Sunday, February 26, 2017

Picture books

Bark George by Jules Feiffer
Black and White by David Macaulay
The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
Duck & Goose by Tad Hills
Fox by Margaret Wild
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carl
Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox
How To Read A Story by Kate Messne
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Mortimer by Robert Munsch
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
No, David! by David Shannon
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
Swimming by Leo Lionni
The Three Pigs by David Weisner
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl
We Are in a Book by Mo Willems
Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka


Consonant blend: group of two or three consonants in words.  Differs from digraph in that you still hear the individual consonant sounds as in the ‘str’ in strap.

Decodable texts:  texts that are written to specifically support new readers by focusing on the phonics instruction they have received.  A student who is familiar with the “all” sound may read a decodable text that supports that learning by having words like ball, fall, wall, tall and hall.  These books will also have illustrations that will also aid in the decoding of text.  For example, the text, “Mary tossed the ball over the tall wall” could be accompanied by an illustration of a girl throwing a ball over a tall wall.

Digraph: two consonants that combine to make a new sound.  S and h form the Sh sound.  Best friend letters.

Emergent reader: one who is building a relationship with text.  They are learning the basic concepts of books, print, letters, words and their relationship to sound and spoken words.

Fluency: the ability to read text accuracy, with meaning, quickly and follow punctuation.  It should be noted that an ability to read fluently does not denote comprehension of what is being read.

Formative assessment: used to monitor student learning and progress.  provides ongoing feedback that can be used to improve teaching.

grapheme: the written representation of sound.  The word knight has 3 individual graphines: Kn-igh-t

Matthew effect: variation on “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”  In literacy, can refer to the fact that children exposed at an early age to literature and reading have a larger vocabulary and more reading/writing success that children who are not.  Children who are not exposed to literature and reading at an early age enter school with a word ‘deficit’ that can have a negative impact on their future development.

Mentor text:  A piece of literature that can be reread over and over for the purpose of highlighting a specific teaching point.  Mentor texts can be used by students to emulate a strategy or style that is being highlighted.

Mini lesson: a short (10) minute lesson that focuses on teaching a skill, concept or strategy.  What is taught is informed by teachers’ assessment of students’ needs.  The purpose of a mini lesson is to give the students the tools they need to complete the work required of the larger unit of study.

Miscue: a response from a student reading text during a running record that does not match with what the teacher would expect to hear.

Miscue analysis: a review of miscues to determine which cueing system, Meaning (semantic), Structure (Syntactic) or Visual (graphophonic) that a student is focusing most heavily on.  Once a pattern is established, strategies can be suggested to help the student get all three systems in balance.

Morpheme: the smallest unit of meaning in a word.  Un break able.  In come ing.  Pin s.

onomatopoeia: a word whose sound suggests or is associated with what is being named.  Buzz, Zip, Oink.

Onset: the initial unit of a word (consonant or consonant blend).   Onset and Rime: Cat.  Onset=C Rime=at.  Strap.  Onset=Str Rime=ap. Grate. Onset=Gr Rime=ate.

Ontology: the branch of metaphysics dealing wit the nature of being.

Orthography: a languages spelling system

Phoneme: smallest single unit of sound.  Sounding out bed, b-e-d there are 3 phoneme’s.  (think, tapping out a word).

Phonemic awareness: The ability to hear single unites of sounds and manipulate them.  For example, knowing that changing the b sound in b-e-d for an f sound now gives you f-e-d.

Phonics: How sounds are represented by letters.  Spoken sound and it’s relationship to written symbols.

Phonological awareness:  The ability to recognize that words are comprised of groupings of units of sound.  It includes phonemic awareness as well as the ability to recognize syllables in words,
rhyming, differentiation between similar words, etc…

Picture walk: A reading strategy used by emergent and early readers to help them more fully engage with literature.  The student, with guidance from the teacher, will preview the book by looking at the title and the pictures on each page.  This is done to bring the child more fully in to the reading experience and also helps to support the strategy of looking to the illustrations to help make meaning of text.

Prosody: patters of rhythm and sound in poetry

Rime: the letters that follow the onset, usually a vowel and ending consonants.  Onset and Rime: Cat.  Onset=C Rime=at.  Strap.  Onset=Str Rime=ap. Grate. Onset=Gr Rime=ate.

Running record: Reading assessment where a student reads text to the teacher.  The teacher then makes a record of words that the student read correctly, if they skipped any words or made any self corrections or substitutions.  Once analyzed, this record can let a teacher know if a certain text is too hard, easy or just right by the number and frequency of semantic, syntactic or graphophonic errors present.

Shared reading: a reading activity where the teacher reads a text out loud to students.  The students all have access to the text being read.  Because the teacher is doing the hard work of decoding the text, the students can be exposed to more advanced literature than they would on their own.  Also, since students do not have to focus they attention on decoding, more mental energy is available for comprehension and fluency.

Summative assessment: used to evaluate a students knowledge at the end of a unit of study.  data compared to benchmarks/standards (exams/final projects).

Zone of proximal development - The conceptual “area” between what a person can do/learn on their own and what they can do/learn with help.  In this “area” an informed individual can help to guide understanding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Science in college

I really did not have to take any "hard" sciences during college.  By that I mean that I avoided Biology and Chemistry.  I took some courses in anthropology and evolution...

I studied a little about D.N.A, proteins, heredity...

...and there was a psych class called "Sex and Behavior" that everyone was surprised turned out to be a class on the endocrine system.


Finally, I took some classes on weather and climate that covered things like weather systems, the water cycle and a lot of maps.

That has been my recollection of my relationship to science in school.

