Betsy Sigmon's Blog

I POEM Reflection

I really enjoyed going through the power point and learning more about I POEMS.  I am doing a lesson for my IDP on I POMES, so this power point and links helped me develop a better understanding of I POMES.  I learned something new about I POEMS, they don’t have to just be about a person.  The poems can be about a person, place, object, event, or animal.  The most important thing I received from the power point was the format for writing an I POEM.  This is going to be a great teaching tool for my lesson in my IDP.  I would like to make a sheet where the beginning words of the sentence is stated and then blank lines for the students to fill in the information.  I like the idea of creating an I POEM, because this gets the students to really understand the content instead of just memorizing facts.  The students are more likely to remember the content, because they had to do something with the information.


Internet Workshop on Seals

Internet Workshop-Seal

Reciprocal Teaching and Discussion Director Response

Reciprocal teaching is an instructional strategy that helps students and teachers talk about at the text.  They discuss summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting.  Before reading, students think of these discussion topics on their own.  During reading, students are in small groups where each person has a role for a section of the reading.  After the reading, students come together as a whole class to talk about the four strategies and the reading.

Discussion director takes place in a small group.  Students need to ask each other questions that make them think and talk about their interpretations of the reading.  There are specific question topics a teacher can give the students; such as characterization, main idea, cause and effect, or many other topics.

The teacher works as a guide in both these strategies, but in the reciprocal teaching it is seen more clearly.  Reciprocal teaching involves the teacher in the discussion, because she helps them think on a deeper level and helps them monitor their comprehension.  Discussion director is guided my the teacher, because she posses a topic for students to ask questions about.  I think both of these strategies are great.  It would depend on which strategy you use most depending on the students in the class.

Morphology, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension Response

Breaking Down Words to Build Meaning: Morphology, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension in the Urban Classroom was a very interesting and informal article.  The article focused in on morphology, which is the study of word structure, including morphemes.  Morphemes are the smallest unit of meaning in a word.  They can be suffixes, prefixes, or root words.  This article expresses the importance of understanding the meaning of suffixes, prefixes, and root words.  Having this knowledge helps students with new vocabulary, because they can decode the word.  Morpheme awareness also helps with reading comprehension.  I believe a main point that the authors wanted to make was that morphology, vocabulary, and reading comprehension go hand in hand.  A student needs all three components to be successful in reading.  Throughout this article, I really enjoyed looking at the charts.  They brought new words to my attention like fury.  Also, I found the charts that contain root words, suffixes, and prefixes helpful to my understanding.

            The multi-text unit we are doing relates to this article.  Within the multi-text unit, students will be looking at different texts.  The article explained that that multiple exposure to words in meaningful contexts will help a child to better understand a word.  Through the unit, students will be looking at three or more text.  They will be able to gain knowledge and new vocabulary throughout this unit.  Also, students will be doing vocabulary activities to develop Tier 2 vocabulary words.

            Lastly, the vocabulary overview handout relates to this article and the multi-text unit.  Within the indirect instruction, a teacher will provide a variety of texts, because the more a child reads, the more words the child will learn.   The handout talks about teaching Tier 2 words to students and analyzing word knowledge.

Connecting Multi-Text Unit, Reading Assessment, and Article

            On Friday at Miller’s Creek, I had the opportunity to observe a reading assessment for a fourth grade student.  I really enjoyed watching this young boy read, because I was able to relate to him in so many ways.  I had a reading comprehension learning disability growing up through grade school.  I was scared when teachers would pull me out of the class and start testing me on reading.  Reading very slow, and not being able to comprehend what I was reading was very frustrating for me.  The young boy that was tested was scared of messing up, not knowing a word, and worried about being timed.  These were my same anxieties.  Now that I am on the opposite side of the table, I understand the importance of the testing.  It is for the child’s benefit, so the teacher can teach at the child’s instructional level.

