I am a second grade teacher at Timber Point Elementary School in East Islip.I enrolled in the year-long Suffolk County Reading Council to enhance my literacy expertise in reading and writing topics.There were a plethora of wonderful authors and topics presented, not to mention many activities and ideas I could introduce into my classroom.This experience has already sparked me to work on lessons over the summer that will help my students become better writers this school year.
One presenter gave us a unique approach to teaching writing to K-2 students called, “Rubric Kids.”This is a program that aligns authentic assessment with instruction.The rubric includes a visual, tactile face of a child to which one adds on features of the face.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
For example, one can stick on a nose, mouth, or ear until the face is complete.As children plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish, the face becomes more complete and the goals are achieved.I have been searching for an assessment such as this to motivate the writers in my classroom, especially the reluctant ones. Another speaker that was of great interest was a bi-lingual, multicultural, literature story teller named Soh Young Lee-Segredo.
She introduced the class to multicultural books, songs, and stories that offer children a chance to appreciate other cultures.She gave us copies of songs and dances that we could use in the classroom with our students to help them appreciate and respect diversity.The, ‘Meet the Author Series,’ which is part of the Reading Council program, presented many accomplished authors for us to listen to.One very popular and well known author that spoke was Jean Fritz.Some of her published works such as, “Leonardo’s House,” “What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?” and others are part of the informal historical biographies that she has written for children.I remember reading a few of her pieces to my fourth grade class a couple of years ago.She is a master of her craft and her books provide witty and good-humored looks at historical figures.
It was a delight to meet Jean Fritz in person.I enjoyed learning where she gets her ideas from and how she brings them to life. Jerry Pallotta is also a well known author and I used many of his books while teaching the primary grades.His counting and alphabet books have great content and beautiful, realistic illustrations.Many of my current second-grade students especially like his books and read them over and over again.
It was interesting to learn how he begins his writing process and how his story grows in time to final completion. In January we had a speaker from the New York State Department of Education, Susan Magna, who gave us updated information on a program they are using state-wide called, “Reading First: Impact on Reading in NYS.”This program is currently being used in many districts on Long Island, especially where state-wide testing was below grade level.With this program, teachers are trained in many sessions to show the students how to utilize “Reading First.” “Reading.