Sunday, October 15, 2017

Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading

If every time you head over to your table to do guided reading, you have to clear piles of junk off of
your table, let's just be honest: you're probably not going to be very consistent.

The purpose of having your space set up is to minimize transition time so you can maximize instructional time. Every minute wasted is precious: time is your most valuable and limited commodity!

There are a few things to consider when you're making sure your space is ready for guided reading every day.

Visibility
As you're making your plan for your classroom, you'll want to make sure that you select your guided reading (and small group) space carefully. Put yourself in the chair you'll be sitting in. Do you have visibility of your classroom? Are there nooks that students can sit in where you won't be able to see what's happening?

For safety reasons, and management reasons, too, you'll want to be able to see every part of your classroom, if at all possible. This minimizes the likelihood of disasters happening during guided reading.

Clear surface
If you have a guided reading table (a kidney table), then great! They're an excellent space because they are shaped to help you have visual access to each of your readers. But if you don't, you can use any table that works for you. I've done guided reading at rectangular tables, desks pushed together, and sitting on the carpet. You just want to make sure  that you can communicate with each student well. Have a consistent space, too - this helps your groups learn the routine.

Enough seats for the kids in each group
I've been in classrooms that are short on seats. For each lesson, the kids dragged their noisy chairs across the room, from their desks to the table. It contributes to the chaos of the transition and keeps the other kids from getting started on whatever it is they're supposed to be doing independently. 

Sometimes the school just doesn't provide enough chairs to have an extra six just sitting at your guided reading table all day. In that case, get creative! Make those cute crate seats or buy those little cubes from Target or Home Goods. I found really great kid-sized folding chairs at Wal-Mart. Whatever your budget, find a way to provide a dedicated spot for kids to sit in. It will simplify your transitions!

Access to tools students should use during guided reading
There are some things we want kids to use during guided reading. Whether this is comprehension strategy speaking stems, a word wall, or decoding tools, you want kids to have easy access to the tools they need to use to help themselves. If they have to turn around to see the chart on vowel teams, they probably won't really use it and you won't be building much of a habit.  


Don't have wall space? You can make a handy tools folder out of a file folder and the pages you want students to have access to. Glue them on and laminate. Then you can pull them out for each session.

Access to group materials
This is totally up to each teacher. Some people like to have their materials in baskets, and some use the vertical magazine holders. Some keep them in folders. The bottom line is: when you're starting a group, you don't want to spend three minutes digging around in a pile of stuff behind your table to find your guided reading book or your lesson plan. 

To keep myself organized, I used an organized guided reading binder (more on that next time) and a series of plastic vertical magazine file organizers behind my table. The lesson plan and my copy of the book went in the binder, along with the necessary reading behavior record forms. The materials for the kids (each kid had a folder with their guided reading book in the pocket) went in the vertical organizers. Each group had a different organizer. This helps me stay on top of my materials and start guided reading quickly each day.

Here's another tip: Have a set of pencils in a cup. Don't ask kids to bring pencils them. It's just a time-waster. Three kids arrive at the table with a pencil and two don't. The two who didn't have to go back and get one. It wastes your time and theirs, which is your most valuable commodity.

Instead, I buy  a pack of unique  pencils and put them in a pencil cup on my table. They are always sharpened and always available. And because they're special, it's to tell if someone had accidentally walked away with one of my guided reading pencils.


Keep teaching materials handy
I use a dry-erase board for minilessons, so I need to ensure that I have space for my dry-erase board, markers, and (except for those times I just use my hand) an eraser. I have a stack of little dry-erase boards (you can often find them at the Dollar Spot at Target) so each student could write on them, as well as post-its for student responses.

I organize most of these materials (including highlighters, dry-erase markers, post-its, and index cards) into a handy supply caddy that I found at Wal-Mart for a few dollars. 


What do you keep at your guided reading table?

