Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Language Assessment Using Wordless Books

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jan 10, 2017 3:07:00 PM

 January presents a great opportunity to authentically assess your students’ literacy skills. After a few weeks of vacation, how many literacy tools have your students retained? By conducting assessments, you’ll get a clear picture of which lessons students remember from last semester and which concepts still need reinforcement. 

English Language Learners have most likely spent their winter vacation with their families, speaking little to no English. An assessment of their language skills will help you tailor your future literacy lessons.

The Oral Language Development Series Teacher’s Guide states, “Listening to students talk is one of the most powerful formative assessments you can use. Capturing and analyzing brief snippets of students’ oral language is a crucial component of supporting their language development. Teachers should listen to, record, and analyze student interactions in a variety of settings: whole group, small group, one-on-one, between peers or with a teacher” (8).

If you don’t have much time to individually assess each student, the wordless books in the Oral Language Development Series will help you quickly and easily analyze language skills. Each wordless book contains relatable photographs that will stimulate any student’s creativity.

wordless.gif

What is happening on this page?

The following passage from the Teacher’s Guide explains how to prompt students and record their language skills: ‘“Tell me what’s happening on this page.’ Record exactly what the child says for each page. Once you have a sampling of the child’s output, you can analyze it to see what structure that child holds independently... You can use any wordless book to assess a student’s language structure. The key issue is to have a natural conversation about the topic and see what language the child generates” (8).

hameray-publishing-oral-language-development-series-teachers-guide.jpg 

Remember, oral language skills go hand-in-hand with reading and writing skills. To access the assesment rubric and learn more about the importance of oral language, download our Teacher’s Guide for free at the bottom of this post!

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Click the image below to download the Oral Language Development Series Teacher's Guide for FREE!

Oral Language Development Series Free Teachers Guide 

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Topics: Oral Language Development, ELL

Using Leveled Books to Help Students Develop Positive Behavioral Skills, Part 2

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Jul 14, 2016 3:30:00 PM

GHaggardbiopic

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the second in a series about using leveled books to teach the importance of good citizenship and classroom behavior. To read the first post, click here.

In this series of blog posts, I have been looking at the use of leveled books in the early grades to help young students develop positive behavioral skills. Today’s example text is At School, a part of the Oral Language Development Series that focuses on different language structures for young readers.

Book Two: AT SCHOOL

Use the Elmo to display the front cover of At School. The following questions can be used to guide the reading:

  • Where are the children on the cover?
  • What are they doing?
  • Do you think they are having fun?

There may be multiple answers to these questions. Invite the students who think the two children are having fun to explain their reasoning. Then, the students who think the opposite can share their thoughts. Discuss how this latter opinion can change as work tasks become easier and more familiar. Tell the children that you will be talking more about this topic during later discussions. Share the importance of being a good friend by not disturbing your friends as they work.

Hameray_At_School_LS1_Printer-1.gifDisplay the title page on the Elmo and ask the following questions:

  • Where is Danny?
  • Do you think he is having a good time?

Remind the children that they have a classroom library and also a library used by all children in the school:

  • How do good friends act in the library?
  • Why is this important?
  • What happens if one child is not a good friend in the library? (The boy would not be able to read and enjoy reading. The librarian might have to leave someone he or she was helping. The librarian’s storytime reading would be interrupted, etc.)

Pages 25:

The sentence structure in the book is "Danny likes ____." Pause as you come to the last word in each sentence. Ask the children what they can do to determine the word (beginning sound, photo context). Reread the sentence together, emphasizing the word 'likes:' 

  • Are there times when Danny participates in activities with other children? 
  • How are these times different?
  • Why should Danny be a good friend when he works with others?

Pages 67:

Ask the students to share acts of friendship that they have seen in the lunchroom and on the playground:

  • Is Danny still in the classroom?
  • Is it still important for him to be a good friend on the playground and the lunchroom?
  • How is being a good friend in these two places like being a good friend in the classroom?
  • What might happen on the playground and in the lunchroom if he was not a good friend?

Page 8:

Conclude the session by sharing the last page on the Elmo. Remind the children that they have discussed the importance of friendship throughout the school:

  • Which of the photos in the first four do you like best? Ask the children to raise their hands when you share the four: reading, writing, math, and music.
The results of this activity may help you see how the children feel about these four activities. Alternatively, ask the children to draw a picture of they like about school and label it "_______ likes _____." These drawings can be compiled into a book format and placed in the class library.

