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Teacher education

Should Reading Be Taught Whole Class or Small Group?

Teacher question:

Flex your groupings

In most instances, educators will be using assessment data and classroom observations to create flexible groupings in the classroom. Other times, however, teachers may want to group or pair students randomly. This type of grouping works well for many different types of lessons including community-building activities, idea sharing, small-group discussions, or the exploration of materials.

Today’s “Off the Page” selection is from Universal Design Daily and can be found on page 383.

Pick a stick, any stick

In any effective and student-centered classroom, the voices of learners should be heard often; they should be asking and answering questions, sharing ideas, and expressing their thoughts. Some students, however, struggle to engage in some or all of these behaviors. They may need models for asking appropriate questions or adding relevant comments. Today’s “Off the Page” selection will provide an idea for moving the tasks of talking and sharing from teacher to student and it will provide some support for learners who need to eavesdrop on others to learn new communication skills.

Using fascinations to teach & challenge

Too often, student interests are seen as a hindrance to learning, when they can actually be very helpful to both students and teachers. In this video, I discuss how to take a student’s passion–be it calendars, vacuum cleaners, superheroes, dolphins, detectives, or Ozzy Osbourne–and turn it into classroom support. This tip is taken directly from “Just Give Him the Whale”: 20 Ways to Use Fascinations, Areas of Expertise, and Strengths to Support Students with Autism” and specifically from Chapter 11: Connect Students to Standards-Based Content.

New year, new goals

Happy New Year!

I had a lot of great feedback about this post in the last few years, so I am sharing it again to kick off 2018. I hope it will help you meet your inclusion-related goals as you get back to work this week.

Schedules and timers and lists … oh my!

What if I told you it was possible to make some (if not most) of your students feel more comfortable by just adopting a few EASY strategies each day, week, and month? What if I told you these strategies would not cost a thing and would also help you–as the teacher–get a bit more organized? What if I told you these strategies could also help students learn new skills? Are you intrigued? If so, tune in to the latest episode of “Off the Page.” Be sure to share this one widely–these simple ideas can make or break a successful learning experience for some students.

Goal setting for co-teachers

It’s November and, therefore, it’s time for a new episode of “Off the Page.” In this segment, I am sharing a goal setting tool from 30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom. Don’t skip this one if you don’t co-teach, though! This strategy is a smart one and can work well for any collaborative team big or small.

The Role of Early Oral Language in Reading Comprehension

When I was 18 years old, I was a volunteer tutor in an inner-city school. I wasn’t an education major — that came later — but I was intent on saving the world. I was excited about the idea of going into the city and working with elementary school kids who were growing up in poverty.

But I was also nervous about it. I didn’t know a damn thing about working with kids, the inner city, or reading. A trifecta of ignorance.

Think-Pair-Share in Reading Instruction: Is It Effective?

Teacher question:

Our reading coach has encouraged all of our teachers to use a lot of the “think-pair-share” reading strategy. I’m an upper elementary grade teacher. Is “think-pair-share” research based?

Shanahan responds:

This seems like such a straightforward question, but it has been tying me in knots for days. It all depends on what you mean by “research based.”

25 Accessible Books! Bookshare Gives Struggling Learners an Early Start on "Reading Independence"

Bookshare's summer reading collection for young readers is chosen to entice, engage and keep readers coming back when traditional books in print cause frustration.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox