR Flashcards
Download the app, AR Flashcards. 

Visit to download and print the flashcards necessary to make this app work. (Make sure to print the flashcards in color, as they will not work in black and white.) Topics currently involve space, the alphabet, and shapes, for example.  In the alphabet cards, for example, tap on each animal image to hear the letter and name of the animal as it appears in 3D.   
 Video explaining topics using EduCreations
Along with a partner, students created explanations of math concepts through the free screencasting app, EduCreations.  This app allows you to record your voice and your iPad screen to demonstrate or teach a lesson. When these recordings are played, the audience not only hears the explanation, but also magically sees whatever was drawn on the screen to accompany the lesson.  These lessons are then saved in your account and can be viewed by anyone with the link.  Students can create lessons that can be viewed by current classmates or by the teacher’s classes in the years to come.  Screencasts can be viewed over and over so that a student who does not understand a topic can refer to it as often as needed from home or school.
Download the EduCreations app.  (The basic account is free with the only drawback being that a teacher can only have one draft open at a time.  This means only one pair of students can save work to return to later so it’s best that the partners have enough time to create it from start to finish.)  

Decide what topics you want your students to focus on.  In our case, young math students explained topics such as how to use a hundred chart or what they knew about the parts of a clock and telling time. 

Planning it out ahead of time is essential so that when they work on the iPad, they will have all their decisions made and can work without having to stop and make group decisions.  We’ve included our graphic organizer at the end of this document to use with your students. 

Here is a tutorial on how to use the app and create a lesson:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

iPad presentation

Hey y'all!  I hope everyone is having an awesome Sunday.  Unfortunately, here in Louisiana, we are having some terrible rain all week and much more to come.  
I was asked to teach an iPad class and a few Promethean classes this past week to keep teachers updated on new technology that they can use in their classroom.  These are teachers that take time off just to come in the summer to learn new things.  I have to admit that I can teach kids all day and I am never nervous but to teach other teachers it a challenge.  We, as teachers, are difficult listeners so I'm always nervous but getting better everytime:)
So...I would like to share my presentation and I hope it helps to get ideas with your iPads in the classroom.
I am attaching the forms that I used for my presentation and I am also attaching my powerpoint.  Just click on the picture to send you to the link.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Daily Five book study

If you haven't participated one of The Daily Five books studies, check this Facebook group out.  We will begin this coming week.  Even if you have already participated in a book study but would like to put her input in, please join us!! Click on the picture to head to the link.