This week I have been taking a class about integrating reading and writing instruction using the 6+1 Traits of Writing . It has been an awesome class so far and I have really learned a lot. I'm not sure if other people have taken as much from it as I have because I am still very new at teaching, but I have gotten so many great ideas and cannot wait to try them out!
A few things I have learned (and may very well try to do):
1. Do not question your kids about what they read. Well, do, but not like this: "What happened first? Then what? Then what? Who did this? Who did that?" Blah, blah, blah. All that shows you is that they read the same durn book you did or that they can listen well.
Instead, ask questions like, "What can you infer from reading this? Why do you think that? What strategy did you use? How did that help you to make meaning?" Etc, etc, etc. Isn't that fabulous? You know what else is great about it? There's really no "right or wrong" answer per say. There's just what ya think and why ya think it. LOVE it!
2. Teach kids (and how sad is it that we have to do this, but teach them) that they can just write. Not write a certain amount of sentences. Not write to fulfill a prompt. Not "is this right or wrong?" There's no "am I doing this right?" There's just "write! Write to your heart's content!" Oh. I LOVE it!! I cannot wait.
And, what about those reluctant writers, you ask? Well, I say, tell them to write whatever pops into their heads. You hear a noise in the hall? Ok. Write that. You hate writing and you think it's dumb? Ok. (sad face) Write that. You wish all the pencils in the world would run out of lead so you wouldn't have to write again? Ok. Great! Write that!! Now we're getting somewhere. Gah! I cannot wait!!
3. Guided reading- something I have always dreaded... why? Because. It is BORING! lol Boring to teach, boring for the kids, boring. But, I am PUMPED to do this guided reading. I can take about 10 to 15 minutes and a few kids, have them read silently, have some "whisper read" to me, take a few notes here and there, ask a few questions, and move on. I know what I need to work on, they got to read a cool story, and all is well with the world.
4. I don't have to do guided reading every day. Fabulous? I think so! I can switch between guided reading, reading conferences, and strategy groups. Oh!!! I am soooo exictied!!
5. I learned that I don't HAVE to finish a book. Isn't that great? Now, I know it sounds like some sort of sin. Not finish a book? WhAt?! Um, yeah ladies and gentlemen. You do not have to finish it. I mean, we've all been there: kids are looking at you with glazed expressions, you're realizing there are still 8 more LONG and wordy pages. they get the point you're teaching. You've made connections, inferences, whatever it is you're teaching until you're blue in the face... so PUT THE BOOK DOWN! Yes!! Put it down! and then say, "this book is called blah blah blah and it will be in the classroom library for anyone who wants to finish it during independent reading." Yahoo!!!!!
So, I'm learning alot. I'm happy with it. I'm thrilled with my new job. I can't wait to start! Hallelujah! Life is GOOD!