Middle and High School

Middle and High School

As I write this it's been close to 30 years since I graduated high school.  Again, I don't remember much from this time but these are the science related events I recall.

First, there was the right of passage known as the dissection of a frog.
I remember a girl in class held up the intestines and kissed them.

What had my interest and everyone else at the time was the Space Shuttle.  A reusable space craft blew our minds.  It was a space ship, but it looked sort of like a plane.

Back on Earth though, things were getting dark because people were getting sick and nobody knew why.  Science didn't have the answers and people panicked and then they labeled:

It was the gay disease that nobody was studying because it was the gay disease.

I remember this as a time for science because along with the activists it was the Doctors, the immunologists and the researchers who told us this was H.I.V. and it could affect anyone.  It was really the first time I got to see how important science was to the general public.  You could really see how panic, misinformation and bigotry can spread when people turn to unscientific answers.

The other big medical science story I recall was that of Barney Clark.

Because of this event and all the news coverage, I learned more about the heart on TV than in school!  It was on the magazine covers...
...and there were plenty of news broadcasts similar to this:

The last big science story I recall about that time was again, related to the space shuttle...
We all learned about what went wrong.  There were plenty of specials about heat shields and insulation and how they malfunctioned.  What I recall about that time was that it showed that science is about exploration and because of that it can be dangerous...but that doesn't mean you give up.

Now how about the college level?

Elementary years

Space was big.   Just 5 years before I entered kindergarten Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  With the launch of Voyager 1 and 2, outer space got even bigger.  I recall that being all over the place.

We were all fascinated with the gold records.

I don't recall any special lessons about it at the time, I'm sure my teachers must have spoken about it but there were no reports that I remember working on.  If anything, if a teacher saw an interesting program in the TV guide they would tell us to watch it.  Something like this perhaps:

While outer space was all over the news things were pretty interesting on earth as well.  The Concorde ushered in supersonic flight.

This was taken from
"From London’s Heathrow Airport and Orly Airport outside Paris, the first Concordes with commercial passengers simultaneously take flight on January 21, 1976. The London flight was headed to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, and the Paris to Rio de Janeiro via Senegal in West Africa. At their cruising speeds, the innovative Concordes flew well over the sound barrier at 1,350 miles an hour, cutting air travel time by more than half."

The last big science related story I can remember from the time has to do with this woman...
That would be Louise Brown, but when I was a kid she was known as the first test tube baby.  Her birth introduced the word to in vitro fertilization and if you were a kid, you got a lesson in biology whether you wanted it or not because it was everywhere.

You can find a biography of her by clicking here.

Now what do I remember about middle and high school?


Try as I might, I can not remember what I was studying in science class back in elementary school.

My high school science education is equally abysmal with my only recollection being a very, very boring teacher. I can however recall some of the big science stories of the time. These would be some of the stories that I would have been interested enough to watch a tv special or read an article in a magazine or newspaper (no internet or cable back then).

So here is what I remember about my elementary school years...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kids up to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every day. Who do you think needs more sleep?

Every creature needs to rest. Giraffes, little babies, elephants, dogs, cats, kids, koala bears, grandparents, moms, dads, and hippos in the jungle — they all sleep! Just like eating, sleep is necessary for survival.

Sleep gives your body a rest and allows it to prepare for the next day. It's like giving your body a mini-vacation. Sleep also gives your brain a chance to sort things out. Scientists aren't exactly sure what kinds of organizing your brain does while you sleep, but they think that sleep might be the time when the brain sorts and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems.

The amount of sleep a person needs depends a lot on his or her age. Babies sleep a lot — about 14 to 15 hours a day! But many older people only need about 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. Most kids between the ages of 5 and 12 years old are somewhere in between, needing 10 to 11 hours of sleep.

Do you feel the same when you only get a little bit of sleep?

  • Skipping 1 night's sleep makes a person cranky and clumsy.
  • After missing 2 nights of sleep, a person will have problems thinking and doing things; his or her brain and body can't do their normal tasks nearly as well.
  • After 5 nights without sleep, a person will hallucinate (this means seeing things that aren't actually there).

When your body doesn't have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. You might have a hard time following directions, or you might have an argument with a friend over something really stupid. A school assignment that's normally easy may feel impossible, or you may feel clumsy playing your favorite sport or instrument.
One more reason to get enough sleep: If you don't, you may not grow as well. That's right, researchers believe too little sleep can affect growth and your immune system — which keeps you from getting sick.

Why Do We Sleep? from Matteo Farinella on Vimeo.

What Sleepy Kids Can Do

Say you do the math and it turns out you're not getting enough sleep. What do you do? Well, we doubt your school will agree to start classes later just so you can get your beauty sleep. You need to change the time you go to bed. This is tough to do, but you can make a change if try hard.
Here are some steps to take:
  • Ask a parent for help. Your mom or dad can be a big help by keeping you on track in the evenings so you're ready for bed earlier. Talk to a parent about how to get your homework done earlier and if after-school activities are too much for you. Also talk to a parent if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Organize yourself before going to bed. If your lunch is packed and your backpack is ready to go, you can rest easy and you don't have to rush around in the morning.
  • Don't have a TV in your bedroom. It can be too easy to turn it on and then too hard to turn it off when you really need to be sleeping.
  • Create a relaxing routine. Follow the same bedtime routine each night, such as taking a warm shower, listening to music, or reading. Doing this can get your body and mind ready for a peaceful night of sleep.
  • Once you've set a new bedtime, stick to it. If you're going to stay up late on weekends, choose Friday to whoop it up. That leaves you Saturday night to get back in your sleep groove before the school week starts. Sleepovers, especially, should be planned for Friday instead of Saturday nights.