Thursday, November 22, 2012

"We Already Read That"

** This post is in honor of Thanksgiving... and all the recipes we are all reading today as we cook. Happy Thanksgiving from my recipes to yours!**

So one reason (there are many) that we use Shared Reading in our classrooms (K-12) is to do to a deeper level of reading. Amie Buckner in her book Notebook Connections, speaks of first draft, second draft, third draft writing. We know all about that, it's not knew. But Amie stretches us to apply that concept to first draft, second draft, third draft READING.  Each reading giving kids more time and opportunity with the text.  So in Shared Reading, we will read the same text (passages, paragraphs of text) multiple times. Naturally, you'll have a child that says, "We already read that!" Refrain from saying anything sarcastic, and be ready ahead of time with this lesson! 

Let the teaching begin...
"Boys and girls, I want to show you how readers read things more than once. The other night, I was on a website (Pinterest of course) looking for something that I could cook for dinner at my house. I found a recipe for soup that looked really yummy! I read through it and it seemed easy enough to make and the ingredients sounded good together, so I printed it. SO NOW I'VE READ IT ONCE.

"A few nights later I remembered that recipe and I went to get it from the printer. I was going to the grocery store after work and I wanted to make sure I had all the ingredients. I read it and wrote down things I would need to buy at the store."

"Then it was the night I wanted to make the soup. I had read it twice already, but I couldn't remember how to make it exactly. Were you supposed to mix the meat with the sauce? How much flour was it again? When I'm making the recipe I have to read it a few times. First I read it and got all my ingredients out of the fridge and the pantry. Then I read it again and measured things out."
NOW I'VE READ IT THREE TIMES. And I may read it FOUR or FIVE times even before the making of this recipe is over. 

"Reader's may read things more than once like when cooking. However, each time I read that recipe, I had a different purpose. We will read things again and again like that in Shared Reading, because that's what good readers do, and every time we will have a different purpose in mind." 


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tiny Tidbits

So today I'm thinking of some Tidy Tidbits to share with y'all.

Let's start with Writer's Workshop.
With the requirements of the Common Core and in Texas the new STAAR assessment, stop referring to student writing as stories. We need to get kids writing in many genres, therefore a simple switch from story, to writing can be one tiny way to start. So now instead of, "What is your story about?" or "Read me your story." Let's start to say, "What did you write today?" or "Read me your writing."  And if we want to get really fancy, call it what it really is. "Read me your personal narrative."

We continue this trend in Shared Reading and Independent Reading as well by referring to the text whenever possible. Another small but mighty tip for you in Shared Reading comes from the work of Reading Recovery (at least a Reading Recovery Teacher shared it with me).   When pointing to words in your big book or when pointing to words at any time for students, point to the first letter. Many of us tend to point at the middle of the word, and then that is where students place their eyes. Kids who know better, are reading with you, and therefore looking at the first letter, the kids who can't yet, are looking where your finger is pointing. Let's think about those kids that can't yet when we are pointing and always point to the first letter in a word.

Finally, at the Guided Reading Table, I want to share an idea for keeping up with the madness. What do I mean? Well, students are all reading at the same time (that's right- it's NOT round robin nor is it choral reading) it is the teacher teaching, then handing the book to students and saying "Start reading." I like to teach my students to use those red and yellow math counters. They start with the yellow side showing and when they get to a hard part (I have lessons teaching that readers DON'T know all the words first or they will never flip them over) they flip it to red. That is a tiny thing that has helped me keep up with who needs me and when.  But, here is the key, kids determine that their reading became challenging, and they may have a minute or so to be sitting there waiting for me to get to them and help, and the first thing I say to them is, "You found a hard part? What's the hard part? and What have you tried?"  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Next week in honor off all the cooking we will have done, I'll be sharing how I teach a reading mini-lesson using a recipe.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catch on Fire

A teacher from Texas reminded me this week of one of my favorite quotes.

"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." 

I've been working my new (very new) job in DC for a week. I don't know anyone and while they seem to be friendly people- no one is as friendly as people from Texas! I don't know anything about DCPS aside from what they have on their website and I don't know their district culture. I think what I am struggling most with right now, is that I don't know any teachers. Teachers are my work! Teaching the teachers is what I do.  I am a teacher to my very soul and right now I am a teacher without any students. 

I had a chance to make my first introductions to a group of MICs (Managers of Instructional Coaches) that are on the campuses of DCPS. I was so nervous! But I remembered who I am (thanks to my teacher friend). I am an individual who is on fire with enthusiasm. Not everyone embraces that. To be honest, some shy away from the heat, but nevertheless, that's me. I am passionate and enthusiastic about best practice instruction- becuase that is what every child in this country deserves.  

So even though I am new in this job, I have to stay true to my core. My job in DCPS is to get excited about Common Core State Standards, excited about new instructional units, excited about training teachers! I need to be so excited that teachers will come for miles. They might not become as enthusiastic, they might not even change what they are doing or try any new ideas I propose, but they wil come and watch. Right now, I am trying with all my heart to get the word out that there is a fire burning! 

Are you on fire with enthusiasm in your classroom? That's your job in every lesson you teach, isn't it?  Make your students come for miles to watch you burn! You never know... they too may join in the flames. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sound Off Saturdays

So Write About It Wednesdays are a thing of the past... we are moving to Sound Off Saturdays! Setting a DAY for it and putting it in my calendar has worked, but Wednesdays won't work any longer.

I just got home from work. Yep. I work a J-O-B. I regular J-O-B (I forgot how hard that is) and blogging on a Wednesday night is just NOT going to happen for me anymore! Being smart all day doesn't leave much "smart" left or much energy for that matter for blogging at night.

I know y'all understand.

So... I will stop the typing now because I have BIG plans tonight! It's called the couch... maybe some Pinterest Pinning (are you following my boards?)  and if I still have energy to run the water... a hot bath!

I'll talk to you on Saturday!