VSRA Takeaways

07 March 2016
Hi! It's Sarah from Learning is for Superstars! Yesterday I returned from the Virginia State Reading Association conference in Nofolk, excited to get into my room tomorrow to put a couple of things in place for my students. 

The first workshop session I went to was my Dr. Lori Elliott and was entitled "For the Love of Literacy." These statistics were unbelievable.
Do you allow your children the time to sit with the books they choose? I know I need to allow more time for this in my room!

Dr. Elliott shared this clip about UGA's wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell. 
"I had to work to read." ~ Malcolm Mitchell
How encouraging to hear how Mitchell didn't give up!

Dr. Nell Duke from the University of Michigan spoke about sparking excitement through our instruction to our students.

She said that most ten-year-olds hate reading. I know my ten-year-old struggles with reading because of not remembering and comprehending what she's reading. But what about those who don't struggle with the comprehension piece and just don't want to pick up a book?
Since engagement matters, what do you do to motivate your students? What kind of choice do you allow? With my first graders, I may narrow down their choice, but in the end allow them to choose what they prefer. This may be between books or centers or a math activity. Older students may choose between creating a brochure or poster on the insect they read and researched.

In the Wonderings and Ponderings: Using Journaling When Reading workshop, it was encouraged for us to have our children ponder about what they're reading. Instead of having the children write questions (which is challenging for younger students), have them begin to think "I wonder ..." and they will take off! Their ponderings can be turned into drawings, connections, inferences, predictions, and a-ha moments. Need a quick way for children to write about what they're reading? Do a stop and jot on a sticky note! Older children can turn their notes on the sticky about the characters, setting, and plot into a paragraph in their reading notebook. Instead of writing in their journal, how about a video record of it? Set up a center in your room with an iPad or tablet to record their thoughts on what they have read!

I stepped into the workshops of 2 fellow Virginia is for Teacher's teachers/bloggers/friends.

Cathy Collier from The W.I.S.E. Owl shared ways to provide intervention for the students who do not pass the PALS assessments. Use the Quick Checks after assessing to work on the word list, spelling, beginning sounds, or concept of word. The Quick Checks aren't the same words, etc. on the PALS assessments, but they are a great way to practice. I know how to better use my paraprofessional (teacher aide) for the rest of the school year! Thanks, Cathy!

Sarah Plumitallo from There's No Place Like Second Grade (and now Third!) shared how to make vocabulary instruction exciting and real. Instead of copying definitions from the dictionary, use graphic organizers, posters, cloze notes, analogies, or charades to learn the meanings of new words. Sarah shared how GoNoodle plus has the video "Word Jam" in which you can input the vocabulary words you want your students to learn. The video cycles through charades with the given words and then with each new level, additional words are added. What a great way to get the kiddos up and moving and learning new words all at the same time!

The VSRA conference for 2017 is in Roanoke. I hope to see you there!

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