Saturday, July 27, 2013

Common Core Practice Test Reading Passages

Common Core Practice Test Reading Passages with Bloom's and WEBB's Test Questions | One or Two minute Fluency Drills 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade 


Grade | Class  4, 5 and 6 Fluency Drills

Tales of Space and Time | The Crystal Egg
Wells, H. G.

There was, until a year ago, a little and very grimy-looking shop near Seven Dials, over which, in weather-worn yellow lettering, the name of "C. Cave, Naturalist and Dealer in Antiquities," was inscribed. The contents of its window were curiously variegated. They comprised some elephant tusks and an imperfect set of chessmen, beads and weapons, a box of eyes, two skulls of tigers and one human, several moth-eaten stuffed monkeys (one holding a lamp), an old-fashioned cabinet, a flyblown ostrich egg or so, some fishing-tackle, and an extraordinarily dirty, empty glass fish-tank. There was also, at the moment the story begins, a mass of crystal, worked into the shape of an egg and brilliantly polished. And at  that two people, who stood outside the window, were looking, one of them a tall, thin clergyman, the other a black-bearded young man of dusky complexion and unobtrusive costume. The dusky young man spoke with eager gesticulation, and seemed anxious for his companion to purchase the article. CWPM 164

While they were there, Mr. Cave came into his shop, his beard still wagging with the bread and butter of his tea. When he saw these men and the object of their regard, his countenance fell. He glanced guiltily over his shoulder, and softly shut the door. He was a little old man, with pale face and peculiar watery blue eyes; his hair was a dirty grey, and he wore a shabby blue frock coat, an ancient silk hat, and carpet slippers very much down at heel. He remained watching the two men as they talked. The clergyman went deep into his trouser pocket, examined a handful of money, and showed his teeth in an agreeable smile. Mr. Cave seemed still more depressed when they came into the shop. The clergyman, without any ceremony, asked the price of the crystal egg. Mr. Cave glanced nervously towards the door leading into the parlor, and said five pounds. The clergyman protested that the price was high, to his companion as well as to Mr. Cave—it was, indeed, very much more than Mr. Cave had intended to ask, when he had stocked the article—and an attempt at bargaining ensued. Mr. Cave stepped to the shop-door, and held it open. "Five pounds is my price," he said, as though he wished to save himself the trouble of unprofitable discussion. As he did so, the upper portion of a woman's face appeared above the blind in the glass upper panel of the door leading into the parlor, and stared curiously at the two customers. "Five pounds is my price," said Mr. Cave, with a quiver in his voice. CWPM 275 + 164


Blooms and WEBB'S DOK Discussion Questions!! 
  1. How would you finish writing this story? 
  2. What conclusions can you draw from both people wanting to buy the article (The Crystal Egg)?
  3. How would you react to finding a brilliantly polished Crystal Egg in a thrift shop?
  4. Can you predict some outcomes if ether or neither of the men purchase the The Crystal Egg?
  5. What is your interpretation of the author’s main idea or moral to this story?
  6. How would you describe the opening sequence of events and their importance to the story?
  7. Can you elaborate on the reason why the author used contrasting characters that want to buy the The Crystal Egg?
  8. What would happen if the The Crystal Egg has supernatural power or amazing alien technology?
  9. Can you formulate a theory for why the men want to buy The Crystal Egg?
  10. Can you explain what it means when Anna feels ground to the bone by her boss?
  11. How would you compare the tone of The Crystal Egg to other Science fiction stories? 
  12. How would you summarize the feelings of the merchant towards the customers?
  13. What do you notice about the authors use of Mr. Caves demeanor and falling countenance? 
The Complete PDF Book Feedbooks Free Online Books 

Antiquity noun
(usually plural) objects or customs belonging to ancient times.
This wing of the museum is dedicated to antiquities.
Comprise transitive verb    
    
to include. The fitness center comprises a pool as well as racquetball courts.
to consist of. This list comprises the names of all the students who passed the reading test.

Countenance noun
approval or an expression of approval.
She gave little countenance to her assistant's proposal.
His parents refused to give their countenance to the marriage.

Dusky adjective
dark or rather dark in hue.
a dusky complexion

Gesticulation noun
the act or an instance of using hand movements, as to add emphasis or expressiveness to speech. He could not hear what she was saying, but her frantic gesticulation told him that something was very wrong.

Inscribe transitive verb
to write one's name or a short comment or dedication in or on (a book, photograph, or the like given as a present). He asked the composer to inscribe his copy of the sheet music.

Naturalist noun
a person who has expertise in or is devoted to the study of the natural sciences, especially botany and zoology.

Peculiar adjective
belonging distinctively or uniquely to a person, group, thing, or situation. a habit that is peculiar to bats

Unobtrusive adjective
not noticeable; inconspicuous.

Variegated adjective

showing variety or diversity, especially in having patches, spots, streaks, or the like of various colors.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Socratic Citizenship? | World Citizen

Teachers need to be a mirror for society good or bad, and a positive agent of change. Today we offer too-many of our students a ludicrous future, a civilization full of fear, greed, anger, mindless obedience and ignorance. FEAR and IGNORANCE is a powerful political tool used by dictators, democracies and politicians for millenia, the power of fear and ignorance triumphs over reason, compassion, wisdom, generosity, hope and grace. How do we create a community and school learning environment that promotes World Citizenship (questioning, wise, ethical, proactive, Earthcentric and sustainable )? The four big lies that keep humanity from seeking a harmonious/Earthcentric civilization! GREED, ANGER, FEAR and IGNORANCE! Teachers can take a path of passive nihilism or they can stand up and say enough of the ethical decay, intolerance, abandonment of truth, and political plutocracy. 

GREED

ANGER

IGNORANCE

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Student's Bill of Rights

The Student's Bill of Rights | The Student Educational Equality Act

We the People recognize that All Children are gifted and deserve the highest quality education. The citizens of this great nation are capable of providing an equitable, enriching and quality education to each and every child. 
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students must make teacher training and teacher autonomy the highest priority. Teachers are at the center of daily learning and they know what their students need far better than self-serving politicians and WallStreet. 
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students must provide full day kindergarten and Head Start Preschool for all AT-RISK children.
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students at a threshold of 25% will set a maximum cap of 18 students per class.
  • All students must receive high-quality training on how the mind learns, thinks, feels, and multiple ways to adapt, cope, and solve problems. 
  • All students that are performing below ability level regardless of label or status will receive prompt special education, compensatory, alternative, formative, and or corrective education services until they are performing/working at or above ability level. 
  • All special education students are given the highest-quality educational services needed until they are working at or above ability level.
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students at a threshold of 25% must recruit and hire Master Level Teachers. Teacher pay is part of the issue but creating a high-quality workling environment is critical. 
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students at a threshold of 25% must have school counselors, registered nurses, highly trained special education teachers, school physiologist and certified Master Teachers as librarians 
  • All primary students must receive recess and creative playtime hourly during school.
  • All students must receive a high-quality arts education. 
  • All students must receive a high-quality physical education. 
  • All students must receive formative enrichment education that they are passionate and inspires passion. 
  • All students must receive a high-quality philosophical, ethical, and character education. 
  • All students must receive high-quality STEM education.
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students at a threshold of 25% must have parents, students and teachers provide input into ALL special education, compensatory, alternative, formative and or corrective education services that are provided.
  • All Masters Level Teachers must collaborate and share what is proven and successful, they must also provide peer to peer leadership.
  • All federally/publicly funded schools that serve AT-RISK students at a threshold of 25% must provide a highly nutritious breakfast and lunch daily to all children free of charge 
  • All teachers are responsible for the social-emotional wellbeing and positive academic outcomes for every child in the school 
  • All AT-RISK students are made the daily priority of every administrator, support staff, teacher, parent, and student at school 
  • All testing in the primary grades is formative and not assigned a letter grade 
  • Please add your ideas or changes
My Thoughts on an Equitable Education Act or Student's Bill of Rights 

By Sean Taylor the Dyslexic Reading Teacher 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Student Success Act | Student Success Act Passes House

THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT (H.R. 3989) PASSES House 

The Student Success Act is a House Republican Bill that gives states more control over almost all aspects of Federally funded education. The problem is, repealing educational mandates that protected student's civil-rights may turn the clock back 40 years. The Student Success Act is like many GOP Education Bills or Democratic Bills, they do not build equity or quality education for poor or disabled students. The STUDENT SUCCESS ACT sounds good in name until you read some of the things that are repealed. The GOP and the Democrats are not listening to people like Pasi Sahlberg when he says the most important aspect of equality and quality education is highly trained Master Teachers. 