            Talking about a child’s instructional level brings me to the article, Integrating Instructional-Level Social Studies Trade Books for Struggling Readers in Upper Elementary Grades.  This article is talking about finding a topic a classroom will be studying in social studies, and finding appropriate reading materials for each student in the classroom.  Trade books are important to use during this learning, because they can provide more in-depth coverage of the topic than a textbook.  Trade books can be a source of informational books that help students with content learning.  I liked how this article addressed the different learning levels in a classroom and how a teacher goes about reaching their instructional level.  A teacher must research and take time to find trade books that are written on a lower grade level.  Every class has students that are below grade level.  If you have them reading a book that is on grade level, they are going to be frustrated, embarrassed to read, and they will not grow in their reading fluency and accuracy.  This is why it is important to find books that are at each student’s instructional level, so they can be learning the same topic.  At the end of this article, I loved the list of topics, books, and reading levels.

            This brings me to the Multi-Text Unit that I will be doing throughout this semester.  My Multi-Text Unit will be centered around fourth graders, since I am in a fourth grade classroom for my internship.  Within this unit I will select a novel that is on a fourth grade level.  Then, I will find an informational text that goes along with the novel.  The informational text does not have to be on grade level, because this allows student the opportunity to learn about the topic.  Having a variety of books on different learning levels engages all students in the classroom, so they are learning about the same topic.  Within this Multi-Text Unit, students will be engaged in an internet workshop.  Students will do research on the topic from a list of child-friendly websites.  The great thing about this lesson it that it can reach all instructional levels and students will be able to learn about the same topic.

Shared Reading Response

I really enjoyed reading the article, Shared Readings: Modeling Comprehension, Vocabulary, Text Structures, and Text Features for Older Readers. After I read the title of the article, I am up with my idea of shared reading.  My original thought was a teacher sitting in her rocking chair and reading a book to the class that sits on the carpet before her.  Once I got a little into the article, I realized that shared reading is many different activities that go on in a classroom.  Shared reading could include echo reading, choral reading, or cloze reading.  Cloze reading was a new term I came across while reading.  This article helped me realize that shared reading is a way for a teacher to model and help students to see self-monitoring strategies to learn comprehension, vocabulary, text structures, and text features.  I liked one teacher’s comment about shared reading and the four instructional areas.  She said teachers need to consolidate and incorporate these things automatically.  Also, it is important to model several of the components in shared reading, because students are not just using one component at a time.  They use several components.

            I found it interesting how one of the teachers talked about “inside” and “outside” word strategies.  When students come across a word they don’t know, they need to learn how to go outside the word and look for context clues.  Secondly, they need to go inside the word and use parts of the word to help them figure out the meaning.  I think back to when I was in elementary school.  I struggled with reading, because I had a reading comprehension learning disability.  It would have been very useful for a teacher to model and remind me of the inside and outside strategy.

            In the article it was talking about the idea of “skip it” strategy when other strategies aren’t working when students come to unfamiliar words.  I really like how one teacher talked about this idea.  She doesn’t think this is a good strategy, because why would you encourage struggling students to skip a word.  If a child is spending too much time solving unknown words, the teacher suggests that maybe the book is too hard and the student needs a new book.  I see this happening so much in my internship.  Students are attracted to books, but they are simply too hard.  My teacher has started to help them each student self check their books and then bring it to the teacher.  She tells the students to read a page of the book.  If they miss zero or one word on the page then the book is probably too easy for them.  Also, she explains that if the students miss more than five then it is too hard.  She encourages students to find books that they only struggle with 1-5 words.  This strategy has allowed students to select books more on their level.

Three Article Response

All three of these articles were very interesting to read as a perspective teacher.  Pirates in Historical Fiction and Nonfiction is an article that has great points and ideas for a teacher.  I liked how the teacher sparked her students’ interest from the moment they walked into the classroom.  The teacher had pirate music playing.  Around the room, there were books, photos, maps, and other artifacts that represented pirates.  I can imagine students walking into their classroom with big, bright smiles on their faces.  If I were a fourth grader walking into my classroom one morning surrounded my pirate things, I would be very intrigued and interested.  I would be very curious to what my teacher was up to and what interesting things I would be learning.  Also, I liked the journal idea for the student notebook.  The students had to journal about KWL.  This is the first time I have ever heard about KWL.  I find this strategy very useful, because you get to know where students are, what they want to learn, and find out what they did learn at the end.  Lastly, I found the reading twin text idea very interesting.  This is a great way to help students learn new material, because they get it from different perspectives, but get a lot of the same information.