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!



https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
 
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder

An organized binder is a happy binder. Sounds silly, but tell me I'm wrong! When your materials are tidy and labeled, doesn't it give you a sense of satisfaction, that all is right with the world?

It's best to have your binder organized long before you work with your groups. Trying to throw it together after the fact is stressful, messy, and will cause you to miss some opportunities for noticing what your students' needs are.  

Here's how I organize my guided reading binder.

You'll need...
  • Regular dividers
  • Plastic pocket dividers (my favorite thing)
  • A hole punch
  • A 3" binder
  • And rectangular post-its, if you want to use this strategy for grouping

First, I put in the plastic dividers. I have one for each group, and then I leave one or two for resource. These are the labels on my dividers:
*Group One
*Group Two
*Group Three
*Group Four
*Group Five
*Group Six (if needed)
*Data
*Planning Tools


On each group divider, I put post-its with the students' names who are in that group. I use post-its so it's easy to move kids from group to group.

In the pocket, I keep index cards with anecdotal notes about each student (more on that later). I also keep a copy of the book we're going to work on during the next lesson. For upper grades, this could be the same book over several days, because we might do a small section of text each day until we finish the book.

Behind each group tab, I put one regular divider for each student. That's where I keep the reading behavior records and Fiction/Nonfiction Quick Checks for each student. I also include their BOY & MOY assessment data for reference.

If a student changes groups, which they do frequently, I just take that whole stack of records and the divider tab and stick it behind the new group. I also change the student's post-it to the new group divider.


Behind the Data tab, I keep class data, such as the roster of all the student assessment data from BOY
and MOY, and the Guided Reading Levels for each month. It's helpful to look across and notice who has made good progress and who isn't moving. You can also keep results of reading assessments here, because they can give you insight on what strategies you might use as minilessons in the future.

Behind the Planning Tools section, I place regular two dividers. Before the dividers, I add in any planning reference tools, such as MSV coding, questioning, strategies, etc., that help me plan my lessons. Behind the first regular divider, I add a stack of blank lesson plans so I always have a copy when I'm ready to plan. Behind the second regular divider, I add a stack of blank reading behavior records.


Stay tuned next week to read about getting your space ready!

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963

Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Guided Reading: What Are the Other Students Doing?

You're hard at work with a small group. Together, you're learning about the hibernation habits of bears. You're accessing background knowledge, synthesizing new learning, and making connections. The magic is happening! Students are engaged!

Suddenly, a student rises out of his seat. You see him from the corner of your eye. "Eddie," you think. "He knows better. I'm sure he won't come over here."

Like a shark, he slowly weaves around the desks. You attempt to make eye contact. "Sit down," your eyes say. "See three before me," they plead. Looming ever closer, he holds up the assignment he's working on and points. You shake your head from side to side. 

He moves to stand right behind the students you're working with. He holds up his paper and opens his mouth. You shake your head and gesture to his seat. He looks at you, uncomprehending.

You finally deign to open your mouth. "Sit down, Eddie," you say. "But I -" he starts. "Sit down, Eddie," you say again. "I am with a GROUP!" He looks at the kids at your table, confused, and decides it's in his interest to return to his seat. 

You look back at your group. What were you doing? Magic suspended. Womp-womp.

If this has happened to you, you're not alone. It's happened to all of us. The question is: will it keep happening? In order to maximize your guided reading time as well as the independent working time of your kids, rituals and routines are incredibly important! 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. What do you want students to accomplish during this time?

I wanted students to practice strategic reading in a book of their choice, so I adopted the reader's workshop model with daily independent reading.

Students read independently and respond to their reading in reader's notebooks, practicing various strategies that we had learned. You can learn more about this in my Rolling Out Reader's Workshop unit on TPT.

Others answer this question differently. Some teachers use a Daily 5 approach, where students practice reading and writing at five different stations. Others use more traditional reading centers, where students rotate through reading and writing skills. Think about what you want students to invest in, and decide what's best for your kids!