Finland is the world’s leader in delivering high quality equitable education, which results in amazing student outcomes. The glaring quantitative results come from innovative educational practices, master teachers, collaborative teaching, peer to peer teacher training and teacher lead schools that are free to make educational decisions. Finland has a long standing mandate of requiring master teachers in all classrooms nationwide. The teachers are recruited from the top 5% of college students. The US policymakers and education reformers believe you can become a teacher in 5 weeks. Five weeks of teacher training from a Teach for America course and you are ready to teach in the roughest inner-city schools. The Student Success Act legislation gets rid of some very important equality measures:  • Highly Qualified Teachers: The bill repeals section 1119 of current law, which sets federal requirements around teachers and paraprofessionals and removes the requirement that teachers be highly qualified. H.R. 3990, the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, includes requirements for locally developed teacher evaluations, enabling federal teacher policy to move from onerous and meaningless burdens to strategies that will reassure parents that their students’ teachers are effective.

THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT (H.R. 3989)
SUMMARY
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized more than 10 years ago as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), is in need of dramatic reform. Even though the law expired more than four years ago, legislation to update NCLB was never considered by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce until this Congress. Since assuming control of the House of Representatives, Republicans have passed a series of reauthorization bills out of the committee, including the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, which passed the House with a broad bipartisan majority. The Student Success Act, along with the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, comprise the final pieces of Republicans’ efforts to reauthorize ESEA.

When it was enacted, NCLB was heralded as groundbreaking, and in some ways it was. The expanded use of data helped superintendents, school leaders, and teachers identify students most in need of additional instruction and offered parents access to important information about the quality of their schools. But we have now clearly identified the law’s weaknesses. Adequate Yearly Progress(AYP)is a one-size-fits-all metric that restricts states’ and school districts’ ability to appropriately gauge student learning and tailor curriculum to enable students to graduate high school prepared for post-secondary education or the workforce. The cascading system of mandated interventions has not worked as imagined and is not producing the desired results in low-performing schools. The law's numerous programs (more than 80 in all) impose tremendous paperwork and regulatory burdens on states and school districts and have demonstrated limited success in improving student achievement.

The Student Success Act offers a better way forward for education reform by:
• Returning responsibility for student achievement to states,school districts, and parents, 
while maintaining high expectations.
• Providing states and school districts greater flexibility to meet students’ unique needs.
• Investing limited taxpayer dollars wisely.
• Strengthening programs for schools and targeted populations.
• Maintaining and strengthening long-standing protections for state and local autonomy.

Returning Responsibility for Student Achievement to States, School Districts, and Parents, 
While Maintaining High Expectations 

The Student Success Act dramatically reduces the federal role in education by returning authority for measuring student performance and turning around low-performing schools to states and local officials. Across the country, states and school districts are leading efforts to reform the nation's troubled education system. As these bold reformers step up, the federal government can step back, limiting its role to ensuring parents have the information they need to judge the quality of their schools. The bill includes a number of key revisions to the current Title I program to increase state and local flexibility and restore local control of education.

• Academic Standards: Similar to current law, the bill requiresstates to establish academic 
standards that apply to all students and schools in the state in at least reading and math, 
while allowing states to develop standards in other subjects at their discretion. 

Achievement standards used for judging student and school performance must align with content standards, but the bill removes federal requirements for basic, proficient, and advanced levels of achievement. States are also allowed to establish alternate achievement standards aligned to the content standards for students with the most significant disabilities. Finally, the bill consolidates the requirements for English proficiency standards into the main Title I program.

• Academic Assessments: Similar to current law, the bill requiresstates to develop and 
implement a set of annual assessments in reading and math, the foundation for student 
learning. To reduce the burden of over-testing on our nation's students, the bill eliminates 
the federal requirement that states administer assessments in science. Statesretain the 
option to develop assessments in science and other subjects at their discretion. States are 
required to give the same reading and math assessmentsto all students in the state in each 
of grades 3-8 and once in high school. Assessments still must include reasonable 
accommodations for students with disabilities. States are allowed to adopt alternate 
assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and computer 
adaptive assessments, and have the flexibility to use multiple measures of student 
achievement. The bill maintains requirements on disaggregating subgroup data, assessing 
the English proficiency of English learners, and ensuring 95 percent participation rates 
for all students and each subgroup, 

• Accountability: The bill eliminates Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and replaces it with 
a state-determined accountability system that must:

o Annually measure the academic achievement of all public school students against the
state’s academic standards (including growth toward the standards) using the 
statewide assessment and other academic indicators determined by the state. 

o Annually evaluate and identify the academic performance of each public school in the 
state based on student academic achievement, including the achievement of all 
students and achievement gaps between student subgroups. 

o Include a school improvement system implemented by school districts that includes 
interventions in poor performing Title I schools. 

• School Improvement: The bill requires states to include, as part of their statewide 
accountability structure, a system of school improvement interventions implemented at 
the local level for Title I schools that the state determines to be poorly performing. The 
bill repeals the federally mandated interventions included in sections 1116 and 1117 of 
current law, giving states and districts maximum flexibility to develop appropriate school 
improvement strategies and rewards for their schools. The bill increases the state setaside for school improvement to 7 percent (up from 4 percent), but eliminates the local 
set-asides, meaning more Title I money will flow directly to school districts. The bill 
eliminates the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program that the Secretary of Education
used to create four unworkable turnaround models, instead using those funds to increase 
the authorization level for the Title I program.

• Parent Information: The bill maintains the current requirement that states and school 
districts issue and distribute annual report cards, but streamlines the data reporting to 
ensure meaningful information is easily available to parents and communities. States and 
districts must report disaggregated student achievement data on the state assessment and
other academic indicators used in the statewide accountability system, participation rates 
on those assessments, the adjusted cohort graduation rate, each school’s evaluation under 
the statewide accountability system, English language proficiency, and results on the 4th
and 8th grade reading and mathematics National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP). The bill maintains parents’ right to know their students’ achievement levels, and 
movesthe right to know teacher professional qualificationsfrom Title I to Title II of the 
ESEA.

• Direct Student Services: The bill requires states to set aside 3 percent of Title I money to 
provide competitive grants to school districts that wish to offer tutoring or public school 
choice to their students, including those in poor performing schools. 

• Highly Qualified Teachers: The bill repeals section 1119 of current law, which sets
federal requirements around teachers and paraprofessionals and removes the requirement 
that teachers be highly qualified. H.R. 3990, the Encouraging Innovation and Effective 
Teachers Act, includes requirements for locally developed teacher evaluations, enabling
federal teacher policy to move from onerous and meaningless burdens to strategies that 
will reassure parents that their students’ teachers are effective.

