Some Custom Color Packs we already have made
And before anybody gets upset about football loyalties - and I hope we won't - I enjoy the game enough to enjoy watching any team play. I actually think it would be pretty neat to have a jersey from each one. But that will take some time, and cash, let me tell you. I did write to a bunch of NFL teams last year asking for non-fiction donations for my classroom, just a pamphlet or stadium map- no fan gear- just paper product. It was pretty surprising who responded, who did not- who asked for money- who did not- who sent gracious gifts. I'll start off by saying that the Eagles DID send something, but the package arrived torn asunder, and somebody STOLE whatever they sent.
But, kudos to the Saints, who sent a hard-back photo book of winning the super bowl- a beautiful book that my boys LOVE to read during independent reading time. Thank you to the Bills, and Jaguars who sent fan fun stuff- stickers, and little plastic helmets, and pins and the like (along with some cool team photos that listed each player, so it is a bit like a map). And the Seahawks sent a great big giant poster hot off the presses! They even sent a letter ahead of time saying they would be sending it as soon as it was printed, and they remembered! My class DID send thank you notes.
I had an easier time reading Chapter Seven: Determining Importance. Maybe it was because I was ignoring the ex-boyfriend and it was irritating him which made me happy. (Yes, I can be childish and vindictive when pressed. Remember, I fully admit to being a FLAWED woman. He deserves it though, trust me.) But, perhaps it was an easier idea for me to grab ahold of and see how I could model this in the classroom. Laney grabbed me from the get go in likening determining importance to cooking. When you cook- you know what elements you can change in a recipe to enhance or alter the flavor- but what you can't change without ruining the dish. Kids need to be able to pull out what is important in order to solve problems.
There is also a moment where Laney brings up how students who highlight entire pages when they are studying are failing to determine importance. I can totally relate to that. I can't tell you how often in college I saw text books look like that- and even know, as I teach and I hand over that highlighter- everything goes sunny yellow.
On page 201 she talks about how students can learn to determine importance by learning the general structure of word problems- that "quite often" the first sentence is just setting. It's the middle where the information is, and the last sentence that asks the question. But she warns not to teach this as a shortcut, because then kids stop critically thinking and just try to follow the formula. That was a real "huh" moment for me. Because that's exactly what teachers have done in my experience- given me a shortcut formula to follow. And then I in turn, have thought that's what I was supposed to be doing as well. There is another habit I'm going to have to break.
She also warns on page 206 not to spend too much time "focused on practicing the strategy to the exclusion of actually employing it in a worthwhile way". Huh again! How much time do we spend practicing and not doing? This is when I start thinking about engineering experiences and all that goes in to STEM projects as where the real math is getting taught. Another huge area I need to work on.
I've been listening to lots of Whole Brain Teaching Webinars by Chris Biffle in the past days. Even ones where I thought "I will never do that", now I'm all thinking, "hmmmm, I think I should give that a shot." On page 209 Laney discusses a technique of read a little, think a little when you're modeling strategies. And this works in perfectly to the whole brain teaching model where you put things in small chunks for the kids. Eliminate the lecture- cut it up.
I loved the visual example of brains determining importance by draining wet pasta in front of the kids. All the pasta you catch in the strainer is what was important, all the water that flows out into the other pot is what you didn't need. I am so doing that! And it even links back to the cooking example at the beginning of her chapter.
And, per usual, Laney also links the strategy up with some math stretches. I liked her example of "What's Important" because it was similar to a stretch used when teaching questioning, but the focus changes. When you're teaching questioning, you set up all the information in a problem but don't give the question so that the kids can come up with their own sets of questions. When you're teaching determining importance- you can set up the same situation- but instead give them different questions to work on where they have to use different parts of the information to answer it. This way- as the kids share their work with the whole group in a math huddle- they see that what's important changes based on the question they were asked. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I love how it's connected to another math stretch you teach earlier on.
Alright! Only three more chapters to go!
I linked this post to the book study hosted by Primary Inspired.
So, tomorrow I have to get back in the groove of waking up early to go to a literacy training for the week. But, the school where the training is being held is FARTHER down the road than my normal commute- so in order to get all three kids packed up and off and myself on the road- I have to hit that alarm at 5am. Soooooo not looking forward to that!