### Laura's first entry

I have finished reading the book Reality Checks. I think it will be a good resource to use when helping children comprehend nonfiction.

I made many connections between occurances in my classroom and those in the book. One specifically has to do with the use of K-W-L chart. Many times my students would share a fact they thought they knew. I was never quite sure how to deal with that. Using the RAN strategy, which was discussed in the book, makes sense in place of the K-W-L chart. This chart begins with a column; What I Think I Know, and continues with Confirmed, Misconceptions, New Information, and Wonderings I look forward to using this with my students. What a great idea too to have students manipulate the text on the charts by putting what they've said on post-its, so they can move the text from column to column.

A constant throughout the book is the way the teachers taught concepts with the different understandings. They modeled a lot, and it was not limited to just one time. Another was the idea of teaching some of the lessons in steps rather than all at once. There is also the idea of summarizing and reflecting at the end of a demonstration. As an adult, I have learned that I retain infomation if I take the time to reflect on what I have done.

There is a reference to Brown and Cambourne' s book, Read and Retell I have read and used some of the strategies in this book. I thought this was a good resource.

While reading, I was thinking of ways these strategies could be used in math. On pages 46 and 47 there is a description of locating specific and relevant information. Many of the problems students encounter in math contain information that is not needed to solve the problem. Ways that I have had students do this in the past was to highlight or underline the information. I will now add color coding. This could also possibly work with multi-step problems.

On page 68, in the first paragraph, there is a description of visualization. What do you think about making this part of writer's workshop, if the student author chooses. My thought was to have a student share their piece of writing. While doing so, the other students draw their vision. This might be a way for students to think about parts of their writing that may not make sense or does not create a picture. It will also let students know what parts are working well. Close to the bottom of the page is a quote, "When we visualize, we create pictures in our minds that belong to us and no one else. " I don't know if using this in writer's workshop would work or not because we do create out own pictures.

Laura,

I really liked the ideas you mentioned for using the information in Reality Checks for mathematical reasoning. It is always difficult to get the students to take ownership of their words in math class. My students have a lot of trouble with word problems that have more than 1 step or have extra information.

I like how you said that you might be able to use the visualization technique with students in writing class. I think it is very applicable. We do all have different images even from a very good text though. I'm curious to try it with students to see how it would work. You certainly want the reader to have a clear picture in his/her mind.

About using pictures to help with writing...This is a common way I start any piece of writing in my classroom - especially necessary for grades 2 and under. I actually used special writing paper in my 2nd grade that had a space on the top for sketching and then the lines for writing underneath it. I find that if a student draws a sketch first they add a lot of details they might miss if they went right to words first. Then as they write they can refer back to the picture to make sure they got everything down. It is very helpful and even the most reluctant writers seem to be able to draw something and therefore have something to write.

In K and preK drawing is basically what they do, then tell, rather than write, their story etc.

Laura--
One quick question...what is RAN? Both you and Phil mention the method. Is it more usable and applicable to your students?
I liked the quote you had at the end of your bolg. However you question if this is applicable to writer's workshop. Think about Mary's lesson today and how each of us drew a picture of somewhere we have lived. This picture became the basis of our writing prompt which could easily turn into a writer's workshop session. I think one of the beauties of writer's workship is how each writer comes from a different place, background, and how this influences how they look at a picture and turn it into a piece of writing.

Here is majority info.