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The Literacy Dive Podcast
16 minutes | 4 days ago
20. Using “Think Marks” to Guide Student Reading Responses
Having your students write about their reading is something that should be happening every single day! It gives them practice to develop their writing skills and helps build thoughtful reflection while reading. If you're feeling like you've run out of ways to motivate your students to write about their reading, I have a great tool for you that you can implement today! My secret is a chart called the "think marks anchor chart". Teachers, this is the solution to getting even your most reluctant writers to think and write about what they are reading! And guess what? All you need is chart paper, sticky notes, and a pencil! In this episode I share: What think marks are and how to link them to questioning How to make a think marks anchor chart that is right for your students 8 quick tips for using the think marks chart in your classroom The benefits of using visuals during literacy instruction The process of creating symbols to connect to each student response type Resources from this episode: Check out the readers use "think marks" anchor chart Reading Response Question Ring Reading Response Stem Cards Bundle Connect with me: TpT Store Join The Literacy Dive Facebook group! Instagram Blog Facebook Page YouTube For full show notes, head to misspsstyle.com/podcast-episode20 If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe, leave a rating, and a helpful review! It is much appreciated and thank you for listening!
22 minutes | 11 days ago
19. The 5 Parts to Writing a Complete Sentence
How many of your students still struggle with writing complete sentences? I know I have experienced this in my classroom year after year. Today, I am sharing the 5 necessary parts to a complete sentence. I will share a breakdown of how I have found success with teaching each part and ways I implement several opportunities for sentence writing practice in the classroom setting. Episode Highlights: Determine whether sentence writing is a whole group or small group concern Explain that a complete sentence, at minimum, should include a subject, a verb, and an object or thought (when the verb and object/thought are joined together, it becomes the predicate) Explain that a sentence must have a capital letter and an end mark Begin with teaching basic sentence structures; more complex sentences can be explored once your students display they are ready When sharing the 5 parts upfront, it becomes a lot to digest; separating the structure from the grammatical components will help with sentence retention You can embed these moments for sentence practice in/during Morning Meeting Writing Workshop warm-ups Writing Center/Literacy Workstations Exit Tickets Responding to Reading Be intentional and allow for plenty of practice each day Learn easy-to-implement ideas and ways to create opportunities for your students Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe, leave a rating, and a helpful review! It is much appreciated and thank you for listening!
18 minutes | 18 days ago
18. Paragraph Writing 101
Paragraph writing can be hard, but it can be easier! A major part of the battle is that our students just don't understand how a paragraph works. If you are ready to make that a thing of the past, today's episode is for you! I am going to share 4 components to paragraph writing that will have your students writing clear, focused paragraphs in no time! Episode highlights: A paragraph is a group of sentences that are organized around a central idea or topic A basic paragraph structure usually is comprised of 5-6 sentences: a topic sentence, 3-4 supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence 4 components of a paragraph: unity, order, coherence, and completeness Unity - a paragraph needs only one topic sentence Order - main focus on organization Coherence - main focus on the quality of writing with the use of transition words Completeness - the celebration of a well-developed paragraph and the focus is on the concluding sentence to make it complete Tip #1 - Allow students to write about what they like and know Tip #2 - Do not focus on an entire essay Tip #3 - Partner practice Tip #4 - Provide paragraph stems for student reference Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe, leave a rating, and a helpful review! It is much appreciated and thank you for listening!
21 minutes | 25 days ago
17. Tips and Ideas for Teaching Black History
Black History is celebrated this month, but I have been one to celebrate Black and diverse history all year long. This episode will support teachers who are wanting to implement African American history into their classrooms whether it's their first year or tenth year. You will gain helpful reminders when navigating your conversations about Black influential individuals with students, as well as activities that can be easily implemented throughout this month and beyond. Episode Highlights: Black History Month is celebrated in February but is encouraged to be taught year-round It is the duty of teachers to help fill in the gaps that are left out of textbooks and omitted from curriculum standards 3 helpful reminders when discussing Black history with students 5 ways to implement Black history in the classroom - activities you can get up and running today! Links referenced: Printable & Digital Black History Biographies and Research Activities Digital-Only Black History Biographies and Research Activities Diverse Read Alouds + Books for Black History Donorschoose BrainPop Creating an Amazon Wishlist Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe, leave a rating, and a helpful review! It is much appreciated and thank you for listening!
