Week 4 annotations

“Organizing for effective instruction: the reading workshop” By: Reutzel & Cooter

I enjoyed reading this article because it was honest, reliable, and real. It talks about a serious concern that students are not receiving good reading instruction. The following quote surprised me because I remember reading much longer than that as a elementary/middle school student. I think it’s important for kids to learn to enjoy and be comfortable reading independently, and they can get to this point by the teachers guidance.

“In the Becoming a Nation of Readers report, various research studies indicated that children in typical primary grade classrooms read independently only 7 to 8 minutes per day; and intermediate grade children typically spent only about 15 minutes per day reading independently (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985).”

I also liked the following quote because it talks about teachers making sure reading is incorporated into other language modes not just silently looking at words. I also like that it’s encouraging collaboration and participation in class rather than doing busy work in isolation; that doesn’t seem useful.

“Second, the classroom environment and daily routine must encourage reading as a primary activity integrated with other language modes, i.e., writing, speaking, and listening. The classroom routine should invite children to write, respond, discuss, and become thoroughly involved with books, not to complete worksheets in social isolation.”

I think the quote below provides a good outlook on mini-lessons. Again, veering away from worksheets as the only way of practicing an objective. They’re also a way to catch student’s interests.

“Thus, mini-lessons allow teachers to fulfill local curriculum mandates regarding student performance objectives and escape use of worksheets prescribed by the basal reader as the primary means of practice.”

I liked Mrs. Sabey’s way of facilitating a writers workshop. She uses the basal in her classroom as an anthology. The part that caught my eye most was that new groups are formed for each set of books read. I really like this method because students get to work with and get to know their peers. They aren’t stuck with the same group all year, and it gives them the opportunity to hear and share new ideas. Collaboration with peers is a skill students will use for the rest of their lives. “The reading workshop is not a panacea, but teachers who use it are experiencing success, increased student involvement, and a sense of taking control of their own reading instruction.”

“The nuts and bolts of teaching first grade writing through a journal workshop” By: Wagner, Nott, & Agnew

The following quote from the article “The nuts and bolts of teaching first grade writing through a journal workshop” was very interesting to me. I think an assessment portfolio is a great way to evaluate student’s writing, and it’s very efficient. One huge benefit of this type of assessment is that teachers AND students can clearly see their progress and how their strengths and weaknesses have changed. Another thing that could be incorporated into this process is goal-setting! I think it would be motivating to students when they see that they’ve accomplished their goals.

“I use the assessment portfolios to evaluate the children’s progress and to share with parents. The weekly writing samples give tangible, and often dramatic, evidence of what the children can actually do. They also document each child’s growing control of writing mechanics and craft over time.”

Below is another quote that interested me from this article. I like the idea of having share time after writing. This gives the teacher a chance to see where his/her students are at in their writing and creates a productive class discussion. It also gives each students an individual time to tell the class about their work, which is good for student’s confidence. It could also make them more motivated to do well on their work since they know they will be sharing it to the class. I also think kids enjoy talking with their peers and hearing about their ideas. It’s important for them to have that type of social interaction with kids their age.

“Sharing follows the writing time. About one fifth of the class shares a piece each day. That enables me to confer one-on-one with each child each week. During sharing time, the entire class gathers to listen as each child scheduled to share that day reads his or her journal entry aloud. After each child reads, the group gives positive comments, asks questions, and makes suggestions for improving the journal entry.”

I love the idea of having students create a drawing before writing! This can be extremely helpful to students who are struggling to begin writing because they may not know where to start and seeing a picture can make it much easier. Additionally, visual learners can benefit from this as well. When/if students share their writing pieces, it can be helpful to readers to see what their writing is about, and makes it more interesting.

“In my experience, one effective way to provide meaningful rehearsal before writing is to have a 10-minute illustration time before the real writing period begins.”


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