Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's all coming together!

My kids are LOVING the daily 5! They are reading so much more than they have in the past. They are choosing between reading to self and writing. I plan to introduce reading with someone and listening to books next week. I am saving word work until after spring break.

I am still trying to sort out the word work portion and what I want it to look like in my room. (hence, I'm putting it off). I'm hoping my teammate will try it first and I will learn from her experiences. (Hint hint Lois, why don't you get busy on this?) We have both jumped into the daily 5 at the same time and it has really been nice to talk about it with someone else.

I spent Friday afternoon looking at Making Meaning and Debbie Miller. I plan to integrate these two components into my mini lessons this week. We are reading non-fiction in Making Meaning and learning about schema (I had already introduced this word earlier in the year and have used it, so my kids should already be familiar with the concept) I plan to use Debbie's lessons on schema and text to self connections along with the making meaning.

I like that you can do more than one mini-lesson a day. I will need one to introduce new procedures or to review how things are going. (until they are completely trained) I can still do a content mini-lesson as well each day.

The daily 5 has changed the way my classroom feels and I am excited to see what next week brings!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My head is full

I've been reading, reading, reading. I received The Daily Five from Inter-Library loan on Wednesday night and then I went to see Carl Anderson speak on Thursday and bought the new edition of Mosaic of Thought. Combine that with another weekend of basketball tourneys and I have read quite a bit.

I love the idea of the daily 5. I have been toying with having the kids read and write only(no centers) during guided reading time all year. This book gives me solid examples of how to go about this in a systematic way.

I wonder if it is too late to use the mini lessons on how to launch this system when we have already been "kind of " doing this all year. I think I am going to go ahead with these minilessons. I will explain to the kids that we need to make our reading time even better. I really like the way "the sisters" explain how to model correct behavior and incorrect behavior.

I am looking forward to trying these methods out this week. I am not looking forward to a week of assessments!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend reflections

I spent yesterday planning for next week and where to go from here. (I did this while sitting on gym bleachers for 9 hours watching and waiting for the next game to start)

Observations from last week's re dedication to reading workshop:

1. I (I think I will use first initial when referring to a student) was engaged and not flopping on the floor like usual (could this be from giving him the choice of all available books?)

2. J has not made as much progress as I had thought. He could not find 5 just right books even though he was choosing level A books. He must rely on my introductions more than I thought.

3. The kids that are good listeners and direction followers didn't notice that much of a change. I have been following this format timidly all year. I think I learned that if I'm not fully committed my hard to lead kids are never going to follow.

4. I love the idea of not having centers during reading time. I always feel like I am providing "busy work"that doesn't need monitoring. I think I will still have a modified center time a couple of times a week, but I will be out in the class observing and helping.

On Friday we had a two hour delay. I stopped at Walmart and picked up small notebooks and an ice cube container (30 notebooks fit in one container). I started using the new organization system right away. I think I am really going to love it! I took notes on about 7 kids. I did some informal running records and gathered a lot of info. I have always believed that formal running records are useful, but they are also time consuming. I will still use formal running records but I can reach more kids by also doing quick informal ones in between. (I have been doing this on the sly, but now I feel like I can feel confident that this too is valuable info)