Dr. Connie Hebert helps kids, parents, and teachers by helping them become experts at catching "the teachable minute" anytime, anywhere! My Teachable Minute Blog offers quick tips on how to engage with younger and older kids. Comments, questions, and reflections are always welcome . . . let's catch a million teachable minutes together!

Archive for September, 2012

Are you a starfish flinger?

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said … “I made a difference for that one.”

From my first book, Catch a Falling Reader:
“I firmly believe that, when we teach kids how to fly as readers and writers, we save them. We must strive to prevent each and every falling reader from a lifetime of frustration, low self-esteem, anxiety, and disappointment. For, if we are not about catching kids and teaching them how to fly, then what are we about? Catch a falling reader, put him in your pocket, NEVER let one get away!” C. Hebert

Let’s make a difference together and catch all struggling kids wherever they may be…

Free Webinar: Catching Falling Writers! Nov. 15, 2012. Join me…

Free WEBINAR…

Thursday, November 15th, 3:00 PM (EST). 30 minute free webinar with Dr. Connie Hebert, National Literacy Consultant and Author.

Catching falling readers and writers is huge challenge that requires skill, understanding, and hard work. If you work with struggling students at the elementary level, including those in special needs, remedial reading, or Title 1, this webinar will provide guidance and help you reflect on the role of the teacher so we can “catch them ALL” . . . it’s not the program, it’s the teacher!

Presented by Dr. Connie Hebert

FREE! Register at www.simplek12.com

Please visit: http://www.conniehebert.com

Choosing Words of Praise Carefully for Falling Writers

I thought it would be a good idea to reflect our own behaviors for delivering praise, both orally and in writing, when we live or work with falling writers. This is important because we always want to praise kids in ways that assist them with internalizing actions and strategies. Then they are more likely to use them on a regular basis. Otherwise, what good is praise and constructive feedback? It is the writer that must be able to ultimately praise him/herself and we can help this along by examining HOW we deliver praise to those who fall.

Here are some reflective questions you may want to ask yourself when working with struggling writers:

*What am I physically doing when I praise kids?
*Am I standing directly in front of the student looking down on him/her? (can be intimidating)
*Am I sitting across from the student engaging in eye contact as I praise him/her? (useful for making key points)
*Am I standing behind the student whispering into his/her ear? (sends a great message that the child is in control of his/her own writing while we act as a ‘Jiminy Cricket’ behind the child:)
*Am I pointing to a specific part of their writing that I am praising them about? (effective)
*What is the child’s physical reaction to my praise?
*What is the tone in my voice? Is it effective and how do I know?
*How is the volume and pitch of my voice when I am delivering praise? (engaging or boring, supportive or judgmental?)
*If I am praising him/her in writing, what color pen am I using? (red is too bold!)
*Where have I written the praise, i.e. top of the page, side margins, directly above or below the child’s writing, bottom of the page, end of the story, etc.? (variety is best)
*Knowing this particular child, what is the best way to deliver praise of his/her writing attempts?
*What can I do to give praise while simultaneously work to create independence within the falling writer?
*How is my attempt to praise this child going to actually help this child become a more self-sufficient writer?
*What does this individual need from me in terms of praise and constructive feedback? Should I say it or write it?
*How often does this child need praise when writing and how do I know this? (know the child!)

Offering praise requires reflection, practice, more practice, trial and error, and student feedback in order to know if what we are offering actually works. The tricky thing is that the type and amount of praise that work for one child may not work for another child. It is what some might call the craft of teaching and it is not easy, but it is essential for catching falling kids. Keep at it until you find just the right pinch of praise for each and every falling writer you work with.

Praise well 🙂

Mr. Rogers….on ‘play’

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Catch a Book on Skype!

I just read four little books for emergent readers to my little Grandsons in Indiana via Skype! What a treat on a quiet Sunday afternoon. These books have large pictures and fun story lines. The boys clapped after each one and shouted, “More, Nana, more!” What a fantastic way to connect with kids that are far away….and to expose them to books that we have here at home. Loved it!

Holding each page up close to the webcam kept their attention and allowed them to hear my voice, once in a while seeing me turn the pages. Skype is the answer to story time with this far-away Nana. If I can’t have Joe and Elijah in my lap, at least I can read to them via my laptop while sending kisses and hugs through my screen…

Parents might consider using Skype as a motivator for kids to listen to stories from different rooms in the house, provided there are 2 computers. Try reading a book on Skype to your kids (especially a reluctant listener) and see if you can establish a ‘Skype a Good Book’ time in the house on 2 different computers. Fun, different, and cool!

Catch these! Free webinars: Catching Falling Readers

September 22, 2012   11:00 AM – 11:30 AM (EST)

For Elementary Administrators: 3 Ways to Catch Your Falling Readers

Is your school doing all it can to help those students who are falling behind in their reading skills? And as an administrator, are you doing all you can to assist your teachers and struggling students? Teachers need lots of help, support, and strategies for catching kids who are reading below grade level.  In this webinar, join Dr. Connie Hebert, national literacy consultant and author, as she explores 3 effective ways in which administrators can make a difference…and catch a bunch of falling readers in their schools!

Presented by Dr. Connie Hebert

FREE! Register at www.simplek12.com

September 29, 2012   11:00 AM – 11:30 AM (EST)

Increase Your Effectiveness with Struggling Elementary and Special Needs Readers

Catching falling readers and writers is huge challenge that requires skill, understanding, and hard work. This webinar will examine 4 essential factors that play a big role in determining our effectiveness while working with struggling students. Join Dr. Connie Hebert as she explores the creative use of Voice, Pace, Body Language, and Eye Contact for catching falling readers – and especially those with special needs. Daily motivation, encouragement, and engagement are important and necessary for all learners.

If you work with struggling students at the elementary level, including those in special needs, remedial reading, or Title 1, this webinar will provide guidance and help you reflect on the role of the teacher so we can “catch them ALL” . . . it’s not the program, it’s the teacher!

Presented by Dr. Connie Hebert

FREE! Register at www.simplek12.com

JOIN US! Let’s catch them ALL . . .

 

About ‘thinking’ . . .

“People’s minds are not especially well-suited to thinking: thinking is slow, effortful and uncertain. For this reason, deliberate thinking does not guide people’s behavior in most situations. Rather, we rely on our memories, following courses of action that we have taken before. Nevertheless, we find successful thinking pleasurable. We like solving problems, understanding new ideas, and so forth. Thus, we will seek out opportunities to think, but we are selective in doing so; we choose problems that pose some challenge but that seem likely to be solvable, because these are the problems that lead to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.”—Daniel Willingham, Why Don’t Students Like School?

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