Text Messages

PhoneChatLayout

During a discussion of teaching techniques, a classmate of mine shared Senora Holeman’s blank iPhone texting template. There are several similar templates out there but hers is free. The photo above contains a few slight modifications I made to the original design so there’s only one template per page making it better fit my printing needs. These templates can be used in a variety of activities, such as:

  • Making plans
  • Invitations
  • Conversations between story characters
  • Giving advice

After reading a short story in The Real McCoy and Other Ghost Stories about a ghost that used instant messages to encourage the main character to follow her dream, I had my third grade ELLs use texting templates to create their own conversations.

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Skimming and Scanning

Skimming and scanning are two rapid reading techniques. Anyone teaching young or weak readers will notice that they tend to read every word. Skimming and scanning are essential techniques for learners to develop as they become more proficient readers. Scanning is fast reading used to find the answers to questions while skimming is fast reading to find the general idea of a text.

A good way to illustrate to students the importance of these techniques is to ask them to find a word in the dictionary. Any student with basic dictionary skills will first flip till he or she finds the page with the correct first letter, followed by looking for the entry based on the guide words, followed by scanning the page for the correct word. Unless students have no experience using a dictionary, they will very unlikely start reading the first page to find the definition of the word preposterous.

Students can probably think of other times that they skim or scan material outside of school: movie times, restaurant menus, troubleshooting guides, ect.

Here are a few techniques from Gipe’s Multiple Paths to Literacy: Assessment and Differentiated Instruction for Diverse Learners, K-12 that I have found useful for helping students develop scanning and skimming:

  • Give students menus and ask them to find items that cost below a certain amount of money.
  • Ask students find a certain number of verbs (or another part of speech) from a passage within a certain amount of time and continually decrease the amount of time or increase the number of words they need to find with each practice.
  • Grab books from the library and have students skim the books then share the general idea with a group.
  • Give students questions they need to answer from the classified section of a newspaper. For example: How much does a 2006 Dodge Stratus cost? Or what is the cheapest riding lawnmower available?
  • Prepare questions related to the table of contents or the index in a content area book. For example, which page has information about Eugene Debs?

Dialogue Journals

Language Skill/Content: Writing

Level: Novice to Advanced

Preparation Time: Time required to respond to previous entry. Depends on the level of the students’ writing and how many students are participating in dialogue journals.

Implementation Time: Roughly ten minutes per session

Teaching Materials/Equipment: One notebook per student

Procedures: With your students, carry on a conversation over time in journals. Dialogue journals provide a chance for students to participate in risk-free writing. Journals are never graded or corrected. Teacher responds to each entry and models spelling, handwriting, and grammar in his or her response entries. In responses, teachers stay on the topic that the student wrote about and compliment students’ work, effort, and keep the conversation moving. Implementing dialogue journals is simple: give each student a notebook, give time for each student to write an entry, collect notebooks, write a response, and repeat.

Options: Can be done over e-mail.

Adapted From: Gipe, J. P. (2014). Multiple paths to literacy: assessment and differentiated instruction for diverse learners, K-12. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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