Ms. Robinson's Blog


I POEM

I am an owl with specific characteristics.

I have forward-facing eyes and ear-holes.

My beak is similar to that of a hawk

and I have a conspicuous circle of feathers.

I like to hunt on small mammals, insects, and other birds,

which I mostly do at night.

I have to turn my entire head to change my eye-view,

which can almost make a complete circle!

I am able to see far away…even in the dark!

However, I am unable to see what is only a few centimeters away.

I make a different sound than my friends.

I make this sound to let other mammals know I’m here and to find my mate.

I pretend to be well-liked by other mammals.

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I POETRY

I POETRY is an excellent way to include students’ ideas and thoughts, with the teacher’s supervision.  Instructional scaffolding is an important piece in this and it leads to five outstanding effective principles:  appropriateness, support, collaboration, ownership, and internalization.  I POEMS are always written in the first person, so the writer takes the subject’s characteristics and puts them into the poem.  Kucan states in the Power Point that she “suggests inviting students to write “I” poems as a means of deepening their literary understandings of a particular character, setting, or plot from children’s novels.”  It is extremely imperative to successfully accomplish Part I, which is marinating students in poetry, because this is the first step into getting the children excited.  Part II includes researching as a class.  Allowing the children to research is important because they need to feel involved as much as possible.  We as teachers will of course be scaffolding the children during their research.  Next, as a class, we construct an I POEM together!  This will illustrate to students what you are expecting of them and model an example.  Then we let students try on their own developing an I POEM.  Research, as the Power Point has stated, that by completing these assignment, an increase in transforming language into facts was seen.  It’s important for the students to see their I POEMS as theirs; they need to gain possession from the beginning until the end.  Also, students will gain a better understanding of that particular topic they discussed, researched, and wrote a poem about.  My favorite part of this entire assignment is making the class poetry books for students.  If we “publish” students’ work and make them feel that their work is appreciated, it will give them a better feeling of accomplishment.  The last slide of the Power Point holds very true and I want to keep this understanding in my mind as I become a first year teacher.  It states, “Students understand and remember ideas better when they have to transform those ideas from one form to another.  Apparently it is in this transforming process that author’s ideas become reader’s ideas, rendering them more memorable” (Pearson & Fielding, 1991, p. 847).”


Seals and Science

Integrating Seals and Science

 Science Goal 1:  The leaner will make observations and conduct investigations to build an understanding of animal behavior and adaptation.

I believe each objective under goal will be met.  The objectives are in reference to the animal and their behaviors, characteristics, and their habitats.

1)      How do seals adapt easily to swimming?

 Answer:  Their smooth gray skin helps them to swim gracefully and quickly.

 2)      What is one of the bodies of water seals live in?

 Answer:  Atlantic Ocean

 3)      What do you seals like to eat?

 Answer:  Seals are predators that feed on invertebrates and other small fish.


Reciprocal & Discussion Director

I think both of these strategies are a great way to involve each student. In the Reciprocal Teaching article, this is a way to interact different roles with each student. The way they are instructed to change the role strategy is great in allowing each student to participate equally. The three reasons why the article states we should use Reciprocal Teaching are: it encourages students to think about their own thought process during reading, it helps students to learn to be actively involved and monitore their comprehension after they read, and it teaches students to ask questions during reading and and helps make the text more comprehensible. The article goes on to discuss how we would use reciprocal teaching in our classrooms. The second article talks about how to lead the discussion of the selected reading. This also gets students really thinking about what they have read. By asking specific questions regarding the reading, students will learn to pay more attention to their readings. By being the Discusssion Director, you want to make sure your group really understands and comprehends the reading. The questions you want to ask your group must be in depth questions to analyze their thoughts. Together, these articles gave great strategies to include in a classroom. They both speak of group work and really thinking about what the students have read. Plus, it’s better to use these strategies rather than simply telling the students to simply read because they know they have to comprehend on a bigger level in order to successfully hold their part of the conversation in the discussion. In my opinion, I think they will read more in depth than before!


Vocabulary Response

The vocabulary activities, overview handout, and the article, Breaking Down Words to Build Meaning all relate to students’ vocabulary.  The students’ success should be our first priority as a teacher. We should be concerned about their future and try to teach them not only core subject material, but also how to better live a life for a successful career. By encouraging children to better their vocabulary, we are facilitating a better core knowledge for our students. In the article, Breaking Down Words to Build Meaning, it states, “Research evidence confirms what many teachers know—students who reach fourth grade with limited vocabularies are very likely to struggle to understand grad-level texts.” This is extremely freighting to me as I am in a fourth grade classroom during my internship this semester. We are able to use different activities, such like the ones in our Multitext Unit, to better serve our students with a more profoundly vocabulary. The article also states, “As students read challenging texts, especially those in the content areas, they encounter increasingly complex words.” This statement should be a cue for all teachers. It is a necessity that we challenge our students to further their knowledge of words; vocabulary can be extremely important in one’s future. The activity, Have You Ever? taken from our Multitext Unit, is a great way to construct a way to learn vocabulary. Words are located in the question, so in order to correctly get the answer correct, the child must figure out and learn what that particular word means. This also teaches them to learn not only what the word means, but how to use the word. This is imperative for children to pick up on in the younger ages, so they can continue to do so throughout their education!