• State Laws on Parent Authority: The bill includes a provision stating that nothing in the law should be interpreted to impact state laws on parent exercise of authority over low performing schools.
Providing States and School Districts Greater Flexibility to Meet Students’ Unique Needs

• Funding Flexibility: Consistent with H.R. 2445, the State and Local Funding Flexibility 
Act, the bill allows states and school districts to use funds for certain special population 
programs for any activity authorized under any of the other programs. This allows state 
and local officials to use federal funds to meet their own unique needs. While school 
districts will not be allowed to use funds received for Title I schools outside of those 
schools, they can move additional funding to low-income schools. The bill maintains 
separate funding streams for the Migrant Education, Neglected and Delinquent, English 
Language Acquisition, and Indian Education programs, but merges them into Title I.
• School wide Programs: The bill eliminates the 40 percent poverty threshold for 
school wide programs, allowing all Title I schools to operate whole school reform efforts. 
This change, included in the Obama administration's waiver package, will allow low income schools greater flexibility to consolidate programs and focus their efforts on 
raising the achievement of all students.
Investing Limited Taxpayer Dollars Wisely

• Authorization Levels: The bill limits funding authorizations to the FY 2012 appropriated 
levels. Consistent with the charge to increase public transparency and end the use of 
“such sums,” the bill ties potential funding increases to inflation. It also consolidates 
authorization levels into one section in the law.

• Reducing Department Bureaucracy: The bill requires the Secretary to eliminate the full 
time equivalent (FTE) employee positions associated with the eliminated and 
consolidated programs under the bill. Specifically, the Secretary would have two months 
to identify how many FTEs work on or administered programs that have been eliminated 
or consolidated under the legislation; he would then have one additional year to reduce 
the Department's workforce by that number.

• State and Local Spending Decisions: The bill removes all “Maintenance of Effort”
(MOE) requirements, allowing states and school districts to set their own funding levels 
for elementary and secondary education. These requirements are removed for four 
reasons:

o Dictating how states and school districts spend their tax revenues as a condition of 
receiving federal funds is not an appropriate federal role.

o MOE requirements assume that increased education spending will improve
educational outcomes. Decades of data prove this argument false.

o MOE requirements provide disincentives for states and school districts to innovate 
and deliver better educational services more efficiently.

o Data from the U.S. Department of Education show that,since enactment of No Child 
Left Behind, nearly every school district request to waive MOE has been granted. The 
bill acknowledges this reality and eliminates the burden for districts.
At the same time, the legislation maintains the law’s “supplement, not supplant”
requirements, which ensure that federal dollars are used on top of state and local 
resources, protecting the traditional federal role in education. Maintaining these 
provisions will ensure states and districts will not be able to dramatically cut education 
spending and fill in the gaps with federal dollars. 
Strengthening Programs for Schools and Targeted Populations
The Student Success Act maintains separate funding streams for the Migrant Education, 
Neglected and Delinquent, English Language Acquisition, Rural Education, and Indian 
Education programs, but merges them into Title I of the law. The bill strengthens each program 
in key ways.

• Education of Migratory Children: The bill provides a reservation of funds to assist states 
in supporting high-quality educational programs and services to address the unique 
educational needs of migratory children, including during summer periods. The 
legislation strengthens how migrant student counts are determined in each state, basing 
state allocations on the average number of eligible full time equivalent migratory children 
from the previous three years and a count of the number of migratory children who 
receive services under summer programs. The bill also allows states, school districts, and 
other public and private entities to improve intrastate and interstate coordination and 
information exchanges regarding migratory children.

• Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected,
Delinquent, or At-Risk: The bill provides a reservation of funds to improve educational
services for students in state and local institutions or for those children who are transferring out of institutionalization. The legislation emphasizes receipt of a regular high school diploma to the extent feasible, and makes minor technical and clarifying


changes to improve the operation of the program.

• English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement:
The bill includes a reservation of funds to provide services to help non-English speakers 
learn English and meet state academic standards. The bill consolidates accountability and 
reporting requirements for English learners into the Title I program to encourage greater 
alignment, while maintaining student achievement expectations for these students and 
public reporting of progress. The bill changes how the Secretary of Education determines 
immigrant student and English learner counts, to ensure states and school districts receive 
accurate and reliable data and stabilize funding. Consistent with H.R. 1891, the Setting 
New Priorities in Education Spending Act, the bill eliminates the Improving Language 
Instruction Educational Programs, which have never been funded and are duplicative of 
the main program. 

• Rural Education: The bill reserves funds for rural school districts and schoolsin both the 
Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Program and the Rural and Low-Income 
School (RLIS) Program. The legislation updates current locale codes, which determine 
eligibility of rural districts and schools under both programs, and includes a sliding scale 
hold harmless formula for districts that would become ineligible under the SRSA 
program because of the new codes. The bill allows school districts to apply for funding 
under both the SRSA and the RLIS Programs. 

• Indian Education: The bill reserves funds to meet the unique educational and cultural 
needs of American Indian students and encourages Indian tribes, communities, and 
parents to participate in the education of their children. The bill allows school districts 
and Indian tribes applying for formula grants to apply in consortia to maximize the use of 
federal funds. Consistent with H.R. 1981, the Setting New Priorities in Education 
Spending Act, the bill eliminates the Native Hawaiian Education and Alaska Native 
Education Equity programs, which are duplicative of other services and funds provided to 
these populations under Title I. The bill also eliminates the Fellowships for Indian 
Students program and the Improvement of Educational Opportunities for Adult Indians 
program, which have not been funded since 1995. It also eliminates the In-Service 
Training for Teachers of Indian Children Grant, the Gifted and Talented Indian Students 
program, and the Grants to Tribes for Education Administrative Planning and 
Development program, which have never received federal funding.
Maintaining and Strengthening Long-Standing Protections for State and Local Autonomy
The Student Success Act includes the General Provisions of ESEA, but moves them from the 
current Title IX to a new Title V. The bill maintains and strengthens these important protections 
for students, parents, communities, states, and school districts while eliminating other 
burdensome and duplicative requirements.

• Private School Students: The bill strengthens provisions to ensure the participation of 
private school students and teachers in the programs funded under the ESEA. The bill 
improves the consultation and negotiation processes to provide clearer procedures and 
faster notice for private school officials. These changes will better protect access for 
private school students. 

• Secretary’s Authority: The bill protects state and local autonomy over decisions in the 
classroom and limits the authority of the Secretary of Education. The legislation: (1) 
prohibits the Secretary from imposing conditions on states and school districts in 
exchange for a waiver of federal elementary and secondary education law; (2) prevents 
the Secretary from creating additional burdens on states and districts through the 
regulatory process, particularly in the areas of standards, assessments, and state 
accountability plans; (3) prohibits the Secretary from demanding changes to state 
standards and influencing and coercing states to enter into partnerships with other states; 
and (4) outlines specific procedures the Secretary must follow when issuing federal 
regulations and conducting peer review processes for grant applications, including 
publicly releasing the identity of peer reviewers, that will bring greater transparency.

• Military Recruiters: The bill improves the military recruiting provisions in current law by 
ensuring military recruiters have the same access to high schools as institutions of higher 
education.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fluency Drills: 6, 7, 8 and 9th Grade

Free Fluency Drills 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Grade | Speed Reading Fluency Passages 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne The Nautilus  
One | Two Minute Fluency Drill

CAPTAIN NEMO stood up. I followed him. Contrived at the rear of the dining room, a double door opened, and I entered a room whose dimensions equaled the one I had just left. CWPM 33

It was a library. Tall, black–rosewood bookcases, inlaid with copper work, held on their wide shelves a large number of uniformly bound books. These furnishings followed the contours of the room, their lower parts leading to huge couches upholstered in maroon leather and curved for maximum comfort. Light, movable reading stands, which could be pushed away or pulled near as desired, allowed books to be positioned on them for easy study. In the center stood a huge table covered with pamphlets, among which some newspapers, long out of date, were visible. Electric light flooded this whole harmonious totality, falling from four frosted half globes set in the scrollwork of the ceiling. I stared in genuine wonderment at this room so ingeniously laid out, and I couldn't believe my eyes. CWPM 163

