The first time I was there, I was asked to visit and informally observe the literacy block in each of their Kindergarten classrooms, and give some formative feedback. Sometimes, another set of eyes can just see things that others don't see even when it's right in front of you, you know what I mean? I then met with the K teachers and gave them some feedback. I will ask you the same questions I asked them? (Rhetorical, of course.)
What are students doing and why are they doing it?
Is there a sense of urgency about your teaching and the students' learning?
Do students know what it is they are supposed to be learning? And how and where have you communicated this?
What percentage of the day are you talking and what percentage of the day are students talking?
How regularly are you providing feedback to students, written or oral? And how regularly are students providing you with feedback? (In his 2012 book, Visible Learning for Teachers, Hattie claims that"the most powerful single influence enhancing achievement is feedback." (or read a summary of the book HERE.)
What percentage of the day are you reading to students and what percentage of the day are students reading to themselves, to you, with each other or to each other?
How many minutes a day do students spend actually reading? (like "eyes on print" time as Lucy would say)
Is the focus of your Guided Reading session aligned to the Teaching Point of your mini-lesson?
Is your mini-lesson about 10 minutes? Or are you not aware of time and your mini-lesson turns into a maxi-lesson?
Are students receiving solid, strategic, systematic, and explicit instruction in all of The Big 7 areas of ELA?
Are students getting an opportunity outside the Active Engagement section of your mini-lesson, to practice and reinforce the skills and strategies taught in the mini-lesson? With peers? With technology? With discussion? (and independently doesn't have to mean alone, sitting and at a desk) Without being assessed on it yet or a grade taken for every practice run?
Do students know what to do to solve a problem while you are teaching Guided Reading?
How many students are you reaching in a Guided Reading session (complexity, leveled or strategy based groupings)? 1? 2? 4? 6? 8?
Are students receiving an intervention in a literacy area they are deficient in? Or are students receiving Progress Monitoring every 10 or 20 days because DPI said so without documentation of, or an actual intervention taking place?
My husband, who is also in education, loves questions. One of the reasons he loves questions so much is that he says, "Questions get you thinking!" These questions definitely gave these teachers something to think about and I hope they give you something to ponder, too. I received this feedback via my Hello Literacy Facebook page from one of the K teachers on the team. Here's what she had to say:
A result of this day was the Kindergarten team along with the support of the principal, asked me if I would do a modeled Reading Workshop mini-lesson and Guided Reading lesson with a group of students, in one of the Kindergarten classrooms. I gladly accepted the invitation and when I returned to their school, I did just that. I didn't choose the focus of the mini-lesson necessarily, but kept with the pacing they had already had in place, which was the difference between fiction and non-fiction (K.RL.5, K. RIT.5) I did tweak the teaching point a bit to make the strategy teachable for the mini-lesson and reinforceable in the guided reading lesson. You can read and download my mini-lesson and chart below.
Download my mini-lesson HERE
and the SWBS chart-makings HERE
If you like the workshop mini-lesson template, you can download it here in an editable version. The template was shared with me by Lea Mercantini, my workshop trainer from TCRWP. With her permission, I am sharing it with you. Please respect her as the original copyright holder of the work.
Download Lea's editable workshop template HERE
For my GR lesson, I was given a group of students reading at level A. This was challenging by itself, but after looking through about 10 different Level A books on Reading A-Z, I finally found the perfect book, called What I Like.
I chose this book for several reasons:
1) It was the level of my group and lent well to discussion and engagement...K.RL.10
2) It was fiction...K.RL.5
2) It fit well into the Somebody, Wanted, But, So pattern...K.RL.2 & 3
3) It has lots of good spots for inferring and using higher level thinking....which of course, lends well to finding the Text Based Evidence (not so much in the words BUT in the illustrations. K.RL.1, K.RL.7
In my last visit to the school, they asked me to analyze their school's mCLASS data and give feedback and recommendations for next steps. I prepared the following presentation. Click on the image to view the presentation in Slideshare. You are free to download it there.
I say this again and again...like we tell students, when an author repeats something it must be important...when a presenter repeats something it must be important...and when a blogger repeats something, it must be important....so, I'll share it in a slide.
No longer can we say "The Big 5" Areas of Reading...so the next time you hear someone say it, politely correct them and let them know that Writing and Speaking & Listening now share the stage with Reading ....even if that person is your principal, like I had to do. Sometimes people in our position (literacy coaches, instructional support teachers, curriculum coaches) know more about the details of the Common Core than principals do and I believe it our job and responsibility to up-teach them so they are speaking accurately about what it truly is and not speaking inaccurately about what it isn't.
Grab The Big 7 Posters HERE...
and you can read about how I introduced The Big 7 posters to students HERE.
In addition to my free "If, Then" Reading Interventions Menu
Download this free resource HERE
Florida Center for Reading Research also has a wealth of instructional and intervention strategies available online for free. Check it out.
Search HERE by ELA Area & Skill/Strategy
Search HERE by Grade Level & Common Core Standard
here are some other free mCLASS interventions you might check out:
FSF Interventions (First Sound Fluency)
LNF Interventions (Letter Naming Fluency)
PSF Interventions (Phoneme Segmentation Fluency)
NWF Interventions (Nonsense Word Fluency)
ORF Interventions (Oral Reading Fluency)
And now for your blog dessert...
If you are looking for a sweet professional treat...I invite you to read this post from a TCRWP teacher, Kristi Mraz, who is new to blogging, but not new to teaching or teacher training...and I'm so glad she decided to join the blogosphere!