Monday, July 13, 2015

Wolf...A Lesson Plan

Mrs. Waters has challenged #Oklaed to share a favorite lesson plan!  Here goes...

These are activities from one of  my favorite 3rd grade units (but I plan to modify for 1st grade)...I know it was supposed to be a lesson plan...but my early-childhood brain thinks in thematic chunks!!  I don't always use all of the activities I'm sharing (and there are others I use but didn't include), it really depends on the amount of time I have, and sometimes activities are stretched out over multiple days.  I incorporated some of the activities into centers/learning stations. (I didn't include vocabulary, spelling...)

Wolf (story is a trade book but can also be found in Treasures third grade reading book)

*Story Elements: Genre, Setting, Character, Problem and Solution
*Compare and Contrast (fiction v nonfiction wolf / comparing storybook wolves)
*Continued writing practice, complete sentences, paragraph form and organization
*The science portion of this unit is a great opportunity to talk about using resource materials

Whole Group:
Read story 
Discuss and identify:
(make an anchor chart with this info (I'm cheap I use butcher paper for anchor charts), students can also make mini version in journal.  We do this with each story so this doesn't take too much time.  The focus for today's independent work will be character, so we will spend additional time talking about descriptive words.)
Create an illustration of Wolf...Write descriptive words (of his character) around him.
(Students will use this same process to describe a character from independent reading/library book, and other assigned reading.) 

Whole Group:
(Practice finding problem and solution)
Read aloud The 3 Little Pigs
identify problem and solution (create anchor chart/giant fold-able)
(I sometimes have students create a mini chart in journal...helps them stay focused.)
Reading Practice:
Independent and Buddy Reading of Wolf (looking for problem and solution)
Small Group/Partner Activity:
Discuss the problem and steps taken to solve the problem in Wolf with your partner.
(It is important to walk the room and be available finding problem and solution can be a challenge..let students know you are an available resource.)
Come together as a large group and share ideas (take notes on board for students reference).
Independent Work:
Create a fold-able sharing the problem, steps taken, and solution .

Whole Group:
Alternate Versions of "The Three Little Pigs"...
(When I need multiple copies of books I borrow from other teachers or get them on iBooks)
Small Group:
Allow students to reread these stories in small groups
And share ideas to compare and contrast (take notes in journal)
Create a compare and contrast fold-able or Venn diagram (My students got confused by the diagram so I switched to a fold-able...just paper folded into thirds)

*Study of wolves, research and gathering information

Whole Group:
Introduce "real" wolves using YouTube video (In The Valley of The Wolves)
(The above link is just an example.  I couldn't find my usual link. We don't watch entire video...I usually find a 3-5  minute clip and use it.  Sometimes clips come from various videos)
Start an example of a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting real and storybook wolves on the board or make an anchor can add to this throughout the week. (Be prepared...if you're like me...if it can go wrong it will go wrong with video! Have a book ready for back up!!)
Small Groups:
Provide students with books about wolves and teacher created search engine. Research types of wolves, habitats, characteristics, life in the pack...
Organize information (at least 5 facts) and share with large group
(This activity can be spread over several days by assigning specific topics for research each day...habitat, types of wolves, the language of wolves/communication...)
(I sometimes have problems with students not really reading the material just writing down random facts, but students know I will ask them questions about the facts they have written.  This helps to make sure students are actually paying attention to what they are writing.)
1. create a Venn Diagram (or fold-able if students aren't ready for diagram) comparing and contrasting real and storybook wolves (or 2 different types of wolves)
2. Use research for informative paragraph or mini report.

Social Studies
(These are just resources I use not actual lesson plans)
The Legend of 2 Wolves Video
(there are other videos with more animation,but I love the naration in this one!)
The Legend of 2 Wolves written form

Questions for discussion and daily journal:
Identify other main characters in the story.
What are they like?
Why don't they want to be friends with wolf?
Have you ever been in a situation where others didn't want to be your friend? Explain.