"Captain Nemo," I told my host, who had just stretched out on a couch, "this is a library that would do credit to more than one continental palace, and I truly marvel to think it can go with you into the deepest seas." CWPM 206

"Where could one find greater silence or solitude, professor?" Captain Nemo replied. "Did your study at the museum afford you such a perfect retreat?"
"No, sir, and I might add that it's quite a humble one next to yours. You own 6,000 or 7,000 volumes here . . ." CWPM 255

"12,000, Professor Aronnax. They're my sole remaining ties with dry land. But I was done with the shore the day my Nautilus submerged for the first time under the waters. That day I purchased my last volumes, my last pamphlets, my last newspapers, and ever since I've chosen to believe that humanity no longer thinks or writes. In any event, professor, these books are at your disposal, and you may use them freely." CWPM 330

I thanked Captain Nemo and approached the shelves of this library. Written in every language, books on science, ethics, and literature were there in abundance, but I didn't see a single work on economics—they seemed to be strictly banned on board. One odd detail: all these books were shelved indiscriminately without regard to the language in which they were written, and this jumble proved that the Nautilus's captain could read fluently whatever volumes he chanced to pick up. CWPM 410

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Vocabulary Glossary 

Abundance noun
an amount that is more than ample; very plentiful quantity.
There was an abundance of food at the Thanksgiving dinner.

Continental adjective
(usually capitalized) of, related to, or similar to the mainland European culture, customs, or the like.

Contour noun
the outline of a surface, form, or figure; shape.
the contours of the land

contrived adjective
planned or artificial, especially in an obvious way; not spontaneous.
The ending of the play was too contrived.

Dimension noun
size as measured in height, width, or depth.
The potential buyers asked about the dimensions of the living room.

Disposal noun
authority to control or direct someone or something.
We are at your disposal.

Ethics plural noun
the branch of philosophy that deals with values pertaining to human conduct, such as good and bad or right and wrong actions and motives; moral philosophy.

Indiscriminate adjective
not planned or organized; haphazard or jumbled.

Pamphlet noun
a short printed publication that is unbound or has a paper binding, often written to inform on some topic or to address a controversial public issue. Pamphlets were being distributed all over campus.

Submerge intransitive verb
to sink or plunge under, or as though under, water.
The submarine submerged rapidly.
The scuba diver submerged and did not return to the surface for several minutes.

Volume noun
a collection of pages of writing or print bound together; book.
Our public library has thousands of volumes.


More Free Fluency Drills: 6, 7, 6, and 9th Grade
Use the Free PDF fluency drills below for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. This is a small sample from my Eclectic Speller that the students use to have fun reading and build reading fluency.

Sample Reading Fluency Drills all grades

John Carter: A Prisoner 
Reading Practice Passage

We had gone perhaps ten miles when the ground began to rise very rapidly.
We were, as I was later to learn, nearing the edge of one of Mars'
long-dead seas, in the bottom of which my encounter with the Martians
had taken place. WCPM 44

In a short time we gained the foot of the mountains, and after traversing
a narrow gorge came to an open valley, at the far extremity of which
was a low table land upon which I beheld an enormous city. Toward this
we galloped, entering it by what appeared to be a ruined roadway leading
out from the city, but only to the edge of the table land, where it
ended abruptly in a flight of broad steps. WCPM 125

Upon closer observation I saw as we passed them that the buildings
were deserted, and while not greatly decayed had the appearance of not
having been tenanted for years, possibly for ages. Toward the center of
the city was a large plaza, and upon this and in the buildings immediately
surrounding it were camped some nine or ten hundred creatures of
the same breed as my captors, for such I now considered them despite
the suave manner in which I had been trapped. WCPM 209

With the exception of their ornaments all were unclothed. The women varied
in appearance but little from the men, except that their tusks were
much larger in proportion to their height, in some instances curving
nearly to their high-set ears. Their bodies were smaller and lighter in color,
and their fingers and toes bore the rudiments of nails, which were entirely
lacking among the males. The adult females ranged in height from
ten to twelve feet. WCPM 289

What was the state of the dwellings in the city, particularly the state of habitation?
A. The dwellings seem to have recent tenants.
B. The dwellings are inhabited and in pristine condition.
C. The city is slightly damaged with no apparent habitation.

 John Carter: My Advent on Mars
 Reading Practice Passage

I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was
on Mars; not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I
was not asleep, no need for pinching here; my inner consciousness told
me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you that
you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither did I.
I found myself lying prone upon a bed of yellowish, moss-like vegetation
which stretched around me in all directions for interminable miles. I
seemed to be lying in a deep, circular basin, along the outer verge of
which I could distinguish the irregularities of low hills. WCPM 115

It was midday, the sun was shining full upon me and the heat of it was
rather intense upon my unclothed body, yet no greater than would have
been true under similar conditions on an Arizona desert. Here and there
were slight outcroppings of quartz-bearing rock which glistened in the
sunlight; and a little to my left, perhaps a hundred yards, appeared a
low, walled enclosure about four feet in height. No water, and no other
vegetation than the moss was in evidence, and as I was somewhat thirsty
I determined to do a little exploring. WCPM 212

Springing to my feet I received my first Martian surprise, for the effort,
which on Earth would have brought me standing upright, carried me into
the Martian air to the height of about three yards. I alighted softly
upon the ground, however, without appreciable shock or jar. Now commenced
a series of evolutions which even then seemed ludicrous in the
extreme. I found that I must learn to walk all over again, as the muscular
exertion which carried me easily and safely upon Earth played strange
antics with me upon Mars. WCPM 303

The terrain is similar to the Arizona Desert in what way?
A. The rocks are shimmering and covered with moss.
B. The terrain is arid and hot with no deciduous flora.
C. The land looks like Arizona with cacti and large rock outcroppings.

Around the World in 80 Days: Fluency Drill / Reading Level 6.4
IN WHICH PHILEAS FOGG SECURES A CURIOUS MEANS OF CONVEYANCE AT A FABULOUS PRICE Author: Jules Verne Chapter XI

The train had started punctually. Among the passengers were a number of officers, Government officials, and opium and indigo merchants, whose business called them to the eastern coast. Passepartout rode in the same carriage with his master, and a third passenger occupied a seat opposite to them.47WCPM This was Sir Francis Cromarty, one of Mr.Fogg's whist partners on the Mongolia, now on his way to join his corps at Benares. Sir Francis was a tall, fair man of fifty, who had greatly distinguished himself in the last Sepoy revolt. He made India his home, only paying brief visits to England at rare intervals; and was almost as familiar as a native with the customs, history, and character of India and its people. 123WCPM But Phileas Fogg, who was not travelling, but only describing a circumference, took no pains to inquire into these subjects; he was a solid body, traversing an orbit around the terrestrial globe, according to the laws of rational mechanics. He was at this moment calculating in his mind the number of hours spent since his departure from London, and, had it been in his nature to make a useless demonstration, would have rubbed his hands for satisfaction.201 Sir Francis Cromarty had observed the oddity of his travelling companion--although the only opportunity he had for studying him had been while he was dealing the cards, and between two rubbers—and questioned himself whether a human heart really beat beneath this coldexterior, and whether Phileas Fogg had any sense of the beauties of nature.258WCPM The brigadier-general was free to mentally confess that, of all the eccentric persons he had ever met, none was comparable to this product of the exact sciences.285 WCPM



Around the World in 80 Days: Fluency Drill / Reading Level 6.0

IN WHICH CERTAIN INCIDENTS ARE NARRATED WHICH ARE ONLY TO BE MET WITH ON AMERICAN RAILROADS Author: Jules Verne Chapter XXIX


Nothing could be more simple. Indeed, it was all so simple that Fix and Passepartout felt their hearts beating as if they would crack. They were listening for the whistle agreed upon, when suddenly savage cries resounded in the air, accompanied by reports which certainly did not issue from the car where the duelists were. The reports continued in front and the whole length of the train. Cries of terror proceeded
from the interior of the cars. 77 WCPM

