Episode 45: Laura Robb-Vocabulary is Comprehension

February 2, 2015

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Today I am talking with Laura Robb. She is a teacher, speaker, author, and coach.

She has taught for over 43 years and continues to teach each year in middle grades classrooms.

She has published 18 books primarily focused on reading, writing, and comprehension.

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You will often find her speaking across the country and working with classroom teachers to learn how to address the needs of kids in reading, writing and text comprehension.

Laura is concerned about teachers who are “stressed out” with attempts to measure classroom success by using standardized, high stakes tests. The money and time that is spent on these tests could be better spent on training teachers to use better instructional practices.

Laura says, “One of the joys of teaching is that every child is unique.”

Our talk is primarily focused on one of her most recent works, “Vocabulary is Comprehension: Getting to the Root of Text Complexity”.

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This work is filled with understandable lessons on how to connect vocabulary building and development with complex text comprehension.

Any teacher could easily take this book read sections and immediately begin to use its lessons in her plans for the week.

Some instructional works are cumbersome with their own language and information. The teacher would need a translator first before even getting close to thinking about using the information…not this book! It is easy to understand and use!

Take a look at her Big 10 and then turn to any of the lessons associated with them and you will be able to start making a difference in a child’s understanding of the text and content.

I strongly encourage you to take this information to heart and to use her book to help change your lessons to help the kids “get it!”

By the way…also, check out her foundation. She and her son are focused on getting books into the hands of children with none.

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Enjoy!!!

 

www.LRobb.com

www.e2efoundation.org

Vocabulary is Comprehension

www.teacher.scholastic.com/products/classroombooks/laurarobb

www.twitter.com/LRobbTeacher

www.facebook.com/laura.robb.372

www.middleweb.com

Length: 1:00:19

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Episode 24: Teaching First Grade with Tonya Hair

June 11, 2014

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Mrs. Tonya Hair teaches first grade at Pulaski County Elementary School located in Hawkinsville, Georgia. This is her 11th year of teaching. Mrs. Hair grew up in Hawkinsville and is now a teacher at Pulaski County Elementary School where she attended as a child. She is working with some colleagues who were teachers when she was a student. How cool is that?!

Mrs. Hair has some amazing routines and practices. Her kids know them and it is obvious. They transition between activities and different locations in the classroom with no down time or disruption to the learning. I asked Mrs. Hair to explain how she is able to accomplish this.  She commented, “Practicing routines. If you set it up in the beginning then it is not that hard as the year goes on.” Tonya also noted, “Organization and planning are keys to being successful, as well as learning from your mistakes.”

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Tonya uses groups quite successfully. She says that she is looking to find the best fit for the child. She uses these groups to help her address the individual needs of her students.

As you listen to us talk teaching and learning you will hear us touch on…

·         reading and math stations

·         problem solving

·         showing numbers in different ways

·         starting class with an activity

·         formative assessments

·         charts that she uses to make notes on student progress (she uses this information to adjust her instruction)

·         using mini-white boards

·         engaging kids

·         organizational skills

Her favorite resource for her classes is her SMART board and if she could have anything for her classroom where money wasn't an option it would be a parapro and a set of laptops.

If she had a chance to give advice to 30 brand new elementary teachers she would tell them, “Always be prepared and forward thinking. Be flexible.”

At the very end you will hear Tonya express her thoughts about a teacher who made a difference in her life… She says that she was like… Wonder Woman.

Mrs. Hair has much to share!

Enjoy!

Length 31:24

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Episode 23: Teaching Kindergarten with Jean Mixon

May 29, 2014

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Jean Mixon has been teaching for 32 years all as a kindergarten teacher. She teaches at Pulaski County Elementary School in Hawkinsville, GA. This year she is retiring. She says that kindergarten has changed over the years. I hope that you will take time to listen and learn from her many nuggets of awesome teaching practices!

I had the pleasure of watching her work with her kids. As you listen, you will hear us talk about classroom management techniques like becoming consistent in what you do, developing procedures and routines, and practicing what you want the kids to do in class. Mrs. Mixon reflects, “We have to practice… The first two weeks in Kindergarten are so important…they are learning procedures and routines.” She also talks about the importance of using their names to connect... “You have to build that personal relationship.”

By the way, she has this very cool rug that helps her establish that consistency…I think that you will find that discussion very illuminating and also just cool.

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We also talk about instructional strategies and her use of formative assessment, modelling and getting the kids to doing.

She always is with kids… “Just part of good teaching, be right there with them…”

Her favorite resource is the SMART board!

She was fun to watch and is an amazing teacher!

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I am sure that you will learn much from her!

Enjoy!

Length: 33:01

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Episode 15: Ms. Kamorra Crafton, 3rd grade teacher talking with me about learning centers and mini-whiteboards

March 20, 2014

This is Episode 15! 

Awesome!
Today, I am talking with Ms. Kamorra Crafton, a 3rd grade teacher at Saxon Heights Elementary School in Dublin City Schools, Dublin, Georgia.
This is her 7th year in teaching and her 3rd year teaching 3rd graders.
I had the pleasure seeing her teach using learning centers and mini-whiteboards to create engagement and to provide feedback about student understanding! Her students were involved and excited to be working in the centers and using the boards. It is not an exaggeration to say that they were totally engaged in the activities! Ms. Crafton commented, "I use the centers to provide more individualized instruction." She continued, They allow me to see what the kids are struggling with..."
The mini-whiteboards help her get immediate feedback. She shared, "Anytime they can get out those markers and whiteboards they are excited!"
She reflected, "The information gathered helps her with determining what direction she needs to go, what she needs to re-teach and what she may need to make harder..."
I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I am glad that I was able to see her work with the children. 
Check out the use of learning centers and mini-whiteboards to assist with aiding instruction and getting feedback about student understanding.
I have a board on Pinterest called Assessment Strategies where I have pins pertaining to using the mini-whiteboards and one called Stations(Learning Centers). 
Enjoy!
Length 17:12
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