(The following activity was added 7/31/2016)
STEAM things up with this Wolf Setting/Habitat activity  This project will require students to collaborate, problem solve, use math skills (measurement...), physics, art...
Reporting: Students will work with their group to decide what to report on; Wolf story book setting, or the habitat of real wolves.  Information can be recorded in a variety of ways, graphic organizer, essay style, students made get the idea.
Model of Setting or Habitat: 
Students will work in groups to create either the storybook setting or real life habitat for a wolf. Students will be provide with boxes, paper, cardboard, paints... They will work together to plan how the setting should be built, problem solving, and collaborating to achieve the finished product.
Presentation:  Students will choose one or more of the following methods of presentation: give an oral presentation to the class, set up as a visual presentation, or prepare a video.

Other wolf stories:
Little Red Riding Hood (various versions
          Little Red Riding Hood a Prairie Tale
          Ninja Red Riding Hood...
Other Activities
1. Write an original story starring a wolf.
2. Write a continuation of one of the storybooks shared in this unit.
(Writing assignments can be a challenge...I break it into steps and sometime strech the assignment over more than one day)
3. Build a better house for the Little Pigs (can incorporate math and science).
4. What's in Little Red's basket..story problems (math problems can be students created or teacher created).  I have students write the problem and use construction paper & creativity to model the math problem. (This is one of my favorite activities but can be challenging.  Our literacy coach happened to stop by when we were working on this and stayed to help...the additional help was great!)

Sometimes you have to make exceptions:
Most of my students enjoy thematic units and working in groups; however there is always a student or two who prefers to work alone.  I try to accommodate their desire to work alone, but encourage them to do at least some group work (social skills are important too).  There are students who are hesitant to take part in oral participation as well.  I make accommodations based on that students needs..sometime amount to be presented in modified, sometimes they are given an alternate way to share.

Can't wait to see what the rest of #oklaed is sharing!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why I Teach (Part 2)

Earlier this week I wrote part one of "Why I Teach"...part one is the beginning of my journey...but as with all good doesn't stop there.

Soon after graduation I took my first job teaching kindergarten...for 2 year I loved on and taught those kindergarten babies with all I had. I laughed and celebrated with my students and their families, but I also cried and mourned with a family in the loss of their precious little boy. I learned very quickly that yes, education is what takes place in the classroom, but it is strengthened by the relationships you build outside.  Families are more supportive, and students are more excited when they see that you are invested in them.

Upon the birth of my first child I took time away from teaching...but not time away from public schools and education.  I believe in and always have believed in public schools and TEACHERS!!  I served on public school committees and was involved with various activities supporting teachers.  Once my oldest started school I became involved in PTA...because education is about more than what happens in the classroom it is about the relationships we build.  I am so blessed to have had these opportunities to be involved in education and support educators.  In these activities I observed success as teachers were invested in students and families...and as parents became invested in the educational process.

During this time I also had the great privilege of being a Girl Scout leader to an amazing group of girls.  Yet another opportunity to build community and relationships...the opportunity to watch as these young girls grew into young women.  One of my most treasured memories was when one of their teachers spoke of our girls commitment to one-another.  Our girls were a very diverse group we had the athletes, the academically gifted, the artistic...but somehow they learned to celebrated those differences...and stood up for each other.  What a blessing to teach and lead these girls...but most of all to learn about commitment and relationships from them.

Two years ago I went back to classroom teaching with the knowledge and deep belief that education is about more that what happens in a at it's best is built on relationships and community. I continue to celebrate with parents and students...and sometimes even cry.  Many of my 3rd graders came from broken homes, or have one or more parents in jail...for these students (really all students) education can not take place unless they feel a sense of community and positive relationship. 

This summer a group of teachers from my school visited the park in the apartment complex where many of our students live...we told stories, made crafts, ate hot dogs.  We met out kiddos in their the summer...when we didn't have to...and they were so happy! I had the opportunity to meat parents that I had never met before, because some of these parents don't come to the school.   Me...I was blessed beyond measure to be with my students in their own environment to watch them, to play with build community and relationship.

I teach because I believe in children and families.  I believe that community and relationships can have a positive effect on education and vice versa.  I will continue to be involved not only in the classroom, but in PTA and other community organizations...because to more effectively reach students...I must reach their families...we must be invested in one another...I guess that is the very definition of community!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Why I Teach (Part 1)

Let's start at the beginning...

When I started kindergarten I was an artist, an explorer, an actress, a singer, a creator...but by 2 grade I learned that those things didn't make me "smart".  I was never the first one to finish a timed test or in the top reading group, eventually I just stopped trying on those pesky timed tests, it was better not to try than to be one of the last ones finished.