Colonel Proctor and Mr. Fogg, revolvers in hand, hastily quitted their prison, and rushed forward where the noise was most clamorous. They then perceived that the train was attacked by a band of Sioux. 113 WCPM

This was not the first attempt of these daring Indians, for more than once they had waylaid trains on the road. A hundred of them had, according to their habit, jumped upon the steps without stopping the train, with the ease of a clown mounting a horse at full gallop. WCPM 165

The Sioux were armed with guns, from which came the reports, to which the passengers, who were almost all armed, responded by revolver-shots. WCPM 190

The Indians had first mounted the engine, and half stunned the engineer and stoker with blows from their muskets. A Sioux chief, wishing to stop the train, but not knowing how to work the regulator, had opened
wide instead of closing the steam-valve, and the locomotive was plunging forward with terrific velocity. WCPM 244

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: Fluency Drill / Reading Level 9.0
An Underwater Tour of the World By JULES VERNE
A Runaway Reef  CHAPTER 1

THE YEAR 1866 was marked by a bizarre development, an unexplained and downright inexplicable phenomenon that surely no one has forgotten. Without getting into those rumors that upset civilians
in the seaports and deranged the public mind even far inland, it must be said that professional seamen were especially alarmed. Traders, shipowners, captains of vessels, skippers, and master mariners from Europe and America, naval officers from every country, and at their heels the various national governments on these two continents, were all extremely disturbed by the business.92 WCPM

In essence, over a period of time several ships had encountered "an enormous thing" at sea, a long spindle-shaped object, sometimes giving off a phosphorescent glow, infinitely bigger and faster than any whale.121 WCPM

The relevant data on this apparition, as recorded in various logbooks, agreed pretty closely as to the structure of the object or creature in question, its unprecedented speed of movement, its startling
locomotive power, and the unique vitality with which it seemed to be gifted. If it was a cetacean, it exceeded in bulk any whale previously classified by science. No naturalist, neither Cuvier nor Lacépède, neither Professor Dumeril nor Professor de Quatrefages, would have accepted the existence of such a monster sight unseen-- specifically, unseen by their own scientific eyes. WCPM 213


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas:
Fluency Drill / Reading Level 9.0
An Underwater Tour of the World By JULES VERNE

CHAPTER 11 The Nautilus

CAPTAIN NEMO stood up. I followed him. Contrived at the rear of the dining room, a double door opened, and I entered a room whose dimensions equaled the one I had just left.

It was a library. Tall, black-rosewood bookcases, inlaid with copperwork, held on their wide shelves a large number of uniformly bound books. These furnishings followed the contours of the room, their lower parts leading to huge couches upholstered in maroon leather and curved for maximum comfort. Light, movable reading stands, which could be pushed away or pulled near as desired, allowed books to be positioned on them for easy study. In the center stood a huge table covered with pamphlets, among which some  newspapers, long out of date, were visible. Electric light flooded this whole harmonious totality, falling from
four frosted half globes set in the scrollwork of the ceiling. I stared in genuine wonderment at this room so ingeniously laid out, and I couldn't believe my eyes. WCPM 161

"Captain Nemo," I told my host, who had just stretched out on a couch, "this is a library that would do credit to more than onecontinental palace, and I truly marvel to think it can go with you into the deepest seas." WCPM 206

"Where could one find greater silence or solitude, professor?" Captain Nemo replied. "Did your study at the museum afford you such a perfect retreat?"

"No, sir, and I might add that it's quite a humble one next to yours. You own 6,000 or 7,000 volumes here . . ." WCPM 257

"12,000, Professor Aronnax. They're my sole remaining ties with dry land. But I was done with the shore the day my Nautilus submerged for the first time under the waters. That day I purchased my last volumes, my last pamphlets, my last newspapers, and ever since I've chosen to believe that humanity no longer thinks or writes. In any event, professor, these books are at your disposal, and you may use them freely." WCPM 333


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas:
Fluency Drill / Reading Level 12.0
An Underwater Tour of the World By JULES VERNE

CHAPTER 9 A Lost Continent/ATLANTIS


What lightning flashed through my mind! Atlantis, that ancient land of Meropis mentioned by the historian Theopompus; Plato's Atlantis; the continent whose very existence has been denied by such philosophers
and scientists as Origen, Porphyry, Iamblichus, d'Anville, Malte-Brun, and Humboldt, who entered its disappearance in the ledger of myths and folk tales; the country whose reality has nevertheless been accepted by such other thinkers as Posidonius, Pliny, Ammianus Marcellinus, Tertullian, Engel, Scherer, Tournefort, Buffon, and d'Avezac; I had this land right under my eyes, furnishing its own unimpeachable evidence of the catastrophe that had overtaken it! So this was the submerged region that had existed outside Europe, Asia, and Libya, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, home of those powerful Atlantean people against whom ancient Greece had waged its earliest wars! WCPM 120

The writer whose narratives record the lofty deeds of those heroic times is Plato himself. His dialogues Timaeus and Critias were drafted with the poet and legislator Solon as their inspiration, as it were. WCPM 166

One day Solon was conversing with some elderly wise men in the Egyptian capital of Sais, a town already 8,000 years of age, as documented by the annals engraved on the sacred walls of its temples. One of these elders related the history of another town 1,000 years older still. This original city of Athens, ninety centuries old, had been invaded and partly destroyed by the Atlanteans. These Atlanteans, he said, resided on an  immense continent greater than Africa and Asia combined, taking in an area that lay between latitude 12 degrees and 40 degrees north. Their dominion extended even to Egypt. They tried to enforce their rule as far as Greece, but they had to retreat before the indomitable resistance of the Hellenic people. Centuries passed. A cataclysm occurred--floods, earthquakes. A single night and day were enough to obliterate this Atlantis, whose highest peaks (Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries, the Cape Verde Islands) still emerge above the waves. WCPM 323


A Journey into the Interior of the Earth:
Fluency Drill / Reading Level 6.0
Chapter 27 Lost in the Bowels of the Earth by Jules Verne

To describe my despair would be impossible. No words could tell it. Idescribe my despair would be impossible. No words could tell it. Iwas buried alive, with the prospect before me of dying of hunger and
thirst. Mechanically I swept the ground with my hands. How dry and hard the rock seemed to me! But how had I left the course of the stream? For it was a terrible fact that it no longer ran at my side. Then I understood the reason of that fearful, silence, when for the last time I listened to hear if any sound from my companions could reach my ears. At the moment when I left the right road I had not noticed the absence of the stream. It is evident that at that moment a deviation had presented itself before me, whilst the Hansbach, following the caprice of another incline, had gone with my companions away into unknown depths. WCPM 146

How was I to return? There was not a trace of their footsteps or of my own, for the foot left no mark upon the granite floor. I racked my brain for a solution of this impracticable problem. One word described my position. Lost! Lost at an immeasurable depth! Thirty leagues of rock seemed to weigh upon my shoulders with a dreadful pressure. I felt crushed. I tried to carry back my ideas to things on the surface of the earth. I could scarcely succeed. Hamburg, the house in the Königstrasse, my poor Gräuben, all that busy world underneath which I was wandering about, was passing in rapid confusion before my terrified memory. I could revive with vivid reality all the incidents of our voyage, Iceland, M. Fridrikssen, Snæfell. I said to myself that if, in such a position as I was now in, I was fool enough to cling to one glimpse of hope, it would be madness, and that the best thing I could do was to despair. WCPM 318

George Washington Carver 
Fluency Drill / Reading Level 6.0

George Washington Carver was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. He was born into slavery during the America Civil wart in Missouri a year before the end of the war. CWPM 31