This is the end of part two in this series of using leveled books to teach the importance of good citizenship and classroom behavior. Click here to read the next installment. You can subscribe to our blog in the upper right sidebar to get new posts delivered to your inbox.

~~~

Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

~~~

Click the left image below to download an information sheet with key features about the Oral Language Development Series, which contains the book mentioned in this post. Click the right image below to download an information sheet with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which includes books that Geraldine Haggard has authored.

Oral Language Development Series Info Sheet                    Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

 

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Topics: Reading Activities, Oral Language Development, Geraldine Haggard, Behavioral Skills

Wordless Books As Story Prompts to Build Oral Language & Writing Skills

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on May 31, 2016 4:53:15 PM

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_cvr-1.jpgWhile reading is indeed the foundation of literacy education, writing skills and oral language skills are also very important to bolster the depth of students' understanding. One crucial tool for improving both of these types of skills is the story prompt. As visually engaged as young students tend to be—as much as they love pictures—the wordless picture book is a great alternative to spoken or written story prompts to get kids' imaginations firing.

For younger students or those who may be learning a second language, wordless books are invaluable for their oral language development. First, they are a great assessment tool to use when you need to see where a student stands in oral language accomplishment. By having the student look at a series of related pictures and and asking them to tell you what they see, you'll quickly be able to assess their fluency, vocabulary, and ease of calling up language structures.

Secondly, after the assessment stage, using these books is great practice for honing skills up to a higher level. They'll get up to speed on Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards faster when they are comfortable speaking extemporaneously in response to an assigned prompt.

For students who are a bit further along and are working on meeting Writing Standards relating to sequenced events, using wordless books with a storyline as a reference are a perfect step in the process of being able to recount and sequence:

Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.3)

Example Student Work: Brothers from Zoozoo Into the Wild

One Reading Recovery teacher shared the written story produced by one of her students in response to the Zoozoo Into the Wild book Brothers, and I've recreated it here with pages from the book to show examples of what the student was responding to.

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_bk-2.jpg

Page 2 (student text): Here are two brothers and they are tigers.

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_bk-3.jpg

Page 3 (student text): Brothers care for each other. It doesn’t matter what happens to each other. They always care about each other.

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_bk-4.jpg

Page 4 (student text): The brothers play in the water together.

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_bk-5.jpg

Page 5 (student text): But then a Zookeeper comes and said, “Hey, you need to be more quiet! “ said the Zookeeper.

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_bk-6.jpg

Page 6 (student text): Then the Zookeeper fell in the water. “Please don’t eat me!” said the Zookeeper. “I will let you be as loud as you want if you don’t eat me!” But the tigers don’t understand English. So, the two brothers ate the Zookeeper.

PDFHR_Tiger-Brothers_bk-7.jpg

Page 7 (student text): “Mmm that was some tasty humans.” the brothers said to each other.

In the back of each of the Zoozoo Into the Wild wordless books, there is a suggested synopsis and also a list of other activities the books are good for in addition to retelling. We also have other wordless books, though less story-driven, in our My World series (which can be viewed here). They are especially good as vocabulary tools and for introducing readers to the concept of an informational text.

For more information on the wordless books used as an example in this post, you can click the image below to download a series information sheet with key features, or you can click here to visit our website.

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Topics: Common Core, Zoozoo Into the Wild, Oral Language Development, Speaking and Listening, Wordless Books, Writing Standards

Accelerating Student Learning Using Language Readers

Posted by Bee Medders on Aug 4, 2015 4:04:00 PM

Bee_MeddersThis is a guest blog post by Bee Medders, program consultant at the New Teacher Center. It originally appeared on the New Teacher Center website

How can teachers accelerate student learning? One way is to determine what is impeding movement and addressing those needs. That is exactly what one teacher did to get her students who were stuck at a reading level to make rapid progress.