In third grade the "smart" kids got to go to the "Gifted and Talented" program.  I remember thinking "What? I'm gifted and very talented...there must have been some mistake" didn't know then (and I'm not sure I know now) that talent and giftedness were measured by a test.  I was the daydreamer, the always drawing on the back of my paper, and doodling girl.  I was the kid waiting for that rare occasion when we would have a creative writing assignment...because those were the days I could shine!

Don't get me wrong I enjoyed elementary school.  I was in honor choir, had best friends, talked a little too much...and was even sent to the principal office once. I learned many things, I learned that I loved music, art, creative writing, social studies projects and science experiments (when we got to do them). I learned that worksheets were boring, and in my stubbornness I learned how to get away without doing them...I learned to just get by. I also learned that I was terrible at Math..I learned that I would never understand it...NEVER!

Those first years in elementary school set the stage for Jr High...where I discovered band, choir, and drama! Oh the joy!  Finally things I was good at!! I also came to Jr high with the knowledge that I was no good at math.  I had an amazing 7th grade teacher who tried to convince me otherwise, but I had already made up my mind. I wish I had listened to him...he was the last Math teacher who would try to convince me that I could do it.  I got by in my other classes, never trying too hard, because in my Jr high mind trying and failing would be the worst.

I was among the Drama and Choir elite in High School...scoring leads in musicals holding office in Drama Club. I knew what I was good at and worked to be the best! I liked my English classes...reading books, writing reports...these were things I could do. Math...No...Not good...Why Try!

During my Jr High and High School years I also spent a lot of time working with kids at church and day care jobs.  I loved kids, and I was good with them.  I was always the one who could come up with fun ways to keeps the kids busy and having fun.  I  knew I wanted to be a teacher so I started college as a music major.  In my first education class, we talked about why we wanted to be teachers, what teaching meant, how to make it meaningful, how to reach the unreachable kids, how to make all students feel like they were learners.  This professor was talking about students like me.  In that class I realized that I wasn't dumb, I wasn't stupid...I really was "gifted and talented" (all kids are).  I could have and should have learned and accomplished more.  

After taking that class I changed my major to "Early Childhood Education", because I knew that I could make a difference for students like myself.  Later I had a professor who said "most teachers become teachers because they love kids, and they loved school". I became a teacher because I love kids and because I didn't love the learning part of fact I hated work sheets and answering questions at the end of the capters.  I became a teacher because I wanted to be a different kind of teacher!

There have been times when I've told my story to people and they've said "I'm sorry you had that experience"...but I'm not sorry...I'm happy!! If I hadn't had those experiences I wouldn't be as sensitive as I am to my students, and  I wouldn't truly understand their frustrations.  I still remember hating when the teacher called me to the board to do a math problem, I still remember filling random numbers in on my timed tests, I still remember wishing for a writing assignment... 
I became a teacher so that I could teach all learners, and help them to realize the amazing potential within!!

(P.S.  I don't have a problem with gifted programs.  My own children have been in them...I know that they have a place in our schools...but I want all children to know that they are gifted...we're all gifted in different ways. Gifted programs tend to be more project based and engaging...I want to bring that to my own classroom!!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Letter To My Community

