Tip of the Week September 19, 2008

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September 18, 2008

Build Stamina - How Long?

Can it be that we are already half way through the month of September? By this point, many of our routines are beginning to jell, kids are starting to settle in and the question arises: "When my students are building stamina with Read to Self or for that matter any of the Daily 5?, how do I know when it's time to add another Daily 5? Choice?" For our Tip of the Week this week, we share with you our thoughts on how much stamina we look for in our own classrooms before adding another Daily 5? Choice.

How much time for building stamina? (PDF)

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Reading "Good Fit" books is absolutely imperative if students are to progress as readers. Children must spend the majority of their independent reading time engaged in books which they can decode and comprehend at very high levels.

Given what the research and leaders in our field are saying, it is imperative that we teach children to choose books that are a "Good Fit" for them. The challenge is how? How do we impart the urgency and know-how so students can successfully self select books they have a purpose for reading, are interested in, and can read as well as understand? This article and download explain the lesson we do with children as we support them on their journey of self-selecting a book that is a good fit for them. No more having students pick from a tub that is leveled just for them!

Picking Good Fit Books (PDF)

When creating a culture for learning and independence, two of the essential pieces are a gathering place and focus lessons. This article highlights the need for a gathering place and focus lessons for children of all ages, why they are important and the benefit of their use. Whether you teach the youngest learners or the oldest in the school, gathering children together on the floor for focus lessons can be a great strategy for eliminating distractions such as desk items as well as providing much-needed movement before going into a focus lesson.

Design - Gathering Space and Focus Lessons (ARTICLE)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every student was independent following the 10 Steps to Independence? "Ahh, yes." But we know that real life in the trenches of our classrooms each year provides us with a rich opportunity to practice patience and provide support to that one child (or possibly few children) who need additional practice and scaffolding. It is worth the effort! At the end of the year, we often say "Ahh, yes!" for real when we see the growth and progress that our most challenging students have made. Here is the last installment which completes the article Five Levels of Support for the Barometer Child.

Five Levels of Support for Barometer Children

Staying Out of the Way while launching any of the Daily 5? can feel counter-intuitive. However, we must situate ourselves away from the group, allowing children to practice without our interfering reminders to correct behavior or interruptions of praise. If we truly want to build independence, then this step is crucial! In this video, Christie's fourth grade students are practicing Read to Self for the first time. Joan is there for support and to help Christie stifle the urge to mingle, encourage and correct. Instead, they surreptitiously wait and watch for the "barometer child".

Launching Read to Self - Barometer Child Part IV (VIDEO)

Until next week!

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