Monday, October 11, 2010


So I have spent a great deal of time planning this weekend, and I have come back time and time again to one thing: how can I plan so that my kids are getting the most authentic experience in reading - how can I help them learn to read so that they understand that the reading is the most important?

Yes, I teach skills - very specifically, I might add. BUT - they are always embedded in actual time reading.

Lately, there have been opportunities that remind me that that is the way to go.

I have always held the philosophy that more time reading, not simply filling out worksheets, is what counts.  But I will admit, it takes more time, more thought, more of me personally understanding the reading process (and writing too, for that matter) than pulling out a workbook or packet.

Packets are more concrete, but they limit what kids can express about what they are reading and learning.

Does it make them think harder to not just fill in the blank? YOU BET. But they cherish their notebooks from day one. They know that it is their hard work, their thinking in there...and it doesn't go into the trash.

I also grade by rubrics - ones I make up specifically for the tasks at hand, the learning we are doing. In the boxes on my rubrics are descriptions ("thoroughly and thoughtfully addresses task" for a score 4 to a "work shown does not exemplify that task is understood" for a score 1, and variances for a score 2 or 3)

I love this because it does give accurate feedback to all involved. That way I can do my open ended questions and have them synthesize, connect, analyze and evaluate without giving them a worksheet. It's all them.

I think kids get a disconnect when it comes to reading packets and worksheets. I think they look at it as reading is apart from them, instead of a part OF them.  It is something they have to prove they can do by being exactly right.

There is the problem of the standardized tests, yes...and we prepare for them, you bet. But it is WAY later on, after they understand that reading is real...authentic...and this test is simply something they need to learn the form - how to take a test, and they are good to go.

So when I don't run things off, or don't have a ton of worksheets to send home to parents, don't worry, I have the right perspective, and my kids are doing AMAZING deep thinking...just check out their notebooks!

I am also wanting to start my classroom blogging...I think it will be a real world application of writing...and they can share with you all what they are reading! Website link to be posted soon!

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