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Showing posts from May, 2015

Small Reading Group Conversations #2

As I wrote in my last post titled, Small Reading Group Conversations, I have been giving my students in grades 7 and 6 time to engage in small group conversations about books and reading. The latest iteration of these small group conversations in grade 7 has resulted in students selecting their own groups.

Today students in grade 7 met in self-selected groups based on the following categories: fantasy, the Divergent series, graphic novels, Percy Jackson, and realistic fiction. As I stood back and watched the groups engage in their discussions, I was encouraged by the buzz in the room. Every group exhibited a charge of sorts as students talked with each other. Some students said they would want to stay together but many others said they preferred to change on a daily basis. The grade 6 students weren't able to get themselves in groups that made sense to them and to me. So, we have postponed making any changes for another time.

As I walked around today, I heard my grade 7 students r…

Small Reading Group Conversations

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327073991664852654/
     This year, I have spent too much time and energy trying to manage a silent 10 - 15 minute daily independent reading time in my grade 7 classroom. I haven't given up because I value independent reading: I know this is the best way to get reluctant readers to love to read. At this point, you may be entertaining two conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, you may be thinking that silent is unrealistic and, on the other hand, that 12- and 13-year-olds should be able to sit and read for less than 30 minutes without having to be redirected. A disclaimer: I believe that asking grade 7 students to read silently for 10 - 15 minutes, without getting distracted, shouldn't be an unrealistic expectation. But, alas, that is not the case. However, to be fair, I am only talking about 5 or 6 of my students, or 1/3 of the class. Although this is still a large percentage, it's rare that all of these students are distracted at the…

It's the little things...

It's the little things that matter.

The unsolicited hug from a student...

The student who watches me intently,
trying to read my mind or having already read it,
in order to decide how she can revise
and adjust her group's presentation for the next day.

The very simple question, "What was hard about this activity?"
And, the very profound and honest responses
that lead to revisions and improvements in learning.

The collegial conversations, formal and informal,
about assessment, attitudes, unit planning,
and all the other issues that occupy teachers' work space.

The student that I still can't figure out,
though I've tried,
who suddenly talks about liking to read.
He writes about the first time he understood
what it's like to be disappointed
when the book you really want has been checked out from the library.

The birthday gift from the student who others have mostly given up on.
Despite many setbacks, he is still eager to learn.

The laughs, inevitable and…