A first grade teacher, who served as a lab teacher as part of the New Teacher Center professional development series, Foundations in Language and Literacy, asked “What else can I do to move my students?" It was almost the end of February and eight of her students were not moving like the rest of the class most of whom were English Language Learners. It seemed they had reached a point where they were stuck. The teacher in this case study is a veteran teacher of 23 years and had been implementing high impact practices on a daily basis. She does Read Aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Independent Reading, and Writer’s Workshop. In addition, she uses many strategies that support English Language Learners such as music and Total Physical Response. Many of her students often moved quite rapidly and would exceed grade level expectations before midyear. Even with extra support from the reading intervention teachers and additional support after school, the students were not accelerating. What was impeding their movement?

Based on the understanding and research that oral language is the foundation for reading and writing, the teacher and I started to address the challenge by assessing the language structure the students can control. We used as a language measure Lance Gentiles’ Oral Language Acquisition Inventory (OLAI). In addition, we used a wordless book from the Language Readers series as an assessment tool and the Oral Language Assessment Toolkit (OLAT) available on this website and an app for iPad (OLAT). (For information about the Language Readers, click on the Instructional Practice tab.) We had students tell what is happening on each page and recorded word for word what students said. Then, we analyzed the oral language record (OLR) for language structure. We noticed students were able to produce labels, short phrases, and some simple sentences while books at the higher reading levels had much more complex language structures the students could not hold yet in their oral language. The OLAI measure confirmed the level of sentence structure the students controlled.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-04_at_6.56.08_PM

To build the students’ language structures, we began using the Language Readers created by a team of NTC Mentors and NTC Consultant Dr. Adria Klein. The Language Readers were designed to develop oral language through interaction with text. Although they are called readers, the focus is on oral production rather than accurate reading. Based on our assessment, the teacher started with a book with a Language Structure Level 1 – Simple Sentence. First, she modeled the language structure by reading the text to the students, much like a Read Aloud. Then, she would read again and this time the students repeated after she read each page. Next, she moved to guided where the students “read” the book while she listened for language production and supported the students language development as needed.

Unlike Guided Reading where the teacher is focused on teaching for reading strategies, the teacher had to listen to assess if students were able to hold on to the structure. This was the shift in practice the teacher had to make and be mindful of when developing oral language. Finally, the students were given independent practice. Her school had a set of 4 books for each Language Structure Level so she had students keep the books in their book bags for Independent Reading time. The teacher provided many opportunities for oral rehearsals before students were expected to use the structure when decoding the written language. Before, students had only meaning and visual to rely on to decode. Now, students also had structure to cross check with meaning and visual to support their read effectively including during independent reading.

Language-Structure-Levels-1

In addition to repeated exposure to the language structures and oral rehearsals, the teacher had the students writing sentences as they moved across the levels using the same structures from the books. For example, in the series My Family, Language Structure 2 book, simple sentence with prepositional phrase it says, “My dad is cooking in the kitchen. Students could write about their families, what they do, and add prepositional phrases in their sentences. It allowed students to see what they say they can write. And, what they write, they can read. Learning the sight words and phonics were all in context of using language to communicate, and therefore became much more meaningful and purposeful. Writing and reading their own sentences helped to solidify that specific structure in their oral language.

Everyday during small group instruction, the teacher focused on oral language development rather than only reading text. When students could hold on to Level 1, she moved students to a reader with Language Structure Level 2 – Simple Sentence with Prepositional Phrase and then to Level 3 - Simple Sentence with Conjunction. By the third week, she had students on Level 4 - Combination of sentences with Prepositional Phrase and Conjunction. This experience reminds me of driving through a construction site. When the structures being built are completed, it moves from bumpy to smooth driving.

After two and half weeks of focusing on developing their oral language, the teacher decided to go back to doing more traditional Guided Reading. When she gave them a book at the level previous to using the Language Readers, the students told her the books were too easy. When she took a running record, all eight of her students had moved levels. The teacher shared she also noticed students seemed more confident. We believe it is because the students experienced success in reading the books that they saw themselves as readers. Before the year ended, all but three reached grade level expectations. Students who entered reading below grade level, Levels A-3, reached proficiency by the end of first grade, Level 16 and up. One of the students, who arrived in January from China, however did make significant growth. She came as a non-English speaker reading at Level A and ended at Level 8. We wondered if given a few more months, would she have maintained the rate of acceleration and reach end-of- the-year grade level expectations? Two of the students who did not meet the end-of-the year grade level expectations have a family history of learning disabilities and need further evaluation to determine possible additional support. Nevertheless, we were pleased to see they moved from Level 4 to Level 6 in two and a half weeks. We hope to continue building on what we have learned and move students who get stuck.

