The first couple of weeks back to school can feel hectic. There’s routine-establishing, environment-orienting, and community building to be done! As a teacher who wants to instill in all my students a love of reading and the skills to do it well, I want also to make sure that getting to know my readers is also at the very top of my list. To help teachers fit this effort into an already busy time, what follows are some of my favorite ways to make this a do-able part of the first days back.
Hello Reading Strategies Book Users!
I just got my newest printing of the Reading Strategies Book in the mail. Thank you all so much for your readership! Thanks to feedback from some of the many teachers who are using the book, I have made a few changes to the interior that I wanted to share with all of you. All of the changes were meant to help to make intentions clearer and navigation even easier. Here they are, in pictures and words:
Lately, as I’ve been trying to help teachers whose states mandate moving kids through reading levels — called “SGO” or “SLO” or something else depending on where I am — I’ve been finding myself talking about the interplay between reader, task, and text.
Just how significant are the “reader” and “task” dimensions when matching books and readers?
Think of one reader in your class and consider how you’d answer each of the following questions:
- At what level can the student read a short 100 word passage out loud with fluency and accuracy when not being asked comprehension questions?
- At what level can the student read an entire chapter book with stamina, appropriate pacing, and deep comprehension?
- At what level can a child understand a text on a first read?
- How high could the level go if the student were allowed to re-read the text several times?
- At what level can a child read if you are sitting right next to him or her as he or she reads?
- At what level can the student answer questions with lots of prompting and support from the teacher?
- At what level can the reader write about his reading to show complex thinking and deep comprehension?
Please join me on Twitter for a discussion of how we can “Find the Joy in Rigorous Reading.”
We’ll follow a Q1/A1 format, with new questions every 10 minutes. Follow #readingjoy.
Here are the questions:
1. What are the conditions in your classroom where the most joyful reading happens?
2. What interferes with the joy?
3. Is there a way to balance higher expectations (dare I say “rigor”?) and the joy we know matters?
4. How important is comprehension in our quest for joy?
5. Can we assess joy? If so, what are we looking for? What tools do we use?
6. Can we plan for joy? What “new year’s resolutions” do you have as you reflect on this year and consider changes for the upcoming one?
On May 8 at 8:30PM EST I’m honored to be leading a #litlead Twitter chat to discuss formative assessment. I hope this chat serves as part trouble-shooting, part inspiration, and part practical advice for future planning.
Chances are good many of us hear “assessment” and think of mandates that take away from teaching time, and offer us little help with what to do next. It’s a shame, because good assessment is at the heart of effective classroom instruction It helps teachers to create goals for students, give effective feedback, and measure progress over time.
In this chat, we’ll attempt to reclaim the word assessment to mean the types of classroom-embedded practices that support instruction and learning. Together, we’ll reconsider what “data” is the most helpful, what assessment practices in the classroom help us teach better, and how to use the information from assessments to set goals with students.
I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts on some of the following questions:
• What are some examples of assessments you can’t do without – but that nobody is making you give?
• How do we keep in-class formative assessment relevant in the time of CCSS?
• What practices do you find helpful when evaluating formative assessments?
• How do you involve students in self-reflecting on assessments?
• How do you use assessments to set individual goals?
• How do you manage individual goals and unit goals?
I’ll look forward to “meeting” you online soon!
What a joy to participate in a fast-paced, passion-filled Twitter chat hosted by Franki Sibberson (@frankisibberson) and Antero Garcia (@anterobot) on Sunday evening. Educators were on fire! The #nctechat hastag was trending! The topic? Hold onto your seats: formative assessment. (cue: WONH wonh waaaooooonnnhhh). Is it just me or do you feel lately that when you utter the word “assessment” people immediately change the subject? I’ve been puzzling about this trend and here’s why I think this is so:
1. When we hear the word assessment, we think about capital-A Assessment – stuff created by psychomatricians that is being improperly used to evaluate teachers. Continue reading “Assessment: What’s in a Name?” »
On December 12th at 8PM EST I’ll be hosting a tweet chat about independent reading, text complexity, differentiated instruction, comprehension, assessment of students’ reading of whole books…in essence, I’ll be talking about my Independent Reading Assessment for fiction and nonfiction.
If you’d like to join in, you can follow along using the hashtag #ScholasticExperts. I hope you lurk, RT, and/or join in the conversation.
If you don’t currently have the Independent Reading Assessment for your school, but you’d like to give it a try, you can download the forms you’ll need here. At that same link you’ll also find rubrics and other materials to learn more about it. When you’re ready to give it a try, here are a few tips:
Some of you might not know this about me, but I grew up in a science family. I’m the daughter of an analytical chemist. As kids, we spent weekends playing with toy microscopes and doing science experiments. A hike was not complete without a lecture on the role of moss in the forest ecosystem and when my dad wanted the salt passed to him at the dinner table, he’d say, “please pass the sodium chloride?”
So it seems an interest in science was inevitable. It clearly rubbed off on my sister, whose chosen career is in medicine, but my path to teaching may be, at first glance, less obviously connected to science. A teacher? Of reading? Continue reading “A Close Reading of Kids: Teaching Reading Like a Scientist” »
My Kindle is so old that it has a keyboard on the bottom and the screen doesn’t light up. When I first got it, it was love at first read. Dozens of books all at my fingertips? Great for long trips. Super lightweight? I can read in bed without my arms getting tired. Hover my cursor over a word? Get the definition instantly. So many benefits. I’ve read dozens and dozens of all kinds of books on my Kindle, and have been telling anyone who will listen how great Kindle reading is. Continue reading “Confessions of a Struggling (E-) Reader” »
I am happy to announce that IRA:F has won the AEP award for “Distinguished Achievement: Assessment.” What great news!