Monday, January 25, 2016

Recipe for Reading

Principal ponderings...

I spent some time this weekend going back over blog posts that I have written over the past three years.  It was great to reread and remember the messages I was sending out.  When I first started writing this blog, my main goal was to talk more about literacy and reading instruction.  Clearly, I have branched out to many other topics since then.  But I realized that it's an important topic to revisit.  While I know a lot of our discussions have centered around our new math curriculum this year, I don't want us to forget about the hard work and professional development that we put into molding our literacy instruction into the Reader's Workshop model.

I like to think that using the Reader's Workshop model is like cooking with a recipe.  The first few times you cook it, you need to be continually referring to the instructions.  You need to check back over the ingredients to make sure you use the correct amount.  And each time you make that recipe in the beginning, sometimes it turns out slightly different.  Could have been the kind of ingredients you used.  Could have been the oven.  Could have been that phone call you got in the middle of cooking that caused something to change.  But for the most part, the recipe turns out well.  With cooking, just like with Reader's Workshop, after a few times, you can do the recipe without even looking at the instructions.  You can see the ingredient list in your head.  You know exactly the way your reading block will go for that day.  And you feel confident that the recipe, and your readers, will turn out the way you want.  But then some time goes by and the next time you plan to cook that recipe...maybe your memory of the ingredients is a little foggy.  Or you start making the recipe and then realize you are missing one of the ingredients and need to run to the store.  Or you shared the recipe with a friend and when they made, it tasted better than when you made it.  So what do you do?  You go back to the cookbook and follow the recipe.

I am looking forward to popping into classrooms to see Reader's Workshop in action.  I may even have our reading coach join me on a few visits.  While I know Reader's Workshop has become part of your routine now, it's always good to reflect, to look back over the recipe, to make sure the planning and work is producing the outcomes you want.

What will you cook up in Reader's Workshop this week?

And to get you thinking about some of the different aspects of Reader's Workshop, here are a few quotes to ponder, think about, discuss, respond to...

Currently reading:
I am almost done listening to The Tale of Desperaux...and I am once again reminded of what a great book it is!  If you have not read this one yet, you need to!  As soon as I finish it, the next book that I will be listening to on my drive is Hoot.
I also finished reading Annika Riz, Math Whiz and Hate That Cat.  Sharon Creech is another great author that I love to read.  I will be reading her book Heartbeat this week.  
I'm also reading a quick easy chapter book, Dory and the Real True Friend.  It's about a little girl who has to make a friend at school and leave her imaginary friends at home.
Events this week:
Monday - Optional feedback meeting @ 8:30 in the staff room to discuss Tuesday's evacuation, Zumba in the gym @ 3:30!
Tuesday - Liz at Crisis Management Team Meeting 1:00-3:00, Optional info meeting about needs assessment with Dr. Rodriguez @ 3:30 in the staff room, PTA Meeting @ 7:30 - Dr. Rodriguez - guest speaker
Wednesday - 4th grade Museum of Science program at MSN PIT in the afternoon, 2nd grade chorus practice @ 2:25 in the gym
Thursday - 1st grade math PD session in the afternoon
Friday - Staff Breakfast hosted by the paras, Future Search Community Event at Groton Country Club, 4:00-8:00
Saturday - Future Search Community Event continues at Groton Country Club, 8:00-3:00

Great things I noticed last week:
  • When we returned to school after our morning adventures, it was great to see the remaining students having fun together, eating lunch with siblings, and shooting hoops in the gym.
  • Wednesday morning we were able to start our day with the 4th grade chorus school show.  I don't know about anyone else, but if there was ever a week where we needed to clap along to Caribbean music...this was the week!
  • I enjoyed popping into Mrs. Goddard's art class where I saw 3rd graders carefully creating beautiful pieces of pottery.
  • Thursday night the 4th graders did a fabulous job performing for their parents!
Check it out:
Scholastic now has a podcast...check it out...

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