Friday, December 6, 2013

Ice Day and Chapters 6-7 of Guided Reading

Hey y'all!

Today I enjoyed one of the perks of living in Texas and dealing with its freaky weather.  Due to some major ice, school was cancelled today.  I stayed home and acted the part of a major couch potato.  I'll have to make up the day Easter weekend, but I was really exhausted from this week, so I'm okay with it.

Anyway, I've been reading the Fountas and Pinnell book, Guided Reading, and I've been recording some notes here to refer back to.  I have recently read chapters 6-10 that tackle assessment in guided reading as well as scheduling and leveled book selection.

While this post is mostly for me, if you're reading and you have any guided reading tips, tricks, and/or advice, I encourage you to leave me a comment.

Chapter 6:

  • I love how they say, "We believe that conversation and ongoing observation are equal to the task of assessing children's attitudes and interests" (p. 84).  While this is a very specific form of assessment and purpose for it, I still feel as though they validate formative, informal assessment.
  • I like the literacy folder idea, presented on p. 86.  I think I would change it to a binder with a tab for each student.  Some things that the authors suggest that I might put in it include DRA results, running records, anecdotal records from guided reading, individual book lists for students (also give the student a copy), a book graph, and additional writing/spelling assessments.  I think this would be a great way to have material for parent conferences and/or ARDS altogether in one place.  
Chapter 7:

  • This chapter was nice to read as it validated many of the things I have been doing.  Fountas and Pinnell suggest taking running records on texts students have read 1 or 2 times before, occasionally taking one on a text a student has read to gauge whether the level is a good fit.  I always do the former, but I'd like to get in the habit of doing the latter.  I usually take one running record as a grade each grading period, so I think that the latter method would be most accurate.  
  • I also found it interesting that Fountas and Pinnell said that the most neutral and inobtrusive thing to do when a student comes upon a word they do not know during a running record is to tell them the word.  
  • I would like to start adding a label of independent, instructional, or hard based on the criteria presented (for levels A-K, 95-100% accuracy is independent, 90-94% accuracy is instructional, and below 90% is hard; for levels L-N 98-100% is independent, 95-97% is instructional; and below 95% is hard).  Instructional level texts should be tackled during guided reading.  
  • The teacher's introduction to a book during guided reading groups is "especially important in helping children read text independently (p. 92).  While listening to students read, the teacher looks for use of strategies as well as cues such as meaning cues, structure cues, and visual information cues (p. 92-93).  
Extra info

     I recently discovered a great app that I can't wait to try out in guided reading.  It is called Record of Reading.  The FREE(!!!) iPad app was developed by Clemson University, and you can check it out at this link (that will take you to the iTunes App Store.  It seems really neat.  You can record a student reading, while simultaneously marking the running record on a white screen on the app.  

Click here to go the the App Store and download the app.  

Sample running record, courtesy of the Apple iTunes App Store

Now, of course I wasn't paid to mention this app, and I have honestly told you that I haven't used it yet.  However, it seems very easy to use, and I can't wait to incorporate it into my guided reading groups.  I found out about the app on the internet, but I can't remember where (Pinterest, maybe?).  Anyway, if you blogged about it first, please let me know so that I can attribute credit to you.  If you've used this app, let me know, too, because I'd love to hear how you like it, what you do with the information, etc.  I have some ideas for the latter, that I will share if I am able to implement them successfully.

While I stated that I have read chapters 6-10, my lazy day at home (thank you Texas ice!) has made me tired, so I'll address chapter 8-10 at a later date.  I think this is appropriate as they go hand-in-hand with some of the changes I've had to make in my classroom lately that I want to share.  I'm excited to keep reading this book.  While I found the beginning a little slow, I"m really motivated to keep reading at this point since I find it directly applicable to my students and my teaching.

Anyway, in the spirit of the Christmas movies I watched today, I'm going to end this post with...

"...and to all a good night!!!"      

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Currently December

Hey blog world.  Today, I'm just speeding through the blog lane to join the December Currently linky.  However, I have approximately 5 billion blog posts written in my brain right now, so I'll be back lots (hopefully this week) to catch up on those posts.  I hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving holiday.  Clearly, I did, and I utterly neglected work and all work-related things (including my lovely blog).

Without further ado, my edition of Currently December:

See you soon (I hope!!!).  :-)

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