Saturday, June 30, 2012

Good Morning Summer!! End of the Year Activities (Chapter 3- Emergent Readers)

Jenn from Rowdy in First Grade has posted some great thoughts about Chapter 3 of our Guiding Readers book study- Guiding Emergent Readers.

Please head on over to read what she is saying. I really enjoyed reading through her post and seeing things through the eyes of a first grade teacher. As I have never taught such small people, it was interesting to learn about guided reading from Jenn's perspective. 


I am FINALLY on summer break. It seems like the end of the school year took forever to get here, especially since I have been reading all our your posts about vacations, Made It Mondays, sleeping in...and gasp, back to school shopping?? How can 2 countries that are so close together have such vastly different school schedules?

The last week of school was both fun and stressful. I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned it before but my school is waaaaaaay over-capacity. We have a building built for 675 students and our current population is close to 1300!! So, that means we have something like 20+ portables (trailers) outside the main building. Being this big presents a whole lot of unique challenges for the staff, and come report card time life just got CRAZY! But, everything was sorted out, report cards went home (a day behind schedule!) and we made it through the year.

Here are some things my class and I did to celebrate the end of the year.

Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 posted about these great goodbye posters her students made for a staff member that was leaving her school and I just loved how they looked. I decided that I wanted to do a smiler project with my Grade 4's because we had been studying perspective in art and language so it would be a good "curricular" tie-in for the last week of school. 

Each student traced their hand and then drew themselves "waving goodbye to Grade 4". In the speech bubbles we wrote all the things we would miss about Grade 4. They turned out super cute, I think! Thanks to Stephanie for such a great idea.

We also made masks (it was an artsy week). We used tinfoil (three layers) to create an outline of our faces and then paper macho went on top. They dried overnight and then the painting fun could start!

These were a few of my favourites.

Lastly, we converted one of our bulletin boards into a Twitter board and we updated our "status" based on the activities we did during the day. I loved it and am thinking I would like to find a way to use it all year in my an exit ticket activity?

How did you end off your school year?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Little Help from the Experts...

All this reading about guided reading has got me thinking about some of the great posts I have seen from my fellow TBA authors. I thought I might put together a list of some of ideas that have piqued my interest and have stuck out for me.

Sarah's First Grade Snippets posted about Guided Reading "Snapshot" Assessments which is an interesting idea given that we are always trying to get enough assessment in the time we are given. 

Jen from Runde's Room has posted about creating guided reading groups in her upper elementary class and also included some great photos of her bulletin boards and materials tub. 

Leslie over at Kindergarten Works has an amazing post all about her guided reading binder, set-up and organization. There are a tonne of pictures and tips. It's a treasure trove for sure!

A Teacher's Treasure is Mor's blog and she has a great post about some guided reading ideas she discovered on Pinterest. This one's for the crafty teachers out there. 

I also thought you might be interested in some of my own pinterest and blog finds as well...

Lot's of Beth Newingham pins (Of course!)

More organization and management ideas from What the Teacher Wants.

This looks like a pretty good guided reading resource. 

This is a TPT product that looks intriguing. (I have not purchased it myself...I like the looks of it so far). It's called Guided Reading Binder Pack- Common Core Aligned. 

One of our book study co-hosts, Sabra from Teaching with a Touch of Twang, created her own version of Lori Jamison Rog's Readers Tookits and not only are they CUTE, but she has them posted as a freebie!!

Well, hopefully that's enough to get us all started. 

Our Chapter 3 co-host, Jenn, hit a small snag and will be posting very soon with her thoughts on the chapter. I have very little experience working with early readers and so I am hesitant to post about this chapter myself. I do love how Lori so clearly outlines the possible lessons that could be used during a guided reading session with emergent readers. As someone very new to everything guided reading that is what drew me the most to this book. It seemed like I could easily take what I learned and apply it right away in my classroom and begin helping students from the very start.

I plan to take some time and re-read through Chapter 3 and hopefully read through some posts from other bloggers in order to clarify my thinking on working with emergent readers. This is the one area that terrifies me. As a former Grade 7/8 teacher, I really have no idea how to teach a young child how to read. I always focused on how to learn from reading

By reading this book I am gaining a lot more confidence that I will be able to incorporate guided reading into my daily literacy block more effectively and be able to help all my students, of varying ability, to grow as readers. 