When George Washington Carver was only a week old, George, a sister, and his mother were kidnapped by night raiders from Arkansas. George's brother, James, was rushed to safety from the kidnappers. The kidnappers sold the slaves in Kentucky. Moses Carver hired John Bentley to find them, but he located only the infant George. Moses negotiated with the raiders to gain the boy's return. and rewarded Bentley. CWPM 99

After slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife Susan raised George and his older brother James as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his love of learning and reading, and his "Auntie Susan" taught him the basics of reading and writing that he turned into a lifelong passion of learning. CWPM 147

African American people were not allowed to go to white only public schools in Diamond Grove. The nearest segregated school for African American children was 10 miles away in Neosho, George decided to go there to continue his education. When he reached the town, he found the school closed for the night. He slept in a nearby barn. By his own account, the next morning he met a kind woman, Mariah Watkins, from whom he wished to rent a room. When he identified himself as "Carver's George," as he had done his whole life, she replied that from now on his name was "George Carver". George liked this lady very much, and her words, "You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people", made a great impression on him. CWPM 286

Explanation of the Common Core State Standards

Video Explanation of the Common Core State Standards | 

DC Public Schools system created a great Common Core State Standard (CCSS) public service announcement for parents and students. The parent friendly video explains the purpose of the CCSS, and is a good introduction to the big changes that are coming to education.

Animated Explanation of the Common Core State Standards 




Anti Common Core Standards Video - Fact or Fiction?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Helping Dyslexic Students Learn to Write!

Helping all Dyslexic students learn to Read and Write! 

The first step in learning to write is learning to read!

After 14 years of teaching reading and writing to Dyslexic, Autistic, LD and at-risk students is the need for Novelty and Taction Feedback! 

Learning to read, write and spell for many Dyslexic, Autistic, LD, and failing at-risk students is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest. Learning to write can be augmented and facilitated with the use of computers but many educators overlook the power of learning proper penmanship, especially cursive for Dyslexic and Autistic students. Learning cursive can be a powerful tool for teaching writing very much like learning a second language that helps bring new meaning and understanding to the written and spoken word. The art of joining letters to make cursive words made more sense to me as a dyslexic learner, print was just a jumbled collection of individual letters that got in my way. Dyslexics and many Autistic students think pictorially and try to solve and write things holistically. Learning cursive feeds into the holistic, artistic, pictorial, expressive nature of the write language.

The first steps are learn your foundations
  • Master reading and writing all grade level Dolch Sight Words
  • Always write out-loud and read out-loud
  • Track and trace each word with your finger as you learn to read and write
  • Draw, paint, sing, act or sculpt tricky words
  • Learn the art of cursive using classic fountain pens and modern parchment paper (Spencerian)
  • Learn how to use a traditional dictionary and speller as the source new words
  • Use the Closed Caption on your TV
  • Skip the computer reading programs and phonics programs and use great books to learn yo read and write
  • No test, no fill in the blank worksheets, no basal readers, and no grades when you are learning to read and write!
  • Sing and learn new songs and lyrics weekly 

The question is ask, why would you teach Dyslexic students Spencerian cursive (an oval based penmanship style) using fountain pens? The short answer, the process of learning Spencerian cursive is an artistic process. Teaching writing as an art lesson draws the student into the learning and gives Dyslexic students a fear free way of exploring written communication. Fountain pens on parchment paper gives students taction feedback through the pen that speeds the learning of letters and that joined letters make words. Controlling the pen, ink and parchment while trying to follow all the swoops, ovals and curves is a very meditative (highly focused) art practice. Learning print and cursive is equally difficult for dyslexic students but having the incentive of learning the beautiful Spencerian cursive will motivate many students. 

I was inspired by the beauty of Spencerian cursive as a child and learned the historical records written in Spencerian script also held an important lesson for the dyslexic student about spelling! You can have variations in your spelling and writing and you are not considered dumb or uneducated. Variation on the spelling was the norm for many words in early America and people were not taken over yet by the incipient standardization that followed in the early days of American writing under Webster.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Response to Literature CCSS ELA

CCSS ELA Response to Literature | Response to Literature Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8

Purpose of Daily Response to Literature Lessons and Academic Reading Journals: Student Response to Literature

  • Daily Response to Literature lessons supports the lowest quartile students as they learn the challenging CCSS ELA reading and writing curriculum. 
  • Daily Response to Literature lessons accelerates the student’s acquisition of the reading process, tier 1, 2, and 3 vocabularies, reading comprehension, and a higher order of thinking that looks deeper into the writing processes. 
  • Daily Response to Literature lessons accelerates the student’s acquisition/understanding of the Six Traits of Writing, develops academic communication skills that are critical for transitioning to the new CCSS ELA standards.

    Response to Literature or academic journaling is an essential instructional tool. I use Response to Literature or reading journals to: 1) encourage a life-long love of reading and writing; 2 ) teach the structures and strategies of close reading, the close writing process "Response to Literature" and Socratic seminar/inquiry; 3) teach students to be academic risk-takers, motivated learners, virtuous thinkers, curious questioners, academically responsible and interdependent learners; 4) accelerate the acquisition of the CCSS ELA Response to Literature process; and 5) turn students great potential into real academic writing achievement.

    Frequent writing about what you have read can develop and expand comprehension and vocabulary.

    Expressing important ideas in writing helps the student organize ideas and strengthens connections to vocabulary.

    Well-taught writing can help students' reading, Poorly taught writing can hinder students' readin
    g

    Response to literature Process for Intermediate Students Abstract
    My students use response to literature journals daily during close reading instruction and Socratic inquiry. It begins with teaching students to select quality/challenging non-fiction, fiction, poetry, prose, or any well-written literature suitable for analysis. Next, we examine author’s purpose, literary elements, poetic devices or any other ELA domain through a collaborative Socratic inquiry process. Reading and writing instruction in my opinion should be used to build critical and strategic thinking and is always taught holistically in my class. We move into the complex task/skill of responding to a set of literary criterion “The TEST” that may be as simple as predicting the next set of events, adding or continuing the authors ideas, analytical summarization or analysis of complex literary elements. The students work with a partner or as a whole class to develop strategic graphic organizers, summarizing important facts, evaluating characters' opinions, identifying turning points, compare or contrast, evaluating the author's points of view, identifying author’s main ideas, noting key literary details, and choosing pertinent quotations. All the reading and writing instruction is focused through the lens of formative inquiry and enrichment to reinforce critical thinking, reading comprehension and the writing process. 

    Part one is creating the Response to literature Journalor reading journals: The Reading Journals consists of close reading strategies, graphic organizers, interesting or important vocabulary, important sequential details, or Socratic questions that students want to ask during the weekly teacher conference. Tier 2 words are also listed and identified plus ten to fifteen detailed notes on the key literary elements are recorded for each response to literature by each student. Students then summarize the main ideas, authors’ purpose or other literary areas that are being analyzed. The use of the Six Traits Rubrics, Socratic seminar, cooperative structures and strategies and traditional paragraph structure instruction are modeled throughout the process. Response to literature can best be taught using a collaborative or cooperative learning model. Evaluation of author's main purpose or any other complex concept must be modeled and modeled in a collaborative format. The younger students always start with the basics of who, what, where, when, why and how! More advanced students create literary topics of discussion to share with student colleagues and teacher during the Socratic seminar. Advanced students may work independently and do additional analysis, critiques, margin notes, re-imagining a new literary ending, character summaries, connections they have made between other genres, books or poems.

    Students conference with the teacher weekly and use their reading journals as an ongoing learning portfolio and as a collaborative tool with other students. The weekly conferences and journals are also used to insure that students are accountable, participating/collaborating and completing learning task and comprehending the assigned readings. An extended conference is scheduled as needed to support students who are not making gains in the close reading and “close” writing processes. Throughout this process, students are always given suggestions on how to improve their close reading skills, reading comprehension, modeled response to literature strategies, cooperative writing opportunities and improve their critical and strategic thinking.

