Monday, May 27, 2013

Strengthening Bridges Between Languages

I recently facilitated a School Improvement Day for a friend that’s a principal of a K-6 building with gen ed, dual language and gifted classes.  I presented on the CCSS shifts for ELA.  When we were planning for the SIP day, my friend suggested that I use some of the research from Karen Beeman and Cheryl Urow’s book titled, Teaching for Biliteracy Strengthening Bridges between Languages.  Of course I needed another book!  This is a very comprehensive and practical guide with strategies for building bridges to biliteracy and the bridge from theory to practice.  This would be an excellent text to read and discuss because of the diversity in our classrooms. 
In my research I found this                                  
amazing site of the week!


The mentor mob from the UK listed the 12 rules for Spanish cognates along with examples.   Spanish cognates are words from two languages that are the same or similar. What intrigued me was this quote, “As English borrows many words from Latin there are many Spanish-English cognates. By learning a few set rules you will have an instant Spanish vocabulary of thousands of words.”  I just created a powerpoint using their material.  This presentation includes each of the rules by themselves followed by the second slide that includes the rule and the examples that I found on the Mentor Mob’s site.  I thought the ‘rule’ slides could be posted and the powerpoint could be used for instruction. It would make a great ongoing activity for students to add new words that they find onto the charts.  You can get the Spanish Cognate powerpoint here.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

QAR for the Primary Grades

We all know that the easiest way to increase student achievement is to improve instruction and questioning is the most powerful tool in our teaching repertoire.  The CCSS rely heavily on text-based evidence and higher-level thinking.  Questioning really builds the bridge between literal and inferential understanding and content knowledge.  

Recently, I read something about questioning that is based on Costa' work:
Well-structured questions include three parts: an invitation to think, a cognitive process and a specific topic.  “The order of the three parts may vary, but all three are necessary to formulate an effective question to promote thinking.”  This strategy is based on the work of Costa and the “Three Story Intellect.”  It is a very simple yet profound strategy for questioning.  How simple is that!

1. an invitation to think       "Penny, 
2. a cognitive process         can you explain in your own words
3. a specific topic               how you solved this problem?"

Here's a photo of a product I just posted on Teachers Pay Teachers on QAR for the Primary Grades.  
Right There Questions are in your hand questions - Students look closely with a magnifying glass for Think and Search Questions - Author and Me require thinking and On My Own come from the heart