I promised myself that I would be better about blogging on the day to day occurrences in class. Without sounding like a whiner, I'd like to say how difficult that is when you don't have internet (or cable, gasp!) at home.
Today... I want to remember today. Nothing particularly fabulous happened, but that is the fabulous part. I was being observed by some county folks for reading. I had all of my materials in order. The students were super chatty. We had outdoor, then indoor, then outdoor recess announcements (always a classroom disruptor when the announcer messes with their recess!).
I planned this carousel-ish activity for reading today. We are starting the discussion of author's purpose, starting with "inform." On each table I put a different style of informative text.
Table 1: Gaming guides for video games, instruction manual for my ipod, board game instructions.
Table 2: Time Almanacs (they are addicted to these lately, so I thought I'd throw them in the mix).
Table 3: Biographies
Table 4: Articles from Kids Post (including a pretty gross one that they loved on earworms).
In the back of the room, I had three computers set up with various sites, such as National Geographic for Kids, KidsNewsRoom, and Scholastic.
Their job was to read at each table. Then, after about 10 minutes, I asked them to write a thought - any response - to the text they were reading at that table on a post-it note, stick it to a parking lot on that table (a blank piece of paper), and then move to the next table. As it was happening, I was thinking I should refine the reflection by giving them a mini-prompt - but I am not glad that I did not.
Guess what? They ALL got in about 50 minutes of independent reading. And at the end, the students that would typically cringe at the thought of reading said "Are we going to do reading today?" When I said "We just did!" it BLEW THEIR MINDS. Amazing. Truly.
At the end, we came together and talked about our reflections. I asked for hands to tell me something they were thinking about all of these books, etc.. and I also read some of the post-it notes from the tables. From those thoughts, we constructed a general statement about the resources. The students decided that these materials: showed them information, tells them something, teaches them something, or they learn something from it.
They get it, folks! A student said the word INFORMation and we deconstructed it... well, THEY deconstructed it. And the looks on their faces as they buzzed with ideas, thoughts, and statements was indescribable.
On the post-its? They wrote a lot of "Tells me about...," "Shows me...," and "Teaches me..." BUT they also wrote a lot of "I learned..." "This book was about..." "Are there really earworms?"
So, for today... reading at the end of the day was just fine and dandy. What a great way to end a day...