    By the end of the first 20 days of my Title I 4th grade class, students are often completing two full pages of responses for each selected close reading passage and Socratic seminar. The goal at this point is to have completed literary responses that are rich, exact, with cogent connections to the explicit stated goal of the literary response. Students are constantly instructed on how to work collaboratively, and build interdependent and independent work skills. All instruction is integrate with a Finnish model of instruction the to build a classroom team that can succeed and exceed. The reading process and the writing process must be taught as one, “One is none and two is one!” The ultimate goal is for students to become motivated, independent learners, exactly the type of students we want them to be.

    Part two in this process includes revising, drafting, and editing each of the literary responses. The students collaborate with peers in an informal read aloud to a partner and the sharing of pre-edited responses. The students give each other feedback and as always when something is read aloud they find errors.  The teacher can participate as a listening only letting the student read their response out loud and giving verbal feedback.  Rereading editing and rereading gives students more freedom to try new things without the fear of failure. Using a sounding board model builds collaboration and can usually find structural errors and quality issues in a more formative learning environment. Students can review the author's main ideas, important facts, character development, settings, events, and turning points in the fear free writing zone.

    Formative Conferences
    Quick formative conferences, or spot checks, can be used at any time to check student’s on-task behavior, collaboration, understanding and accountability. Teachers or cooperative teams can do quick conferences to insure students comprehend the passage, vocabulary, important facts, literary devices, author’s ideas/purpose, main ideas, important outcomes/turning points, characters, settings, events, and even enjoyment. Students who show poor reading skills, collaborative skills, focus, and or comprehension of the literature are placed with a competent student, teacher, tutor or classroom parent. Students are asked to cooperate, collaborate and develop critical academic skills like taking quality notes, developing cogent questions, comprehending the literature they read, talking with peers using complete sentences, discussing academic ideas with the class, and as a teacher I am always looking for role models that demonstrate these skills to praise in front of the class. Students who fail to find the success are reinstructed one-on-one in an extended conference and are ask to model expected outcomes with other strong students.

    Teachable Moments
    Unknown vocabulary and important background information is explained to the entire class in detail to insure deeper meaning and understanding. Students are asked to never erase notes, responses, summaries, but to salvage what they have and use the margins for new ideas. The final part of the response to literature process is looking for teachable moments that the class can use to extended learning and critical thinking.


    Value of Response to Literature Lessons | Read and Response Journaling

    Journaling as you read is the most effective way of understanding a work of literature and strengthening understanding of the writing process at the same time. With journaling you integrate reading and writing, and you will find that you can relate to the story more completely, and experience every image, every conversation, every character, and every interesting adventure. Avoid hasty reading or skimming because it can prevent you from understanding the meaning of the book as a whole. Investigate everything fully; be prepared to learn and be inspired. Never skip a word you don’t know. Stop! Write it down! Seek the meaning! If you do skip the meaning, you are leaving a great treasure behind. Seek those characteristics that skilled writers observe in real life and integrate them into your journals, essays, letters and reports: perseverance, conflict, justice, injustice, challenge, courage, character, adversity, and apprehension. Engaging writing includes exciting precise vocabulary, captivating dialogue, well organized plot, varied complex sentences, and grammatically refined prose with fresh original ideas. When you discover the deeper meaning and relate it to the content, you'll be on your way to understanding and loving books. Using great works of literature to examine, and compare and contrast with your own writing, will build knowledge of how to write great passages and prose yourself.


    Homework Journals
    Keep a response journal (homework journal) for all study areas, including art, music, science, social studies, and even field trips. Write your feelings, first impressions, funny moments, jokes, sketches, relationships, questions, quotations, and great topic sentences-anything that helps you start to look at professional writing structure. Learn to truly read and then learn to truly write.

    Conclusion

    Writing about reading makes students more conscious of making meaning as readers. It gives them insight into the reading and writing processes. Writing about reading accelerates, reinforces, and streamlines vocabulary acquisition and retention. Writing about reading makes struggling students more secure
    and comfortable to write with the support of the author’s vocabulary and paragraphs. Writing about reading makes students more independent,competent, motivated, and involved in all forms of academic text.

    Writing about reading gives students ideas for their own texts. They reread and reflect upon their writing, which sparks fuller learning. Writing about reading supports students to take charge of their learning and make connections between different areas of learning. Seeing teachers and parents write in their own reading journals and sharing their writing reinforces the vital importance of writing for life-long learning. It also emphasizes the public nature of writing. Journal coaching supports the students as they reach for
    more complexity in their reading and writing. Journal coaching supports the students as they acquire the vocabulary and background knowledge to truly understand and enjoy the reading. 

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Brain Breaks For Kids | Student Brain Breaks



    Brain Breaks For Kids | Student Brain Breaks

    Brain breaks are a fun integral part of building a fun, dynamic, engaged and intrinsically motivated classroom of kids. Kids need a brain break at least once an hour to stimulate active learning and encourage focused engagement.  Musical brain breaks are a quick and potent form of brain break that gives you and your students the added bonus of stimulating long and short term memory (Real Brain Chemistry that Improves Memory and Focus)! 

    The songs below are my classroom's favorite Dance Party Breaks! 

    Everybody get up, it's time for a Dance Party! 

    Moodlight.org is a free online Disco Strobe for your Smartboard! 





    Friday, July 5, 2013

    Socratic Seminar | Socratic Inquiry

    Teaching the Socratic Method or Socratic Inquiry is integral to successful ELA CCSS teaching and transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards. Socratic Method |  Socratic Inquiry (also known as method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals. The Socratic method or Socratic Inquiry is based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the ideas or idea of a topic are questioned in a systematic or scientific path; one participant may lead another to find more meaning and discover new ways of thinking and questioning himself in new ways, thus strengthening the inquirer's own knowledge and reasoning. Edited Wiki

    Using Socratic Seminars and Socratic rubrics in your daily classroom discussions are a great tool to develop critical thinking at all grade levels!! You can quickly create Socratic seminar rubrics that query, rank, and probe literature in a syntopical wa. Example, how would you rank your least favorite characters in the story or how many character traits do you find objectionable or appealing? Go even deeper with questions of ethics and morals that underlie a piece legislation like the Monsanto GMO waivers. Using a base rubric with generic question stems is a good place to start and develop your own text or theme specific rubric. The list below is a collection of Socratic Seminar Rubrics!


    Socratic Seminar [PDF] My favorite Rubric and Guide 
    The purpose of a Socratic Seminar is to achieve a deeper understanding about the ideas and values in a text. In the Seminar, participants systematically question and examine issues and principles related to a particular content, and articulate different points-of-view. The group conversation assists participants in constructing meaning through disciplined analysis, interpretation, listening, and participation
    Socratic Seminar: Participant Rubric [DOC]
    Students Participant Rubric (Peer-Evaluation and Self Evaluation)
    Study guide socratic seminar rubric.doc - Canton Public Schools [DOC] 
    Basic Participant Rubric | Teacher or peer graded
    Socratic Seminar Rubric [DOC] Basic Participant Rubric 
    Socratic Seminar Rubric - TeacherWeb [DOC] Basic Participant Rubric and basic guide





    Socratic Method Resource
    The Socratic Method - Stanford University
    Module 2--The Socratic Questioning Method - Austin ISD
    Gently Socratic Inquiry
    Warning: The Socratic Method Can Be Dangerous - ASCD
    Socratic Questioning
    Socratic Questioning - The Critical Thinking Community
    Using Socratic Questioning to Promote Critical Thinking

    Socratic Seminar Resources
    Socratic Seminar: The Power of Questions - Beaverton School District
    Socratic Seminar Ground Rules Poster - Socratic Seminars Northwest
    Socratic Seminar Leadership Training - Socratic Seminars Northwest
    Rules for Socratic Seminar
    SOCRATIC SEMINARS - Authentic Education
    Socratic Seminar Format Overview (4th-12th ... - Robert Frost Farm
    Socratic Seminar

