Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where Did Time Go???

It takes longing to bring one back...and sometimes it's just time.

Summer's here, and I have just realized that it's been over 9 months since I have posted. Not that I had forgotten - there simply was not enough time in the day.

This year was one of trying new things, using what works, and growing and adapting. Multiage, new partners, 70 kids, new assessment...each day an adventure in itself.

I learned a lot. I changed - my passion for the art of teaching reading and writing became even stronger, but broader...

Which is leading me to think about this blog, about how it can change and reflect that growth. I will continue the reading focus (I have already finished four books and only been out of school 5 days), but also how to get kids to write too.

Sprinkled in will be things that tie into knowing how the brain works. I have done lots with Mindfulness (thanks to Goldie Hawn's Ten Mindful Minutes and MindsUp curriculum. POWERFUL!

My goal will be to blog every day - to share something that will enrich the reading and writing life of not only your child, but you as well. I assume since you have interest in your child reading, you yourself would eagerly apply new reading ideas too! :)


Step one.

Get a notebook, spiral, binder...something that you will enjoy writing in every day. In class, we call them our "notebooks" and they are our TREASURE. It's where we put down our thoughts and ideas, where we grow as readers and writers. This is YOUR notebook. Allow your child to make one too - they can personalize it in any way that is special to them.

Organize it in a way that works for you. We have a notebook for reading, and one for writing, but you can section one in half if you want. We also have sections in each notebook. Our reading notebook has post its that mark a space for our reading identity (first 8 pages), strategies and responses (the bulk/middle part), and a log (count 10 pages from the last page). You can also just go front to back chronologically. It's again, up to you. Let your child pick too...show them both ways, but let them choose.

I have learned that there is a time in kids' lives where they need to learn organization from us, and there is a time when they need to start personalizing their organization. I've noticed girls seem to start owning it in about 2nd grade. Boys, on the other hand, need nudging to start owning it in 3rd (would make an interesting research study!). More on gradual release later...

Task for today:

Write down what you have been reading. Internet articles, magazines, books -- if your list is sparse, don't fret...that's good to know!

Look at the list. What does it tell you about YOU as a reader? What genres are there? Do you have preferences? Know yourself as a reader. We all go through phases. For me, I don't read much for "fun" until summer, when I am more relaxed. There are also times where I have just finished something "meaty" or deep, and I need a brain break with a quick People magazine. Note those things.

Take a minute to journal under your list about what you know now about yourself as a reader. Date it. Later on, you can do this very same exercise and you will see differences - growth, change, and maturation as a reader (and person).

Now it's time for you to do the same thing with your child. Even preschoolers...they can draw, scribble, whatever...you can transcribe their list. The act of THEM writing is crucial. They need to know this is their work, not yours.

It's ok to coach. You are not giving them answers. Remember a coach helps YOU achieve -- their passion infuses the athlete to go beyond, even when the body is tiring (or whining or complaining). They need to write something about themselves as a reader under the list. Know that they may or may not notice things about themselves. That's ok, and good to know. Point out what you notice. "I see you like to read Graphic Novels...Fantasy...I notice it's kind of hard for you to remember what you've read...I like how you thought of something!" Encourage, don't set goals yet. That's tomorrow...

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