Blog

Making Inferences

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 27-Jan-2015
Teaching students to use metacognitive reading skills to understand an author’s message can be challenging if instruction and practice isn’t carefully planned. Read More »

Teaching Students to Develop a Theme or Thesis

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 07-Jan-2015
One of the hardest skills a developing writer must learn is how to establish and convey a message about their experience, topic or belief. In narratives, there must be a theme. In expository and persuasive writing, a central or controlling idea serves as the thesis or position statement. The writing must be focused from the beginning to the end on this message. The writing of so many students in elementary, middle, and high school lack a clear message or ramble on with only broad references to a focused message. Obviously, the message or big idea hasn’t been planned and developed to achieve the writer’s purpose and audience needs. Many students are writing to comply with teacher directives rather than to share authentic ideas for a specific audience. Read More »

Teaching Students to Analyze Author's Craft

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 07-Jan-2015
The ability to analyze an author's work is the heart and soul of the being an active, strategic reader. On state tests, simply being able to summarize and answer basic retelling questions is a thing of the past. Proficient readers use the author's craft to understand the message and make connections to their lives and the world. Students need teachers to show them how to think about the author's use of literary elements, text structures, point-of-view, and word choice. Read More »

What's the Word? What's the Topic?

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 30-Nov-2014

A few weeks ago, during a small group reading observation, I watched a group of five learning-disabled students struggle with key vocabulary in a reading passage. While the goal of the group was to develop comprehension, it was clear that these learners needed a strategy and practice for decoding new words. Here is an easy-to-implement strategy that can be used to warm-up for reading group.

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Just One Thing-Students Ask Questions

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 20-Oct-2014
How many questions do you ask each day? How many questions do your students ask? Most teachers ask the majority of the questions. One little thing that you can do to help students process new learning is to turn the questioning over to the learners. Read More »

Teaching Writing Genre

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 01-Oct-2014
Teaching writing is a challenging task in itself, but throw in genres and conventions, and you have taken expertise to a new level! As a fourth grade teacher I know the struggles of teaching writing first hand. Teaching the difference between writing a personal narrative and imaginary story or an expository piece is tricky. Make students develop knowledge in concrete and visual ways. Create an anchor chart to keep posted and have students can create their own notes about the key points after you have taught the genre. Checklists are easy tools to use as a study guide or reference. I created a checklist for students to keep in their writer's notebooks as an easy reference tool. Read More »

Practice Matters!

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 01-Oct-2014
As I travel around to different districts and schools, I've noticed a difference in definition when it comes to shared, guided and independent practice. Having common verbiage and practice is crucial to students' success. Read More »

Tips for Starting Guided Reading

  • By Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson
  • 01-Oct-2014
After four to six weeks of school, guided reading really gets going! The purpose of guided reading is to provide closely monitored structured practice of the reading strategies your students need to be successful readers. Guided reading gives teachers opportunities to observe and coach students as they apply strategies and knowledge of author's craft.  Read More »