Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100 Minutes- My thoughts on "The Building Blocks"

Thanks to Kelly Anne from Appleslices for hosting Chapter 2 of the book study.

What a great post!

I'll probably say this a lot over the next few weeks...
but, wow, I love this book. 

Chapter 2- The Building Blocks

The three main components of Lisa Donohue's structure for your 100 minute literacy block are quite common actually... something you probably all already use in your class. But it's the way in which Lisa has organized the 100 minutes and the activities that your students are working on that is sheer genius. 

No kidding. I actually wrote that in the margin quite a few times.

Anyway, the main components are time for whole class reading instruction, time for whole class reading instruction and time for independent practice on literacy skills.

Lisa recommends that teachers start with the two whole class lesson blocks and slowly build in the independent time. This reminded me a lot of the stamina building that is done with the Daily 5. The Sisters have a great description and method for building your student's stamina for independent reading and writing. If you haven't looked at that section of The Daily 5 before, it's definitely worth a look.

I think it would also be beneficial to continue to use the T-charts (I-charts?) that are recommended by the Sisters to build the routines and procedures of your literacy block.

Some things that really stuck out for me...

I think Lisa's description of how to build in the independent time makes a lot of sense and allows for more flexibility for both teachers and students. Starting with the two whole class lesson blocks and then adding in only independent reading and independent writing really makes a lot of sense to me. It allows for the time needed to complete all the necessary assessments at the start of the year and doesn't set the entire system up for failure because too many components are added all at once.

On page 23 there is a sidebar on giving students choice in their learning...but that as the teacher we are still ultimately responsible for providing options. I like that the structure described by Lisa for the 100 minute literacy block provides choice for students BUT in a limited way. I think this was why the Daily 5 never really seemed to work for me...too many students doing too many things and I like having more control over the schedule and activities within my class. I think this quote on page 23 sums it up nicely, "the teacher choose what the student is learning, the students choose how they are learning it".

First of all, I think I will feel comfortable allowing myself and my students more time to build in our routines for independent work and small-group instruction.

As we begin to construct our AWARD time I can cluster the independent time as I see fit. There is no one prescribed way of structuring the 100 minutes...nor does it even have to be 100 minutes in the beginning!! I teach Grade 3, which means in September I really teach Grade 2's. I can slowly build our literacy block to 100 minutes- the ultimate goal.

The tracking board is a great idea and the phrase that jumped out at me over and over again was intentional sequencing. I think this is where the Daily 5 really fell apart in my class. By providing so much choice to my students it never really felt like they were practicing the skills we covered in mini-lessons and small-group instruction. With the intentional sequencing described by Lisa students are consistently using their skills in a logical and constructive way. 

- how many groups will work best in my class? 
- how often should the groupings be changed?
- which activities/ components do I want to build in to my literacy block once independent reading and writing have been established? in which order?
- how many days will be in my cycle of intentional sequencing so that I can meet with my students who need a greater amount of support more often?

Please join the discussion! Link up with your thoughts about Chapter 2 using the linky below. 

If possible, leave a comment for the blogger before and after you on the list. 

Next up- Chapter 3: Reading Response

Be sure to visit Kelly over at An Apple for the Teacher on May 31st to continue this learning journey with us. Not only is she hosting the chapter but she's going to have a freebie and a giveaway too!

There are a few guidelines that Lisa Donohue and her publisher have asked that people follow.

Please read through these carefully. 


- Anything created for 100 MINUTES should be shared for free. 

- Anything created and shared based on 100 MINUTES should include a disclosure statement - Adapted from 100 MINUTES and not endorsed by Lisa Donohue.  

- Cite the complete publication information:  "100 MINUTES, (2012), Donohue Lisa, Pembroke Publishers" in order to make it easier for others to find the book.

Don't forget to submit any questions you have for Lisa Donohue for our upcoming question and answer post!

1 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Kristin said...

I'm a little behind - just finished chapter 2 today. I agree with what you said though. Intentional sequencing is definitely what stood out to me as the key difference between AWARD time and the Daily 5. Back what I last did Daily 5, it always irked me when I wanted to send a student back to his/her seat with a reading response topic and/or have them read more of the book we were reading in our small group ONLY to have them tell me that it was their time to do Listen to Reading instead. I also struggled with those 5-7 minute mini-lessons the Sisters encouraged. I think I'll do much better following Lisa's structure, with some slight modifications due to schedule constraints.

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