2. What requisite skills will students need to be independent during this time?

For my independent reading example, students needed to be able to:
* Choose an appropriate book
* Sustain attention to their reading
* Practice a strategy while reading
* Know what to do when they finished reading a book
* Respond to their reading in their notebooks

I spend about 5-6 weeks at the beginning of the school year, before I start guided reading, building these skills a little bit at a time. This time is well spent, because it will support my readers in being independent while I'm working with a group. 

3. What management strategies do I need to implement to help students be independent?
I recommend charting out 4-6 expectations for students. Make them clear and framed positively. For example, rather than stating, "Don't get out of your seat," say, "Stay in your seat." 
This is what my chart looked like. You'll notice the last point is pretty important!


One of my basic expectations for this time frame was that students will not use this time to go to the restroom, sharpen pencils, or get a drink of water. They are strategically building their reading skills, so nothing else is more important. (Of course, I made agreements with individual students if they had a medical condition or an emergency situation.)
4. What routines will be in place to support students' independence?
How will you start the time of independence,  how will you structure the time, and ho will you end it smoothly, so you can move into the next part of your day? 

A couple of things that have worked for me:

Post the schedule! 
If you have your schedule posted, you are more likely to honor it, and your kids will keep you honest! You can learn more about building your guided reading schedule here.



Start consistently.
At the beginning of independent reading, we'd chant the expectations on the chart above together. I'd write the kind of response kids were expected to write on the board. While I was doing that, I'd ask students to pull out their independent reading books and their reader's notebooks with a pencil. They left those on the side of their desk, ready for when they were supposed to write their response.

Use an auditory signal.
I used a little bell. Once kids were reading independently, I'd verbally call over my first group by stating the name of the group. "Group Two," I'd say, once. Group Two knew they had to grab their materials and move to the table calmly.
At the end of their session, I'd send them back to their seats and call, once, "Group One." They'd come to the table calmly as well. When there were about ten minutes left in independent reading, I'd ring my little bell, and students knew it was time to respond in their notebooks. They had until I was done with the group to finish writing the response they had been taught to do.

Have a check-in at the end.

Whether this is a rubric where kids self-evaluate the way they spent their independent working time, or a signal that they flash to show that they've been working continuously, it's important to check in with the kids at the end of each session to show that you value their independent work.
I frequently used the Kagan Fist of Five. It was an easy check-in. If students had done an incredible job during independent reading and followed the expectations to a T, they held up all five fingers. If they did none of the items on the chart, they held up zero fingers. 1-4 was a range of how many items they had successfully done during independent reading.

One other easy guided reading tip: Have a signal that guided reading is in progress. Some people wear a hat (not too distracting, please!) or have a lamp that they turn on to show that guided reading is happening and the group is not to be bothered for any reason. Others set up a small stuffed animal in a designated spot.

Whatever you try, keep it consistent! If you put out the Guided Reading Bear, and Sammy walks up to the table to ask you a question, and you answer it, you've undermined yourself and the bear. Now the bear means nothing! Teach it, and then hold yourself and your kids accountable for it, and it will work!

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
 
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).


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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Guided Reading: Getting to Know Your Readers First

Before you start a guided reading program, there are a few things you'll want to have set up in order to make the best use of your time and save your sanity!

One really important piece is to have your other students very well trained in being independent. They need to know what to do and how to do it. And most of all, they need to know not to bother you.

Later in the blog series (next, actually), I'll share some ideas about how to make this part of your guided reading program very effective!

The other really important piece is to get to know your students as readers before you attempt to guide them into any reading strategy acquisition. This means that you know their instructional reading level, yes, but it's almost more important to know what reading behaviors kids demonstrate as they read. 

For example, does your reader still reread every 3-4 words? Does your reader have great comprehension but poor decoding skills? Does your reader use the first two letters of a word and then guess at the rest? Does your reader choose random details and think that's the main idea of the whole reading? Those are all reading behaviors that kids have. 

