I’m struggling with the focus lesson portion of Daily 5/CAFE. What are some strategies you use to help you keep your lessons short?
I have shortened the length of the text I use by either using picture books or just a portion of a chapter. I don’t worry about reading an entire chapter! I also remind myself that students who need this lesson retaught will get it in the form of a small group. Therefore, I feel like I can give an abbreviated version of the lesson initially with the whole group.
A colleague of mine gave me this advice a few years ago and it has helped me so much with keeping strategy instruction focused and short. Think - How, When and Why? Explicitly teach students the strategy by showing them how to use the strategy, telling them when you use the strategy, and why you use the strategy. For example: “Today we are going to learn how to check for understanding. We check for understanding by stopping at the end of every page or two and asking ourselves Who is in the story? and What just happened? We do this to make sure we understand who and what we just read about because understanding what we read is important! I will model for you how to stop and check for understanding as we read this picture book. Then you will try it with a partner.” She also suggested practicing in front of a mirror with a timer! Worked like a charm!
I am wondering if every picture book used in a lesson is read completely? Or do you tend to use only part of the book as an illustrations?
My response would be–“It depends.” If I’m stressing text features, such as voice or bolded print, I might concentrate of those parts of the book. But usually, I like to share the whole book (if it’s of reasonable length) first–just for the enjoyment of the story. Then I’ll go back and stress the parts of the book I want to highlight at a different time.
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