Sunday, October 27, 2013


I am loving being back in the blog world!!!

Thanks to those of you who commented on my last post.  I appreciate knowing that someone's actually reading this thing.  :-)

This past week, I had my evaluation (It went great-thanks for asking).  Being evaluated always makes me think of what I want to accomplish and/or how I want to grow as a teacher each year (partially because my evaluator always asks me :-)).

This year, the goal I'm setting for myself (and the area I want to focus on) is becoming more skilled at guided reading.  I have a tentative plan to accomplish this, but I'm definitely open to suggestions and help from my blogging community.  For example, I read a great post by Tanya on her blog, Mrs. Dwyer's A+ Firsties today.

So here's my plan:

I'm going to read some books.  I have chosen these 2:

I know that this book won't help with guided reading, but I want to read it anyway.  I'm sure I can get something of value from it about whole-class reading or reading in general.  

I figure that the title and the authors make it an obvious choice as a source to use to learn about guided reading.  

After reading Chapter 1 of The Book Whisperer, a few things stuck with me:

  • I love when she says, " I know from personal experience that readers read richer lives, more lives, than those who don't read" (p. 11).   
  • I love how Miller gives her collection of books from which she draws reading wisdom.  2 that I think I might want to read are: In the Middle by Nancie Atwell and Fountas and Pinnell's Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy.
  • Atwell's components of reading workshop (interesting as my district promotes the use of reading and writing workshops): time, choice, response, community, and structure.  

After reading Chapter 1 of Guided Reading, here's what I want to remember/refer back to (I LOVE that my blog is a record of what I do and what I learn!): 
  • The biggest thing I took away from chapter 1 is that I need at least one uninterrupted hour for guided reading.  Right now, I probably have 40 minutes.  An hour is so difficult to conceive with tutoring demands, helping absent students complete make-up work, etc.  
  • I realized that I have the basic formula down: introduce a book, read it with the group, discuss it, and maybe include a minute or two of word work.  One thing I still can't get behind with my struggling readers is having them read all at the same time softly.  My struggling readers tend to find this very distracting.  
  • I like the idea of completing a running record on one student at the end of each group, getting through everyone every two weeks or so.  Often, I reserve a group meeting to do this with each group member.  
  • For students to effectively develop problem-solving strategies, they need to be working with a text they can read with about 90% accuracy.  I already knew this, but a reminder never hurts.  

I'm excited to keep reading both of these books and continue to refine my practices in both guided and whole-class reading instruction.  Have you read either of these books?  Do you have any guided reading wisdom for me?  What book do you consider to be your "guided reading bible"?

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm Back (if anyone's still here)!!!

Hey blog buddies,

I know that I am a very unreliable blogger.  At this point, I'm just keeping this blog for me.  I feel like it is only appropriate as the majority of the professional development I'm getting is through the internet.  Anyway, in the spirit of networking, I'm linking up with Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade for her new 12 part series My Truth.  How motivating is it that at the conclusion of the series, we will be ready for the new year?!

I love this idea, and I'm so excited to discuss the first topic as I'm getting ready to run in my first Color Me Rad 5K.  I ran my first 5K last Thanksgiving, and I can't wait to run in another race.  Anyway, read about my fitness truth below.  I hope that some of you can relate-I find it so hard to get out there and MOVE after a 10 or 11 hour day at school.  What is your fitness truth?

Anyway, things at school have been simply loco, as I'm sure they've been for all of my readers.  However, I hope that by participating in this series, I will be able to maintain semi-regular posts on this sweet little blog.  

See you next Monday!

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