Friday, August 24, 2012

Reading Detective Strategy

Detective Reading Strategy: During Reading Strategy

My students love when I introduce the Detective Reading Strategy to them.  I explain to them it is their job to solve the case of the missing answers by finding the proof in the story or text they have read.  The Reading Detective strategy helps the students focus their reading to help them answer the questions accurately. 

During the Q-TIP pre-reading strategy (see the post from 8/5/12), students read the questions prior to reading the text.  Reading the questions first, allows them to focus their reading to find specific facts.  We practice reading a story aloud, where they have a copy of the story and I have a copy projected on the document camera.  My students make siren alarm sounds when they have found the proof, and they could arrest me for hiding the answer in the text.  (I have also used a silent alarm where they flash their fingers to set the siren alarms.)  Students try to arrest me for stealing and hiding the answers in the text.  I explain to them that a jury would never convict a criminal without the evidence. They have to find the proof for an answer in the text.  When they find the proof, they put a magnifying glass (a circle with a stick), and underline the proof.  This reading strategy is fabulous for having students go back into the story and actually find the answers.  You can download this Reading Detective Strategy direction sheet here by clicking on the image. 


I posted the Q-TIP pre-reading strategy a few weeks ago, check that post out too.  I apologize it has been so long since I last posted.  I will get much better!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TeachersPayTeachers Back-To-School Sale!

Are you ready to go on a back-to-school shopping spree for amazing products you can use in your classroom?!?!  TpT is hosting a 10% off sale.  Save even more because many sellers are offering an additional up to 20% off.  This would equal a 28% savings!  The sale is going on from August 12 – August 13, 2012.  Use the promo code BTS12 at the checkout.  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Clipart Giveaway

This is an awesome opportunity to win a fabulous clipart package from some talented artists at TpT.  These ladies allow you to use your clipart in your classroom products.  Enter for a simple chance to win a great giveaway!  Click below to link up to the giveaway, and get inspired to create fun products with their clipart!

While you are visiting TpT, come check out my store at:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Q-TIP Pre-Reading Strategy

Q-TIP Pre-Reading Strategy
Before students start reading, they should preview the text.  By previewing the text and questions using the Q-TIP strategy, students will build a background on what the text is all about.  This will foster a stronger level of comprehension even before a single paragraph is read!
Q  -  Questions
Read the questions first
By reading the questions first, it allows the students to know what information they are looking for while they are reading.  Often, questions will give students some information about the basic story elements of the characters, setting, problem and solution of the story.
T  -  Title
Read the title and subtitles
Explain to your students that by reading the title and subtitles, they can make a prediction about what the text will be about.  Subtitles have a special purpose to help organize information that is related to the subtitle under that section.
I  -  Introduction, Italics & Bold Print
Read the introduction
Pay attention to the italics and bold print
The introduction (especially on state testing) provides a background about what the text will be about.  It is important for students to read this section before reading the selection.

Italics is a signal for students to pay attention.  Most commonly, italics are used for emphasis or contrast — that is, to draw attention to some particular part of a text.  Another way, is that when authors write the entire title of a book, movie, magazine, etc.  Words are italicized when they are written in another language. 

Bold words often signify subtitles, or key vocabulary that the author wants to draw the student’s attention to.
P  -  Pictures
Review the pictures and read the captions
A picture is included with text because it has a purpose.  Pictures in nonfiction text may include maps, charts or diagrams.  Pictures in fiction text may relate to the setting or characters in the story.  Pictures help students visualize what the text is about.  The captions provide a brief snip-it linking to the picture and the text.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Creating a Caring Classroom

As a teacher, you have to love and appreciate all of the students who enter your classroom on the first day of school.  There are always those kids who you want to bring home with you, those kids who make you smile, those kids who just need a hug and know they are loved, those kids who need to be challenged, those kids whose creativity inspires you, and those kids make your job tough, but you enjoy making a connection with them.  Teaching is in our hearts.  We strive to create caring classrooms where children are motivated, inspired, and challenged. 

A few ways that I create a caring classroom are as follows:

ü  The first day of school, my students create a classroom contract.  We work together to create ways to make our classroom run smoother, and everyone signs and commits to helping their classmates be the best they can be.  We are a team!

ü  I have positive character trait banners up all around the top perimeter of my classroom.  I tell my students that I am looking for them to possess these positive traits, and will be looking to recognize them for being amazing throughout the year.  I encourage them to let their classmates know when they observe one of them showing respect, responsibility, ingenuity, kindness, sharing, self-control, etc.  I have happy notes that I, an instructional assistant or a student can write to another student about how they showed a positive trait.  There are 80 different traits around the room.

ü  We talk about being a bucket filling school.  There is a great book, “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer.  I have students act out mini-skits about being bucket fillers.  Throughout the school year, students who are being bucket fillers, can put their name in my “Good Job” jar.  I pull names from time to time, and they get to shake the M & M man’s hand.  A high five, for high five bucket filling!

ü  I explain to the students that I expect them to be on their best behavior in the classroom, and outside of the classroom.  I have a classroom management system in place where students go through the stop light system, where students move a magnet based on behavior.  I put a sticker in the bottom of their agenda to notify parents of a child’s daily behavior.  I tell them that we have expectations because I care about them, and we need to make sure we respect everyone’s learning process.

ü  On the first day of school, we do some get to know you activities.  We play “That’s Me!” where I ask questions, and if it applies to the student, they go into the center of the room, high five their classmates and say, “That’s Me!”  I have my kids fill out a student questionnaire about their interests outside of school.  It is important for me to make connections to them outside of the classroom.  The students also create their clock buddy sheets, which we use throughout the school year for easy partner work.  Try it out!  You’ll love them.

Thank you to, Laura Candler, from Corkboard Connections Blog has inspired me to join her creating a caring classroom blog. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Box Tops for Education

                My school is on a quest to collect 100,000 Box Tops to use towards technology in our school building.  Our school is amazing, full of teachers who try to go above and beyond; however, we do not have funding for technology.  The teachers are on a mission to bring the 21st century technology into our classroom by asking people to save their Box Tops on hundreds of items people buy already.  If you would be willing to save your Box Tops, and mail them to us at Dudley Elementary School we would greatly appreciate it!  If you shop online, there are tons of ways you can earn Box Tops for us just by signing up.  You can go to, to see how you can support our school. 
I know there are tons of teachers out there, and lots of schools who need support.  If your school isn’t on the Box Tops bandwagon, and could help our school out that would be greatly appreciated. 
As a thank you, if you send me 50 Box Tops, I will let you pick any item in my TpT store for free!  If you send me more, you can earn a free item for every 50 Box Tops you send.  This offer is good for the entire 2012-2013 school year!

Brooke Conway
Dudley Elementary School
16 School Street
Dudley, MA 01571

* When you mail the Box Tops, please let me know your e-mail, or contact information to send you a thank you and get you your free product!  Thank you so much for your consideration.