So, if students are not accelerating in reading and writing, perhaps it’s the oral language that needs to be addressed. Having students talk and listening for the language structures they control is informative assessment in determining instructional moves that can accelerate student learning. This case study showed what’s possible. I thank the lab teacher for sharing this journey with me and allowing others to read about it!

~~~

For more information on the language readers in the Oral Language Development Series, click here to visit our website, or click the images below to download a series information sheet, teacher's guide, and sampler.

New Call-to-Action  Oral Language Development Series Free Teachers Guide  Oral Language Development Series Sampler

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Topics: Oral Language Development

Dr. Adria Klein Offers a Brief Insight on Oral Language

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 2, 2015 3:39:00 PM

Dr. Adria Klein, author of some of our Hameray Biography Series titles and key member of the editorial team for the Oral Language Development Series, gave a talk at the Comprehensive Intervention Model (CIM) Institute in Little Rock recently and sent us some video. Check out this little snippet where she shares insights with the CIM participants on the role of oral language in literacy development.

(This embedded video may not appear on devices such as iPhones, since it uses Flash. You can click here to view the video across platforms.)

For more information on the Oral Language Development Series, click here to read about it on our webpage or click the image to the left below to download an information sheet with series highlights. To learn more about CIM, check out our new professional book, Changing Minds, Changing Schools, Changing Systems: Comprehensive Literacy Design for School Improvement. You can download the brochure for that book by clicking the image to the right below.

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Topics: Videos, Oral Language Development, Adria Klein

Classic Post: Teaching Speaking & Listening Standards

Posted by Dana Lester on Jul 22, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest blog post by Dana Lester of Common to the Core, originally published in October 2013. Dana wanted to bring the attention of the teaching community to the Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards, which she feels are often overlooked. She's come up with some ways to encourage oral language skills in the classroom, so read on to find out more!

dana lester 200Speaking and Listening Standards in the Classroom

Reading lessons that include Literature and Informational Text standards can easily be created around pretty much any book, but what about Speaking and Listening Standards? Do you purposefully include these standards? Do you teach Speaking and Listening standards with the same explicit instruction that you use with the other standards? Prior to spending hours and hours in Common Core State Standards training to be a Core Coach for my state, I didn’t. I was of the mindset, “Oh, they know how to talk to teach other. They can listen. I don’t really have to teach those things.” WRONG.

We have to use the same direct instruction that we use to teach vowel sounds, to teach speaking and listening skills. Yes, our students talk. Yes, they listen (most of the time). But it’s probably not the quality of speaking and listening that’s called for by the Common Core State Standards. Teachers must model rich, purposeful talk and understand that oral language skills influence reading comprehension.

I have a few Speaking and Listening activities to share with you that can be used around any genre of story. Folktales are one of my favorite genres and I love designing lessons around them. The Little Red Hen is a classic story that is familiar to most children, but there are so many versions of this tale, that it is easy to find one your students aren’t familiar with. For example, the most recent version I’ve seen is one in which the cat plays the guitar, the duck plays the drums, and the goose sings! This hilarious version is retold by Alan Trussell-Cullen and is published by Hameray. I like the ending of this retelling because the hen actually lets the other animals eat the bread after they each choose a chore to help with clean up!

Little Red Hen Cover FinalSo, you’re ready to read. Start with intentional pairing. This will allow more students to be engaged in dialogue. Some tips for pairing are:

  • Know your students; don’t put a Chatty Cathy with a painfully shy child. The painfully shy child will never get a word in edgewise.
  • Assign each partner a number (1, 2) or a word (peanut butter/jelly, milk/cookie)

Read the story, pausing to discuss along the way. Don’t wait until the end of the story to ask questions about what the hen did first. An easy way to remember to ask questions is to put a sticky note on the page you want to ask questions about. Encourage oral language by requiring students to support their answer with details from the text. This, my friends, is what “close reading” looks like in Kindergarten or 1st grade!

Allow students to have a thirty-second conversation with their partner about a specific part of the story. For example, the teacher says, “Boys and girls, I want you to turn to your partner and all the 1’s are going to talk about why the hen’s friends did not want to help bake the bread and when I call out SWITCH, I want the 2’s to talk about what the hen did when no one would help her.” This intentional pairing ensures that each child gets the same amount of airtime and all voices are heard. The thirty-second conversation hits the first Speaking and Listening standard for grades K–2.

We can also use sentence stems to build oral language. Sentence stems are sentence starters. First, the teacher would explicitly model the process by writing the stem on the board and reading it aloud while writing: “I can help…” The teacher completes the sentence. “I can help my daughter with her homework.” Next, the teacher directs the students to “grow” their sentence stem with their partner. Partners share their sentences with each other, then shares with the class. Not only would this meet the firstSpeaking and Listening standard, but it pulls in the first-grade standard on producing complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation and the Language standard on producing and expanding simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences.

5085 Different Kinds of Bread Cover FINALGreat conversations can arise from reading two different versions of the same folktale. Students can compare and contrast the actions of the characters using sentence stems and the thirty-second conversation. Creating a word web is an excellent way to expand vocabulary. Read an informational text on bread, such as Different Kinds of Bread by Alan Trussell-Cullen and have students create a web with the word “bread” in the center. Students will be able to pull words such as wheat and flour from The Little Red Hen and words such as "pita," "crust," and "baking powder" from Different Kinds of Bread.

To sum things up, oral language strategies will benefit our high- and low-language students. We must design our lessons with Speaking and Listening Standards in mind and plan for opportunities for students to practice these skills throughout the day. Give students thirty seconds to talk to each other about a specific topic. You will be surprised at how students can benefit from half a minute. Emphasis the importance of vocabulary through word webs. Post these webs in your writing area so students can see these words and use them in their own writing. Support language development with activities that structure sentence formation. Post sentence stems around the room so students will have constant reminders on how to produce complete sentences. Literacy gets its start with oral language, so we must be purposeful in our talk!

