Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Next Step Chapter 1

Things to Think About: 
  • How do you introduce your read alouds, shared reading, and independent reading?
    • Read alouds are my favorite!  I introduce them to my kids first thing!  Once the whole class has arrived begin my school year by reading a book to them.  This year I think we read You're FINALLY Here!  The kids loved it!  I bring them over to my carpet and read to them several times during the day.  
    • Last year I introduced independent reading on the first day in the Daily 5 format.  I explain the best way to become a better reader is to read more.  One thing that has really helped me is giving my kids bubble gum while they read independently.  They love it!  I have them place it in a tissue as soon as I notice they are no longer reading.  We build stamina for weeks and I display a graph outside our door so the whole school can see how we're doing.  I also have my principal and other teacher pop in to see and comment on our progress. 
    • I normally introduce shared reading with a big book the 2nd week of school.  I am currently reading Growing Readers by Kathy Collins and realize I need to do a better job of this!  
  • Do you have your schedule set?  Do you set your literacy block up in a workshop format?  What will your RW block look like?
    • Not yet, though I do know somethings that never change.  In first grade the kids come in between 8-8:20. First period begins at 8:25.  We have recess morning from 10:10-10:25 and lunch/recess from 11:50-12:50.  I just emailed my request to my principal this morning requesting I have no specials until after lunch.  Let's hope it works out for me! 
    • For the last two years I have followed the Daily 5 management system and really liked it... but for the upcoming school year I really want to use Kathy Collin's Reading Workshop approach.  
    • I am still in the early stages of planning but I would like to have reading workshop in the morning from 8:45-9:45 and then run my own version of Daily 5 from 10:30 -11:30.  For my D5 options I would have Work on Writing, Word Work, Listen to Reading and a poetry station. Has anyone done something similar? 
  • What activities do you have your students do for the first 6 weeks to teach independence? Literacy  Work Stations? Daily 5? Other?
    • For my reading workshop I plan to follow Kathy's suggest format so the kids will be reading!
    • For my modified D5 I will introduce different activities one at a time and help the kids build stamina.  I really like The Daily 5 for Dummies plans for this!  It works! 
  • Readers Notebooks:  How will you use these?  What will you use for this?
    • Good question!  I'm still not sure!  Jan doesn't really give suggestions for 1st graders so I am at a loss.  Are they necessary for the primary grades?  I use a guided reading notebook in my lessons and for now unless I find a good reason to change I will keep it this way for next year.
    • I use spirals for my guided reading notebooks. 
Questions Teachers Ask:
  • How do I get everything done in the allotted time?
    • Well first I had to get rid of some of the time wasters!  I use to eat snack when my kids ate and try and check email etc.  Now I try use this as story time and read to them.  I also cut my snack time down to 10 minutes.  Before we have 15 minutes for snack and a 25 minute morning recess.  Now I do 10 for snack and 15 for morning recess.  
    • Prep the night before!  Have all your materials ready so you don't waste time looking for things.
    • Prioritize what is really important and what doesn't need to be covered or addressed at that time.
    • Most importantly though I would say, take time in the beginning of the year to teach your procedures and routines correctly so you don't waste time waiting and reminding the rest of the year.
  • How can I keep the noise level in my classroom within reasonable limits during GR?
    • Make sure the kids know and understand why its important.
    • Spread children out so they aren't on top of each other.
  • How can I keep my students from interrupting me when I am with a small group.
    • I have tried several different things!  The ones that work best have been giving them a chance to use the bathroom and get drink in between rounds, build in buffer time before mini lessons and ignoring them when they come up to my table.
  • How do I know children are reading their self selected books?
    • I've always just trusted my kids.  I also take a few minutes while my group is working on something to look around and see who's reading.  In first grade you can typically hear them or see their lips moving.  That being said I do hope to do better next year...
    • Next year I will be having share time after independent reading.  They can share something they read with a partner.  I am also going to try and do Status of the Class check-ins more often.
If you're reading this and have suggestions on how to do Reading Workshop and modified D5 please let me know!  Also be sure to check out the ladies at Freebie-licous!  



  1. I thought the same thing about the Reading Notebooks - no suggestions for K or 1st grade! But with Common Core wanting us to go more in depth and incorporate more writing throughout the day I really want to do Reading Notebooks this year! This is what I'm going to do (um...what I PLAN to do at least, lol!):

    - 1/2" binders
    - Keep reading goals/data papers in here (sight words graph, reading level graph, etc.)
    - Blank lined paper for Stop and Jots during whole group or small group lessons (probably more whole group, time during small groups is tight!)
    - Papers from Listen to Reading (like retelling beg, middle, end, etc.)
    - Papers from responding to Read to Self (thinking of students doing this one day a week like Jan suggested in book).

    1. What a great suggestion! Do you use a guided reading notebook and if so will you keep this one separate or add that one to the binder?