Making Thinking Visible Compass Points

Today I began studying chapter 5 in Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart. Before beginning a new chapter in nonfiction, I usually review the past chapter – old habit ingrained in middle school. When considering the tool of Compass Points where a student reflects on a recent lesson using Excitements, Worries/Concerns, Needs, and Stance/Steps, I realized a connection to how I approach reading intervention/groups. First I start with a compliment, followed by an observation, then an area of improvement, concluded with a strategy.

The past two years I’ve successfully used Jennifer Seravallo’s Reading Strategies book. It’s my favorite reading resource book. I take her anchor chart images, simplify them, and draw a suggested strategy on an index card in sharpie. Depending on the student’s ability to write clearly, either the student or I write the strategy at the top of the image. Students keep these index cards on a shower ring which we review every time we meet. The cards go home in their book bag so parents can see what strategies are being practiced with the vocabulary being used in the classroom. Students’ success rates have exploded using this resource.

So how does this connect to Compass Points?
For documentation, I usually write tiny notes on a classroom grid, but I haven’t really recorded my compliments. I created a Compass Points organizer to display in writing, with the student, the process used in conferences. This will stay in my data binder under individual sections, but the student and I will review and reflect as needed. The student will continue to use the index cards as a personal tool. Imagine with time how a student can use this Compass Point as a self-reflection, first with the teacher, then independently because they’ve seen and discussed the model throughout the year! Also, because Compass Points in used in reading, students will better grasp how to use this tool in other content areas (of course, with modeling :)).

Seriously, I just love teaching. I’m doing all of this for fun right now as I hope/work towards a new job. It’s out there and I am ready!

The organizer? I won’t leave you hanging. The first page is a more elaborate template as I teach/model using Compass Points for reading. The second page is a condensed version to save paper once the student understands each step. I will explain that we are going from east to west, which seems counter-intuitive in reading (right to left), just like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, then we cover our strategies from top to bottom (north to south) as we understand what we need so we can apply an appropriate strategy.

Youtube Playlists

I have inserted links to 3 new youtube playlists I’ve created for the classroom in my Transition Music Page. For the positive songs, I usually don’t display the video so that students can focus on their morning or work activity. All you have to do is click on the tab labeled “Transition Music” at the top of the post. For convenience, they are here as well. In my past district, the use of youtube was allowed. Of course, I will follow the guidelines of my new district. Brent Vasicek was an inspiration to some of the happy songs chosen.

Transition Videos

Brainbreak Videos

Happy, Positive Music

I hope you enjoy the lists. I reviewed every video, but if I’ve missed something that could be considered inappropriate, please let me know. Also, if you have suggestions of videos to add to the playlists, I’m happy to listen.

“Music is a piece of art that goes in the ears straight to the heart.” ~ author unknown

Prepping for a New Year

Not having a classroom hasn’t stopped me for prepping for a new school year.  I’ve completely organized my TPT purchases into a categorized PowerPoint thanks to a template by Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd.  Have you ever gone to plan, then realized later there was a file you had downloaded from TPT that would have been perfect, but it was lost in an abyss of resources?  I filled 92 pages – well including the category pages, but, wow, that is a lot.  I’ve also created a class set of Writing Resource folders, including a 7 page picture dictionary to aid students struggling with reading or new ESL learners.  This will supplement my word wall, color coded by subject, that will need to be revamped with a new job.  I’m up for the challenge – eager really.  This year I will focus on technology.  Though I use technology routinely such as Padlet, PeppleGo, Epic, NewELA, xtramath, etcetera, I’d like to utilize SeeSaw and Google products more extensively.  To this end, I’ve been doing some exploring through different educational web pages.  I’ve re-created my Parent Contact Information, which I used last year.  This is an incredible idea I found on Pinterest; no more illegible email addresses or phone numbers and it’s all congregated into one Excel style page.  I’ve also created a Google Form for reading assessments in case I teach Language Arts.  Again, it will be all documented for me in individual student folders for better individualized instruction.  Right now, I’m creating my own Symbaloo of recommended websites for parents to provide a fuller list.  Typically, I have a handful of links on my webpage and the grade level webpage.  Other than that, I’m working on small items: making sure my newsletter is ready minus the year expectations, placing Meet the Teacher items in a bucket, and preparing a new teacher planner.  It’s late in the summer, but the area here is growing rapidly so one can still hope for new classes to be needed.  I’m ready to share my passion for learning with a new group of students.  Regardless of the outcome, may all educators and staff have a fabulous 2017 – 2018 school year!

Here’s a link to my Google Form for a Reading Assessment.

My symbaloo is in the early stages, but here are two pictures from my TPT PowerPoint Organizer: