This video features a fun strategy designed teachers can use in the classroom to personalize everyone’s classroom experience and guarantee positive attention. When we give kids their own thing, it can be a nickname, a job, a gesture, a signal, or a private joke—anything that makes a child feel special and acknowledged as an individual. The goal is for every child to have or be known for something that is uniquely theirs.
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This video features a wonderful resource we can use in the classroom to improve children's reading after we conclude our reading conferences with them. Conferring is a terrific way to personalize our strategy work for the benefit of each child. Follow-up is typically the primary challenge of conferring. For example, a student, during a reading conference, may do a fantastic job of making a thoughtful prediction before starting a new chapter, yet transferring that skill to her daily reading, where it matters most, may not come as easily.
To help facilitate stronger transfer, we can use simple tools called visual reminder cards. Each card is a small, index-card-size sheet that contains the name of a specific strategy, a corresponding image, and a brief definition or description of the strategy. At the end of a conference, I like to present students with a visual reminder card focused on the strategy we just practiced. The kids then take the card back to their seats and keep it on their desks as a quick, easy reference. Seeing the card in front of them as they read significantly increases the likelihood that students will use the strategy we discussed. In addition, when the kids are all displaying their cards in this manner, it allows me to circulate through the room and know instantly which strategies to reinforce.
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In this Teaching Tip I provide a link to a short YouTube video. In the video I present a brief chant, along with a corresponding set of hand movements, to help children understand what it means to make an inference when they are reading. By repeating the chant and doing these movements for just a minute or two per day for a few days, kids will remember that when making an inference, they need to combine a piece of information from the text with their own knowledge. Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.