Monday, March 17, 2014

Telling "Secrets"…& a FREEBIE!

Has anyone else out there in bloggy-land checked out Deanna Jump's blog when Katie Garner has guest blogged?

Mrs. Garner has been presenting precious pearls of wisdom that relate to phonics instruction and reaching kids who may not 'get it' from implemented core or supplemental resources, through what she calls a "back door approach" to phonics and spelling patterns.

I have used most of what I learned from Mrs. Garner's blog posts and videos.
My Tier (Intervention) group has really latched onto, and recalled, the "Secrets" I've taught them.

If you are not familiar with her ideas, I strongly recommend you go to her first (of many life-changing) post here:

My post can wait.

K…did you read it?
In its entirety??
Or did you do the teacher thing and skim through...
I'll wait while you go re-read:)

Seriously, her system is mind-blowing!
I have since become subscribed to her vlogs on YouTube, and her own blog, as well.
I am obsessed! #slightlystalker-ish

I had already planned to purchase her book this summer, just to check it out and see what I thought.
I was super curious about her background (i.e., how credible she is a researcher/instructor).
I wanted to know more about where/when this idea of revealing spelling patterns as "Secret Stories" to her students was created.
I desperately needed to learn all her other "Secrets", since the few she has told worked so well!

The price seemed a little steep (when you're talking about out-of-pocket purchases for school-use items), but I was more than willing to fork it over if I felt it would really help my students! (which I do)

Little did I know (until this post) that if you comment on her posts (at Mrs. Jump's blog or Mrs. Garner's own blog) or vlogs, you are automatically entered in a monthly drawing to win an entire set of her resources!!!

Should your lucky name be drawn, you get the whole enchilada:
her book, a CD with all sorts of fun phonics songs, & BEAUTIFUL, LARGE posters of her "Secret Stories" patterns.
Just look:
click on the pic to be taken directly to the SECRET STORIES website/store/blog!
Don't you know I was tickled pink---okay, more like completely psyched out of mind!---when Katie emailed me letting me know that MY NAME HAD BEEN DRAWN AS THE FEBRUARY WINNER!!!
I know!

That lovely box came in the mail this morning.
It must really be a 'lucky' day:)

I have spent all morning perusing her book, listening to the CD, and admiring the posters.
I thought I would wait until next fall to fully implement her ideas…I just can't wait that long!
Now, I'm planning on "telling secrets" to my whole class as soon as we get back from Spring Break.

I'll preface the secrets by telling them:
"Now that you are almost 2nd Graders, and getting to be so grown-up, I can let you in on some actual grown-up reading & writing secrets! Most adults don't remember these secrets, because they've just been reading and writing for so long…but teachers are special and get to remember the secrets of the alphabet!
If you all are working hard like almost 2nd Graders, and doing your very best every day, I will let you in on a grown-up secret at the start of the next day.
But, if I feel like you aren't doing your best work, I will know that you aren't quite grown up enough to hear a "secret", and I'll have to wait until a better day to tell you."

Here is me crossing my fingers, toes, eyes and whatever that this will keep our behavior in check as we zoom towards the end of the school year!

I'll start with the secret that goes with our spelling pattern for that week (ai-ay), and release other secrets when the need arises.
THAT is the true beauty of Katie Garner's system: it really does work best on a "need-to-know" basis!
You teach your students based on the necessity of classroom content---when the students notice a "secret" or it comes up context.
Not just the reading block, but anytime they encounter a word that just doesn't seem to read like it should.

For those of you who need a clear-cut "scope and sequence" to anything you implement, you may want to set that kind of control aside.
Even developmental readiness shouldn't get in the way of teaching your students these secrets…they will use them when they are ready, but you should present them whenever it is appropriate.

Okay, I'll let Mrs. Garner herself fill you in on the rest!
I hope you are intrigued if you haven't already heard about/from her.
Check out one of her coolest vlogs by clicking the button below, and COMMENT, COMMENT, COMMENT!

Best of luck to you that your name comes up as the winnah next month:)

Oh yeah…I promised a freebie:)
In one of Mrs. Garner's routines to build automaticity, she uses a vertical alphabet chart.
This chart helps with the ease and flow of her "Better Alphabet" song and "letter runs".
Already thinking about implementing these routines into my day, I created one for me to use.
Click on the image below if you want to download it for free to use in your classroom:)

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