To whom is may concern (& it concerns all of us),
   These are just a few of the things I would like you to understand about what current legislation is doing to public education.  First of all I want to be clear, I’m not posting about education because I want to make more money, I’m not posting about education because I don’t want to be accountable for what I teach, I’m posting about education because I care about kids and their education and well being. If you don’t have children or your students attend private school, charter schools, are homeschooled, or are all grown up…this is important for all of us. The quality of public education impacts us all as a community and society.
   I was like most of you, I realized there were problems in education and maybe there was a little too much testing…”but expecting a 3rd grader to read isn’t that big of a deal is it?”…and then 2 years ago I went back to teaching. I took a job teaching 3rd grade at Sky Ranch a wonderful school in Moore. My school is a title 1 school (many of our students come from families with a low income). I’m thankful that God placed me at Sky Ranch and in 3rd grade because I’ve learned a lot about what is wrong with testing and have made it a point to learn more about educational policies.
   For those of you that may not know, 3rd graders who do not pass the state test repeat 3rd grade unless they meet one of the “good cause exemptions”. My son Luke took the 3rd grade test this year and I assured him he would pass. I talked with him at length (while he rolled his eye) about the fact that he is more than one test score and I’m proud of everything he has accomplished so far…I love him no matter what! Luke is like most of your kids he comes from a family where we read, go to the zoo, or museums…and he’s fortunate to not have a learning disability. While I don’t think testing is the best thing for him and others like him…I handle it…but he’s not every kid. I had students in my class write letters to me telling how they felt about taking the test…some of those letters broke my heart. I had students cry while taking the test because they knew they wouldn’t be able to pass it. One student who was retained last year because of failing the test, took it again this year and failed again…just what everyone needs to boost their self-esteem…you weren’t unsatisfactory once but twice. Uuuug!! I could say more about this aspect of testing, but I’m going to stop myself. (Don’t get me wrong I believe students should learn to read, and sometimes retention is needed…but there are better ways to handle these situations)
   Teachers spend a lot of time preparing students for the test. Yes the state test is aligned with our state standards and it is important for all teachers to teach the state standards; however preparing for a test and teaching a rich curriculum that includes the state standards is not the same. Many of our students start Kindergarten behind and do not have the advantage of parents who are actively involved and invested in their education. It is the job of K-3 teachers to close the educational gap so that these kiddos can be successful on the 3rd grade test…this doesn’t allow much wiggle room for engaging projects, science experiments…activities that encourage higher level thinking skills and creative problem solving. The testing problem doesn’t stop in third grade; it’s a continual battle to prepare these kids.
   Not only do we spend hours preparing for the test we spend hours giving it, 2nd grade on up take some sort of test, but 3rd grade just happens to be the year that can have the most detrimental effect on students. When the test is given the entire school goes on lock down, all grade levels must stay quiet in their classrooms, halls are closed off, schedules are changed, the cafeteria must remain silent, in some schools students are not allowed to leave their classroom for lunch they just have a sack lunch in their classrooms. Maybe you’re thinking so what; it’s just a couple of days. That’s where you would be wrong…this process can take more than 3 weeks, by the time all grades are tested, students who require special testing environments are tested, and make up tests are given. That’s valuable teaching time! To make matters worse once testing is over students feel like school is over…why should they have to learn anything else they took the test? 
   Moore has always been committed to high standards in education and was one of the last districts to remove the class size cap. Gone are the days of 20-22 kids per class, funds are just not available to the smaller class size. My class hovered between 24 and 25 students (that’s a lot of third graders), lower grade teachers had similar numbers, and upper grades had even more. I cannot give the same individualize attention to 25 students as I can to 20, and the more students you add to a classroom the more discipline problems you encounter. If education is actually a priority we need to fund it adequately.
   I could go on about all of this, but I won’t. I encourage you to read articles (Oklahome Education Watch is a good place to start), I encourage you to find out what’s going on in education…and if there are issues that don’t set well with you please contact your state house and senate reps. 
(P.S. The third grade reading test isn’t actually a reading test. Yes, reading is part of the test but we also cover things like Dictionary, Encyclopedia, Almanac, and Atlas skills. When’s the last time you used one of those?)

(This letter was previously posted on my Facebook page.  We have to share our stories...without them we will not see change!)

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Letter To The Oklahoma House of Representatives...

I am a third grade teacher at a Title-1 School and the parent of a third grader.  I ask that you take time to think about how families and students in our state will be best represented.  Is taking a parent’s voice away, silencing a teacher, or treating a third grader like a test score the best way to represent and serve them?

I’m not sure what the house is thinking, but this testing stuff is madness! I know people like to think that teachers aren’t doing their jobs..and if we were we wouldn’t be afraid of how our students would score on the test.  Let me tell you a little bit about my students.  I have more than one student who has been diagnosed with ADHD (and it’s the real deal, not a made up excuse for bad behavior), another student who was diagnosed with autism just this year, a boy who is very smart but spends most of his time worrying if his mother is going to be in or out of jail, a girl who lives with her aunt because her mom just got out of jail and hasn’t been able to find a job, at least 2 students who speak fluent Spanish and while their English is good they have limited understanding of certain vocabulary.  I could go on, but you get the picture.  Imagine yourself in their shoes…is it possible that you might have a bad day, a day when you just can’t focus…is it possible that maybe some of these kids just aren’t test takers? Do we really need to base their future on one test? Yes, there are exemptions but those exemptions don’t always apply. Currently a student on an IEP can be retained if they score unsatisfactory, but at least under the current law there are certain exemptions that apply; such as benchmarking on DIBELS Testing, or a team/committee decision…under SB 630 the committee will go away and to my knowledge the second form of testing might go away as well.  These kids deserve better, they are individuals with individual needs.