Chapter 3 Study Notes

I'm sorry I am so late with is the second last day of school. OMG, still another day! We are having fun though. Next year my school is going wireless and our board has decided to start a BYOD initiative. Basically, our students will be encouraged to Bring Your Own Device to school so we can access technology more readily. My teaching partner and I decided to test it out today and asked our students to bring in a device! We have some DS's, iPads, laptops, iPhones, iPods...and we are playing tonnes of games and surfing the web.

Here are the study notes for Chapter 3 of Guiding Readers. It's not my usual fun fonts because I am here at school and not using my MacBook. I apologize but as you all know the last week of school is CRAZY and the time has just gotten away from me on a lot of the days!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chapter 3...and some words from Lori Jamison Rog!

I am so happy with how the book study is progressing and have been loving the book. I feel like I have learned so much already and we are only on to Chapter 3!

I will (hopefully) be posting my thoughts about Chapter 3 tomorrow because...I am still teaching (big gasp, I know) and need to move my room, collect my thoughts and try not to fall asleep before 6:30pm (as I am writing this on Wednesday night and currently baking 4 dozen sugar cookies to decorate with my class and our kinder reading buddies tomorrow and a double batch of butter tart squares for our staff potluck)!!

I do, however, have some fun for you all....

After we completed the guided reading survey, I sent off a few of the posted questions to the author of Guiding Readers, Lori Jamison Rog, and she has emailed me back a few answers. 
This will be ongoing as she is answering the largish number of questions I sent a few at a time!

1. Why did you think it was important to write a book about guided reading and specifically the 18 minute lesson time frame? 

ROG: In 2003, I wrote a book called Guided Reading Basics, which was really an introduction to guided reading.  Back then, most of us were really struggling with the organizational pieces of small group reading instruction.  In fact, I used to say, "Anybody can work with a group of four kids.  The challenge is what to do with the other 20."  We were often working so hard on organizing for "the other 20" that we didn't have much time or energy left for planning the actual small group lesson.  And yet, those eighteen minutes of targeted, just-in-time support with that small group of students may very well be the finest teaching we do.

I wanted this book to focus on the teaching piece of small group reading - making the most of those precious minutes with each group of students. More than anything else, this book is a colllection of learning routines that are purposeful and goal-oriented, a smorgasbord of practical ideas from which professionals may choose to meet the needs of their students and their curriculum, whether they are working with homogeneous "needs-based" groups or heterogeneous groupings that focus on strategies or skills.  

As for "eighteen minutes," it's essentially a catch-phrase.  It works for me because I allow twenty minutes per group in my timetable; I set a timer for 18 minutes to allow a 2-minute "transition time."  The point isn't so much about the exact time frame as it is about keeping the lessons brief and focused and not allowing time to get away from us. 

2. Who are your guided reading "mentors"? 

ROG: Marie Clay, Helen Depree, Irene Fountas, Gay-Su Pinnell, and hundreds of teachers across North America with whom I've worked and from whom I've learned.

I am excited to learn more from Lori, both through reading her book and her answers to our questions. And, I hope you all are enjoying the book study as much as I am. Please don't hesitate to comment, ask questions, email, or suggest a discussion topic that you want to know more about. I am hoping we can start a discussion together so please comment away and I will compile everything into a post. 

The more we talk together the more we will all learn! about the book study and post up below!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Thoughts on Chapter 2 of Guiding Readers (FREEBIE)

I chose to use the study notes sheet I created for Chapter 2 to outline my thoughts. I felt that this chapter had a lot of the "meat" behind guided reading and I wanted something I could print out and store in my planning binder in order to refer to it whenever I felt I needed you can download it as a freebie as well and have it to access later, too! 

Win, win!

Click here or on the image above to get your copy of my completed note sheet for Chapter 2 from Guiding Readers. 

Guiding Readers- Chapter 2

It's time for Chapter 2! 

Stacey from Leading and Reading is hosting this chapter  as well as Tori from Tori's Teacher Tips. 

Leading and Reading

The title of this chapter is The Guided Reading Lesson Sequence, and I have made a study note sheet for you all again. I'm sorry I didn't have it up earlier. I am a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding this summer and we had her Buck and Doe last night. (I'm not sure if it's just a Canadian thing...but basically it is a big party to celebrate your wedding and to help raise money to pay for the expenses). We have another family shower this afternoon for my husband's cousin who is also getting married this summer, so I plan to post my thoughts on Chapter 2 a little later. 

