Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guided Reading Organization

As I continue reading for our book study of Guiding Readers by Lori Jamison Rog, I have been reassessing my method for keeping track of my readers, organizing my lessons and general record keeping. I find that the more organized I am, the smoother my lessons go and the greater results I achieve with my students.

Of course, PINTEREST came to my rescue again. I stumbled upon the girls over at Lesson Plan SOS. They have a fabulous blog on organizing your Guided Reading Teacher Binders- with photographs to accompany their directions. You can find it here. Last year I purchased their Guided Reading Guru package from their Teachers Pay Teachers store because they used my GR mentors, Fountas and Pinnell, as the source for their materials. These two of the mentors that Lori Jamison Rog mentioned in her answers to our questions so you will find it compliments her work.

Hope on over to their blog and learn from these FAB teachers. Tell them I sent you!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Classroom Decor

I have been so impressed over the years with the classrooms created by the many teachers I have worked with.  I always loved the idea of a classroom theme and would rate my Jungle themed classroom and Hollywood themed classroom as my favorites.

Here are some snapshots from my "Hollywood" classroom (we are on open concept school, so we need to be creative since we do not have much-if any- wall space. I happen to be in one of the few classrooms with two solid walls, but one is considered the "hallway" and so there aren't bulletin boards- I just hot glued to the wall!)

Next year, I will have two book room areas (K-2 and 3-5) as well as my own classroom space- where I imagine teachers will visit for professional resources, planning and maybe even some mini-workshops.  A few months ago, I stumbled upon the most inspiring woman, Melanie, who is the brains behind Schoolgirl Style. She has so many creative ideas for coordinating colors and themes and she has just partnered with Creative Teaching Press to provide tips on decor and classroom space. I just requested a copy of their catalog, but you can find it online HERE  Melanie's designs are featured on the first few pages. If you haven't already started thinking about your classroom for next year, after looking at her work, you will!

I've purchased from her Owl Collection, Rainbow Collection AND Rock Star Collection- I just can't decide on my favorite!

Check out Melanie's blog and leave me some comments on your classroom theme ideas.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guiding Readers: Chapter Two

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I am LOVING this book.
The author, Lori Jamison Rog, writes in a way that makes me feel as if I am just sitting with her and having a conversation about guided reading. Right when I have a question pop into my head, she is right there answering in the next section.

Chapter Two is devoted to "The Guided Reading Lesson Sequence" which involves revisiting a text three times for both word and text level comprehension.  She is very clear in stating that no one guided reading format is best and should be determined by the needs of the students, but that we do get more for our "pedagogical buck" if we plan a sequence of lessons centered around one text.

The sequence involves:
  • Day One: Text introduction and first reading with a focus on accuracy and basic understanding.
  • Day Two: Re-read of the text with a focus on comprehension and word study
  • Day Three: Re-reading of text with an extension of thinking, focus on text structure or author's craft and often includes a writing experience.
I'm dying to hear your thoughts, but will highlight a few of mine. Here are the ideas that stood out to me as the most important:
  • All guiding reading lessons begin by identifying instructional goals for the group.
  • Finding the right text is KEY. And this goes beyond level. Once you identify the goals for your group, you find a text that will allow you to apply that instructional focus.  (Gone are the days of being able to just pull a set of books and "wing it"- We'll I'm thinking those types of lessons were never really encouraged, just came as a result of not understanding the importance of GR)
  • When planning an introduction, consider: Picture Walk, Prior Knowledge and Purpose (There are some great ideas for Picture Walks throughout the book). We may also consider pre-teaching some vocabulary here. While we want students to use context to figure out the meanings of difficult words, we should look ahead to story specific words that may not have enough context to figure out on our own.
  • The teacher's role: TO PROMPT AND ASK QUESTIONS. It is ok for the teacher to "talk" but remember the purpose of guided reading is "READING!"
  • The student's role: TALKING AND READING.  The bulk of our 18 minute lesson should be spent with the kids processing text.
  • ALWAYS END WITH A MUST-DO: in order for students to immediately apply their new learning.
There is a section on TIPS, TOOLS, and TECHNIQUES. This reminds me of the work we need to do at the start of the school year in order to actually do Guided Reading. I just did a training for new teachers in our district last week on "Getting Started Right" and it included behavioral and management mini-lessons on establishing independent reading that should be happening in order for Guided Reading to take place. This is also where I see so much of what we do in the Daily Five being of great benefit.

Ok...I'll stop talking now. What were YOUR THOUGHTS?  I'd love to hear your thinking on the following: 
  • What were your "a-ha's"?
  • What current instructional approach to Guided Reading was confirmed by the author?
  • What are some new questions/wonderings that you have?

GUIDED READING LESSON TEMPLATE (similar to the one in the book, but I added a place to keep track of a focus student for the day- to keep some anecdotal notes on and also a reflection section. This could serve as a place to record a new set of goals for the group.)

READER'S TOOLKIT COVER (One of the author's tips was to never run out of post-it notes. She suggested cutting a file folder into three's, adding a cover sheet to it, and putting a stack of post-its inside. That way students are always prepared and you can make the most of the 18 minutes.)


