Monday, January 28, 2013

Teaching Content and a Strategy in Reading

Well, we made it through another Monday! This Monday was great for me! How was your Monday?

As some of you know from reading other posts, I moved to another school within the same district this year. This school is really strong on professional development and using best practices throughout the curriculum. One specific aspect of my instruction that I have changed this year and LOVED is deliberately teaching a content standard and a reading strategy the same week. I always coordinate the strategy with the content so they work together. Last week, I taught speeches as the content standard and Using Evidence Based Terms was the strategy.

For speeches, our standards require us to teach audience, main point, purpose and summarize. I used these cute posters from my Speeches Pack to liven up my usually boring anchor charts. I also wrote things we had discussed in class to make it meaningful to my students. 

For our strategy, I used evidence based terms. We have been supporting our answers with evidence all year, but this was the first explicit lesson. From now on this will be one of the first strategies I teach. Usually I teach the strategy through the content lesson. However, I really wanted the kids to practice the strategy on a text they were familiar with, especially since speeches are tricky for most of my students. So, we practiced answering questions from our class novel and proving our answers using evidence based terms. I made this anchor chart which was inspired by pinterest. I had to adapt it for my kids by being very explicit about what evidence based terms were and how they could be used to support an answer. As the chart says, I know require questions from a text to have two parts: the answer and another sentence supporting the answer using evidence based terms. I am very strict about this. The students know that they will receive no score higher than a 50 if they do not provide evidence to support their answer. They referred to this chart often while we read and explored speeches throughout the two week unit.
Here is an example of some evidence based terms being used to support an answer on one of our speech handouts (also included in the Speeches Pack with three other speeches).

Overall, I feel like the students gained a better understanding of speeches by teaching this strategy with the content. We are continuing this strategy this week while we work on identifying the theme of a text....which is an entirely other tricky skill! More on that later.

And before I leave is a glimpse of my laminated Valentine centers. I will be busy cutting these out this week!
I would love to hear how you teach reading strategies as well as content in your classroom!


  1. I love this!! We have been working on using evidence to support ourselves all year in 4th. It was T-O-U-G-H to begin with (we called it a pain in the brain) but when they got it THEY GOT IT and now they do it all the time! We just did it in math!! It warmed my heart.

    We are using extended texts this year. We do all of our skill teaching through that text, so it just depends on the text as to the skill we teach during that time. I do need to go back over this again. I love your anchor chart... :O)

    Thanks for sharing! I love your blog!
    Collaboration Cuties

    1. We do it in math, too! My kids should be able to justify in their sleep....haha...I wish!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Currently using your valentine math centers in my class this week. The kids loved them today and can't wait to use them the rest of this week. Lots of cutting and laminating but so worth it. Love the blog too!

    1. I love them! We will start them next week! The kids are going to love them! They are my favorite centers so far! I am glad your kids are enjoying them.


  3. This is great, thanks! I'll definitely be sharing this post on


To Teach is to Inspire...