July 25, 2013

The Struggle to Keep Up!

     Sometimes, that's what life gives you.  A struggle to keep up. Between vacation, technical difficulties, and my son starting the adventure of his life so far, I just haven't been able to keep up!  My youngest is currently experiencing his first week in his new school.  His school specializes in autism, and so far, it's everything we had hoped it would be.  He's extremely happy and wants to go every day!  I've helped out a little, working to get the library back in shape.  It also gives me time to work on some reading materials to discuss here! 

     I am still dissecting Mechanically Inclined, and, have to say, it is really a wonderful source of ideas!  One of the best ideas comes in the form of brain based research. In our Quantum Learning training at my school, we learned the principle of 10/24/7.  This means that you review a concept within the first 10 minutes of the lesson, 24  hours after the lesson, and within 7 days of the lesson.  Anderson suggests the repeated use of grammar and mechanic instruction to build patterns.  The repeated exposure of the skill creates a pattern-share mentor text examples, put it up on charts, revisit often, and practice within student work.  He uses the first 5 minutes and the last 10 minutes of his language arts classes to do just that.  The amazing thing is he points to this use for only upper elementary and beyond.  However, this can easily be adjusted for any age group in my opinion.  The simple principle could be used for any type of grammar.  One of the best parts of this instruction is the fact that he targets skills through fun games and searches! 

     So, where am I going with this in my classroom. First, I will be devoting the large bulletin board in my classroom as a "Writer's Secrets" space.  This will become interactive, where kids can add to the information that will be displayed.  I am going to work on ideas for skills that do need to be covered in 4th grade.  That would be the only concern with the book.  I have discovered, though, that the lessons that are in there are not ones that can just be passed off as middle school skills.  They just need to be adapted to meet the needs of elementary students. I will also be searching out mentor texts. This is where the time out of my house during these summer sessions for my son will pay off.  I've been spending time at the public library!  That is a whole lot of available mentor texts! 

     Do you have a great mentor text??? If so, please add a comment about your favorite to get me started!

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