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday. For those of you still teaching, like me, we are getting close to the end now!

Plus, link up your blog posts on Chapter 2 so we can all learn together!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guiding Readers- Chapter 1

So why did I choose this book? Well, I taught grades 7 and 8 for a long time, and here in Ontario there is very little guided reading happening in the intermediate grades. Now that I am teaching Grade 4 (and soon to be Grade 3!! Yes, that's right I am moving to Grade 3 next year), I have come to realize that I need to do some PD in this area so I can integrate this into my literacy program. 

I did start using the Daily 5 this year in my grade 4 class and loved it....but the guided reading component of it just never took off. Once the school year started it seemed like I never had the time or opportunity to read about how to do guided reading or start implementing it in my class. Maybe that is just an excuse, but seeing as there are only 7 days left it's pretty obvious it's not going to happen this year! BUT, next out!

Misty over at Think, Wonder, Teach is hosting the first chapter of our Guiding Reader's Book Study. 

Head on over to her blog to read all about her thoughts on the start of our book study.

Chapter 1- Guided Reading: What We Know Now

I picked up this book back in February when I attended Reading for the Love of It in Toronto and heard the author, Lori Jamison Rog speak. I was hooked from the start and went straight to the publisher's display to buy the book!

I really enjoyed reading through this chapter because it makes me feel as though I really do know something about guided reading! There was lots of highlighting and stars happening over here. 

Some highlights for me were:

- guided reading is a time for student reading, not teacher talk
- to remember to listen twice as much as I talk when meeting with my students ( I always feel pressured to fill the empty space)
- to see it as a way of consistently using the gradual release of responsibility and that guided reading becomes the "we do" 
- using a system, like the Daily 5, to make sure that independent learning component is self-directed, not teacher dictated
- I love love LOVED the analogy for just-right reading as standing on their tiptoes (I think I may have to make it into a poster for my room!)
- I also didn't really realize that reading easy texts provided more learning opportunities that challenging texts, but once I read what Lori wrote it really makes a lot of sense, if it's too tough it won't help students grow

A goal for me for next year is to "understand the strengths and needs of [my] students and [be able to] match them to the supports and challenges of a particular text, fiction, nonfiction trade books, chapter books, novels, environmental print" (page 13).

I really enjoyed the pace at which Lori writes. It makes the text very easy to follow and understand. 

I find myself excited to incorporate more student talk and to re-visit texts with my students through our guided reading groups. I re-read books that I love all the time, it makes sense to re-read books in our guided reading lessons as well.  AND...the reading-writing connection! I am just in love with this book so far and I can't wait to read what you all are writing about this book. 

UPDATE: The book is available on Amazon  but it does say that the book is temporarily out of stock.

Have you posted about Chapter 1? 
Link up below so we can all share in the learning together.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guiding Readers Survey Results

Wow!! Thank you so much for all your responses. 

Here is what the results showed.

1. How do you feel about your current guided reading program?

2. Describe what you believe guided reading to be.

- teaching strategies to improve comprehension and fluency
- teaching students to become solid, fluent, comprehending readers
- small group instruction based on reading concepts already taught in class
- teaching students in small groups at their instructional level
- providing rich opportunities in a small group setting to help them be successful and move them onto the next level
a time for readers to take on responsibility for utilizing skills and strategies already taught during whole class lessons
 a time to bring readers with a common need together to work on a common goal
what every student individually needs to make them successful in reading
guided instruction on word attack and comprehension strategies
a well thought-out plan for engaging students with text to encourage independent thinking, discussion and metacognitive skill development
- it's ultimate purpose to develop effective, independent readers who comprehend deeply, broadly and critically

3. How often during a 5 day week do you implement guiding 
reading into your literacy program?

4. Do you have to use a mandated guided reading program in your classroom?

Other responses:
- Treasures
- Continuum for Literacy Learning by Fountas and Pinell

5. Do you have any other professional books on guided reading to recommend?

I think we will save this juicy topic for it's own post!