~~~

dana lester blog screenshotDana Lester received a B.S. and Master’s Degree from Middle Tennessee State University and is currently teaching at Walter Hill School in Murfreesboro, TN. Dana is also a Common Core Coach with the Tennessee State Department of Education. She has 12 years of classroom experience and has just begun her role as Library Media Specialist. As a strong advocate of the Common Core Standards and Whole Brain Teaching strategies, she engages her students in hands-on, inquiry based learning and shares many ideas and activities on her blog, Common to the Core. She was named Teacher of the Year at Walter Hill in 2013.

~~~

Do you know a K–8 teacher whose creative classroom activities could use some well-deserved recognition? Have you, yourself, hit upon a strategy that you think works so well that you'd love to share it with others? Do you have a teaching blog or website with ideas you'd like to spread? Come stand in our Teacher Spotlight!

We're looking for teachers with unique, fun perspectives to feature on our blog. At least once a month, possibly more often, we want to inspire the teaching community with the innovative work of teachers who have a true passion for what they're doing. We'll broadcast your ideas here on our blog, distributing them through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Each teacher we choose will get some Hameray "goodies" from a series that fits their classroom needs—early literacy, oral language development, striving readers in upper grades, informational text, or literature.

To nominate yourself or another teacher, tell us a little more here.

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, visit our website or click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights and key features!

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Topics: Teacher Spotlight, Common Core, Literature, Informational Text, Oral Language Development, Dana Lester, Speaking and Listening

Spotlight! Teaching Speaking & Listening Standards with Dana Lester!

Posted by Dana Lester on Oct 30, 2013 8:01:00 AM

teacher spotlight


Welcome once again to our Teacher Spotlight, giving recognition (and free books!) to deserving teachers who have great ideas to share. Today's featured teacher is Dana Lester of Murfreesboro, TN. She writes a blog called Common to the Core, in which she writes about the Common Core State Standards, student reading skills, behavior management, books and products, and more! Dana wanted to bring the attention of the teaching community to the Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards, which she feels are often overlooked. She's come up with some ways to encourage oral language skills in the classroom, so read on to find out more!

dana lester 200Speaking and Listening Standards in the Classroom

Reading lessons that include Literature and Informational Text standards can easily be created around pretty much any book, but what about Speaking and Listening Standards? Do you purposefully include these standards? Do you teach Speaking and Listening standards with the same explicit instruction that you use with the other standards? Prior to spending hours and hours in Common Core State Standards training to be a Core Coach for my state, I didn’t. I was of the mindset, “Oh, they know how to talk to teach other. They can listen. I don’t really have to teach those things.” WRONG. We have to use the same direct instruction that we use to teach vowel sounds, to teach speaking and listening skills. Yes, our students talk. Yes, they listen (most of the time). But it’s probably not the quality of speaking and listening that’s called for by the Common Core State Standards. Teachers must model rich, purposeful talk and understand that oral language skills influence reading comprehension.

I have a few Speaking and Listening activities to share with you that can be used around any genre of story. Folktales are one of my favorite genres and I love designing lessons around them. The Little Red Hen is a classic story that is familiar to most children, but there are so many versions of this tale, that it is easy to find one your students aren’t familiar with. For example, the most recent version I’ve seen is one in which the cat plays the guitar, the duck plays the drums, and the goose sings! This hilarious version is retold by Alan Trussell-Cullen and is published by Hameray. I like the ending of this retelling because the hen actually lets the other animals eat the bread after they each choose a chore to help with clean up!

Little Red Hen Cover FinalSo, you’re ready to read. Start with intentional pairing. This will allow more students to be engaged in dialogue. Some tips for pairing are:

  • Know your students; don’t put a Chatty Cathy with a painfully shy child. The painfully shy child will never get a word in edgewise.
  • Assign each partner a number (1, 2) or a word (peanut butter/jelly, milk/cookie)

Read the story, pausing to discuss along the way. Don’t wait until the end of the story to ask questions about what the hen did first. An easy way to remember to ask questions is to put a sticky note on the page you want to ask questions about. Encourage oral language by requiring students to support their answer with details from the text. This, my friends, is what “close reading” looks like in Kindergarten or 1st grade!

Allow students to have a thirty-second conversation with their partner about a specific part of the story. For example, the teacher says, “Boys and girls, I want you to turn to your partner and all the 1’s are going to talk about why the hen’s friends did not want to help bake the bread and when I call out SWITCH, I want the 2’s to talk about what the hen did when no one would help her.” This intentional pairing ensures that each child gets the same amount of airtime and all voices are heard. The thirty-second conversation hits the first Speaking and Listening standard for grades K–2.

We can also use sentence stems to build oral language. Sentence stems are sentence starters. First, the teacher would explicitly model the process by writing the stem on the board and reading it aloud while writing: “I can help…” The teacher completes the sentence. “I can help my daughter with her homework.” Next, the teacher directs the students to “grow” their sentence stem with their partner. Partners share their sentences with each other, then shares with the class. Not only would this meet the firstSpeaking and Listening standard, but it pulls in the first-grade standard on producing complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation and the Language standard on producing and expanding simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences.

5085 Different Kinds of Bread Cover FINALGreat conversations can arise from reading two different versions of the same folktale. Students can compare and contrast the actions of the characters using sentence stems and the thirty-second conversation. Creating a word web is an excellent way to expand vocabulary. Read an informational text on bread, such as Different Kinds of Bread by Alan Trussell-Cullen and have students create a web with the word “bread” in the center. Students will be able to pull words such as wheat and flour from The Little Red Hen and words such as "pita," "crust," and "baking powder" from Different Kinds of Bread.

To sum things up, oral language strategies will benefit our high and low language students. We must design our lessons with Speaking and Listening Standards in mind and plan for opportunities for students to practice these skills throughout the day. Give students thirty seconds to talk to each other about a specific topic. You will be surprised at how students can benefit from half a minute. Emphasis the importance of vocabulary through word webs. Post these webs in your writing area so students can see these words and use them in their own writing. Support language development with activities that structure sentence formation. Post sentence stems around the room so students will have constant reminders on how to produce complete sentences. Literacy gets its start with oral language, so we must be purposeful in our talk!

