Chapter One: Preparing for Guided Reading.
What I loved about this chapter: The structure for introducing everything and how it is introduced slowly, over time, with students gaining more and more independence. I think I tend of forget that it's my job to teach Kinders how to learn. I was disappointed last year that they continually failed to take good care of the centers I worked to diligently to create for them. I kept thinking "they should know this by now..." but the truth is that the more I learn about teaching my kiddos to learn and teaching them what I expect, I did not put the same hard work and effort into teaching this as I did in creating the centers in the first place.
Over Spring Break I read The Daily Five and this book follows the same routine of taking 6 weeks to set everything in motion. I really love this. I did not get the opportunity to implement The Daily Five last year and I saw much that I really like about it, like the concept of building stamina. As I read in this Next Step book, I got more and more excited about guided reading this next year and I am excited to implement the learning process.
Today I post as a teacher without a classroom. I resigned my position to move back to Kansas to my home that I love, where my children thrive and flourish. So.... even though I want to start organizing and preparing my guided reading structures for next year, I don't know where or what grade level I will be teaching. I do have a few ideas already that will cover many grade levels. One thought I had already.... I need a way to signal that volume is too loud when it starts rising. Last year I caught myself pausing guided reading to remind the same 2 or 3 students that they were not using the appropriate level voice. I need a whole class signal (this will be easy to figure out and establish) and I would like an individual system that I can enforce like a gladiator the first few weeks of school so that I don't need to enforce it all year long. I am not sure what I will do, but these are not grade level specific, so I can figure this out, even without a classroom.
I am nervous about establishing book boxes or bags for students' independent reading. I have a limited library since I have only taught for one year. But I completely believe in this concept which is in this book and also in The Daily Five.
I love how everything is laid out week by week. How to rotate the stations, how to introduce the new workstation (center). By week 5 students are quite independent already. By week 6, you are ready to introduce guided reading. I love all the ideas about ways to signal students not to interrupt during guided reading. I know it is important to introduce this and teach this and teach procedures to go with it. I can decide my procedures now and they will be appropriate to other grade levels. I am thinking about a "do not disturb" light, or "I'm invisible" light. I also like the stop sign idea. I used this at home when I was in college when I would taking tests online. My daughter (in Kindergarten at the time) would want to come in the office during times tests so I made a stop sign for the door. It worked pretty well.
I love how workstations for Primary grades are laid out in this chapter. It makes me feel empowered because I see so many things I can do. I also loved that ideas were provided for independent and for guided reading group activities to review new words.
How Do I Get Everything Done in the Allotted Time?
That one is a great question. Answer:
- set a timer
- eliminate activities that do not have educational value (worksheets)
- make students accountable/make workstations accessible
- practice transitions until students can do them in under a minute. The author reminds us that we will get whatever we expect (love this, it is so true).
- be sure guided reading materials are easily accessible.
How Can I Keep the Noise Level within Reasonable Limits?
I love the quiet bell, song, rhyme (etc.) idea for getting the attention of the whole class. And guess what? I don't need a classroom to get this figured out either! I can figure out what I want to do and get it ready and "just do it" whenever I get my classroom, no matter what grade I teach! (Can you hear/feel/smell-- j/k-- the excitement?)
I also love the idea of analyzing interruptions and figuring if there is something that I need to do to help students gain independence.
Well, that is my summary of Chapter one and what stuck out to me. You can probably tell, I am excited and enthused about the entire chapter. I can't wait for next school year!