Thursday, June 30, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
My students love using these Hot Spots during guided reading! Now, I must admit, I am a bit of a techy/font/clipart diva (normally hand-written worksheets make me cringe…there must be a 12-step program for people like me!!), but I had a wonderful parent volunteer make these cards for me and she had a blast with them-she even decorated the envelopes to put them in!! So sweet. Our newest file, Guided Reading Activities With Pizzazz, contains 3 interactive manipulatives that enrich your reading strategy lessons, a parent letter explaining the strategies used at school, and 26 worksheets to use during your guided reading instruction.
The first person to comment on this post will receive the file for free! Click here to pick up the file on our TpT site!
Just one final note before closing up this post…
Ten years ago a few colleagues and I got together and started our own mini business. We called ourselves The Thinking Shop and hired a graphic designer and a printer to turn our vision of interactive guided reading aprons into a reality. We sold them online, to one school district, at local workshops, and a teacher store. But mainly we gave them to colleagues and new teachers who needed a little something to add to their guided reading lessons. I don’t know if we even made any money during this business venture, no one really kept track because the rewards of sharing them with others who would put them to good use was such a great feeling.
Seeing the need for further teacher education in guided reading stayed on my mind and remained a focus for me over the next 10 years. During this time I developed ideas and created my own bag of tricks to help my students succeed in this area. Now, in 2011, I am thrilled to have this blog and a teaching partner - Melissa :) - who shares the same philosophy about teaching as me. I am also honored to have the best followers! We have made so many friends and have gotten so many ideas from each of you. Thanks for making me a better teacher, I hope I’ve done the same for some of you!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We have had several teachers ask questions about our guided reading post. We are VERY frustrated because we can't respond by posting a comment.on our blog. :( We've tried to delete cookies and everything else that came up in Google when we typed in "Blogger will not let me post comments using my Google ID." It keeps telling us to sign into the google account over and over again. We can't post any comments on other blogs...HELP! :)
In the meantime, we are going to answer some of the questions asked in emails and through the comments section in our blog post. We hope this helps!!!
Question: How do you use your stash of goodies?
Question: How long do you stick with a long book for guided reading groups?
Answer: Yes, the books from Treasures are sometimes pretty long, especially if we read a chapter book. It usually takes about two weeks (depending on how often the group meets) to complete the book. We have about 5 minutes of discussion at the end of every reading so it takes a few weeks to complete the book.
Question: I noticed you have the students sit on therapy balls. How do you establish guidelines and minimize distractions?
Answer: We both have used these therapy balls for the past 2 years. I started using them only during guided reading, however, I found that many of my students could benefit from sitting on them throughout the day. Each day, all of the students at 1 table would have a ball. At the end of the day they would "rotate" and give their ball to a child at the next table. The key to managing them...give clear and specific directions and model, model, model! I give the students the rules at the beginning of the year. I start by showing them examples of ways to properly sit on the ball and ways not to (they will love seeing you sit on them in silly ways and laugh hysterically). I give 1 warning (if needed) and if a second warning is given, this child loses the ball for that day. I have 5 balls and 5 tables of 5 students so each child gets a ball 1 day per week.
A few tips if you do decide to use the balls-students will try to "take flight" by laying face down on the balls. They also might try to kneel on them. Make sure the students keep an eye out for pencils on the floor since they can possibly lead to a popped ball. The cheapest place to find the balls is at Walmart. The 55 cm ball is for children 5' 3" and under and is sold for $6.77.
Question: Where do you get the clear plastic sleeves?
Answer: We were lucky enough to have school funds buy them for each classroom. It's a great way to save paper and endless copies! These SmartPAL Sleeves are from EAI Education and a 10-pack sells for $16.95.
Question: How do you find time to do anecdotal records? How do you balance reading and discussion time during GR groups?
