Sunday, March 9, 2014

Power Stars and the Grand KaSlami!!

Here's the latest and greatest from Coach B...." Power Stars!”  Every day put up a Power Star ... a star with a word on it. For example, Capitals or Because Clapper or Also or periods or compare, etc. This means all day when the kids are talking to each other, you are looking for them to ADD the gesture/concept during Teach-Okay. We want to move Teach-Okay beyond the crucial skill of paraphrasing and into Oral Writing and/or Critical Thinking. We will use Power Stars to get way more Oral Writing and/or Critical Thinking reps.  When you see kids using the Power Star concept, then praise them ... you see them continuing ... you can give them a star on the Super Improver Team Wall. In other words, Power Stars connect lots of our stuff to Super Improvers Team. This is easy to implement and "powerful"!  So, after you do individual Power Stars, then you can have them work on two or more ... then, Freebie Power Stars!  Tell your students, "You pick the ones you and your partner want to work on ... and let me see if I can guess which ones you picked."   Finally, there’s the Grand KaSlami!  A Grand KaSlami is when the teacher selects five Power Stars and the kids try to use them all ... oh, what a Grand KaSlami that would be ... "
Check out these pictures below of three of the Power Stars my students used during Teach-Okay! I started with the Capitals Star, then added the because Star, and finally put up the For example, Star.  Even though my students have been utilizing Oral Writing and Air Punctuation techniques all year, the Stars became COOL visual cues! The CHERRY on TOP was the SIT (Super Improvers Team)!  This winning combination together inspired them to elevate their participation with their partner.  The best result was the higher level of critical thinking I observed as I moved around the classroom during the Teach-Okay sets during the day.  Each day, I changed the Stars out and built back up to three on the board at once.  We are working toward the Grand KaSlami!
Power Star Pic 1             Power Star Pic 2

Here is the FREE download of the complete set of Power Stars!  Share your experiences with us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crazy Professor Reading…Un-silent Reading!

The Crazy Professor Reading Game is a multi-step program that engages a student into the world of written language in a whole new way! In the Silent Reading segment of the game, Chris Biffle states, ”A major problem with silent reading as an in-class activity is that students drift off into their own worlds. If you’ve instructed your students to quietly illustrate what they read with gestures, you can easily tell who is on, or off, task. In addition, using gestures as they read will increase students’ comprehension. Instead of glossing over phrases, they must find a physical equivalent of the meaning of what they’re reading.”

Now here is a change! For young students…take the ‘Silent’ out! Beginning readers need to HEAR the language as they read. They need to bring BIG kinesthetic movement through gestures to the process to increase the understanding of the printed word. Later as a student matures in the reading process, ‘Silent’ reading takes its place!

So how do you get a student started in this method of UN-silent reading? Model! Model! Model! When you introduce a selection, use Mirror Words and pull your students into the wonder of the words. Create dramatic gestures that imprint meaning into the vocabulary. This is not only important for English Learners, but for all learners of the written language! Don’t limit this method to just literature. Bring math, science, and even the Lunch Menu to life! If it’s in print, bring new meaning to it!

Here is a short sample of the Crazy Professor Reading Game in the Un-silent mode with a group of second graders.


The next level of the Crazy Professor Reading Game is Paraphrasing…Yes, 2nd graders CAN do this!  After many readings, students are now ready to retell the story to a partner in dramatic style with their own words!  Amazing!  I incorporate ‘Switch!’ to keep the engagement and energy high!  The print comes to life again through the words and gestures of each individual student!  Watch again as this same group of students retell the story!

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