Wednesday, September 11, 2013

      If your school does not have a set phonics program you have to use these Beanie Baby strategy posters are really cool. They might be could to use for students receiving interventions or pull out support for reading as well. You just don't want to confuse kids with to many different things. You can order the actual Beanie Babies to go with them. There are also posters and Beanie Babies for comprehension strategies for older students. The strategies are the same as just about every program.  So the strategies should be the same and not so confusing for a lot of students.
I will be using the posters with some of my groups this year and will try to buy some of the beanies as well. I will post some videos when I do.

The Beanie Babies just might be the attention getter some kids needs.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I came across this blog post today during halftime of the Kansas City Chiefs game. I thought it was a good comparison of conferring. I might add that yes you must  listen to the student and let them lead the conference(you must train them to do this), but also know what your focus for the day is, and to check and see if the student can apply it to what they are reading. Conferring is a great informal assessment tool. You may or may not be able to ask a student to apply the days focus depending on what they are reading. That being the case you might want to send students off to finish reading and reflecting on a piece of text that you handpicked to practice the focus/skill before they dig into their book of choice. You can always ask the student to talk about that piece as well as their book of choice in your conference with them

Read, Write, Reflect: Lessons on Conferring

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hallmark Channel made a movie from the book The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. This is a good meaningful book, full of great language and vocabulary and a great story featuring the events of the time. Kids love the humor between family members as well as the storyline.  There is so much you can tie into this book!  It has a great opening paragraph & chapter that really hooks readers.

Here is a link to the Scholastic Book page with an video about the author.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham Scholastic page

My district is in full swing of implementing the Readers & Writers Workshop Model. I like the model as a reading teacher, but you have to remember there is no one program or model that reaches all students, a teacher does this by giving students what they need, when they need it. Sometimes that means steering off the roads, but being able to map where you are going still. Here is an example of some tips my principal emailed out today for the workshop model. These are good things to remember!

Tips for managing the workshop

Ø  Discuss what each component should look like 
Secondary Example:
·      Introduce learning targets
·      Build the “need to know” for the lesson
·      Finish bell work
·      Read learning targets or I can statements
Mini lesson
·      Reading
·      Writing
·      Thinking aloud
·      Modeling
·      Turn & Talk with partner
·      Listening
Work time
·      Conferring
·      Catch/Release
·      Reading
·      Thinking
·      Responding
·      Select students to share
·      Share what students did
·      Turn & Talk
·      Active Listening
·      Learning from others
·      Formative assessment
Ø  Take time to establish guidelines for productive, independent group work.  Include students in this process, for they are more apt to follow guidelines and goals they helped create. 
Include expectations for:
o   what to do if they finish early
o   what to do if you are conferring and they have a question or if they need to leave the room (i.e. go to the bathroom), what do to if they need supplies

*  Ask students to suggest behavior guidelines that will help groups discuss text, complete projects, and/or confer.  State guidelines in positive sentences so they understand what they can and should do, rather than what they shouldn’t do.

*Build students stamina to work through the entire work time. Include catch and releases as you see students off task throughout the time.  Set goals for the amount of time they will work before you pull them back together.

* Communicate how students will be assessed on the learning target that day; clear expectations for what they will need to accomplish by the end of the class-remind students of this as they begin their worktime.

* Routines and procedures may need to be revisited periodically to ensure all students are productive in a workshop environment.