Archive | October, 2012

Ratiocination

22 Oct

One of the biggest challenges in teaching young students to write is to teach them both the importance of correct spelling and conventions while not letting them get bogged down during the drafting process.

Every writing teacher in my district takes the three-week Abydos writing training. (Formerly known as The New Jersey Writing Project in Texas.). I learned about ratiocination during this training.

We deliberately teach each step in the picture below separately. Then, as students are getting close to publishing, they have very specific steps to follow to improve the conventions in their writing.

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One aspect of this that I find valuable is that the students have work to do even if the conventions are correct. No more, “Yes, I looked at it. Everything is correct.” I can tell at a glance by the colors if the work has been done. Students notice that after every red mark for punctuation, there should be a green mark for an upper case letter. As they circle the word I thirteen times, they notice that they may want to vary the word choice.  The blue marks tell me that they are aware of spelling mistakes even if they are unsure of the correct spelling.

I find this to be a great strategy that helps students to work independently. In addition, it helps me to assess the writing process!

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A Great Big Thank You!

1 Oct

I’ve been a little shy about posting this online, but I have been thinking about how I could adequately thank Park Cities Volkswagen for a month now.  I’m afraid a simple blog post will fall short, but I couldn’t let another day pass without expressing my thanks.  

I was honored as Armstrong Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013.  My school and my colleagues are wonderful.  I’m just so thankful to be able to come to school at Armstrong each school day.

An extra-special treat came from Park Cities Volkswagen.  This great car dealership offers each HPISD Teacher of the Year use of a Volkswagen for a month!  Lucky me, September was my month.  What a great time I had!  

They asked what model of car I wanted to drive, and I chose the Beetle.  It was better than I could have imagined!   It was so much fun to drive.

Tomorrow I will return the Beetle with my biggest thanks.  This was such a thoughtful way to give teachers a special treat.  Thank you Park Cities Volkswagen!Image