Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reading in the Wild - Creating a Workshop Schedule

Hello everyone. I hope you are enjoying our book study so far. The section we are discussing today is something I've been trying to figure out for a while now - creating a workshop schedule. I was so excited to be able to read about someone else's experience and study how they structure their day. I've decided to approach this section in the following way - what are the major questions that Donalyn Miller asks, what piece of advice does she offer for each question, and how can I apply this in my classroom. Hopefully the results will lead me to a newly created and useful workshop schedule. Here we go...

1. How much class time do I have?
Remember to take into account all of the things in your day (lunch, specials, etc.) that demand your students time. Also consider any special programs, rules, or emphasis your school may require. 

My students will receive 80 minutes of a core ELA block that should cover all of the ELA standards - this means reading, writing, language, foundational skills, and listening-viewing-speaking. We also have a 40 minute flexible reading block for interventions, extra practice, and enhancements. The rest of my time is pre-determined by a master school schedule. 

2. Which instructional components am I required to include?
Think about the types of programs, textbooks, intervention requirements, assessments, or student grouping strategies that your school/district require and remember you must try to find time for them in your schedule. 

Thankfully I do not have a specific program or textbook that I MUST implement. I have standards that I must teach, but I am given the opportunity to choose text, strategies, and best practices that work for my students. We do use a school wide fluency, comprehension, and writing assessment for data review purposes and I incorporate those assessments when needed. 

3. What can I change to make time for independent reading?
The author states her core belief that students should be reading everyday. To make sure this happens, she evaluates her time and activities to make sure she has reading time daily. The long term benefits of daily reading often out way the short term benefits of particular activities. 

This is something I did much better at last year and as a result I could see my students love for reading to continue to grow. I also saw them make more connections to content and strategies we were learning. 

4. Remember the rule of thirds. 
The text suggests splitting your class time into thirds. One third for independent reading, conferring, and small groups. Another third for guided practice, and the last third for independent practice. The author covers her curriculum in genre units and alternates with writing as needed. 

I like the idea of breaking my time into these designated segments.  I'm thinking that if I keep this in mind, it will help clarify while I am planning. I know that I have a 80 minute core block for instruction. This block is split into a 60 minute section before specials and a 20 minute section after specials. I already know that the 20 minute section will be time for word work (phonics/vocabulary). So I want to focus my workshop time within the first 60 minutes. My schedule will look like this:

20 minutes - guided instruction mini- lesson
20 minutes - independent/small group practice
20 minutes - independent reading time

I will alternate my mini-lessons and practice activities between reading and writing as needed. 

Donalyn Miller suggests (and I agree) that the focus must be on authentic learning opportunities for our students. Everyone's schedule will look different due to time restraints and requirements, but if we focus on best practices and become reflective teachers - we can do this!

Check out what everyone else has to say about this section of the book for more ideas on creating a workshop schedule that works for you.  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bright ideas - reuse laminated items

So if you're like me, you have several items in your classroom that are laminated. I use all kinds of decor and charts to keep up with data and student progress.

The problem with writing on these items with a dry erase marker is that it wipes off too easily, so I started using a sharpie. 

An easy trick to help you reuse these items instead of buying new ones each year - Magic Eraser will clean sharpie right off a laminated item. 

All it takes is a little time and elbow grease and your laminated items will be perfectly restored to begin a new school year this fall!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, check out another bright idea post about keeping clutter out of student desks, my Facebook page, or my TPT store

Also, for other bright idea posts from great teacher bloggers, check out the link up below. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reading in the Wild - Bookstudy update

We have some AMAZING bloggers and non-bloggers joining us over the next 7 weeks, and I cannot wait! Check out the hosts for each of the chapters/sections and make sure to follow them, so you don't miss anything. :) If your a blogger, awesome! Join us each week by linking up your posts/ideas. If you're not a blogger, that's great, too! You can read/follow and comment. We want to hear your advice, thoughts, and ideas for the classroom, too. The more teachers we have joining, the more amazing our classrooms will be this fall! 

Chapter 1: Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read (June 19th)

Chapter 1: Creating a Workshop Schedule (June 26th) *This is a SUPER short section (only 4 pages), but a great chance to share/showcase your workshop schedule and sneek a peek at classrooms all over the world!*

Chapter 2: Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material (July 3rd)

Chapter 2: Curating a Classroom Library (July 10th)

Chapter 3: Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Others & Conferring: What's the Point? (July 17th)

Chapter 4: Wild Readers Have Reading Plans (July 24th)

Chapter 5: Wild Readers Show Reading Preference (July 31st)

Aren't you excited? It's going to be a great few weeks! I'll see you back here on Thursday morning. :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

End of the Year

So last Friday marked the end of the school year for me with my wonderful 3rd graders.  I do have to say that I shed some tears as I said my last afternoon goodbye to them.  I will miss them so very much! I have been so blessed to spend the past school year with them and their families. So, I decided to share with you how we spent our last week together. Enjoy!

Our Medieval Fair

Play Day 2014

And... a field trip 

A great last week of a wonderful school year!