~~~

dana lester blog screenshotDana Lester received a B.S. and Master’s Degree from Middle Tennessee State University and is currently teaching at Walter Hill School in Murfreesboro, TN. Dana is also a Common Core Coach with the Tennessee State Department of Education. She has 12 years of classroom experience and has just begun her role as Library Media Specialist. As a strong advocate of the Common Core Standards and Whole Brain Teaching strategies, she engages her students in hands-on, inquiry based learning and shares many ideas and activities on her blog, Common to the Core. She was named Teacher of the Year at Walter Hill in 2013.

~~~

Do you know a K–8 teacher whose creative classroom activities could use some well-deserved recognition? Have you, yourself, hit upon a strategy that you think works so well that you'd love to share it with others? Do you have a teaching blog or website with ideas you'd like to spread? Come stand in our Teacher Spotlight!

We're looking for teachers with unique, fun perspectives to feature on our blog. At least once a month, possibly more often, we want to inspire the teaching community with the innovative work of teachers who have a true passion for what they're doing. We'll broadcast your ideas here on our blog, distributing them through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Each teacher we choose will get some Hameray "goodies" from a series that fits their classroom needs—early literacy, oral language development, striving readers in upper grades, informational text, or literature.

To nominate yourself or another teacher, tell us a little more here.

For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, visit our website or click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights and key features!

New Call-to-Action

Read More

Topics: Teacher Spotlight, Common Core, Literature, Informational Text, Oral Language Development, Dana Lester, Speaking and Listening

More Fun Oral Language Development at Home (Family Literacy #12)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Sep 4, 2013 8:00:00 AM

mother child project 250This is the last post in our series on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which presents ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, and offers free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. You can see the earlier posts here.

The workshop ideas presented in this post and the previous two family literacy posts help parents learn new skills in order to increase their child’s oral language development through structured and unstructured activities.

Fact and Fiction

Today's oral language development activities, intended to be used as take-home activities for parents to complete with their children, offer families a chance to play with both the discovery of facts and the creation of narrative, two skills that are very important for children to acquire if they are to meet the Common Core State Standards. Both activities are available as reproducible sheets free for download as a PDF at the bottom of the page, in addition to being laid out here.

My Turn, Your Turn Story Time

This is an old-fashioned storytelling time activity. It begins with a prompt from which one person starts telling a story and then at any moment hands the story off to the next person, who continues telling the story in his or her own way. This is repeated among the participating members until the story is finished.

• Appropriate for all ages

schoolboy cartoonDirections:

Step 1: The first person should begin telling a story based on the story prompt provided below.

Step 2: When the story has reached a point that the first person feels is a good place for someone else to continue, he or she allows the next person to take over the storytelling, going in any direction of his or her choosing.

Step 3: Continue this way until each person has had a chance to add to the story and someone comes up with an ending. An alternative to this oral interaction is to take turns writing the story down until it is complete.

Step 4: Make up your own story prompts and repeat the activity.

Sample Story Prompt:

There was a boy who loved school. He was very smart and loved to read. One rainy day, he was walking to school with his best friend when ...

Family Tree

Creating a family tree is a great way to discover and preserve your family’s unique history. This may take some time and energy, but creating an heirloom that the family can share forever will be well worth it in the end.

• Appropriate for older children

Directions:

family treeStep 1: Start by interviewing your parents. Ask them about themselves and then about their parents (where and when they were born, what their names are/were, what your mother/grandmother’s maiden name was, and so on). Keep notes on this so that you can create your family tree.

Step 2: Interview other immediate family members such as your grandparents and possibly great-grandparents. Ask them to tell you what they remember about their parents and grandparents.

Step 3: Talking with everyone listed so far should allow you to take your family tree back to at least your grandparents, if not your great, or great-great grandparents. The more family members you talk to, the more information you should be able to gather. Record this information and make a couple of rough drafts of your family tree before you make your final draft. Share your finished family tree with family members.

A family tree worksheet is part of the PDF download below.

This is the last installment of our Family Literacy Workshop blog series. For the remaining six workshops, order the book: Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach.

family literacy activity 12

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Oral Language Development, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

Hameray Herald: August 2013 Issue

Posted by Jacqueline Jones on Aug 30, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Teachers Helping Teachers