Answer: Finding time for the anecdotal records is not easy!! I actually fill those out when the students are reading the text independently during the guided reading groups. However, my individual reading conferences take place during our reading workshop time, when students are buddy reading, or practicing their reading fluency. As for the reading/discussing...I know exactly what you mean!!! We spend about 12-15 minutes actually reading and then the rest of the time, about 5 minutes, discussing the text. I struggle with keeping the discussion time to 5 minutes too because they can talk forever about the books we read! They want to share their questions, thoughts, connections, what they visualized...everything! While this is a wonderful thing, we can't take 20 minutes to have a discussion! What I’ve found helpful is to remind the students that they will have time during reading workshop to discuss their reading with other readers when they are buddy reading, participating in literature groups, or book buddies. I also do a lot of "turn and talk to your neighbor" so each child feels like they are having the opportunity to share their thoughts even though they are not sharing them with the entire group.
Question: I saw somewhere that you do a classroom economy. I have seen Beth Newingham's and a few others but would like more information on how you set yours up and how it works. I don't know if you have some basic information or even a file on TpT.
Answer: Thank you Beth Newingham for this idea! Similar to Beth, I created a "My Classroom Economy Book" for every student. Throughout the day, the students earn credits for smart, responsible, and respectful choices and debits for poor choices. Attached is a copy of the classroom economy book that I made after being reading how Beth incorporates it into her classroom!
I photocopy 10 pages of the "credits/debits" page for two weeks worth of school days. The students fold those pages in half. Then they fold the cover page in half and place the credits/debits pages "inside" the folded cover page to make a book. The crease of the credits/debits page is on the outside. A picture would be worth a thousand words right now wouldn't it!?!? I don't have one :( Sorry!
You can also have the students get paid for the classroom positions they work for as part of their daily credits. Click on the file name to download the classroom economy book from google documents.
Click on the file above to download the classroom jobs from google documents. You can also have your students earn classroom credits for doing classroom jobs.
Question: Is the Guided Reading Guru file included in the Teacher Reading Binder: Ultimate Resource for Any Teacher?
Answer: YES! :) Here is a description of the Teacher Reading Binder:
An invaluable resource for any classroom teacher who teaches guided reading, uses literature groups, or loves reading workshop! Inspired by Fountas and Pinnell and Regie Routman!
Teachers create their own reading binder, which includes numerous files:
-Guided Reading Guru File (80 pages) Includes anecdotal record forms, assessing student comprehension, reading goals, running records, informal reading conferences, numerous guided reading forms and templates, LOTS of pictures, information and resources.
-Literature Groups File (55 pages)
Just updated on June 20, 2011 to include all job roles for fiction, nonfiction, and mystery books. Also has pictures and ideas for how to successfully implement literature groups in your classroom!
-Reading response letters and assessment and reading workshop mini-lessons file (15 pages)
-Cover pages for binder
Also, this file is frequently updated with more information. If you purchase, please check periodically for updates to redownload!!!
******We just finished updating this file on June 20, 2011. If you already purchased this file, please redownload so you get all the goodies!****
Question: If I bought the reading binder through your SOS site, can I still have the updated file?
Answer: OF COURSE! :) Please send us an email so we can send you the updated file! (Curls and a Smile, we saw your comment...just send us your email address!!)
THANK YOU for your kind emails and comments about our recent posts! :) We apologize we could not answer them sooner!
Also, go check out Gladys’ blog, Teaching in High Heels! We are giving away a copy of our Guided Reading Guru file and other awesome bloggers are also giving away some great files as well!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
**April 4, 2013 update** I MUSTACHE you a question…do you need some guided reading inspiration??? If so, check out our latest post! Click here or click on the picture below to visit our blog post.
**(July 26, 2012) If you like this post, you will love our new post on guided reading! Click below:
Guided Reading Binder 101: Calling all Guided Reading Gurus!!
This summer, we hope to write more posts about how we actually teach reading, writing, and math in our classrooms….which is a workshop approach! We just implemented guided math into our classrooms this past year, however, we have used guided reading and writing workshop for several years. Although Nicole teaches second grade and Melissa teaches third grade, we both have very similar teaching styles and philosophies.
