I- Poems

Since I started working on my IDP I wanted to incorporate “I Poems” into my unit.  I am teaching on the three types of joints- ball and socket, hinge, and gliding.  After learning and researching a little bit about the three joints I want to have each student (or pairs of students) create and illustrate their very own “I Poem” on a joint.  This would be very similar to what the 2nd and 4th grade students did in the power point.  Students learn and keep knowledge so much better when they do not memorize for a test, but instead transform what they have learned and make a new idea (hence an I-Poem).

I was excited to read the power point because it gave me an idea of how I should demonstrate and teach how to use an I-Poem in a real classroom.  Writing an I-Poem myself and teaching 3rd graders how to write an I-Poem are two totally different animals.  So much learning took place through the I-Poem- I was truly surprised at the academic gains that were made.  Students did much better on vocabulary and assessments on the topic.  Teachers could also explore poetic concepts with their students like exaggeration, onomatopoeia, alliteration, punctuation, and repetition.  There are so many great things to do with I-Poems and I am really excited to explore this with my students at Millers Creek!

One question- how long do you think it would take to create an I-Poem?  (Exploring the I-Poem, making an I- Poem together, and having students individually write one?)


What kind of animal is a predator of the seal? 

What are some prey of the seal?

What parts of the world do seals live in?

How do seals hear when they do not have external ears?

What are the sizes or makeup of a seal?  Do they differ between male and female seals?

Reciprocal teaching is where the students and the teacher alternate times where they play the teacher role in leading class discussion.  Reciprocal teaching should be used during reading and can be done in a whole class setting, with small groups, and individually.  There are four roles: summarizer, predictor, clarifier, and questioner.  The questioner poses questions about the reading- for example- unclear parts.  The summarizer gives the key ideas or points in the passage.  The predictor gives predictions on what he or she thinks the author will write about next.  Finally the clarifier explains confusing parts of the text and tries to answer questions.  Students rotate roles until the passage is completed.

The role of the discussion director is to get the other students thinking about the selection.  The director asks questions to develop student thought and discussion.  The director encourages students to be polite, listen well, reference back to the text, and to relate the reading to other books or even to a student’s own life.  The discussion director creates an accepting environment where people’s thought and ideas are valued and respected among the whole group.  Good questions to ask are the who, what, when, where, how, and why.  Discussion leaders learn responsibility through this activity because they must first create questions, ask them in an acceptable manner, steer discussion, know where to find the right answers, and be able to defend their answer.

These strategies are similar in that they encourage and develop student thought and leadership in the class.  The teacher is not standing up front and lecturing, instead the students are discussing and learning from each other.  They seem to be different in that the discussion director has only one role, while the recirpocal teaching has four roles.  Reciprocal teaching allows many students to have a large role in the discussion, while director discussion is centered on one student collecting the data and facilitating discussion.


This was a little bit of a reminder from RE 3030, when we studied phonemes and morphemes, but the article is a lot more in depth.  The word popularity and the difficulty that the students had with it reminded me of the tier 1, 2, and 3 words.  Tier 1 words are very basic and they are used often in speech and writing.  Tier 2 words are used often, but are a little more mature than tier 1 words.  Finally, tier 3 words are not used frequently and are used only in certain content areas.  I think the word popularity is a tier 2 word because it used often, but it is a pretty mature word for most students.

It is kind of despairing to think that some students who enter into Kindergarten are already behind some of their peers in the numbers of words they know.  That gap usually increases through out elementary school.  Teachers must begin vocabulary instruction early to close this gap and help students.  Morphology seems to be a great way of doing that!

Educators should teach several different things.  Students need to be able to find connections and relationships among words.  Children need to learn how to use context clues and the dictionary to understand a word’s meaning.  Second, students need to understand that if they don’t know a word, look for morphemes, guess the meaning of the word, and finally check the guess.  Third, teachers must instruct students in prefixes and suffixes and how to break down words.  Finally, to help students who’s first language is not English, look at cognate words (words that have similar spelling and/or meaning) and help students draw connections.

Read and think alouds have such great potential for wonderful vocabulary instruction.  Thinking back to class on Tuesday, Dr. Frye was able to talk about and define quite a few words in the two pages that she read aloud.  My multi-text books have a lot of language that will be unfamiliar to my students, so there will be plenty of opportunity for vocabulary instruction!

