Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Readers Workshop Lab Update & Ideas

On Monday, we had our last Readers Workshop Teacher Lab of the Year.  During this lab, we get together with teachers from the same grade and observe another teacher in our district.  We discuss ways to make RW more effective and bump up our teaching techniques for workshop.  You can read about other lab days by searching under the Readers Workshop tag.  Jamie at What's the Buzz in First? and Andrea at Stepping into First Grade have also posted about these lab days.  Check them out too because we were in different groups!

Most of our morning was a discussion on partnerships and what it looks like when they are effective in the classroom.  We thought about what a rubric might look like if we were to grade ourselves.  Here are some of our thoughts....

Stage 1: Getting Started
  • Struggling with scheduling/conflicts with pull-out programs
  • Experimenting with ways to pair partners
  • Planning mini-lessons to build routine
  • Fitting it in when it's planned (sometimes gets skipped when running behind)
  • Experimenting with book clubs
Stage 2: Implimenting
  • Ability-based partners (winthin a level of eachother)
  • Teacher is goal-setting
  • Meets 4 times per week together
  • Teacher confers with groups 2-3 times per week
  • Students know the expectations and are on task (intentinal about work)
  • Reading together
  • Teachers regulates behavior
  • Assesses partnership skills only
  • Promotes talk
Stage 3: Embedded
  • Students are goal-setting
  • Teacher is maximizing conferring opportunities
  • Ability-based with flexibility (may divert into interest groups)
  • Meaningful conversations
  • Students montitor behavior, self-regulated
  • Assess skills of the conversation and the quality of thinking & speaking
  • Partners push eachothers' thinking
  • Meets 5 times per week together
In the afternoon, we discussed how we can used anchor texts to enhance our conferring with students (same ideas as mentor texts for writing).  We looked at some of the things we often teach during conferring (mostly the mini-lessons that the child hasn't applied yet or a tip to help "grow them up" to the next level).  We used tabs to mark some books that we can easily carry with us to refer to while conferring.  Here's what they look like (I'm just getting started, more books/concepts will be added for other units):

By using the anchor texts, we can model for our students using our own book or even have them practice the skill with a different book than their own ("Notice how you will need this tip for other books, too?")

I also shared what my school has begun using to help support readers in the moment (without advance warning of what the student is working on as a read).  My co-workers compiles some skills that need to be taught at each level in order to move up in difficulty.  The teaching points were all based on one of my go-to books:

Product Details

Another edition comes in a K-8 format.  The PreK-2 book above goes up to a F&P readinging level N (I think... the book is at school!).  The team created labels for word work and reading skills.  I put the labels in a 4X6 binder on index cards.  Some teachers put them on a page in their reading notes or assessment binder.

I will also add some of my own notes as I work with it more.  I've been using this during conferring for a few months and it is a LIFE SAVER when you draw a blank for a teaching point (not that YOU ever do!).  Unfortunately, I can't share because it was created by my school (really F&P) and I don't want a law suit on my hands.  I've got other things to do right now : )

In addition to my anchor books and my cheater support tool for teaching points, I always carry my clipboard that has my notes for readers and writers workshop.  I write down every conference.  I have a TERRIBLE memory, so I want to keep myself accountable and make sure I am effective for my students.

Sure, this is awesome and everything but..... I ordered a cute new bag to carry it in, along with pens, sticky notes, and other "readerly" things.  I love me some bags!

This product is not available in the Fall 2012 Catalog, but you can check out other cute bag options HERE.

Happy conferring, friends!

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