A Week in Reading: Tuesday ~ Touch the Text

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 No comments
While I love a good Monday, Tuesday is my favorite day for whole group reading. Why do I love Tuesdays so? Because it's the day we dig in, dig deep, and stretch, stretch, stretch! Here's what we do on Tuesdays (usually...)

We use the Journeys curriculum, and I shared earlier that I'm not fond of their structure for the first read of the story. They suggest stopping throughout the story on Day 1 and peppering the kids with questions. There are generally upwards of 15 questions offered up during the first read. In my opinion, first reads shouldn't be interrupted repeatedly. In fact, if we're reading a text that a majority of my class can handle on their own, the first read is done independently. If you've seen all the posts about Close Reading, you know the first read is to "get the gist". Do they understand the general purpose of the story or text and what it's about? I don't know about you, but if I were reading something for the first time, I wouldn't want someone interrupting me every page or so asking me questions about what I'm reading. Just let me read it, then I'll talk about it! I feel the same way when I teach. Just let us read it, then we'll worry about the comprehension questions.

Here's what my guide looks like. This one isn't as question heavy as most, but I save the questioning for Tuesday and pick and choose the ones I use.

So, Tuesday is that day. We dive in for our second read. The second read really depends on how we did the first read. If I read it aloud for the first read, then we might break into partners for a buddy read while my most struggling readers join me for some guided reading. We have 1:1 iPads, so the second read might be scanning the QR code to launch the audio for the story and kids follow along. (It's so nice for them to hear another voice other than mine reading to them!) We then have some discussion. Kids have a turn and talk partner so everyone participates and we pose questions. I might start us off with some of the comprehension questions from my teacher's guide, or I might lead with one of the questions the kids asked while we were reading. They always turn and talk first, taking turns with who gets to answer first, then I call on students for responses. I don't do the whole "raise your hand if you have an answer". If I've given you the time and resources, then I expect every single student to have some kind of response. Even if your response is, "We couldn't find it. We need some help", that's fine! But everyone participates and no one gets a free pass.

One of the shifts in ELA with the Common Core was text dependent questions. Here's a great quick handout on that from Mary Lirette at Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives. Head over to her website to grab a free download of this handout and the 10 anchor standards. They're a must have!


Here's the key, though, in my opinion. Are you pulling your hair out trying to get kids to cite evidence from the text? I was! Then I decided to create a new routine. We touch the text. Sounds simple, right? It really is! When I ask a question, the first thing they have to do is touch the text. If it's a text based question, the kids work together to flip to the right section of the story, hunt down where the answer or evidence is, and touch it. If it's not text-based, they still have to find support for their answer in the text and touch it. Then, they ground their answers in the text. When they talk to each other, they use complete sentences, give their answer, and give support.

Also, when one student is speaking, other students are listening and offering their level of understanding. This is a move I took from watching teachers implement Number Talks (which is amazing if you haven't seen it in action). If kids agree, they do the "me too" sign in sign language. (Here's a free printable of that sign from Clutter Free Classroom). If they don't understand, they tap their foreheads. If they disagree, they use the "different" sign to show they have a different idea. This helps me see immediately how everyone is doing. I can then tailor a follow-up question based on students' reactions.

Here's what it might look like in an absolutely perfect world :)

Me:  What is an ichthyosaur? Touch the text, then turn and talk with your partner.
(Students locate ichthyosaur in the text, then discuss together.)
Teacher: I heard many of you say it was a dinosaur. I'm looking for a complete sentence and text evidence. Kimberly, share what you and your partner found.
Kimberly: An ichthyosaur is a dinosaur. It had sharp teeth and fins. It's name means "fish lizard."
Kaiden signs "me too".
Me: Kaiden, add on to that.
Kaiden: It's a dinosaur that swam because it had fins. It ate meat because of its sharp teeth.
Kids are signing their responses. Everyone agrees.

Ok, so it's never really that easy and beautiful. Usually the ancient heater is humming so loudly Kaiden can't hear Kimberly and half the kids are tapping their ears meaning they need the person to speak up and the phone rings because someone needs to go to speech, or the office, or to a group and my timer goes off because it's time for recess and someone needs tape because they accidentally ripped their paper. But, even though we're constantly a work in progress, they have touch the text down pat! They're able to translate that skill into their written response because they know to get back to the text to find their answers and evidence.

Now do you see why I love Tuesday? Even in all the madness that can happen when you've got upwards of 26 kids with all different abilities and needs, coming together around a good story or piece of text, engaging in discussion, and being successful at it is a beautiful thing!

A Week in Reading ~ Monday

Monday, May 16, 2016 1 comment

Hi, everyone! I thought I'd start off this new blog by sharing what a week in Whole Group Reading looks like in my second grade class. Let's jump right in! Here's what we do on Mondays.

First, we prep our Reader's Notebooks. I did the workbook thing for two years with our Journeys curriculum, and I just wasn't a fan. So this year I decided to create our own reader's notebooks. I must say, I love them! It helps keep me super focused on the essentials and the kids are writing a ton! I also love that everything they need is on one page. I copy them on a different color each week just so they're easier to find in their notebooks.
The page includes: 1) the Essential Question, 2) Response to Reading question, 3) Reading skill of the week, 4) QR code with link to the story audio, 5) Vocabulary skill, and 6) Grammar skill. 

When kids come in each Monday, there's a new sheet on their desks. They're pretty well trained by now, so they are able to cut and glue everything in about 10 minutes. That takes care of our morning work time on Mondays.
Here's what they look like when they're finished. Well, most of them look like this. Some aren't so pretty, but I'm getting better at letting go of that :)
Next we Kahoot! our vocabulary. I love, love, love using Kahoot! for this. If you only have a few devices, Kahoot! now has team mode so kids can consult together before choosing their answers. I love that I get immediate feedback on their responses, so if everyone answers correctly, we move on. If kids miss a question, we stop and discuss the vocabulary word. Plus, there's 100% engagement! We do a lot of our vocabulary study during workshop, so this is a quick way to check that everyone understands the words. I almost never create my own Kahoot! Instead I search for ones other fabulous teachers have made. Time saver!
Lastly, we read the story of the week. I love gathering the kids up on the carpet and treating their first read as a read aloud. Whenever possible I go get the trade book so we can have a true read aloud experience. Our teacher's guide has all kinds of questions and things for a first read, but I don't use those then. I like to stop at natural points along with the to talk about the story or information, but I really feel like a first read should be done without tons of interruptions. After we're done, we discuss the essential question and make some class notes so we're reading to write the next day.
What are some of your favorite Day 1 activities?