29 minutes | a month ago
16. Why I Use Daily Writing Prompts
There are many benefits to having students write daily in the classroom. When I say "writing daily", I mean an intentional moment for writing. While I find opportunities to insert writing during every guided reading group, not all students are present during that small group time. Today, I will be diving into why I started implementing daily writing prompts into my classroom and the many positives of using them! I chat about how to help students understand what writing prompts are asking, what to do with writing prompts, when to incorporate them, and other helpful tips to get them up and running in your daily schedules. Episode Highlights: Writing prompts provide topic ideas or starting points for original writing to follow The purpose of a writing prompt is to invite students to think and develop a perspective about a topic... then students will write about it Ask these 4 questions about the prompt before releasing students to write The process of implementing writing prompts for maximum impact and effectiveness Writing prompts are great to show the writing process, foundations, and fundamentals of writing Learn 7 ways to incorporate writing prompts into your schedule Ultimate Benefits: Writing prompts take the guesswork out of daily planning and ensure there are fresh ideas available each day for students; the prompts allow for student choice in a stress-free. non-threatening environment; they spark interest specifically when connected to National Days; daily writing prompts allow for a variety of genres to be spiraled consistently Links referenced: 40 Writing and Conversation Starters FREEBIE February Writing Prompts & Journal Year-Long Monthly Writing Prompts & Journal Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe, leave a rating, and a helpful review! It is much appreciated and thank you for listening!
26 minutes | a month ago
15. The Power of Sentence Stems
There is an art to implementing sentence stems intentionally in the classroom. Without proper explanation, modeling, and practice, sentence stems lost their effectiveness. I have found increased student achievement when using sentence stems, more specifically for reading responses. This episode unpacks my process for using the stems and explains how they are tools to boost, versus hinder, student ability. Episode highlights: Sentence stems are a learning scaffold that helps students respond orally and through writing using complete sentences Sentence stems reduce pressure on students Sentence stems support students who need more time to formulate thoughts and responses Sentence stems improve student writing and sentence structure Teachers can use sentence stems to structure meaningful conversations, activate prior knowledge, respond to a question, reinforce key details, clarify information, use new vocabulary, summarize information, respond to peer discussion, and to work through a problem - modeling and using sentence stems help students greatly There is a process for incorporating sentence stems in the classroom: C.M.P.R. (Create, Model, Practice, Review) Sentence stems support student learning by using them as a resource, using them as a practice, and using intentional questioning to prompt the need for sentence stems in the response Sentence stems improve student language proficiency which results in improved writing and overall communication Sentence stems promote higher order thinking skills Links referenced: Reading Response Sentence Stems and Starters Anchor Charts Reading Response Stem Cards Reading Trifolds (with sentence stems) Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe to the show! Rating and leaving a review is appreciated!
