- Identifying similarities and differences - This is the strategy that gives the biggest gains according to Marzano's research. I will be using this strategy with my K students when we are learning the letters and sounds. We will talk about which letters look similar and which look different. I will have them sort them in several different ways in order to enforce the strategy.
- Summarizing and note taking - This strategy will be used primarily with my 2nd graders when we are reading stories from their basal. For every fictional story we read, we verbally go through the 5 finger retell; however, I don't have them write or take notes. I am going to add the note taking piece using a mind map strategy. They will summarize the story using words on a mind map.
- Non linguistic representations - In 1st grade I am going to focus on the students generating mental images representing the content of their stories. I am going to read them their stories and have them create a movie in their minds. Then, I am going to have them practice reading stories working on fluency so they can create the movie for themselves and each other.
The previous strategies were implemented over the past couple of weeks. I chose these specific strategies as they were to have the biggest impact on achievement according to Robert Marzano's research found in the book, What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action.
- The first activity I did with my five struggling kindergartners only. They have been working on the letters and sounds since the beginning of the year and they still haven't met the mid year benchmark. Mainly it is because they do not practice at home; however, it could also have to do with them not being able to remember the names and shapes together. Thus, we spent time taking letters that looked alike and talked about how they are similar (m, n, w, h and b, d, g, q,). We would also talk about which letters were different and why (K, G, Y). I also would match letters that they knew and ones they didn't know and we would compare and contrast those letter. Of course, the success and challenges always come down to the working memory of the student. All of the work lies in the hopes that the conversations would stick in their working memory and they would remember from one day to another.
- The next activity was changed and done with the 3rd and 4th graders who attend Adventure Reading, our new after school program. The lead teachers and I had the students read a book and then use Animoto to share the elements of the story. The students would take a picture of the page in the book that the setting was found on. Then the students would add a text frame telling what the setting was. From there they would move to the Title, characters, problem, and solution. Once finished, they would put the slides in order and add a sound track and video design. What a fun activity. The kids loved it and wanted to make more than the one that was planned for the day. The only problem was that the app was not a full version so the kids had to pick four pictures to use instead of adding all the elements. As a result, the story review was only half done. It seems to happen often with technology...what is planned is sometimes difficult to make happen because of glitches that get in the way.
- Lastly, I read Christmas themed stories to the kids and they sat back and made a movie in their mind. They loved imagining what the story was like rather than looking at the picture pages. Later in the week I had them read the stories for themselves. Some stories were harder than others for them to read. I attempted to find easier stories as they are 1st graders. Surprisingly enough, they were able to work it out. They had fun and weren't frustrated at some of the big words they encountered. Because they had heard the story and made their own pictures, they were better able to predict what was coming next.