Flipping Summer Reading

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With summer just around the corner many schools are preparing their summer reading lists for their students. What books are on your school’s reading list? But what to do with the books that students read is the bigger question. SLJ  recently published an article that gives out-of-the-box ideas that keeps reading fun and meaningful for students and teachers. Traditionally, students journal about the book but SLJ suggests having students be more creative and have more fun. Ideas like redesigning the book cover or drawing a map of the setting not only allow the students to share the knowledge and understanding obtained from the book, but it gives them freedom of choice and creativity. Keep reading and learning fun. Try out some on the ideas suggested by SLJ. What other ways do you keep summer reading fun and creative?

The Benefits of Audio in the Classroom

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Audiobooks are not a new product. Teachers and librarians have known there were always benefits to reading aloud and using audiobooks in student learning. A recent article by Publishers Weekly, shared that the Audio Publishers Association is putting some meaning behind that approach in literacy. The Audio Publishers Association and several educators and librarians have created a free online resource called the Sound Learning toolkit. This amazing resource provides K-12 lesson plans, lists of grade appropriate audiobooks, and ways to integrate audiobooks into your curriculum. Audiobooks are not just a great fit in your ELA blocks but also in science, math, and social studies. The toolkit even helps librarians in understanding how to insert audiobooks into their area. You can access the website here and start planning how you can use audiobooks.

Don’t forget that Rourke has audiobooks across all content areas.

Contact a rep at 800-394-7055.

 

http://www.soundlearningapa.org/
http://www.soundlearningapa.org/

National Library Week is ON!

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It’s National Library Week and we want you to join the celebration! Libraries offer so much more than books. They introduce children to amazing new worlds, favorite authors, and lovable characters. Librarians show children other cultures, the history of their community, and ancient times. Children find their interests, make connections, and grow into future leaders all while wandering through the bookshelves. Libraries open doors for so many children. What do you love about your library? How did going to the library inspire you? Show your support by downloading these free graphics for your website and library.

Colleen’s Classroom- The Dilemma of Measuring Understanding

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Because of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite books. My students always quickly become intrigued with the characters and can easily identify with the ache of loneliness and the power of friendship that resonates throughout the book. During a recent discussion my students were using text evidence to support a focus question regarding the meaning of the word ghost. There is a conversation in the book where one of the characters is explaining why she has empty wine and whiskey bottles hanging from a tree. She refers to the bottles as her ghosts. During the discussion, some of my students took the meaning of the word, ghost, literally. Others realized that the meaning of the word represented things of her past, and one student made a connection that gave me goose bumps. It was the kind of answer that exhibits understanding at a deeper level. This particular student made a connection using an analogy that was far beyond his years.

I shared this scenario with a team member which led to a conversation about levels of understanding.  As the conversation continued, we wondered how we could accurately measure the depth of a child’s thinking. We went on to discuss data and how some data can appear as evidence of successful learning but really tells us nothing about a student’s level of understanding. I no longer use percentages because eighty percent of something correct does not tell what a student is thinking or how she connected the dots to create understanding. Rubrics can cause the same dilemma. Sometimes they end up being nothing more than checklists. I saw this happen when scoring state writing samples. Everything a student needed to have for a proficient score was in the paper, but the writing had no soul, no voice. It wasn’t wrong, but the student had done nothing more than follow a formula. A minimum amount of thinking was all that was necessary to look successful.

As we stood talking in the hallway we brought up more questions than answers. What kind of thinking were we asking our students to do? How does each child’s development play into levels of understanding? Could we come up with a better way to measure our students’ thinking?

We didn’t walk away with any immediate answers but now that we have raised the questions, we have in a sense, created our own ghosts. These ghosts will haunt us until we come up with answers. It will take a lot of work, further discussions, and trial and error. Just as we want our students to think critically, we too must think in deeper ways to improve our methods of measuring our students’ depth of understanding.

 

– Colleen

Are you in need of Spanish materials?

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Dual Language

Rourke has attended the many ELL and Bilingual conferences, including NABE and CABE, this year. The one thing we always walk away with is that there isn’t enough materials for these populations of students.

Rourke has Spanish, English, and Dual Language materials to support your ELL populations. We make sure our titles are authentically translated. Our informational text titles have the visual supports needed for all types of learners. Rourke’s titles fit naturally into the curriculum and can be used in explicit teaching, small reading groups, or independent reading. We offer most titles in hardcover, paperback, and eBook. Our many supplemental products support dual language programs in reading and content areas.

So if you are looking for more Spanish and dual language materials to support and supplement what you already have and do, reach out to Rourke today!

 

 

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