Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2015 Focus: Moving Forward

Today I had another "ah-ha" moment as I work to bridge my independent reading time and small group time in an effective way. I was conferencing with one of my higher readers. She has no trouble decoding words, and her comprehension is pretty good, but as she read through some difficult words, we struck up a conversation about what some of those words meant. So in her reading journal, I made a column for words and what she thinks they mean so we could keep track. Another high flier was sitting nearby, heard our conversation, and wanted to do the same.  As in, I conference with him about something else and as I am leaving he brings up a word he is not sure about! So of course he got a chart in his journal too! ;)

Lately, I had been organizing my small group plans into two groups, comprehension and reading strategies, but conferencing with those two made me realize that my small group plans could be organized around CAFE, the under-utilized section of wall in my room. I have taken bits of pieces of CAFE and used them in my room, but I have never really used it to address the areas we are working on. I think I will do that more now! 

side note: I love the ideas in the Cafe book, but I think the pieces needed to come together in my own way for them to work. I can't follow one system on anything. I take bits and pieces of what I like to work for the needs in our room! :)

Now my little binder has the four headers in my different plans, instead of just the comprehension and reading strategy tabs. I pulled a couple of kids after independent reading today and we worked through how to figure out the meanings of words we were not sure about. (Expanding Vocabulary)

They went through their texts with highlighter tape and highlighted words they didn't know the meaning of. Then as I touched based with each other them and tried to figure out a word, they realized that they could read through and go back to figure out the meaning, use the pictures, or use headers and other clue to get a basic gist of the word. {I love seeing how reading can be full of inquiry too!}

My lesson template is simple, and I kind of wrote the vocab one as we did it, more to have as a reference for later and remember what we have done. You can find that here.

I have to say strategy groups have truly revitalized our reading time. I love that during independent reading I can see the kids using what we have practiced, and now I know exactly where I want to take them next. I love that the plan is centered around the reading needs of the students, not around a text. I feel like they apply the reading strategies and skills more because they realize it is helping them read their text better. They are using a text THEY CHOSE, instead of a book that they don't have a lot of connections too. It is so much more authentic then my reading time in the past.

The buzz of learning in my classroom today was beautiful! It's these kind of moments and realizations that make being a teacher so wonderful. :)

{to check out how far our independent reading time has come be sure to click on 2015 Focus under labels to read all the posts!}

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