6. What are your goals for participating in this book study?

Become better at leading my struggling students to grow as readers
To actually make the most of the given minutes i have, give myself a focus for each group
As a K-5 Literacy Coach, my goal is to help teachers create a manageable system for guided reading and how to utilize the short time that we have with each group to maximize student learning
To find out how to do something better; to collaborate with others to find out what works in their classrooms and what doesn't work; activities to do to keep the rest of the class busy while working with individual groups
To be more effective in my approach to guided reading. I feel like my instruction is disorganized and very haphazard. Don't feel like what I'm doing is very effective
As a mentor literacy teacher (and long-time former instructor for the OISE Reading Specialist course) I continue to enjoy and learn from professional dialogue on this subject
Help me not feel so lost. After 7 years, I still feel like I don't truly know if I am doing what best helps my students. I am much more confident in math and science. Reading is not my strong suit
To figure out a better way to organize my thinking....

Well, that is a lot to think about. A lot! I hope that the book study is everything for everybody, but if I have learned anything from my years as a teacher it's what you make of it. Post about the book. Comment on each other's posts. Ask questions. Post again. Help each other as much as possible. And of course, have fun!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chapter 1 Note Taking Sheet

I thought I'd give something a try for the first chapter of the Guiding Readers book study and see how it goes....if people love it, I'll keep it up...if not, no worries.

Click on the image to download the freebie. Font are from Miss Tiina Fonts. 

I created a note-taking sheet for the first chapter, based on the headings in the book. What do you think? Useful? Not so much?

Would it be better to have a note-taking sheet to record thoughts from other people's blog posts instead of the book?

Guided Reading Survey...what do we already know?

Welcome to the Guiding Readers Book Study. I hope this will be an interesting and informative book study for you all. Please come back here to link up your posts for each chapter so that other bloggers can find you and read about your thoughts and ideas based on the book.

Please don't hesitate to comment, leave questions or email me at anytime during the book study. Whatever makes this the best learning experience for you is what is best for the book study.

Please take a moment and fill out the brief survey below to help us better understand where we all stand on the topic of Guided Reading.

And of course, Happy Reading!
Posting for Chapter 1 will start on June 21st. 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Meet the Co-Hosts (Book Study Schedule)

Here are the amazing ladies that will be co-hosting the Guiding Readers Book study with me. Please head on over to check out their blogs and give them some comment love.

Click on the images below to go to a pdf of the schedule. From there you will be able to click on the hyperlinks to visit each blog. 

I have also added a page (look up near the top of my blog, under the header!) where I will keep track of all the fun as we go along.

Car tripping on Father's Day

...with Guiding Readers (and coffee!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Design!!

Oh my goodness! I just love it. I have been looking at designs for what seems like forever now....and thanks to Dreamlike Magic who I found on Etsy I found this one that I like a whole lot.

I hope you all like it too. If you have my old button on your blog please swap it out for this new one, and be patient with me while I update old posts.

Thinking of Teaching

I would also like some advice. Which size font is better? This one or the one above?
I think I like the bigger one better.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Guiding Readers Book Study- Co-Hosts Wanted

And away we go! The Guiding Readers Book Study will be officially starting on June get your copy now. If you are interested in being a co-host, contributor, or whatever...just email me or leave me a comment with your email address and I'll get you all signed up and ready to go. Last year's Book Whisperer Book Study was a great hit so this would be a great way to get your blog out there and to do some professional learning too. If you just want to sit back and enjoy the ride, then that's just fabulous as well!

Here's a button I created for all the fun. Feel free to grab it, post it and share it around. The clip art comes from the amazing Scrappin Doodles...of course!

Thinking of Teaching

Plus, keep an eye out for my new blog be unveiled soon. I am super excited and can't wait for you all to see it!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guiding Readers Book Study

After hosting last summer's book study on The Book Whisperer I knew it was something I wanted to make a part of every summer. I learned so much from reading the book, reading the posts and sharing my own thoughts!

This year's book will be Guiding Readers: Making the Most of the 18 Minute Guided Lesson by Lori Jamison Rog. 

In February I went to Reading for the Love of It and was able to hear Lori speak in person. It was a great experience and I immediately went to her publisher's booth and bought the book. Due to all the time constraints of teaching and life I haven't been able to crack open the book yet...but summer starts in 14 days!

The TBA authors will be hosting the chapters and sharing their thoughts and ideas, plus I will be hosting a linky party for each chapter so that all of you can join in on the posting fun.

To help you decide if you want in on all this book study goodness here are a few links:

Pembroke Publisher's Website- you can also buy an e-book version from the publisher if you wish.
**UPDATE- apparently people are having trouble finding this book on Amazon but you can also order a paper copy directly from the publisher**

The fun starts on June 18th! Get your copy of the book soon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Role on the Wall- Drama Integration

Role on the Wall

I love this strategy I learned years ago from the resource teacher at my school. 

