Step 3 of the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence used to be Brainstorm Desirable Behaviors. As the class was gathered together, we would ask them what it would look and sound like if they were Reading to Self. We would take their answers, turn them into positive statements, and list them on the I-chart. We believed in having the class work together to create a list of expectations. Then we watched it in action and really reflected.
The brainstorming portion of the lesson was going in many different directions and taking anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, which we know falls outside the range of optimal lesson time. This is when we revisited the 10 Steps and made a change. We replaced the word brainstorm with record. Step 3 now reads Record the Most-Desirable Behaviors. We explicitly tell students what is expected of them. We write the following behaviors on the I-chart as we say, “When you are Reading to Self, you are independent. You will
- get started right away,
- stay in one spot,
- read the whole time,
- read quietly,
- build your reading stamina,
- ignore distractions, and
Replacing brainstorm with record has completely changed the launch of the tasks for us. Students know what is expected, and the lesson is truly brief, allowing them more time to practice and build stamina. See what this looks like in Karen Shannon’s third-grade classroom.
Side note: In this first lesson of the launch, Karen introduces the first five behaviors. She will follow it up by adding the final two behaviors to the I-chart.