    Common Core Critical Thinking Reading Passages | College and Career Readiness

    Critical thinking reading passages are the foundation of Socratic seminars and quality close reading. Selecting reading passages that inspire curiosity, critical thinking and can be used for either close reading or Socratic seminars takes pre-planning and a bit of text analysis. One of the best methods for selecting Critical Thinking Reading Passages is using a Syntopical examination of how many great ideas the passages contain. Dr. Mortimer J. Adler created a list of 103 philosophical topics that can be used to analyze text for the quality of ideas presented. Text selection is key to quality close reading and  immersive Socratic seminars.

    syntopical
    1. Referring to a type of analysis in which different works are compared and contrasted.
    After finishing his syntopical reading of the leaders' speeches, he wrote an essay comparing the language used by Reagan, Carter, Gorbachev, and Qaddafi.
    A list of 103 philosophical topics

    Dr. Mortimer J. Adler Co-Founder and Chairman Center For the Study of the Great Ideas
    The 103 Great Ideas Alphabetically
    The 103 Great Ideas by Category

    The list of 103 ideas is broken between the two volumes, as follows:
    Volume I: AngelAnimalAristocracyArtAstronomyBeautyBeingCauseChanceChangeCitizenConstitutionCourageCustom and ConventionDefinitionDemocracyDesireDialecticDutyEducationElementEmotionEternityEvolutionExperienceFamilyFateFormGodGood and EvilGovernmentHabitHappinessHistoryHonorHypothesisIdeaImmortalityInductionInfinityJudgmentJusticeKnowledgeLaborLanguageLawLibertyLife and DeathLogic, and Love.
    Volume II: ManMathematicsMatterMechanicsMedicineMemory and ImaginationMetaphysicsMindMonarchyNatureNecessity and ContingencyOligarchyOne and ManyOpinionOpposition,[13] PhilosophyPhysicsPleasure and PainPoetryPrincipleProgressProphecyPrudencePunishmentQualityQuantityReasoningRelation,[14] ReligionRevolutionRhetoricSame and OtherScienceSenseSign and SymbolSinSlaverySoulSpaceStateTemperanceTheologyTimeTruthTyranny and DespotismUniversal and ParticularVirtue and ViceWar and PeaceWealthWillWisdom, and World.


    Creating your own Socratic Inquiry with Daily Literature Circles 

    Socratic Seminar Questions?

    How do laws serve or harm justice?
    Why is the concept of blind justice important?

    The Logicians Refuted

    Logicians have but ill defined
    As rational, the human kind;
    Reason, they say, belongs to man,
    But let them prove it if they can.
    Wise Aristotle and Smiglesius,
    By ratiocinations specious,
    Have strove to prove, with great precision,
    With definition and division,
    Homo est ratione praeditum;
    But for my soul I cannot credit 'em,
    And must, in spite of them, maintain,
    That man and all his ways are vain;
    And that this boasted lord of nature
    Is both a weak and erring creature;
    That instinct is a surer guide
    Than reason, boasting mortals' pride;
    And that brute beasts are far before 'em.


    Deus est anima brutorum.
    Whoever knew an honest brute
    At law his neighbour prosecute,
    Bring action for assault or battery,
    Or friend beguile with lies and flattery?
    O'er plains they ramble unconfined,
    No politics disturb their mind;
    They eat their meals, and take their sport
    Nor know who's in or out at court.
    They never to the levee go
    To treat, as dearest friend, a foe:
    They never importune his grace,
    Nor ever cringe to men in place:
    Nor undertake a dirty job,
    Nor draw the quill to write for Bob.


    Fraught with invective, they ne'er go
    To folks at Paternoster Row.
    No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
    No pickpockets, or poetasters,
    Are known to honest quadrupeds;
    No single brute his fellow leads.
    Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
    Nor cut each other's throats for pay.
    Of beasts, it is confess'd, the ape
    Comes nearest us in human shape;
    Like man, he imitates each fashion,
    And malice is his lurking passion:
    But, both in malice and grimaces,
    A courtier any ape surpasses.
    Behold him, humbly cringing, wait
    Upon the minister of state;
    View him soon after to inferiors
    Aping the conduct of superiors;
    He promises with equal air,
    And to perform takes equal care.
    He in his turn finds imitators,
    At court, the porters, lacqueys, waiters,
    Their masters' manner still contract,
    And footmen, lords and dukes can act.
    Thus, at the court, both great and small
    Behave alike, for all ape all.

    ReadingsTales of Space and Time | The Crystal Egg
    Wells, H. G.

    There was, until a year ago, a little and very grimy-looking shop near Seven Dials, over which, in weather-worn yellow lettering, the name of "C. Cave, Naturalist and Dealer in Antiquities," was inscribed. The contents of its window were curiously variegated. They comprised some elephant tusks and an imperfect set of chessmen, beads and weapons, a box of eyes, two skulls of tigers and one human, several moth-eaten stuffed monkeys (one holding a lamp), an old-fashioned cabinet, a flyblown ostrich egg or so, some fishing-tackle, and an extraordinarily dirty, empty glass fish-tank. There was also, at the moment the story begins, a mass of crystal, worked into the shape of an egg and brilliantly polished. And at  that two people, who stood outside the window, were looking, one of them a tall, thin clergyman, the other a black-bearded young man of dusky complexion and unobtrusive costume. The dusky young man spoke with eager gesticulation, and seemed anxious for his companion to purchase the article. CWPM 164

    While they were there, Mr. Cave came into his shop, his beard still wagging with the bread and butter of his tea. When he saw these men and the object of their regard, his countenance fell. He glanced guiltily over his shoulder, and softly shut the door. He was a little old man, with pale face and peculiar watery blue eyes; his hair was a dirty grey, and he wore a shabby blue frock coat, an ancient silk hat, and carpet slippers very much down at heel. He remained watching the two men as they talked. The clergyman went deep into his trouser pocket, examined a handful of money, and showed his teeth in an agreeable smile. Mr. Cave seemed still more depressed when they came into the shop. The clergyman, without any ceremony, asked the price of the crystal egg. Mr. Cave glanced nervously towards the door leading into the parlor, and said five pounds. The clergyman protested that the price was high, to his companion as well as to Mr. Cave—it was, indeed, very much more than Mr. Cave had intended to ask, when he had stocked the article—and an attempt at bargaining ensued. Mr. Cave stepped to the shop-door, and held it open. "Five pounds is my price," he said, as though he wished to save himself the trouble of unprofitable discussion. As he did so, the upper portion of a woman's face appeared above the blind in the glass upper panel of the door leading into the parlor, and stared curiously at the two customers. "Five pounds is my price," said Mr. Cave, with a quiver in his voice. CWPM 275 + 164


    Blooms and WEBB'S DOK Socratic Discussion Questions!! 
    1. How would you finish writing this story? 
    2. What conclusions can you draw from both people wanting to buy the article (The Crystal Egg)?
    3. How would you react to finding a brilliantly polished Crystal Egg in a thrift shop?
    4. Can you predict some outcomes if ether or neither of the men purchase the The Crystal Egg?
    5. What is your interpretation of the author’s main idea or moral to this story?
    6. How would you describe the opening sequence of events and their importance to the story?
    7. Can you elaborate on the reason why the author used contrasting characters that want to buy the The Crystal Egg?
    8. What would happen if the The Crystal Egg has supernatural power or amazing alien technology?
    9. Can you formulate a theory for why the men want to buy The Crystal Egg?
    10. Can you explain what it means when Anna feels ground to the bone by her boss?
    11. How would you compare the tone of The Crystal Egg to other Science fiction stories? 
    12. How would you summarize the feelings of the merchant towards the customers?
    13. What do you notice about the authors use of Mr. Caves demeanor and falling countenance?