This is a great way to get students to think about perspective and the influences life puts on people. You can use this to develop characters when the students are writing, or when they are creating a drama. It also works very well for a reading strategy to get students to think about the characters as real people. 

This was a lesson designed for Intermediate students by the resource teacher I worked with, but it could very easily be adapted for younger students. I started the lesson by giving a group of 5-6 students this picture.

To start with, we didn't discuss the picture at all, I just asked the students to recreate the picture in a tableau (Younger students will need some lessons on tableaus and maintain drama concentration for this to work) exactly as they saw it.  I walked around and helped groups as needed. The groups practiced freezing and maintaining their concentration and then we had a gallery walk where each group remained frozen while the other students walked around and checked them out as if they were statues.

As a class we discussed what the picture could be about and most of the students understood that it was supposed to be Harriet Tubman leading a group of slaves to freedom. (I think a different picture would work better with younger students) We then talked about each person in the picture and what their role might be. As the students froze back into their tableaus I walked around and did a "tap in" tableau- I would tap a student on the shoulder, they would come to life and I would ask them a questions that they would answer in role. I asked things like, "What are you feeling?", "Where are you going?", "What are you thinking about?"

Don't worry!! We are getting to the role on the wall strategy!

I had the groups sit back down and displayed an outline of the picture we had used for the tableau. As a class we worked together as I first modelled the role on the wall strategy. Here is what we did together:

I highlighted the central, Harriet Tubman, figure and on the inside of the character we wrote down all the ideas that reflected who that character would be as a person, their characteristics, values, etc. According to a role on the wall diagram can include:
  1. how the character feels about him/herself
  2. how the character feels about other people
  3. what other people think about the character
  4. his/her likes and dislikes
  5. his/her history
  6. his/her dreams or regrets
This information can be very detailed, or just jottings of single words that describe your character.

On the outside we brainstormed all the things that affected the character, outside influences, societal pressures, etc. I think it turned out rather well. Here is the example from my 2nd class. It's always interesting to me that that same activity can produce different results from 2

The next step was to give each group an outline of the picture but with a different character highlighted!

I had the groups pass around their pages so the other groups could add ideas to it as well, and to get a look the ideas others had brainstormed. Then I took all the ideas and put them together on a single chart to display in the class for the rest of February and Black History Month.

I can't wait to use this strategy again! The possibilities are endless.

So how can this be used with younger children/students?

Last year I used this strategy as a pre-reading strategy with my grade 4s. We drew the outline of a Grade 4 student and did some brainstorming. We discussed how this person would feel on the first day of school and wrote down all their feelings on the inside of the body outline (nervous because they are at a new school, excited to see their friends again, sad that summer was over, etc). On the outside of the character we wrote down all things that influence how students feel on the first day (new school, new grade, new teacher, friend moved away, etc). Once we had done this we read "First Day Jitters" by Julie Danneberg.

It was great! The students were really excited that story had a twist at the end and we added new ideas to our chart. We then discussed how we can choose how we handle new situations and our excitement about school, etc!

Thinking about how I might use this strategy in the future I came up with the following ideas:
- character education- reading and discussing picture books related to the month's focus trait
i.e. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein- have the children brainstorm how the tree felt and what was causing the tree to feel that way
- cause and effect in a novel
- debates
- point of view

What are your ideas?


Drama resource

Role on the Wall

We just finished a unit on tableaux in my Grade 4 classes and I will be posting about how I taught this fabulous drama concept to my students, along with ideas for integrating with Social Studies soon. Keep an eye out for it. 

Book Study Updates

Here is a link to the book study schedule over at We Read, We Blog, We Teach.

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

This blog will be running a book study on The Daily 5, and The CAFE book!!

Here is the link to the book study for Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction.

My copy of Guided Math just arrived in the mail today...and I may have to dig in (on a Friday night! Yes, I am that much of a geek). I will be hosting Chapter 7....can't wait. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Guided Math Book Study

I am so excited to be starting the Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction! Even though it's the end of the school year (17 days!!) and things are winding down I am excited about this opportunity to learn more about teaching math. It's definitely not my strongest area and one where I have done very little professional development.

Click here to head over to Primary Inspired to get all the details and to start reading!

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