How do I teach Shurley English in a multi-grade classroom?

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When I began teaching at a small private parochial school, I learned quickly that even though I was teaching two grade levels of Shurley English in the same room, there was a disparity in the way I had to instruct each level. Each group had different developmental needs and learning objectives. Along the way, I discovered a few extremely effective strategies for teaching different groups of students that I would like to share with you today.

1. Work together. First, assess which parts of the curriculum are the same and have all your students work together. To a veteran Shurley English teacher, this is a snap. (It’s the jingles and the Question and Answer Flow!) Start with Jingle Time and have all your students work together to perfect the designated jingle. Then, move on to the Question and Answer Flow. Remember, The Question and Answer Flow never changes…it simply grows in complexity as the students gain more knowledge of the parts of speech and gain greater “sentence sense.” 

2. Provide mentoring opportunities. Be sure to capitalize on the expertise of the older students to take younger students under their wings. This is especially helpful with a dynamic program like Shurley English, because the older students’ become masters of language quickly and can often impart that knowledge even easier than you can! The older groups of students can actually instruct and tutor the younger students. (Just be sure the information and training they provide is CORRECT!) Always give your older students a crash course in student-student etiquette—you know, what to say/not to say; how much help is TOO much help, etc.

3. Raise expectations. Challenge younger students to match some of the same expectations you hold for the older students. You will have to bear in mind that, developmentally, some younger kids may not be quite up to the challenge, but they will strive with a level of determination that will astound you.

Remember, when you have a unique instructional setting, it may require you to implement some out-of-the-box thinking and that is okay! Change things up. Implement the nontraditional. You and your students are more than capable of adapting and thriving!

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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.

 

He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.

Back-to-School Planning: Creating Shurley English Centers

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As you relax into your summer break and feel the freedom of each day, consider thinking about those learning centers you wanted to create during the school year but never had the time to do.  With a clear mind and more time to tap into your right brain, creating Shurley English Learning Centers might just be a fun little project to work on.  My two-part series called, "Shurley English Centers for Your ELA Classroom," will teach you how to create them step-by-step.   Here’s a quick review:

 

GET ORGANIZED:

1.     Select the subject materials you would like to develop.

2.     Decide how many learning centers to create. (Computer stations can count as one.)

3.     Plan where each center will be located.

4.     Determine the student objectives for each activity.

5.     Calculate the amount of time to allow at each center.  Decide if learning centers will be open on a weekly basis or a specific day of the week.  How long will the learning center be used?

6.    Name each learning center.  On a sheet of paper, write a description of the center.  Then, write the step-by-step explanatory instructions to complete each task.

7.     Be sure to review the expectations with your class before the centers officially open and close your learning centers with a "Wrap-up Session" or "Take-Away Time."

 

 

GET FOCUSED:

M.E.A.P.S. is the acronym used to explain the characteristics included in effective learning centers. The letters stand for:

Multisensory: Activities should appeal to all learning styles!  Students will
"See It, Hear It, Say It, Do It!"

Engaging: Strive for 100% student participation!

Aligned: Content must support your current classroom instruction.

Purposeful: Centers should serve a purpose to support learning. Watch students in action and assess what you need to assess!

Student directed: Students should be able to follow directions without teacher help. They should be responsible and accountable for their own learning.

 

GET CREATIVE:

Here are some ideas for learning centers that will support Shurley English curriculum:

1.  Listening/Video/Jingles

2.  Question & Answer Flow Practice

3.  Practice & Revised Sentences/Sentence Blueprints

4.  Writing

5.  Silent Station

6.  Teacher Station/Float

 

Remember to come back next week to see even more information about creating classroom learning centers.  The most important thing is for you to develop centers that will support your curriculum in a fun and creative way.  Your students will thank you!

 

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.

 

How to Choose the Best Homeschooling Curriculum

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SPOILER ALERT:  I’m going to get personal and invite you to ask yourself some tough questions. Stay with me. I promise you'll be glad you did!

At a recent educator’s convention, I interacted with a parent and teacher who was searching for a Grammar and Writing curriculum.  I gently offered her some verbal information, a flyer about Shurley English, and gave her some space.  I observed her leaf through the pages of an older, black and white version of the curriculum with convincing focus.  Then, a confused look on her face invited me to initiate further conversation, so I asked her if she was looking for anything specific… “Grammar and Writing” was her response.  I assured her she was in the right place and began sharing with her the big picture of how Shurley English makes the Grammar-Writing Connection.  I let her know that our latest edition was in a digital format, she immediately said, “This isn’t for my son; I don’t want him on the computer because he gets too distracted,” and she bolted out of the booth.  A surge of questions rushed through my head as I was choking on the dust her trail left behind.  The question that lingered in my mind most was, “Is this curriculum not a good fit for YOU or YOUR CHILD?"

Learning styles are groups of common ways people learn.  We all have a mix of learning styles that may suit us, and some learners have a dominant style.  We utilize different styles based on the situation we are in, too.  We are able to develop our less dominant learning styles and further develop our preferred style.  This experience really nagged at me because the next question that popped up in my mind was, “I wonder if she even knows what type of learner her son is, and does she know what type of a learner she is?”  Whether you’re teaching one child or 30 children, knowing students’ preferred learning style is vital to being an effective teacher!  As a side-note, as an adult and life-long learner, life can be much simpler if you understand YOUR preferred style of learning.

Get familiar with these different styles of learning:

  1. Verbal
  2. Visual
  3. Auditory
  4. Kinesthetic
  5. Logical
  6. Social
  7. Solitary
Source Credit: https://bonniegillespie.com/is-your-learning-style-the-problem/

Source Credit: https://bonniegillespie.com/is-your-learning-style-the-problem/

Sadly, many schools and teachers still use more traditional teaching methods which equates to a limited range of teaching and learning techniques.  Sitting in individual desks (cubicles) and book-based teaching with lectures, reviews, and exams work for some learners, but not all, and many that don’t fit into that box have been labeled with behavior issues, learning disabilities, and even less intelligent.  Hmmm?  That would explain why I struggled in certain subject areas growing up, and why the field of Teaching was so appealing to me; I knew there were multiple ways to learn.  We are all different, so why would anyone think that there is just ONE way to learn? 

If you’re teaching Shurley English, I don’t have to tell you that our method of teaching and the strategies used are for ALL STUDENTS…Shurley students SEE IT, HEAR IT, SAY IT, & DO IT!  As for my convention experience, I respect the parent-teacher’s opinion and decision, but I can’t help but wonder, “What if her child doesn’t learn in the exact same way she does?  What if the child could be engaged in learning and not distracted while on the computer?”  Did this teacher fail to consider the topic of learning style and just miss a huge opportunity for her son/student to become a competent, confident communicator…for life? Being an effective educator is not just about reading from the teacher’s manual in each subject, it’s all about getting below the surface-know your child, know your students, and know the curriculum you teach!

Comment /Source

Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.

 

Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.