Sunday, April 23, 2017

4 Ways to Sneak Financial Literacy Into Your Lessons

Financial literacy skills are very important, but we rarely have time to teach them. I hope that these creative ways to "sneak" financial literacy into your lessons will help you better incorporate these important skills into your classroom!

Read books that talk about financial literacy.

Most teachers have a lot of decision-making power when it comes to what literature they use in their classrooms. Choose books wisely to meet your ELA standards while touching on financial literacy topics.
  • Choose a book with a financial literacy topic as your next real-aloud.
  • Use the book in your next novel study.
  • Read a chapter and ask students questions related to your standards.
  • Use passages from the book to model the skills or standard.

Relate everyday math standards to financial literacy.

Your math standards are going to be your best connection to financial literacy instruction. When you can relate your standards to financial literacy, do it! Tweak your lessons to include a real-life financial situation like balancing a budget or opening a business.

Use a classroom economy (and tie it to real life lessons).

Using a classroom economy is a great classroom management strategy, but did you know that it can also promote financial literacy skills? Wise Guys has a fantastic blog post and resource that will help you easily set this up in your classroom around what you're already doing!

Use financial literacy as a reward.

The best thing about financial literacy is that there are a ton of fun resources out there! Reward your students for a job well done by letting them play a game on their device. The free Star Banks Adventure game is my favorite financial literacy game! In this game students earn money, make choices, and answer financial literacy questions. 

Just a little extra effort can give your students some really important financial literacy skills! 

Please consider pinning this post to help get the word out there on incorporating financial literacy skills into your classroom!


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

3 Strategies to Teach Text Dependent Analysis (TDA)

Looking closely at the Common Core Standards, there is a big emphasis on text evidence.  For example, fourth grade Common Core State Standard- CCSS RI 4.1 states, "Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text."  To take a step further, the standards require students to dig deeper to analyze the text.   In fourth grade CCSS RI.4.8, it states, "Explain how the author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text."

Digging deeper into the text, finding evidence, and analyzing the author's intentions, can be quite challenging for elementary students.  Here are a few strategies to help your students analyze text effectively:

Use a list of Text Dependent Analysis Questions not only when you are creating prompts for your students, but also for student reference.  Review the questions with your students to get them familiar with the types of prompts they will be expected to analyze.  They are no longer expected to simply answer who, what, where questions.  Now they need to explain the author's purpose, the author's writing style or structure, or how they know an answer to more complex questions within the text.  Knowing the types of questions will help your students when reading any text.  They will be thinking deeper knowing that there are hidden meanings and evidence to uncover.  CLICK HERE for a free list of over 60 questions.  Print them and place them in a writing center or in a student resource notebook.

2.  ACE
ACE is an acronym used in Text Evidence.  When your students learn a simple acronym, it will help them answer text dependent analysis questions effectively.

A- Answer the question-  Restate the question and infer by using prior knowledge and reading between the lines.

C-  Cite evidence by finding proof in the text.  Highlight it for easy reference.

E-  Explain your answer by paraphrasing and using quotes from the text.

For more information on ACE, read this TEXT EVIDENCE blog post.

Help students learn how to start evidence-based sentences.  It will guide them to effectively provide text evidence.  Start a class discussion by brainstorming sentence starters.  Use the following examples to get them started.  Make a copy of the list and place it in your writing center.  Students should take notes and keep them in a student resource notebook.  It will provide them with a wonderful reference when they are writing a text dependent analysis.

On page _____, it states...
In paragraph _____, the text says...
_____ quoted, "..."
The example ... shows that ...
According to the text, ...
From what I read in _____ of the text, I understand ...
Based on _____ in the text, I think...
I think the author means _____ because he/she says ...
The author's purpose for this text is ...

For more information on teaching TDA, read this Text Dependent Analysis blogpost.

I hope you gained some strategies to implement in your classroom today!

If you are looking for Text Dependent Analysis passages and prompts, click below!

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gradual Release of Responsibility Cycle: Writing Summaries

writing summaries
Are you a fan of the "Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR)" model?  Our district works this "I do it, we do it, you do it" method into all our unit plans.  Not quite sure what this is?  Here are a few short video clips that model it...

The one thing that I have heard many teachers discuss is the LINEAR nature of the always reminds me a little of my high school trigonometry class.  First, the teacher would show us a problem on the board.  Then he would call students up to the board to do it with coaching while the rest of us watched.  Finally, he assigned us all the "odds" to do for the next day and we worked on them for the rest of class and he sat at his desk in case we wanted to go up there to ask questions.

This is not what the gradual release was ever intended to be!

I am a firm believer in setting clear learning targets for students--and making them aware of them.  Richard Stiggins likes to say, "Students can hit any target they can see that is holding still for them."  Pretty powerful, right?  We need to make sure students know WHAT it is we want them to do--and that's where the gradual release comes into play.

This became very evident to me earlier this year when I asked my students to write a summary of a chapter I had read.  Summarizing is one of our big standards in fourth grade so I wanted to get a handle on what they remembered from third grade.  I certainly got my answer!

When reading through their "summaries", I found retellings.  I found opinion pieces.  I found stories.  I did NOT find summaries!  If you teach upper elementary students--you know that writing summaries is HARD!

It became very clear to me that I was going to need to spend a great deal of time modeling, coaching, remodeling, recoaching, watching, sharing, and more--and that "cyclical" use of the gradual release of responsibility model is what can be so effective.  Certainly, you can have the GRR model within any lesson (and should!), but having the GRR extend over weeks or even months on a complex concept can really help students see what the expectations are.

After I looked at the "summaries" early this year, I began to devise a plan to take us from "not so much" to "we got it"! Here are some of the things we did over the year:

*We clarified the difference between retelling and summarizing.
*We studied examples of summaries and retelling.
*I wrote summaries in front of the class with their suggestions.
*We wrote summaries in partners and then shared them with other partners.
*I took summary examples and we sorted them into categories (4, 3, 2, and "not yet")
*I wrote marginal summaries and asked students to help me improve them.
*I had students write their own summaries based on common texts (like read aloud books) and provided feedback based on what we had done in previous lessons.
written responses to reading
And so on!  As you can see, the gradual release process is woven through these activities--and the process took many many repetitions, experiences, practices, and tons of feedback!  I have used this GRR model to improve my students' work on many writing toipcs this year...comparing and contrasting, writing about characters, writing opinion pieces, and so on. The one thing that made this process so nice for me was involving technology--I could project summaries on the Smartboard, students could do their work quickly, I minimized paper, yet still had a trail of progress.  It was so much fun for students to look back at their earlier work and realize how far they had come--but it really took coaching, practice, and modeling.
teaching summaries
If you are interested in seeing more about how I use technology with my reading responses, just click HERE or any of the images above to see more.  Have a great day and keep modeling!

Want to pin this for later?  Here you go!
gradual release
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