Helping Kids Infer

I’m sharing a link from Sharon Taberski’s blog about helping students learn to infer.  She spotlights two children’s picture books, Tight Times by Barbara Hazen Shook, and Those Shoes by Maribeth Bolts, and discusses how she would use them to foster inferential thinking.  The full post is here:

Sharon blogs regularly at:  On the right side of her blog, she maintains lists mentor texts that go with the topics she covers, such as:

  • Short and sweet chapter books: younger elementary-grade readers
  • Short and sweet chapter books: older elementary-grade readers
  • Picture books to help kids infer
  • Books to help kids visualize
  • Books that give kids something to think and talk about
  • Professional books I mention and recommend

Teachers as Wise Consumers of Coaching

I’m attaching an interesting article I found recently on teachers being “wise consumers of coaching.” It’s from a recent Journal of Staff Development, and gives advice for teachers on how to best benefit from using the coach in your school district. Let me know if you enjoy reading it, and want to talk about some ways we can work together in your classroom!

Teachers as Wise Consumers.Coaching

What Looks Right? (Teaching Self Monitoring in Spelling)

I’m writing with a fun, easy, and big-bang-for-your-buck strategy that supports student self-monitoring.  (How many things in life can you you describe that way?!)
As with anything recommended by Pat Cunningham, What Looks Right? helps your students build literacy skills, and is easy for them to use at the same time.
When students are unsure of how to spell a word, this strategy asks them to write down the word using both (or all) common spelling patterns that could potentially be used in that word.  For example, nail could be written “nail” or “nale.”  Then, they’re asked to choose which one “looks right,” and to check this spelling in a dictionary, or with a more proficient speller, as needed.  This builds exactly the spelling process that most struggling spellers don’t generally use on their own – and relies on the notion that proficient spelling is a combination of using learned phonetic patterns, and the learner’s visual memory.  Making use of either one of these to the exclusion of the other results in spelling errors – but using them together builds self-monitoring and greatly increases the likelihood that a writer will use correct spelling.
This strategy could be introduced with early elementary children who are strong spellers, could be widely used in second through third or fourth grades, and would definitely be appropriate to introduce with any struggling student in the older grades.
See the attached pages for a longer explanation of how to use the strategy, two examples of the strategy as it was used with students, and a shorthand, “cheat sheet” for a reminder of how to use the strategy after you’ve already become familiar with it.
The following pages were taken from Month by Month Phonics for Third Grade, by Pat Cunningham and Dorothy Hall, 2003