46 minutes | 2 months ago
14. Teaching Small Groups (Virtually) with Raffaella De Martinis
Teaching small groups can be tricky, however, teaching small groups through distance learning can pose a whole new set of challenges. On today’s episode, I am chatting with a 3rd grade teacher from New Jersey who went into distance learning at the start of the pandemic (March 2020) and still has not returned to teaching in-person (now January 2021). Raffaella De Martinis will share her strategies and tips for keeping reading and writing small groups going, especially in a virtual setting. Her methods, words of encouragement, and simplicity are golden! I will also share my fangirl moment here by adding that Raffaella taught Jennifer Serravallo’s daughter and has a mention in one of her books! So cool! I hope you enjoy this informative chat with my literacy friend! Here are the questions asked in this interview: What one word describes your school year so far? How do you create small groups? How do you know what you are going to teach in your small groups each day? How do you check in with your small groups? How do you track data? Are there any other tips to share regarding small groups? Do you have any words of encouragement for teachers to find confidence and success with finishing the school year strong? Ways to get connected with Raffaella: TpT Store: Thinking About Third Instagram: @thinking_about_third Resources mentioned in this episode by Raffaella: Reading Goal Bookmarks Reading and Writing Strategies Post-Its Reading (Lower & Higher) Toolkits and Writing Toolkit Small Group Editable Sheets Data Keeping Google Sheets Document Reading Strategies book by Jennifer Serravallo *Amazon affiliate link* Writing Strategies book by Jennifer Serravallo *Amazon affiliate link* Jennifer Serravallo books and resources Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe and leave a helpful review! Thank you for listening!
20 minutes | 2 months ago
13. 11 Ideas to Spice Up Your Writing Time
Returning back to school after a break takes some easing into. In this episode, learn 11 ways to make your writing block fresh and more engaging! These ideas will for sure spice up your writing time and keep your students having fun! Spiral these ideas throughout the year to gain a boost in your day! The 11 ways to increase engagement during your writing block are: Idea #1: Writing Materials Idea #2: Student DJ Idea #3: Flexible Seating Options Idea #4: Writing Outdoors Idea #5: Writer of the Week Idea #6: Quick Writes Idea #7: Free Write Idea #8: Writing Choice Boards Idea #9: Partner Writing Idea #10: Classroom Book Idea #11: Publishing Party Links mentioned: Would you like to use the FREE Writing Choice Boards mentioned during this episode? Grab them here! Listen to episode 9 to learn more about Quick Writes! Select partners at random using www.online-stopwatch.com Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe and leave a review!
21 minutes | 2 months ago
12. Become an Effective Writing Teacher
It’s a new year and time for reflection as a writing teacher! In today’s episode, I will be diving into a few writing tips to make you a more effective teacher which will make your students stronger, as well. It is important to practice what you preach. How many times has a student called your bluff? Not following through definitely impacts the effectiveness of your processes. Tip 1: Show Up Everyday Excited and Enthused Show up excited and enthused… even if you aren’t. Make writing time exciting - make it a BIG DEAL! There is power to your excitement; your students will feel your energy. Tip 2: Take Your Time and Model All Key Parts Authors do not write their entire book in 15 minutes and say, “I’m done!” Students do not know the life of an author and what the process they go through looks like. As the teacher, you must show your students what this looks like. Your modeling is vital and so important. Tip 3: Be Consistent With Your Routines and Expectations Whatever you expect your students to do, you are responsible for showing them how to do it. If there are certain steps or routines you want them to follow, consistency and showing the steps are necessary. Make it a habit. When you do not show up consistently or create a writing routine, students will lose their motivation and ability to perform and give their all. Tip 4: Lower Your Expectations Teachers really have to start lowering their expectations at what they want their students to do. This does not mean having zero expectations. So often, teachers want student writing to be fluid and matching that of an adult. It is important to focus on the growth piece and not perfectionism. You must keep in mind that your students are still very much in their early stages of being a writer. Celebrate growth, move slowly, and allow the process to happen at your students’ pace. Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe and leave a review!
12 minutes | 2 months ago
11. My 2020 Wrap Up
In this final episode of 2020, I am sharing a few of my reflections from 2020. Despite 2020 being a tough and hard year, so much good has happened during this year and I will share some of the positives with you! I started from January and reflected all the way to December and wrote down great things that happened - I challenge you to do this same practice prior to 2021! Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive Podcast, please subscribe to the show! Rating and leaving a review is appreciated!