The only way to grow your readers is to know how they think when they read, and how they problem-solve when they are stuck.

There are a few ways to do this. 

1. Use a reading assessment designed to help you identify students' instructional level and notice and document their reading behaviors. This could be something like DRA, iStation, or another commercial program. 

2. If you do not have access to an assessment kit (they can be pricey!), you can still get to know your readers! Here's what I would do. 

Go to Readworks and set up a free account. Click on "Find articles." Download one passage at each lexile level range. Download this too - it's a Lexile Level Correlation Chart and it'll help you figure out what reading levels students are on based on their lexile levels.

Download a running record form and a comprehension rubric. I actually have included one in my Guided Reading Freebie and my Rolling Out Guided Reading product on TPT. 

Call up one student and pull out a grade level passage (unless you have information or reason to think that this student is well above or well below grade level. Go with your instincts on grade level to start with!). 

Provide the student with the passage and take out one copy of your Reading Behavior Record. Have the student read to you and mark his/her errors on the record. For more information about how to score Reading Behavior Records, grab my Rolling Out Guided Reading product! 

The biggest thing to focus on during this time is the student's reading behaviors. Does the student...
- reread frequently?
- reread to correct a miscue?
- use appropriate decoding skills?

Make sure to complete the portion where the student retells the text so you can use the comprehension rubric to figure out what they are doing well and what they need to work on.

If the student is 95% and above in accuracy, and has a comprehension score of 10 or above, you can move up a level. If the student is below 90% in accuracy, and/or has a comprehension score below 7, it's a good idea to move down a level.

Once you've identified all of your students' levels, it's time to group them! I take a piece of paper and divide it into six or eight squares. I label each square with a level and start adding students' names to the boxes. 

Then I can combine squares into a group if I need to. I'd recommend between 3-5 students in each group. You can do 6 if it's needed for your kids or class, of course, but ideally, it'll be fewer than 5. 

These groups are not set in stone. You can adjust them at any time, in order to have kids work with other students on similar strategies, or if a student changes level before other students in his/her group do. 

Once your students are grouped, it's time to schedule!
Decide how many sessions of guided reading you're going to have each day. 

Schedule your needier groups more frequently. A group far below grade level might need to work with you every day. Groups who are above grade level may do well with just one session a week. 

Prepare your schedule - write it down! That's the way we make things real and hold ourselves accountable. You can always change it if you decide you need to!


I recommend posting the schedule on the wall so you can easily build the expectation with students that you'll meet with them regularly.


Check out the post next week to learn about what the rest of your class is doing while you're working with guided reading groups!

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
 
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
 
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).

 
 
 
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Guided Reading Miniseries

I'm going to say two words. I want you to listen to them and think about your honest reaction. 

Guided reading.

Ok, what happened? How did you feel? Calm? Nervous? Frustrated? Agreeable?

If you're already using guided reading as a regular practice in your classroom, great! This series will help you continue to try out new things to grow your readers! If you're not, then you're in the exact right spot. This series will help you get started with confidence!
 
Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won't be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
 
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!

 
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Guided-Reading-All-in-One-K-5-Editable-765963
 
Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5)!

 
 
 
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

5 steps to teaching reading strategies with the gradual release model

Have you ever taught an amazing lesson one day, but the next day you ask the kids to recall something about it, they look at you as if to say, "We never learned that. You never taught us that. Who are you, anyway?"

Yeah, it's happened to all of us. Taught does not equal learned. Sometimes this happens when we feel so much pressure from a curriculum or program to move quickly through reading instruction. 

We throw so much stuff at kids that they don't really have time to master anything through to independence. My friend used to call these "fly-by" lessons. They really don't work. 

Instead, if something is important enough for us to teach it, we really need to take the time to make sure that kids actually learn it.  So that's why I use the gradual release model. I've made a few specific adjustments to best reach students, and this is what I use to teach students reading strategies.

