Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Text Structures: Um, duh!


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Create-abilities/Category/-Text-Structures
 
Have you ever walked out of a training thinking "Um, duh! Why can't I ever be as smart as I want to be?!?". That was me a few weeks ago. I was able to attend a training through my State Office of Education with Ray Reutzel. He is a guru on all things education and has spent many years doing in-depth research on a myriad of topics. I was lucky enough to be able to hear from him on text structures.
 
(He has a whole website full of good information that can be found here: Early Childhood Education.)
 
Text structure was always something that I briefly covered as a secondary point to whatever lesson I was teaching at the moment. I figured it was pretty self-evident and the students would pick it up as we went along. NOT THE CASE! I also confused text structures and text features in my head sometimes! Most of you are probably smarter than me and didn't make the same mistake. Students need to be able to decode the text structure to improve and build upon their comprehension.
 
The Journal of Education Research is publishing an article in 2015 called Developing the Information Text Structure Survey that found that TEACHERS could only correctly sort reading passages with different text structure 33% of the time. That's a problem! How can we teach our students to recognize and comprehend text structure if we can only figure it out 33% of the time? That statistic made me uncomfortable and it also made me want to prove him wrong!
 The IES What Works Clearinghouse K-3 recommends that we teach students to identify and use the text's organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content. Text structures mostly follow a predictable pattern (with the possible exception of descriptive text). If students can begin to see how the text will go, they can make predictions about what to expect and increase their comprehension.

So this sounds all nice and pretty but what does it mean? Well, first, what are text structures? There are five main categories:
* cause and effect
* compare and contrast
* sequence
* problem/solution
* description

Text structures refer to NON-FICTION or INFORMATIONAL text only. Narrative text is different. Text structures need to be taught explicitly with good exemplar texts so that students can clearly see what is happening in the text. I created a Language Arts Graphic Organizer set that has over 70 graphic organizers to choose from to meet the Common Core standards as well as all the different text structures. (I will go more in-depth on that pack later!)

This video explains text structure nicely. It breaks out sequence into another category (chronological) so it talks about 6 text structures. It's only 4 minutes long.


In an effort not to make this post 5,000 words long, I will be breaking down my thoughts into several blog posts. Over the next few posts, I will be talking about the different types of text structures (including giving a list of good exemplar books for explicitly teaching each text structure) and showing you a rubric that can help you find good exemplars of text structure yourself. (Dr. Reutzel found that teachers who used this rubric increased their accuracy of identifying text structure from 33% to 97%.)
 
Hopefully this series will be as helpful to you as it was to me!




Sunday, November 2, 2014

6 Awesome Veteran's Day Activities

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Veterans-Day-Mega-Pack-1475807


Veteran's Day in on November 11th. This is an important holiday in my patriotic family. My dad served in the National Guard and my brother-in-law is currently serving in the Army. I have seen the personal sacrifice that they have made. I have seen the sacrifices that my mom made and my sister currently makes. I think this day is crucial for our students to know and remember. Because of this, I have scoured the internet to find some important, easy, and fun activities to do on this day.

http://tunstalltimes.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-dull-moment.html


1. Flag and Thank You Banner: I really like the flags mixed in with the thank you notes. This would be a good one to hang up in the hallway.


http://lifeinfirstgrade1.blogspot.com/2011/11/happy-veterans-day.html

2. Veteran Anchor Chart: I really like this anchor chart. This is a good one for younger grades to do altogether. My only problem is that I couldn't draw a soldier and have it look that cute! It really focuses student attention on why Veterans are important to us.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=best%20veterans%20day%20books

3. The Wall by Eve Bunting and other books. I think we can all agree that anything by Eve Bunting is good. The illustrations match the story being told in a beautiful and touching way. If you click on the picture or the link above, it will take you to a list of other books on Amazon.


http://jessicaywinston.blogspot.com/2012/11/veterans-day.html

 4. Veteran's Day Waterfall Book I LOVE this idea. Very easy and very hands-on. This blog post only has pictures of her class making this so I decided to make my own labels. If you want to download the FREE VETERAN'S DAY WATERFALL LABELS just click on the link. If you need help creating a waterfall book, click here.


5. Lots of Veteran's Day Activities: links, links and more links!



http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Veterans-Day-Mega-Pack-1475807

6. I like to have more printable type activities to mix in with my other activities so I created a Veteran's Day Mega Pack.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Veterans-Day-Mega-Pack-1475807
I feel like this teaches students important parts of this holiday while also practicing other valuable skills. Let's face it, we don't have all the time in the world. The more we can kill two birds with one stone the better.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Veterans-Day-Mega-Pack-1475807
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Veterans-Day-Mega-Pack-1475807
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Veterans-Day-Mega-Pack-1475807

Hopefully these few ideas really helped you for this holiday.
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