Thinking of Teaching

Guiding Readers: Chapter Two

I am very excited to be hosting the Guiding Readers Chapter Two Book Study this week. It has been raining something awful today, which makes for a very fussy 2 year old. Let's just say we have done 6 projects already this morning- and I'm sure there are many more to come. So getting a second to post my thoughts on Chapter 2 is becoming difficult while he is awake. 
Check back this evening for my thoughts, a few discussion questions and some FREEBIES to go along with Chapter Two.

In the meantime, be sure to link up your posts for Chapter Two. Head on over to Thinking of Teaching to link up!  

Thinking of Teaching

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Studies Galore

Talk about  a CRAZY week!!!! I have begun two book studies (The Daily Five and Guiding Readers) and am conducting reading workshops for teachers new to our district. While I wonder where my time is coming from, it is absolutely time well spent.

I am sooooo excited to work with my primary teachers in implementing the Daily Five and the online conversation we are having is awesome.  I'm going to be planning a Make and Take day for us to work together and create some of the tools we will need for implementation.  We may even have a new book study member. I walked into my family room this evening and found Frankie "reading" the Daily Five. 

But, I am LOVING the Guiding Readers book study.


I spend all of my time at work focusing on Reading and this book has confirmed so many ideas for me, but has also challenged some preconceptions I have has as well. Misty at Think, Wonder & Teach hosted our Chapter 1 discussion and here are some highlights that have stood out for me:

  • Skills and strategies can be reinforced in "easier" text.
  • If we work work with text within the 90/10%, they may need to spend to much time attending to the text that they will have an tremendous amount of difficulty understanding. Think about it. If a page of text has 200 words, that is 20 words they will have a difficult time reading. That already sets them up for difficulty! (That was definitely an eye opener for me)
  • We should "visit" a text three times (in 3 different guided reading lessons) in order to develop deep understanding and skill implementation. This piece reminded of the work we are doing in our district with "close reading" and the idea that we re-visit and re-read text for different purposes in order to develop a deep understanding.
  • Finally....the most enjoyable piece to me was comparing "just right books" to "standing on your tip-toes."  You have to work hard to get at it, but with enough perseverance you will get there!
Head on over to Misty's blog for her take on Chapter 1 and to join in the fun, and check back next Monday when I host Chapter 2:)

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I'm so excited that two of my Kindergarten teachers have gotten underway with their reading of the Daily Five. Well, underway might be an understatement. I believe they have both finished the book. AND I LOVE READING THEIR COMMENTS AND THOUGHTS.
If you want to join our online conversation, just request an invite at

We discussed the I-PICK strategy and I sure am hoping that by implementing this strategy we avoid the misuse of the 5 Finger rule- I think our kids have become way to dependent on it.

I've made an I-PICK poster available for a FREE download:

Graphics by Thistle Girl (one of my FAVS!)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Study

I'm so excited to get started with two different book studies this summer. The first I will be exploring The Daily Five with some of the K-2 teachers at my school, in an effort to implement the independent tasks upon our return next school year. I have an online book chat set up for that. If anyone else would like to join, check it out and let me know:)                                                                                                   The other book I will be exploring is Guiding Readers: Making the Most of the 18 Minute Guided Lesson by Lori Jamison Rog. I'm excited to discuss and learn with some new "online" teacher friends.Check back for some highlights of my learning! What books are you reading?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Already Thinking Ahead!

Today was my 2nd day of summer, and I was officially back to work already!  I have the privilege of being a trainer for the Reading Department in our district and will be providing inservice to teachers on various topics throughout the summer. Today's training was for the teachers who will teach at our Extended School Year Summer Reading Camp. I had a FABULOUS co-trainer with me and wanted to give her a shout out since she is new to presenting. GREAT JOB, MICHELLE!!!!
Anyway... back to my point. The Summer Camp is designed for students who are considered below level in reading, and some teachers will be working with students from schools other than their own. Because time spent in text is directly related to reading achievement, we want our kiddos spending as much time as possible in purposeful independent reading this summer. We discussed establishing ground rules and expectations for this time and so of course, I got to thinking about establishing Independent Reading routines for next year.
I've worked with some great teachers who have become dear friends over the past few years, and together we built some outlines for Launching Shared Reading and also Independent Reading.  Check them out (see below) and send me your thoughts. What has worked for you? What are some of your go-to resources? Challenges? Successes?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Here Goes....

I have to admit that I am obsessed.  I can't seem to pull myself away from Pinterest, and now that they fixed their IPhone app, it has gotten worse. While I often pin ideas for Frankie, I find myself roaming for ideas for school.  In doing so, I came across so many blogs by dedicated and creative teachers, and I realized that teacher websites are becoming a thing of the past.

So, I decided that I would take down my website hosted by TeacherWeb and enter the world of blogging (plus it's free!) Now onto finding some followers, so this doesn't turn into me rambling on and on for no one other than myself

If you happen to come across my blog, leave me a comment and show me some love:)
Here Goes......