                The multi-text unit, the article, and the reading assessment walk hand in hand.  Before beginning a multi text unit the teacher must know what his or her students reading levels are.  A teacher cannot assign a fifth grade reading level book if all of her students are reading at a fourth grade level.  The students would become very frustrated and would not get a lot out of the books and the unit.  Reading assessments help a teacher gauge where her classroom is and with that information can split students up into groups based on their reading level.  The students reading on or above grade level can read one book, while the students reading below grade level can read a lower reading level book.  Even though the students may read different books, the theme of World War II or slavery is still the same.   

                For example, I hope to do my multi-text unit on the Underground Railroad and slavery in the United States.  My students will read either “Elijah of Buxton” or “North by Night”, which are both pretty difficult texts.  Fifth grade on-level reading students would be on track to read these books.  My below grade level students (Fourth grade reading level) will read “Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad,” which is a little easier.  My third grade reading level students can read “The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad.”  Before figuring out which students need to read what book, I would have to give the reading assessment to each of the students.  It may seem that one student reads really well and is on grade level, but could later find out through a reading assessment that the student is actually below grade level.  A teacher should not guess where his or her student’s are- a reading assessment takes all of the guess work out! 

                The article also has a really good reference list of themes showing which books go under a certain reading level.  It was definitely helpful when I was trying to figure out what books I could use for my multi-text unit.

Shared Readings-

I remember learning about shared reading in previous Elementary Education, but this article included a few new terms that I had not heard before.  Cloze reading is a really neat concept that I am excited about using in my own classroom.  This type of reading is where a teacher reads aloud and pauses randomly, allowing the students to fill in the missing word in the text.  This is great because it is a little easier than having students choral read because they are only reading one word together at a time.  In choral reading it is difficult for the students and teacher to stay together while reading the text.  

It is so difficult to think aloud and model in front of students.  It is a little intimidating, but it reminded me that effort needs to be put forth to plan beforehand.  Teachers are actors!  We plan lessons, shared readings, and other activities out, but we make it look as though we are thinking about it for the first time.  If teachers do not model how they want their students to think how are they supposed to learn?  It is our job to model and explain how to read and comprehend text. 

One of the best skills that students can learn is using context clues.  There are so many tests that I have taken that I had to use those clues in the passages to figure out what was going on.  Resources are not always available to go and look up a word so learning how to implement context clues is very important.  I need to improve on using word parts.  I have never been able to break a word down using the prefixes, suffixes, roots, bases, and word families but I wish to start working on it!  It will definitely be beneficial in the rest of my college career and in my future classroom.


I really enjoyed reading the articles on the pirate unit because it’s something that the kids would have a lot of fun doing and it is really engaging.   I love how the unit uses both a fiction and nonfiction book for students to read and learn about.  The two books give a good variety of details and two different approaches on looking at pirates. 

            Honestly, I was a little skeptical when I first learned of this unit on pirates.  I thought, “How do pirates fit into the North Carolina standard course of study?”  I was so surprised when I started and found that a lot of goals and objectives are indeed met through this unit.  I wish I was still in elementary school and could be a part of this unit as a student.  I would learn so much without even realizing it.

            One of my favorite parts of this unit is the double-entry diary (DED).  I could use this with any topic, unit, or classroom activity.  The left column is for specific notes about the topic, while the right column is for opinions and response reactions.  What a great way to have children research and learn information, but also be able to read their reaction to the topic.  I also like how the unit integrates technology, social studies, writing, and reading in an enjoyable way.  Integration of subjects can be fun and interesting!

            I am a little apprehensive about allowing my students to do all of this research online.  I have had personal childhood experiences with internet that were not good!  There are stories I heard from classroom teachers, and it scares me to think about situations that could go wrong.  The idea in the article to use kid friendly search engines is reassuring, but when I do a research based unit I will definitely be cautious and think through what capacity the internet is to be used.    

            The “I Poem” on a pirate idea is phenomenal!  I actually remember writing an “I Poem” in elementary school about another person.  I learned about the person by reading and researching a little bit about them on the internet.  As a child, I enjoyed doing that lesson because I did not have to write the poem a certain way.  I was given freedom and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This unit gives children freedom, but also keeps learning and gained knowledge at the forefront.