Reading Assessment, Multitext Unit and Frye Article

The reading assessment, multitext unit and the article all are related and are geared toward all students’ success. The reading assessment, I feel, helped me understand the most because I actually saw it happen. The child I facilitated being assessed was below his reading level tremendously. While watching this assessment take place, I feel that it is a simple method in determining a child’s reading level. However, teachers can submit this assessment all day long, but if they do not carry out with finding appropriate leveled books for children, it has no meaning. Students’ success in reading is extremely imperative. Without reading, children will get no where in this world. We as teachers absolutely cannot continue to pass students forward if they don’t need to.

The Multitext Unit is a fantastic outline for instruction. This shows us how to breakdown the material in a way that productively helps students. It has fabulous ideas and worksheets to assist the students as they read and attain what they have read. We have to model reading being joyous and have activities that are enjoyable so children will grow in their day-to-day reading.

In the article, Integrating Instructional-Level Social Studies Trade Books for Struggling Readers in Upper Elementary Grades by Dr. Elizabeth Frye, it speaks numerous times that children must be on their grade-level reading. The article stresses that because it is so very important. If children aren’t on their grade reading level, they will become frustrated and give-up on reading. This cannot happen if the child’s success in life is important. Reading has to give children motivation and be interested in books they read. However, the article does state that we must challenge our students.

All three materials were a great way to demonstrate how important reading is in the classrooms and on the correct grade-level for each child. We have to stress this importance and follow through with assessing each child and researching books to challenge them in a good way. I plan to take this into my classroom and have a library of books for children to choose from as well!


Shared Reading Article

All I have ever heard regarding shared reading has been geared toward primary grades. I am so excited to know that we can still share read in the upper grades!  We had discussed in previous reading classes the types of shared reading (echo, choral, and cloze reading).  But I always assumed it was for primary students.  The shared reading components, definitions, and subtypes are a great help as I hope to take these into my classroom!  The first sentence of the article is so true.  It states, “Modeling is the primary way through which teachers can demonstrate for their students how readers can interact with texts.” Also, most teachers teach how to read, but do not model reading in front of their classrooms and this is so important.  For students to actually see their teacher read is fabulous!  We must model reading for them each time they do, in order to show the importance of reading daily.  The article discussed four cautions regarding teacher modeling with shared reading.  They are: teacher modeling through shared reading should be based on an identified purpose; teacher modeling through shared reading should not lengthen the amount of time that studetns spend in whole-class instruction; shared readings should not be used to “curicularize comprehension;” and finally, we must remind ourselves that modeling thinking is critical and yet difficult.  In order for students to successfully comprehend shared readings, we must properly teach and show them!


Pirate Articles

These three articles gave a clear understanding of how to integrate different subjects into the classroom.  I enjoyed reading about how to successfully bring into a classroom, the topic of pirates, which I would never have used otherwise.  This topic can be a great attention-getter for children because it’s something they take pleasure in.  In the article, “Pirates in Historical Fiction and Nonfiction: A Twin-Text Unit of Study,” I thought it was amazing how it included social studies and language arts.  It gave four specific social studies topics for this particular lesson.  Also, in this same article, I was in favor of the KWL (what I Know, what I Want to know, what I have Learned) process.  I believe this gets students thinking more critically and has a need for problem solving, which is a great 21st Century Skill.  The next article, “Swashbuckling Adventures on the High Seas: Classroom Activities for a Unit on Pirates,” I loved the DED (Double-Entry Diary) method.  This is a great way for children to locate important information in a text.  This article also gave extremely precise details regarding a double-entry diary.  The third and final article, “Internet Workshop and Blog Publishing,” has a vast amount of knowledge for meeting twenty-first century skills in the classrooms.  It gave accurate steps as to a few barriers as to why classroom teachers may, at first, be unable to teach with this method.  In the collaborative possibilities section, it gives specific free websites that teachers may utilize.  Overall, these three articles were of great help in getting new classroom teachers involved in different methods of teaching.


Day 1 and Day 2 of Minilesson

Writing Mini Lessons


All About Poetry?!?

After reading the article, “Love That Poetry!” Handout, I have a new outlook on writing poetry. I remember in my elementary years the pressure we had on us to write a poem. It had to have so many lines, always rhyme, have short written lines, etc. I hated to write poems because it wasn’t what I felt, there were always certain ways we had to write. However, after this reading, I now feel that children will love to write poetry. By allowing students to write free verse poetry, I feel they will easily open up to the idea of writing. By telling your students that “rhyming isn’t necessary,” they will certainly feel less pressure and simply be able to write naturally. Students sometimes need to just write, not really knowing exactly what comes next, but just let the pencil write. This, I feel, will leave them less pressured, less stressed, and more apt to enjoy learning. I think students will enjoy creating concrete poetry. They will hopefully find this fun and learn from this as well!