17 minutes | 3 months ago
10. 4 Myths About Reading
This episode is all about unpacking some common myths and untruths about reading. While there are so many false beliefs when it comes to students and reading, I am only going to take a little bit of time to address four of them. These insights will increase awareness and will provide a fresh outlook on what is best for students. Key Points: I will be sharing some truths to consider when it comes to these 4 myths, Myth #1: Children have to read the entire book that they are given. Myth #2: The faster a child reads, the better they are at reading. Myth #3: Reading comes naturally to kids and is a natural process. Myth #4: If my student receives intervention, they are getting what they need so I do not need to work with them in the classroom. Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe and leave a review!
13 minutes | 3 months ago
9. Using Quick Writes to Strengthen Student Writing
Are your students reluctant to write? Is student interest in writing at 0%? We are going to turn that around! In today’s episode, I am going to share how to use Quick Writes with students and the many benefits that come along with implementing them. Listen and learn about this easy-to-implement Quick Write strategy! Key Points: Quick Writes are great for building fluency and voice, writing spontaneously, allowing students to write freely in a stress-free environment, and reinforcing specific writing skills without students even knowing it! Quick Writes should only take 1, 3, or 5 minutes to complete Students have control of what genre they choose to write It is important to write along with your students Quick Writes will motivate students to write and will keep them intrigued Steps: Get students in a writing posture Call out one or two words Set the timer for 1, 3, or 5 minutes Students will write to the “prompt” until time is up Students will share their writing aloud Extension: Allow students to submit one or two words for the prompts Allow students to take the Quick Write through the writing process Tie in current writing skills and hold students accountable to applying them to their Quick Write Encourage parents to try this at home Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe and leave a review!
29 minutes | 3 months ago
8. Running Records 101
Today, we are taking a deep dive into running records. Why do we use them? How do we use them? What do all those acronyms and codes really mean?! If you are currently wondering one or more of these questions, I will walk you through the ins and outs of a running record. You can also grab my free running record templates and cheat sheet referenced in this episode here. Key Points: Running Records are forms to document student reading behaviors, errors, accuracy, self-corrections, fluency, and comprehension Use the forms to determine if a text is independent, instructional, or frustrational Formal Running Records - administer three times per year (beginning, middle, end) Informal Running Records - administer weekly or bi-weekly during guided reading Learn about all the boxes, codes, and definitions Use Running Record data to drive intentional teaching points and reading instruction To Download the Running Records freebie: CLICK HERE Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe and leave a review!
7 minutes | 3 months ago
7. Thankful for Teachers
This episode shares a quick and heartfelt “thank you” to teachers everywhere. The work is hard, the days are long, but teachers ARE making a difference. Thank you for impacting students all over the world. Education would not be the same without you. Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Youtube If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes!
21 minutes | 4 months ago
6. Celebrating Student Writing Growth
Welcome back to The Literacy Dive! Writing is hard. Are your students feeling defeated from time-to-time in actually seeing their writing growth? Do you need new ideas for celebrating student growth and keeping student momentum going when it comes to writing? In this episode, I will share systems to use student writing samples as a way to empower them and continue their writing growth. No matter how far into the school year you are, it is not too late to begin these practices! Key Points: Keep 3-4 student samples (beginning of the year, Nov/Dec., March, end of the year) Option 1: Consider adding student samples to their writing folder in sheet protectors; this writing stays with them all year long as a reminder of growth Option 2: Involve parents by sending copies of the samples home with report cards; this celebrates writing progression and parents gain insight from the visual growth Option 3: Keep writing samples on file separated by each student; keep this easily accessible to pull during writing conferences or when you want to celebrate student growth Option 4: Class display board; celebrate frequent writing samples and students begin understanding the importance of writing for an audience Every student is a writer and every student will show growth Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Youtube If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes!
