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From the Desk of SoperWritings

Tag: ELA (page 2 of 2)

Three Ways to Boost Vocabulary

Improving literacy skills can often be a complicated proposition. Successful readers and writers use a combination of several skills such as print awareness, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension skills, grammar, and spelling to be able to both understand and create meaningful text. Improving a student’s overall literacy skill-set requires a multifaceted approach that deals with the individual skills as well as practice putting the skills together.

Of all of these skills, vocabulary is literacy’s toolbox. The more words a child knows, the more that child can understand and the more ways that child can express him or herself. In this article, let’s start improving literacy skills by focusing on three ways you can boost a child’s vocabulary.

 

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Using Classroom Debates to Engage Students

Any teacher or parent of adolescents will tell you, kids love to argue! With some effort, you can harness this natural inclination in your classroom as a way to improve your students’ content knowledge and literacy abilities.

Two of the targeted initiatives in the Common Core standards are a focus on developing students’ speaking and listening skills and a focus on developing students’ abilities to support claims with evidence. Debating is a way to address both of these concepts in a fun and engaging way.

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Cliffs Notes and Book Summaries – Not Just for Cheaters!

As long as there have been literature courses taught in schools, there have been students looking for short-cuts to avoid long reading assignments. One of the most well-known of these shortcuts (right behind “rent the movie”) has been Cliffs Notes. For decades, students have sought out the infamous black and yellow paperbacks as a way to condense large readings into shorter, more manageable bites while picking up some key thematic and discussion elements along the way (…to help cover the tracks of their ruse)…

 

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Strengthening Reading Skills Using Current Events

As a social studies teacher in the Common Core era, my curricular responsibilities have gradually shifted away from historical material and more towards the realm of teaching strategies for reading and creating nonfiction text. More and more, teaching the skills required to engage with social studies content has usurped the push to memorize names, dates, locations, and stories.

When you think about it, this makes sense for our modern world.  If you need to know the date of The Battle of Hastings or the architects who planned out the Parthenon, the internet can bring that information to you (often with just the sound of your voice). What the internet can’t as easily do is critically analyze its own information for the reader and weed out disinformation and nonsense.

A large part of education today is focused on helping students to navigate and responsibly digest the limitless plethora of information that is available.  One way to do this is to focus on strengthening reading skills through the use of carefully selected current event materials. Putting reputable news sources in front of students is a way to build literacy skills while, at the same time promote the critical reading strategies required to become engaged, informed citizens. After all, how can we expect students to recognize reputable sources if they haven’t seen examples to build their schema from?

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Fantastic Flashcard Apps

Technology has made a lot of the tried-and-true educational mainstays irrelevant to today’s student: the calculator defeated the abacus and the internet put most encyclopedia salesmen out of business. These two fantastic flashcard apps may be sending the 3”x 5” index card into retirement:

 

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