Whether a few weeks or a few months long, a break from instruction can cause a disruption in student behaviors, routine, and performance—but it doesn’t have to. Use the return to learning as an opportunity to revisit and refine behaviors that result in enhanced performance with improved outcomes. Using the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence as your process, and your conferring notebook to keep track of student information, your class will be back on track quickly. Consider the following:
1. Teach a review lesson on good-fit books. Have students go through I PICK with the books in their book box to determine if they are good-fit books. Provide an opportunity for students to share with a partner or the class.
2. Review the Read to Self I-chart. Include student modeling for examples and nonexamples (always ending with the correct example), and give students a chance to rebuild stamina. We typically spend one or two days reviewing and rebuilding stamina to our desired goal. During these few days we focus solely on Read to Self, adding Work on Writing shortly afterward.
3. As students are rebuilding stamina, observe and note any concerns that may get in the way of their success. Pay close attention to the behaviors on the I-chart.
- Did they get started right away?
- Are they reading the whole time (eyes on text)?
- Are they staying in one spot?
- Are they reading at an appropriate noise level?
- Are they ignoring distractions and not being a distraction?
- Are they persevering? building stamina?
If you notice an area where a student would benefit from focused guidance and support, sit down next to the child and set a behavior goal. Keep track of this information in your conferring notebook and check in with the child regularly.
- Make time for student sharing at some point during the day.
- Graph stamina for a few days so students can visualize their progress.
- Children thrive when we set high expectations. Teach with this in mind, and then encourage students as they meet and exceed their goals.