TEACHERS HELPING TEACHERS. Hameray's Literacy Blog has been bringing you fresh ideas for more than seven months. In that time, we have covered a range of literacy topics including letter learningbuilding background knowledge using informational textsoral language development & more! With the help of our veteran team of teacher bloggers, you can read a variety of posts covering high-interest topics that could impact your classroom and make learning more fun (& effective!).


Joy_Cowley_Interview_Series  Mrs_Wishy_Washy_Big_Farm_Fair

Video: Joy Cowley Discusses Her Characters

 

Watch & Enjoy. Joy Cowley discusses your favorite characters: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, the Pig & more! Joy answers questions from readers, and gives insight into her start as children's author. View this four-part series now.

WATCH ALL HERE

Special: Mrs. Wishy-Washy & Big Farm Fair Big Book

 

Pre-release Special: Students love Mrs. Wishy-Washy, and nothing is better for shared reading than a good big book! Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Farm Fair is an entertaining story about what happens when the animals are dirty on the day of the big fair!

CLICK TO SEE SPECIAL OFFER  


VIDEO: INTRODUCTION TO ORAL LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT SERIES

OLDS2

WATCH.  The leading educators at the New Teacher Center, who were our partners in the creation of the Oral Language Development Series, have developed an incredibly informative video introduction to the language readers that are the backbone of this series. If you're looking for an innoviate, classroom-tested oral language development product, find out more about OLDS! CLICK HERE TO WATCH


BACK TO SCHOOL: SIGN UP TO RECEIVE OUR NEW 2014 FALL CATALOG

2014_Hameray_Catalog_Cover2

With the school year having just started for some and about to start for many, we are getting to drop our new 2014 Fall Catalog. If you want to receive Hameray's new catalog, make sure you're on our list by signing up here!



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Topics: Joy Cowley, Oral Language Development, Guest Blog, Hameray Herald

Develop Oral Language at Home: Talking Together (Family Literacy #11)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Aug 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This is another post in our series on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which presents ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, and offers free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. You can see the earlier posts here.

The workshop ideas presented in this post and the last and next family literacy posts will help parents learn new skills in order to increase their child’s oral language development through structured and unstructured activities.

Talking Together

father children shopping environmental textExplain to parents that oral language is the foundation of reading and writing. Oral language is developed through the introduction and use of vocabulary that children do not already know or use frequently. We must think about the vocabulary we use with children and how we explain unfamiliar words. Here are some tips you can give parents to help support their children's oral language development:

Restating What Your Child Said

This is something parents should be encouraged to do whenever possible. When their child says something, the parent can restate what the child said using more sophisticated vocabulary. For example:

• The child says, “It is cold out tonight.” The parent can say, “Yes, it is cold tonight. Another word for cold is chilly.”

• The child says, “I am very, very hungry.” The parent can say, “When you are very, very hungry, that means you are famished or starving.”

Talking During Ordinary Activities

Sometimes when we are making dinner or shopping at the grocery store, we are distracted and do not talk much with our child. One of the best ways to teach new vocabulary, especially to young children, is to describe the task we are doing or the things that we are seeing. Parents can do this by describing how they are making dinner, making sure to tell children what each ingredient is called and the methods used to cook the food. Here are some things that parents could talk to their child about at the grocery store:

mother child cookbook 250• The colors and shapes of the vegetables: “This is a yellow banana. It is long and skinny and curves a little. Here is a red onion. It is shaped a little like a circle.”

• Reading the text on boxes. Parents can point to a box, identify each letter, and then read the text to their child. If the child is older, the parent can ask the child to read the text out loud. Young children can be encouraged to point out symbols, print, and other things that they recognize in the environment.

Today's downloadable take-home activities are more things that parents can do with their children at home. They make good "training wheels" to get parents in the habit of talking to their children in ways that will increase children's oral vocabulary and the language structures to which they have access:

A Moment in Time

— Parent and child will tell each other stories about themselves, drawing on different types of experiences: embarrassing stories, interesting events, happy or sad moments, etc.

— Skills addressed: listening and speaking strategies.

Cooking with Kids

— This activity uses an everyday activity to demonstrate how rich oral language interactions can take place all the time.

— Skills addressed: reading comprehension; listening and speaking strategies

~~~

Below is the reproducible activity sheet to download, which contains two take-home activities for parents to complete with their children: Remember to check back frequently for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

family literacy activity 11

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Oral Language Development, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

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