Sunday, 26 October 2014

Comprehension - Part #4. Making Connections

Making Connections is a great strategy to get students thinking about the text and how it is similar to themselves, another text or the world in which they live in. Making connections helps develop a deeper understanding of the text and the characters.

The easiest one to start with is Text-To-Self Connections.

To introduce this, I would pick a basic book that is about a situation that pretty much anyone can relate to. For the younger grades, any Charlie & Lola book is perfect. Before reading, tell students that you want them to listen to find a part of the book that is similar to their life. Read through the book and then have students talk with a partner about how they are similar to book/character.

Put up the prompt "This reminds me of..." on the board and have students use this to guide their answer for reporting back to the class.

In terms of bookwork, have students draw a picture and then write a sentence/paragraph about their connection. You can use the following sentence starters;

* This reminds me of...
* The character is like me because...
* I remember when...

Once students are comfortable with Text-To-Self connections, move onto Text-To-Text. Make the connection (ha!) between what they have just done and what they will be doing now (listening to connect). Good texts to use for this;

* The Gruffao and The Gruffalo's Child
* The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
*  The Stinky Cheeseman & Other Fairly Stupid Tales and any fairytale covered in the book
* Little Red Riding Hood and The Wolf's Story

Once again have students discuss and then write. This time use the sentence starters;

* The character _______ reminds me of ____________ in ________ because...
* The text ____________ reminds me of ___________ because...
* This story is like _______ because...

Teaching Text-To-Text connections provides a great starting block for comparing texts.

The last connection to teach is Text-To-World. Any text that is about a global issue would be fine. One of my favourites is George Saves the World by Lunchtime. This text is also great for reminding students about recycling and disposing of rubbish thoughtfully :D

Use these sentence starters to guide student responses;

* This reminds me of _________ because...
* This is like when....
* Something similar happened....

Once you have introduced these strategies, you can then use them as reading response activities. A great way to practice writing and encourage deeper thinking about what students have been reading!

I have a pack of posters and thinking stems in my TPT store that would be a perfect companion for teaching this strategy;

Next up: Questioning!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Digital Learners

Technology is everywhere. Homes, schools and out in public. I think it is very important that we teach our students how to be responsible while using technology. I feel very strongly about this as I have had my own issues with people abusing technology and it's something that no one should have to go through or put up with.

So here are three resources that can be used to help teach students about the safe and responsible use of technology :)

Resource 1 - Internet Safety

This resource covers the topics of;
1) What is the Internet and what is it used for?
2) What is Cyberbullying? What can you do about it?
3) What is Cyberharassment? What can you do about it?
4) Tips for Internet safety
5) Permanency of things posted online
6) Police involvement

I think there are some people out there who think that because things are done online, it's not as serious as it is not "real life". The thing is, technology has now become such a big part of everyday life, that things done online are in fact done in "real life". To use the excuse that "it doesn't matter because it's online" is ignorant and a pretty weak way to try and justify bad behaviour. It doesn't matter whether it's done in person or online; if it's wrong, it's wrong. No excuses. If you know you would get intro trouble for doing it offline, you can get in trouble for doing it online.

I also think that people are unaware of the fact that they can seek help from the police over cyber issues. I know for a fact that in Australia, the police can and will get involved over issues such as Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking. People may assume that the police have bigger issues to deal with, but the reality is that they are there to help us whether the issue be big or small. 

The issue of permanency is also a big one. I think this stems from a lack of understanding about what the Internet is and what it's made up of. Perhaps a good way of demonstrating this, would be to use two iPads and send a message between them. Have one person delete the message from one of the iPads and make a point about how it is still on the other iPad. Then show how the message can then be sent and uploaded to anyone.

Resource 2 - Digital Citizens

We are all digital citizens and the notion of Digital Citizenship is an issue that we come across in our classrooms when implementing online learning environments. We want our students to use technology effectively, so we must teach them how to use it effectively. 

This resource covers the topics of;
1) What is a Digital Citizen and how can you be a good Digital Citizen?
2) Don't be a Digital Pest (bad Digital Citizen)
3) Digital Footprints and how they can convey information about you

This resource would be perfect to use when setting up a class blog or Edmodo group.

Resource 3 - Cyberbullying

This is also a pretty big issue. Once again, I think people assume that because things are done online it's not as serious and they can get away with it.  

Included in this resource;
1) What is Cyberbullying? What are some examples of Cyberbullying?
2) What can you do about it?
3) Perspectives of a victim and a bully 

With this resource I wanted to get students thinking about the two perspectives; from the victim and the bully. So included in this resource are two stories. One from the victim of cyberbullying and one from a cyberbully. There are discussion questions which look at the feelings, actions and reasoning behind the actions. This also opens up a discussion about what students can do. 

By educating and making students aware of these issues, we can help prevent technology from being used in an abusive and negative way.

You can check out these resources by clicking here.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Back to School + FREEBIE

I've kind of neglected this blog over the past week or so. Whoops!

The school holidays are over now. I didn't spend that much time on the computer, hence the lack of posting. My goal for the holidays was to spend at least an hour each day doing something active outdoors. The area that I live in has quite a few parks and walking/bike tracks. So my boyfriend and I went for lots of walks, runs and scooter sessions. Our building has a pool too, so on the hot days we went swimming (i.e I learned to swim). It was nice being able to do things outdoors during the week. On weekends, it's always a bit hectic with all the bike riders and dog walkers.

Aside from doing outdoorsy things, I went shopping and bought an iPhone. I got the 5c in blue. I love it! Now I finally get to hear the magical Ka-Ching that all the teachers talk about on the forums :D

School is back for the final term of 2014. I am still working with the same classes and focusing on reading groups. This week, we started with new texts. One activity that we have been working with is a Predict-O-Gram. Click on the picture to get your own FREE copy on TPT! (celebrating 300 products freebie).
Before reading, we fill out the boxes. Students make predictions about the vocab, characters, setting, problem, events and resolution. After reading, we look back at the predictions and confirm or reject as well as discuss the similarities and differences. Great activity to get students thinking about the text!

Will try and find some time this week to add to my Comprehension series.

Enjoy your weekend!