Saturday, February 28, 2015

Number Bond Centers On Sale!

Students need to experience numbers through concrete materials and visual representations before expecting abstract representations.  Number bonds help students to explore the part-part-whole relationship of numbers and are an important foundation for understanding how numbers work. A number bond is a picture of the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.  If you know the parts, you can put them together (add) to find the whole.  If you know the whole and one of the parts, you take away the part you know (subtract) to find the other part. 
 I have created three number bond products for Teachers Pay Teachers that I am featuring and they will be on sale from March 2-5.  Check them out here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Superhero Owl Behavior Chart

You can find many examples of behavior clip charts on the internet.  When I was teaching, we used to change the color of students cards.  I also used a ticket system.  The behavior clip chart works well because it’s very easy to manage.  All you need to do is create a chart, buy or get some clothespins, and put a student name on each clothespin.  Each day the student’s clothespins usually start in the middle of the chart where it says Ready to Learn.  Students move up or down the chart, during the day, according to their behavior. 

I decided to create this Superhero Owl Behavior Clip Chart for a couple of my friends who teach first grade.  I decided to make my clip chart a little more positive.  In the morning all of your students would find their clip at the top in the Superheroes section.  Take a look below.  During the day students can move down or back up.  If you purchase this chart from Teachers Pay Teachers, you can email me at and I will be glad to customize the chart with your name or custom categories.   I look forward to hearing from you!  Check out the great clipart and great deals from ReviDevi on Etsy.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why Teach Academic Vocabulary?

Did you know that vocabulary knowledge in first grade can predict students’ reading comprehension in junior year of college? (Cunningham and Stanovich, 1997)  One of the most consistent findings in reading research is the direct link between the depth of students’ vocabulary knowledge and their reading comprehension.  (Baumann, Kame’emui, 2003; Beck, McKeown, 1983) 

The average middle class first grader enters first grade with a vocabulary of about 2,000 words.  Students in lower socio-economic areas enter first grade with a vocabulary ranging from 10 – 2,000 words!  Research Louisa Moats (2001) refers to this gap in word knowledge between advantaged and disadvantaged children as “word poverty.”  When young students don’t have the vocabulary or word learning strategies struggle to achieve comprehension.  They don’t understand what they read and they typically avoid reading.  “Good readers read more, become better readers and learn more words; poor readers read less, become poorer readers, and learn fewer words.” (Stanovich, 1986)

We can’t afford not to make effective vocabulary instruction one of our highest priorities within our instruction.  In their books on robust vocabulary, Isabel Beck and Margaret McKeown showed that, “ A robust approach to vocabulary instruction was quite effective not only for learning the meanings of words but also for affecting reading comprehension.”  A robust approach to vocabulary involves directly explaining the meanings of words along with thought-provoking, playful and interactive follow up.   Students develop vocabulary through: wide reading of a variety of texts, explicit vocabulary instruction focusing on specific words and their meanings, and multiple exposures to new words in various contexts.
I have attached a copy of the instructional sequence for teaching Robust Vocabulary.  I have also attached a  Building Academic Vocabulary poster for you.  You might consider following me. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Increase Cognitive Rigor in Your Classroom!

 Over the past 4 years, I have worked on the creation of many Common Core documents including curriculum guides, pacing guides, standard checklists and so on.  When you review the language of the standards and look at nouns and the verbs, you will readily notice the close alignment with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. 

In 2001, the new version of Bloom’s Taxonomy was released with Bloom’s six major categories changed from nouns to verbs.  The knowledge level was renamed remembering, comprehension was renamed understanding, and synthesis was renamed as creating.  The top two levels switched positions in the revised version. 

Norman Webb from the University of Wisconsin Center for Educational Research generated Depth of Knowledge levels to aid in alignment and analysis of curriculum, instruction and assessments. 

A year ago, I created and posted free Depth of Knowledge (DOK) posters on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Click here and you can download the free download when my store opens.

My Depth of Knowledge in the Content Areas flipchart is also available free on TPT. 

With the blizzard conditions in the Chicago suburbs, I decided to finish up my revised Depth of Knowledge posters that match my new BLOOM’s posters by color and level of thinking and depth of understanding.
DOK Level 1: Recall/Reproduction matches up with Bloom’s Remembering
DOK Level 2: Skill/Concept matches up with Bloom’s Understanding and Applying
DOK Level 3: Strategic Thinking matches up with Bloom’s Analyzing
DOK Level 4: Extended Thinking matches up with Bloom’s Evaluating and Creating

I posted the product on TPT and the product includes the BLOOM’s and DOK posters, a BLOOM’s bookmark and a Rigorous Questioning Tool that I created.  Like the Cognitive Rigor Matrix, the Rigorous Questioning Tool aligns Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.  The difference is my tool focuses on the question stems of both documents and the Cognitive Rigor Matrix focuses on the levels of thinking and understanding.  To better understand the content being taught, students need to think criticially and to ask and answer higher levels of questioning.  By asking higher-level questions and participating in collaborative discussion, students deepen their knowledge and create connection to what is being taught.   I thought my Rigorous Questioning Tool would make a great addition to your students’ toolboxes.

 In addition to Bloom’s levels of questioning, students can benefit by becoming familiar with Costa’s  Three Story Intellect.  It’s very similar to both Bloom’s levels of questioning.  In the basement, students gather information.  On the first floor, students process information.  In the penthouse, students apply information.  You got it! I created a flapbook for the Costa’s Three Story Intellect and posted it on TPT.   I love using flapbooks in student journals and interactive student notebook.  Flapbooks are great for taking notes and formative assessments.

I also decided to revise my, “BLOOM with Higher Level Questioning”, from TPT.  The revised product now includes a new updated look and a bookmark.  Check out the photos below or on Pinterest. 

Finally, I have attempted to make my first subway poster on the topic of Rigor, BLOOM and DOK.
Check out the cute clipart from Hoot and Crow.  Grab it here.