15 minutes | 4 months ago
5. 3 Read Alouds for World Kindness Day
Welcome back to The Literacy Dive! In this episode, I will be highlighting 3 book recommendations that lend themselves to teaching and spreading kindness. Below you will find a brief overview of each text. It is important to expose students to a variety of texts with different themes. Allow time for discussion to occur after reading one or more of these texts. As stated in episode 4, kindness should be a focus throughout the year so these books can far extend past World Kindness Day on November 13th. Teacher Tip 1: Always pre-read text prior to reading it to your class. By doing this, you are able to ensure it is a good fit for your students and you can also prepare, in advance, for places where you will need to provide clarity or dive deeper into what the author is saying. Teacher Tip 2: Books can be found at libraries, local bookstores, or by streaming them on a website like YouTube. You can also purchase books from Amazon. I will link to these books I am sharing with an affiliate link. There are many ways to access books in a printable or digital format. Key Points: Book Recommendation 1: Most People by Michael Leannah Overview: Most people are kind. The idea is that we must teach children to be mindful and careful of people they don’t know, but we must teach them to understand that most people are kind, and even if someone makes a poor choice, they still have a seed of goodness inside and can change for the better. Book Recommendation 2: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson Overview: A new girl enters a new school and is not well received by existing students in the class. Another girl in the class is pretty mean and rude to her. Toward the end of the book, Maya, is gone… she is no longer in the classroom… or at the school. It causes reflection and a heart shift within Chloe, the girl who was not very kind to the new girl in school. The power of this book - it is told in the perspective of Chloe. Book Recommendation 3: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena Overview: An amazing dynamic between a boy and his grandmother; they ride the bus often. The boy has many questions and his nana helps CJ, her grandson, see the beauty in the world. She helps him to see the world differently by acts of kindness toward others and finding beauty in unlikely places. Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Youtube If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes!
13 minutes | 4 months ago
4. 5 Literacy Activities to Support World Kindness Day
Welcome back to The Literacy Dive! In this episode, I will be sharing 5 easy-to-implement, low prep (or no prep) literacy activities that can be done throughout this week leading up to World Kindness Day which is on November 13th! The great thing about these activities is that they can be done far beyond just this week. In fact, allowing your focus on kindness to extend throughout the year always keeps this idea fresh and top of mind with your students. You will be able to get into your classroom and try one of these simple activities out instantly! Key Points: Activity 1: Letter Writing (using a bubble map) Activity 2: Creating a Kindness Book Activity 3: Post Kindness (using sticky notes to share kindness) Activity 4: Giving Compliments Activity 5: Sending Kindness (a community focus on kindness) Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Youtube If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes!
16 minutes | 4 months ago
3. Making Literacy Instruction Effective By Using Essential Questions
Episode 3 is all about creating and using essential questions to move your literacy instruction forward. Essential questions help with student inquiry and accountability with internalizing the standards and skills that are required to be mastered. When we can begin crafting and implementing essential questions in reading and writing, our students will begin thinking deeper. Key Points: What is an essential question? Step 1: Begin with academic standards or desired learning outcomes and choose your main concept Step 2: Turn the concept or desired learning outcome into a question Step 3: Become your students Step 4: Refine your question(s) Step 5: Provide opportunities for active exploration Learn the benefits of using essential questions during your literacy block Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Youtube If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes!
19 minutes | 4 months ago
2. 5 Components of a Mini-Lesson
In episode 2, I will dive deeper into the importance and power of a mini-lesson. This is one of the most important parts of a literacy block. This is where explicit teaching happens and where students can take hold of a skill or concept you are teaching. Key Points: The definition of a mini-lesson How to find content for your mini-lesson The structure of a mini-lesson (5 parts) Tips and reminders to make mini-lessons successful Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook Page The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Youtube If you are enjoying The Literacy Dive, please subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes!
7 minutes | 4 months ago
Welcome to The Literacy Dive, a podcast that dives into all things reading and writing for ELA teachers. In this first episode, I, Megan Polk, share a little bit about myself and why I started this podcast. Through this show, I will offer a variety of information, actionable steps, and strategies to help you succeed as a literacy teacher. Thank you for tuning in! Join The Literacy Dive Facebook Group Connect with Megan on social media: TpT Store Instagram Blog Facebook page YouTube
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