When we start our teaching with something hands-on, or concrete, it gives us an anchor activity to
come back to. Kids remember things they've done actively.

I tend to use a lot of pictures and cards to get kids thinking  about the strategy I'm introducing. I design the activity to mirror the kinds of thinking they'll need to do to use the strategy.

For example, if students will have to gather clues in text, I'll have them gather clues from pictures. If students will have to sequence information in text, I'll have them sequence pictures or sequence short lines of text so it's not overwhelming.

In the picture to the right, we analyzed the picture from A Bad Case of Stripes by completing a three-column table: Clue I See, What I Know, and I Can Tell. This is the same though process I'll want kids to follow when they analyze characters, but they'll be using text.


This is also a good time to start building your anchor chart. Instead of having something already posted, build it as you go, reflecting the thought process that students use to complete the strategy.

The danger here is thinking that kids have actually learned the strategy just because they did a hands-on activity with it. These serve the purpose of providing an anchor activity; they are not in-depth enough, nor do they have enough practice time, to actually become part of your students' toolboxes.

For the model, I choose a text that has lots of opportunities to practice the strategy. I want it to be very clear that I'm responding to the text, not just making pulling thoughts out of midair.

So many students get lost when we move too fast for them to keep up. They feel like we're performing some sort of magic when we make a prediction (how did she know that would happen?) or an inference (The book didn't say that!). This is the time to take the mystery out of reading! Slow your thinking down enough so that students can follow the path from A to B.

I use post-its to mark my stopping points on the book pages. This is such a helpful tip! During a read aloud, I'll already have the pages marked, and as I get to that spot, I know it's a good place to practice my strategy. In this case, once I got to the evidence in the text, I made an inference about the character and wrote it down. This is a good way to model to students how to notice evidence, pause, practice the strategy, and respond.

This is another good time to build or add to your anchor chart.

There are several different ways to do this part. Students need to actively participate in sharing their thinking. They also need to get guidance from you, their reading model. So getting students participating is a number one priority here!

Your role here is to scaffold and guide. Here are a few ways to scaffold students in using the strategy and then encourage them to respond. with their thinking. Groups and partners are especially helpful for this step.

Spend as much time here as you need to! Rushing the You do with my help step is an easy mistake to make, but kids really need the practice.
This step requires a little more independence! Students are still practicing the same strategy, but they are receiving a little less support. I tend to use shorter texts here, especially at first, so students can try out the strategy without being overwhelmed. One great way to do this is to use task cards. The text is short enough and focused enough that students can try out the strategy quickly and then you can see how they're doing before they practice it incorrectly for too long.


Again, the text needs to have several opportunities for students to practice the strategy at first. Over time, using more complex texts is important, but we want our students to be successful at first so they learn the process that they can later apply to complex texts.

At this point, you may notice that some students are ready to move on and some aren't. That's ok! You can differentiate here by pulling some in for a small group. Take them back to whatever step in the process you believe is where their thinking got muddled. The kids who are ready to move on can!
 
Once students have had enough practice, it's time to bridge to their independent reading. This should be a self-selected text that students read on their own.  At this time, you set the purpose for reading. The purpose is to practice the strategy that you've been working on. Then, you'll need a response to see if students are applying the strategy well. I like to use graphic organizers with a brief reading response to see that students are using the strategy. Because this is the whole point of teaching reading strategies, it's important that we actually read what kids write and really see if they're able to use the strategy effectively! If not, it's time to approach it in a different way.  
 A few helpful tools:

I made a handy dandy video to show the process I follow when teaching students reading strategies. Check it out!


You can also sign up a useful gradual release freebie in your inbox!


Or grab my Reading Strategy MiniPacks on TpT! They're full of the tools you'll need to follow the gradual release model to teach reading strategies!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Chrissy-Beltran/Category/Reading-Strategy-MiniPacks-222143