            I found Swashbuckling Adventures on High Seas a helpful article.  This article was organized very well, and it was easy to follow along.  The first handout is great, because students get to write down important information about pirates, and then get to respond to those facts.  I like how this article has resources for students already available, because the students can find easy access to particular research topic.  Lastly, I like the wanted poster of the pirates.  This is a very engaging activity that allows students to learn more about pirates and present the information found.

            The last article dealt with internet workshops and blog publishing for students.  The article explained that students need to be embedded in meaning-rich actives, because this will allow effective student learning.  This idea is part of engaging students in learning through 21st century skills through a social studies lesson.  It is important to teach and model for the students in how to research and make blog post.  When students are researching, help them find child-friendly websites, because the students need to be able to comprehend the information.  I like the idea of using internet workshops, because these are inquiry-based lessons.  Also, these workshops are great for students, because they are proud of their work.  They want the opportunity to publish and share their work with a different audience.  They get to share their work through blog posts, writing collaborative digitals stories, or writing “I” poems.  All of these articles were wonderful and I can see how useful they would be in a classroom.


I have never been a fan of poetry, because I find it very hard to understand.  Whenever I was in grade school, I hated discussing a poem.  I didn’t want to be called on, because I couldn’t comprehend the poem, much less have a conversation about it.  As I read Love That Dog and All The Small Poems and Fourteen More,  I was surprised how much I actually liked reading these poems.  When I read Love That Dog, I couldn’t put the book down.  It was very interesting how the teacher kept Jack writing poetry.  I read the entire book in just a few minutes.  This is surprising in itself, because I don’t get too evolved in a book where I can’t put it down.  All The Small Poems and Fourteen More was a neat little poetry book.  I liked how the author took everyday things and made poems about them.  I would finish one  page while reading, then turn to the next page to see the title.  The title made me interested immediately, because I would think, “how in the world do you write a poem about that!”  Normally, I would tell you I strongly dislike poetry, but these two books made it interesting.  I believe these books would be interesting for elementary aged children as well.

MiniLesson: Day 1 and Day 2

Choosing a Topic: Day 1 and 2

Notebook Know-How (pg 15-34) and History of my Name

I really enjoyed reading the different strategies for launching a writer’s notebook.  This idea of writer’s notebook is very new to me, but I am excited about testing it out in my internship.  I am already seeing my teacher use this idea of writer’s notebook.  My cooperating teacher used the writing from a list strategy to launch her notebooks.  She made a big heart, which was divided into four sections.  The sections included:  hobbies, family, likes, dislikes.   When the fourth graders can’t think about what to write about, they look at the heart.  The heart is glued in the front cover of the writer’s notebook.  I liked learning more about the history of a name, scary stories, and the questions strategies.  I also enjoyed learning about the idea behind daily pages.  The point of daily pages is to keep students writing every day, but it also allows the students to clear their minds.  The daily pages gets students writing, but it doesn’t count as their main writing for the day.

When I looked up the history and meaning of my name, I found this information interesting.  Betsy is a nickname for Elizabeth.  There are more than 52,000 people in the United States named Betsy.  Elaine is my middle name, and it was an English name, but it wasn’t commonly used.  There are more than 6,000 people in the United States that have Sigmon as a last name.  It was interesting to find out that I am the only Betsy Sigmon in the United States.

I remember in the fifth grade, I had to ask my parents how I got my name.  My father explained that he had a little crush on Meg Ryan.  She played in a soap opera in the 1980’s.  Her character was named Betsy and she played in Guiding Light or As the World Turns.  This seems silly how I got my first name, but I love my name.  When I was little I didn’t like my name, because I didn’t know anyone with my name.  Today, I love my name, because not many people have my name.  Elaine is my middle name, this name has been passed down a few generations.  My grandmother and mother’s middle names were Elaine.  When they got married, they dropped Elaine to replace it with their maiden name.