Sean's been researching ideas for a new start-up project involving teachers, and he shared this great blog with me: 1 to 1 Schools. I've only just started reading, but it's got some good stuff. Just thought I'd share.
As I mentioned in my last post, I've been thinking a lot about how to raise the quality of my students' reader's responses. I decided that in addition to the reader's response students do on their own, every Monday I'm going to give students a prompt and have them write about our shared reading. I decided to do this a) to give them ideas of what kinds of writing and thinking they could do with their own books, and b) increase the amount of writing they do about reading (and make sure they're practicing writing about high-quality texts and not—oh let's just hypothetically say—Spongebob). I recently scored my students' REACH assessments (it's a grade-level performance assessment where students read a passage and have to respond to it in written form). They didn't do very well, which speaks at least in part to their lack of experience explaining their thinking in writing. The Common Core State Standards put a lot of emphasis on interpretation, argumentation, and citation of texts, so I think beefing up my instruction around writing about reading will help my students do well in this area.
I am also struggling with how to implement centers-based literacy instruction. I keep going back and forth about which is going to run smoother/make it easier for me to run guided reading: timed rotations, or more of an options set up. I am leaning toward options, but I worry that the kids are used to centers and will think that this set up is too "free" and will not stay focused. I guess we'll see. It's also been hard to get things up and running because I'm so behind on my benchmark assessments, and I don't want to spend the time introducing each activity. So they've sort of been stuck on a few things (read with someone, journaling, write about reading, and only one word study activity) while I furiously STEP my kids. Hopefully I'll be done this week and can also get the rest of my literacy activities introduced and get into a rhythm with literacy.