In the days leading up to the test I asked my students to write about how they were feeling about the test and also asked them to tell me about anything that might keep them from doing their best on the test.  Some of my students felt confident and prepared, but many were fearful of failing, one student wrote that they would kill themselves if they didn’t pass (I spoke with the student before and after the test and they are feeling better about things, but the fact that a 3rd grader would have these thought even for a minute is unacceptable).  One boy wrote “I can’t concentrate because my parents are getting a divorce”, another student was worried about his brother who was in the hospital because of a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.  I could go on, but thinking about those letters makes me sick. 

I’m not sure that legislators understand what they are doing to education.  These laws are causing many to view students as test scores, this makes me physically ill, but I see how it happens.  Schools are judged on test performance, and many teachers and administrators don’t want to be associated with low performing students or schools.  Most people would agree that “teaching to the test” is not appropriate, but making everything hinge on one test is in direct conflict with that belief.  

The test is a waste!! I don’t know how to explain to you the amount of time that is wasted preparing for and taking the state test.  As soon as students start 3rd grade (at Title 1 schools) we begin targeting students who will need extra help to pass the test.  After Christmas we begin hard core test prep and the closer the test comes it intensifies. We spend 2 mornings a week, for 2 weeks testing…and that’s just 3rd grade.  If you take into account all testing grades and the time it takes to test students on IEP’s and makeup tests…my school has been testing for a month.  When one grade is testing it affects the schedule of the entire school, students are required to eat lunch in silence so that none of the testing grades are disturbed…It’s insane!

I’m sure you’re aware that there is a teacher shortage and yes part of it is the fact that teachers don’t get paid enough (but I won’t even go there); there are teachers leaving  the profession because they can’t stomach what has happened to public education.  If you look at the elementary job postings the majority are for testing grades.  Teachers aren’t lazy, they want to teach kids, they want to do what’s right for kids, and they know that all of this testing is WRONG!!  There are teachers who are afraid to teach 3rd grade at a Title-1 School, because they’re afraid of how low test scores will reflect on them as a teacher.  If we want the best teachers to teach at Title-1 Schools, we have to stop penalizing them and their students!!!

For the record, I care about my students way more than I care about their test score.  Their test score matters to me, because I know it will affect them…and the way things are going with SB 630 it will affect them even more next year.  Mess with me if you must…but don’t mess with kids!! I am currently debating whether I can continue teaching 3rd grade, not because I don’t love 3rd graders, but because I don’t believe in what I have to do because of the test. 

It is with great conviction that I ask you to give parents, teachers, and administrators a voice. Say no to SB 630.

Jennifer Seitsinger

3rd Grade Teacher 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Learning On The Horizon

This week my students will take the last portion of the state test, we will take math on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I'm ready for all of this to be done and behind us.  My students are ready as well.  A few weeks ago one of my students came to me with her Oklahoma History book and said..."Mrs. Seitsinger did you forget we had this book".  How sad!!  My students are curious and crave knowledge and understanding of the world around them, but all I've been able to give them for the past month is Test Prep.  

Sadly my students don't spend much time learning science, social studies, or history in third grade. I'm at a low socioeconomic school and yes we are a low performing school as well.  Last year we brought our scores up...but I often wonder if the sacrifice is too great.  When my students come to me many are bellow grade level or struggling to stay afloat in third grade.  The first half of the year is spent catching them up so that they will be prepared for test prep...yes you heard right...we have to prepare for test prep.  Don't get me wrong real teaching is going students are active learners creating interactive notebooks, posters to present, writing long as the majority of what we do can tie back to the test we're okay. I do my best to squeeze in a little science and social studies, but it's difficult to make it truly meaningful when our main focus is on reading skills.  The first part of our afternoon is filled with math, and you guessed it, many of my students are behind in math as well.  My memories of third grade are filled with timed multiplication tests and practice, even my son who attends a more affluent school in the district has earned a banana spit party by memorizing all of his multiplication facts, but that's not third grade at my school.  Most of my students haven't mastered their basic addition facts, and many lack a true understating of number.  I start with the basics with the hopes that I can guide the students to a better understanding of math in time for math test prep and the test.