Today we are starting with Guided Reading!
I have implemented guided reading in my classroom since my first year of teaching. At my first school I taught at, fresh out of college, I had no clue what guided reading was. I remember being asked the question, “what is guided reading?” in an interview for a kindergarten position. Having NO CLUE what the principal was talking about I made up some answer which was completely inaccurate and laughable. I can only image what the other teachers in the the interview and the principal were thinking! The principal then asked me, “what do the other students do when you are with guided reading groups?” I had a little bit more of background knowledge about literacy centers to answer this question….and believe it or not….I ended up getting the teaching position!
My lack of knowledge about quality literacy instruction got a MAJOR wakeup call my first year of teaching. My college classes did not prepare me for implementing guided reading or teaching through a workshop approach! To this day, I am so grateful to the literacy coach that was assigned to our school, but especially assigned to help the new teachers, like yours truly, become more knowledgeable and effective with teaching reading. The literacy coach came into my classroom to model small group guided reading lessons, worked with me to create meaningful and engaging activities for the other students to be working on. Although at the time I felt frustrated because it seemed like I had someone watching my every move…I am now so grateful for those opportunities because I learned so much!
Note to new teachers: DO NOT be shy/embarrassed/think you know everything….take advantage of the people and resources offering their help!
At another school I taught at, the reading specialist played an instrumental role of helping me implement guided reading and a reading workshop approach with older students. In both schools that I taught at, the principals supported and encouraged the staff to participate in book talks. Since I was a shy new teacher, I never felt comfortable sharing any of my thoughts aloud at these meetings, however I was soaking up all the knowledge of the veteran teachers around me! I was also lucky enough to attend several conferences and workshops to help me learn more about how to teach reading.
On my own time, I have filled my bookshelves with teaching resource books written by all the guided reading gurus. When we moved into our new house, I was lucky enough to be able to have one room to call my own. It was agreed that I could "do whatever I wanted to it." I initially named it my “meditation room,” painted it a really pretty purple color, and filled it with serene pictures, art, and inspiration. Hah! What a laugh!
Within months, my meditation room became the storage/junk room.
However, one of my favorite parts of my meditation/junk/storage room is my Ikea bookshelf that is stacked with books!
My favorite “teacher books”:
Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading, K-8 by Foutas and Pinnell.
Guiding Readers and Writers: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy by Fountas and Pinnell.
Reading Essentials: The Specifics You Need to teach Reading Well by Reggie Routman.
On Solid Ground: Strategies for Teaching Reading K-3 by Sharon Taberski.
Nine years later…I can confidently say that I “know what guided reading is.” In fact, I have learned enough about it to now to help OTHER teachers implement guided reading into their classrooms. My district has asked me to serve on committees to mentor new teachers and initiate new programs…and I love it! I love being able to share what I have learned about what works in my classroom, in the hopes of inspiring you implement something new into your classroom!
So, I hope that you learn some new ideas about guided reading from this post!
In our school, we are really fortunate to have a pretty extensive guided reading school library, which one teacher in our building organized into the Fountas and Pinnell reading levels A-V.
Each baggie has about 6-7 copies of the same book and teachers simply “check out” the baggie that they are using.
In my own classroom, I have a guided reading library. My district uses the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
Reading series, which provides every teacher with their own set of guided reading leveled texts.
For my third grade classroom, I have leveled texts from K-R. There are six copies of the same book title...a just right book for every guided reading group! I organized the books into baskets, according to their level, so that I can easily pick out a book for a guided reading group.
My guided reading table has all the “must have’s” for a guided reading group:
-Enough copies of the book for every student
-Pencils and sticky notes for the students to write their thoughts and connections
-My teacher reading binder that has my anecdotal notes, reading conference notes, running records, and other information about guided reading and literature groups
-A table that allows everyone to be facing each other
-Eager readers and guided reading guru
Behind my guided reading table, I have a bookshelf with all my guided reading materials: my reading binder, my guided reading “goodies,” and one bin for every group that I am working with.
