2014 TWU Billie J. Askew Institute

Handouts from the Primary Students Can Monitor Comprehension Too!

2014 Askew Activity Sheet



References for Askew Powerpoint Presentation



Special Class

While I am working as a teaching assistant at TCU this semester, I get the opportunity to teach a few different lectures to the junior block of undergraduates. Next week, I am conducting an hour long session (within the 2.5 hour class) about different available resources available and how to be a critical consumer.

It wasn’t until I started preparing this lecture that I had a long opportunity to really think about it. I mean, really think about it. It is a bit concerning that amount of information that is available on the internet now days and how naive people just take it for word. I think that is my biggest conceern. Just taking it as is with no quetions asked.

For this lecture (very loose term), I plan to have the students go out and investigate the different resources themselves and report back to me what they found and how it can or even should be used. Then I am going to give them examples of activities that I have found on the internet and have them critique them as well.

I hope this will make them more aware of the things that are out there and how they can adapt them into the good tools that we know should be used for teaching children.


Teaching Resources

For those teachers who haven’t heard of Teachers Pay Teachers (www.teacherspayteachers.com), I highly recommend you check it out! This website is basically an idea exchange for teachers who are out in the field, selling and sometimes giving away items that they have used with their own classrooms. Each week, I get an email with 10 free activities that are given away. I go to the website and download the ones I want. You can also search and purchase any additional materials. (If you download the free versions, it is polite to leave a comment on how well it worked in your classroom). The awesome thing is that the money goes to actual teachers and not huge publishing companies.

If you have some great ideas, log on, create a site and post your work.  Who knows, you might get a little extra for the stuff you already have created! If not, don’t reinvent the wheel- log in and try it for yourself!


Guided Reading Notebook

As part of my graduate studies, I am working on putting together a reference notebook for the undergraduate future teachers to have as a resource in their classroom. Remember, this notebook is aimed at the lower grades, K, 1 or 2. So far I have the following in the example notebook:

  • List of DRA / Fountas and Pinnell and AR reading Level comparisons
  • Uppercase/Lower case letter recognition sheet (Fountas and Pinnell)
  • List of the most common 100 High-Frequency Words (Fountas and Pinnell)
  • Blank Running Record Form
  • A coding Running Records Cheat Sheet (list of all the coding marks) (Fountas and Pinnell)
  • Guide for Observing and Noting Reading Behaviors (Fountas and Pinnell)
  • Prompts to Support the Use of Processing Strategies
  • List of Processing Strategies
  • Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template
  • Blank Paper for anecdotal notes
I am being very selective in what I include because I don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information. Baby steps!

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Recent Events

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I have decided to fully commit to keeping this blog updated. I have had some very huge changes in my life since the last entry (almost 2 years ago). I have quit my teaching job and entered graduate school at TCU (Texas Christian University). I want to share some things that I am learning in graduate school as well as any resources I feel that classroom teachers could use and find helpful.

I am also a mother of an almost 5 year old son with autism.  Being in the education field, I feel that I have a unique perspective from both sides of the table, the teacher and the parent.  So, I might also dive into a few issues that have to do with autistic children or just children with disabilities.

Ready, here we go!!

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Maui Ocean Center, Maui, HI

My family and I just got back on an amazing adventure in Maui, HI. We were fortunate enough to stay there for two whole weeks.  There were so many interesting things for families and children to do together. Here is one of the activities we did during our stay.

The Maui Ocean Center is located in Wailuku, which is near the middle of the “figure 8″ Maui island.  The Ocean Center has 9 different exhibits with animals living in habits that closely resemble their natural environment. The exhibits are: The Living Reef (moray eels, octopus, lobsters, sea horses); Behind the Scenes (sneak peek to the open seawater system); Turtle Lagoon (turtles); Hammerhead Harbor (hammerhead sharks); The Tide Pool (hands on marine life petting zoo); Marine Mammal Discovery Center (humpback whale and dolphin displays); Hawaiians and the Sea (history of ancient Hawaiians and the Pacific Ocean); Sea Jelly Gallery (moon jellyfish); and The Open Ocean (underwater tunnel holding stingrays, sharks and nearly 2,000 fish).

My daughter was most impressed when she could actually reach out and touch the marine life at The Tide Pool exhibit.  The Open Ocean exhibit will take your breath away.  Truly an amazing experience.




Dallas World Aquarium

What a fantastic and educational way to spend the morning.  My four year old daughter and I headed off to Dallas one day last week to see the river otters.  My daughter has this fascination with river otters ever since her classroom had a river otter for a mascot.

It took us a few minutes to walk through the beautifully landscaped entrance to get into the building.  Upon entering we were immediately greeted by a Dallas World Aquarium employee ready to answer any question we had about the facility.  The penguins also greeted us with some flapping wings the closer we got to them.

The entire experience was very educational.  There were also a variety of animals there, not just sea creatures.  Everything from bats, insects, birds and fish were included. Each exhibit had interesting facts about each animal displayed through a touch screen.  Feeding times were printed in the map which made it helpful for us to move from one exhibit to another in time to catch each live feeding and Q&A session. More information about the Dallas World Aquarium go to www.dwazoo.com .




Story Time Program at Local Library

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Today, my daughter and I are headed to our local library for the preschool story time program.  This is a great way to expose your child to different genres of literature and to get them excited about reading.  Today, we are looking at ocean books to read before our planned trip to the Dallas World Aquarium next week. Look up your local library’s preschool story time program to take advantage of this great, free service.



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