You may be thinking this is a disgrace. Teachers aren't supposed to teach to the test.  If so I absolutely wholeheartedly agree!!  I hate teaching to the test, I hate that the test dictates how I run my class...but that is the harsh reality of high stakes testing.  I do a pretty good job of keeping things stimulating and engaging for the first half of the year, but after Christmas...Test Mania begins. It starts a little at at time, and by mid February we are in full on Test Prep Mode.  It's hard to make test prep fun...I try by allowing students to work in groups or having them create Anchor Charts for specific topics...but even those activities grow tiresome after awhile.  

But alas, Real Learning Is On The Horizon!!  With the test behind us we will be able to break out the science books, we'll be able to read from our Oklahoma History books, and start a novel study.  We'll read Little House on the prairie, and make corn bread.  We'll go back to practicing hands on math, so that my students will have a better understanding of math and number.  We'll explore our world through learning!!  I find it sad that so much time is wasted on one test when meaningful learning could be taking place...but I will put those feeling behind me and push on to the glorious days ahead...of exploring and learning alongside my students!  No worksheets no test prep packets...just real hands on exploration and learning.

As I approach the horizon of real learning I must not be silent.  I know I must speak up for my students...we all need to speak up for positive change in education.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Research Around the Room (Using Resource/Reference Materials)

There is nothing quite so meaningful as hands on learning experience, and there are few things more valuable than learning to cooperate and learn as a group.  I offer hands on and group learning on a daily basis, but Friday is usually set aside as a day of  Rotations /Centers a full day of hands on interactive learning.

Who would have imagined that students would be so excited to learn about and practice using resource/reference materials? 

The following rotations were provided, and students recorded information from each rotation in their center journal. My instructions weren't anything too fancy.  I simply wrote tasks out and taped them to tables around the room.  Students enjoyed getting up and moving around at their own pace.

Dictionary (Guide Word Practice)


Table of Contents

(I must not have photoed of this one, but students were asked to identify where certain Chapters would be found and what chapters were about)


Students were also instructed to choose one topic and write a fact about it.


Students were given 2 topics and were instructed to find each in the encyclopedia and write 2 facts about each topic.


This was a student Atlas and included more information than some more traditional Atlases.  Students were instructed to find information about specific states. 



(Students use a teacher made search engine.  Follow this link to learn how...How to Create A Custom Google Search Engine

I love hands on experience and am always excited to hear how other teachers keep their students actively engaged in learning! How do keep students actively engaged with hands on learning?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Oh the Thinks You Can Think...a cause and effect lesson inspired by Dr. Seuss

Shared Reading and Intro To Cause and Effect Lesson

My students have become quite good at identifying cause and effect, but I wanted to kick things up a notch and have them write their own cause and effect sentences. To get things started we read Oh the Thinks You Can Think! (by Dr. Seuss) .  We talked about the creative, unique characters, and settings that Dr. Seuss creates in his writing, and went on to think about cause and effect as it relates to Oh the Thinks You can Think!. I wrote sentences from the story on the board and as a class we thought of  causes to go with the sentences:

Example 1
book quote:  "And think about BEFT. Why is it that beft always go to the left?"
student generated cause and effect:  Beft go to the left because they are scared of the monster on the right.

Example 2
book quote: "And what would you do if you met a JIBOO?"
student generated cause and effect: If I met a JIBOO I would ask him to play soccer because he is nice.

Creating Original Cause and Effect Sentences and Independent Practice
After this activity we made silly cause and effect sentences as a group, and then students were asked to create 5, Dr Seuss inspired, cause and effect sentences and write them in their journals.  Once this was done students chose one sentence to write and illustrate.  Illustrations were done in a comic strip format.  the first box showing the cause and the second showing the effect.

Students enjoyed this activity once they got started, but it was challenging for some of them to write their own cause and effect at first.  It's one thing to identify cause and effect when reading, but higher level thinking skills are required when you are writing your own!

It's always fun to see what "Thinks" my students can "Think"!!