Each bin holds all three different books: a book that we just finished reading, a book that we are currently reading, and a book that we will be reading next. This is just how I stay organized and how I plan the books that we are reading.
Speaking of groups, I use a fun and interactive bulletin board display to organize my guided reading groups.
I have tried MANY different ways to group my students for guided reading groups….and I finally found one that I love! This idea was inspired from Beth Newingham…which by the way, I should have put her name up there on my list by the other guided reading gurus!!! If you have not checked out her site, you have permission to stop reading our post right now and click your way on over there!
I have one poster for each reading group. Students write the title of the book we are reading on a sticky note and place the sticky note on the poster. I then have a picture of each student and place their picture where it says “starring” on the poster. This easily helps me keep my groups flexible because I have a piece of sticky tac on the back of their pictures. So anytime a child is switching groups, I just pull off their picture and stick it to a different group.
I love how the focus is on the book that each group is reading and NOT what LEVEL the books are!!! When I call students to the back table, I do not say “Green Group!” or call each individual name. Instead, I call out the name of the book that they are reading!
I also have several different ways to document how my guided reading groups are flexible and constantly changing.
Can you see my love for sticky notes in these pictures above??
I keep track of my ever changing groups throughout the year by using a guided reading groups tracking sheeting, a color coded guided reading group display (which stays in my reading binder and on my bulletin board display) and each student also has a guided reading log. This is where I take notes about what we did during the guided reading group and the title and level of the book that was read.
I have more in depth assessment tools that I also use, which are part of my reading binder.
I just began informal reading conferences with all my readers a few years ago. I love them! I learned about reading conferences by reading about them in Reggie’s book. I have learned so much about my students by individually meeting with them.
DURING this actual guided reading group, Nicole and I like to use lots of goodies to help motivate our students!
Our stash of reading manipulatives: beach balls (for comprehension, not play!!), magnetic letters, magnetic trays, Wikki Sticks, highlighters, sticky notes (of course!), puzzle pieces, stickers/awards, good readers strategy cards, pointers, visualizing manipulatives…wow…lots!
For the students who are guided reading levels L or higher, the focus of the group discussion (after the reading) is all about comprehension. Again, we love to use sticky notes with our students! Our sticky notes metacognition cards teach students to think as they are reading. We TELL them all the time “good readers THINK when the are reading,” but this actually shows them HOW to do that! For adult readers, that is automatic. But for young children, we need to explicitly teach them to think about their reading.
These good readers are sharing their vivid visualizations after their reading.
Another guided reading goodie…an incentive to get my students excited to meet with other students and I about READING! I pass out their guided reading licenses at the beginning of the year...right after I meet with every child in their guided reading group for the very first time. This shows the students that guided reading is a FUN thing to do and working with the teacher at the “reading table” is a privilege for ALL students…not just the struggling/low ones! :)
We just finished created our Be a Guided Reading Guru file and posted it on TpT and our SOS site. The file is 80 pages and includes all the ideas and pictures that are listed in this post…just not the meditation/junk/storage room!
Below is a preview of the file:
Click on the file name Be a Guided Reading Guru to purchase!
Also, if you are a teacher who bought our Teacher Reading Binder: Ultimate Resource to Teach Reading!….PLEASE redownload the updated version, which includes this Be a Guided Reading Guru file. If you are having trouble with this, just email us at: teachers(at)lessonplansos(dot)com. Also, we are working on updating our literature group file with more information, pictures, and all the literature group job roles included. Again, if you purchased our Teaching Reading Binder, be sure to redownload the file after we update the literature group file, which should be in about a week!
So where are your thoughts on guided reading? How/where did you learn all that you know? Any other suggestions? Or, are you still learning? What are you struggling with? Share your thoughts with us!