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.
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Melissa