Do you like change? What about surprises? I’ve never been a big fan of either one, honestly. I’m so much more productive and focused when I have time-tested, proven routines and strategies I can rely on to make it through life. So imagine my surprise when I decided 2017 was the year I would embrace change. Yep. There were so many changes happening that I suddenly realized it was a lot less stressful to accept these changes and make the best of them rather than fight the inevitable. I have definitely not reached expert status, but I hope to enjoy, learn, and grow from this experience.
Getting Comfortable with Discomfort
One big change that seems to be on the horizon is adopting a new reading initiative at my school. Just the phrase “new reading initiative” sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? But then I tried looking at it from the flip side. What if this new training actually worked? What if I became a significantly better reading teacher? Wouldn’t that be worth the discomfort associated with change and growth? I think so.
Strategies for Success
One way I like to embrace change is to get out in front of it. By that I mean, be an early adopter and start experimenting with the process. Last year I purchased The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. It’s packed with hundreds of strategies for all different levels of readers. After reading it, I got to thinking that kids need strategies to help them understand how to do the skills we’re teaching them. If I want them to make inferences, I need to tell them and show them how a good reader does it. Strategies are like recipes for a cook. A step-by-step process for accomplishing a task.
Inference Reading Strategy
I created this anchor chart for making an inference from reading. I’ve seen all those amazing, creative, and cute hand-drawn charts on Pinterest. I love them, but I’m so much faster at making an anchor chart in PowerPoint. Fast is important to me. So I made it on my computer and printed it out. When I taught the strategy to the whole class (as our introduction), I displayed it on my Promethean Board. I also gave my students a paper copy, which I printed at 80% smaller so it would easily fit in their Reading Notebooks. This gave them their own copy of the anchor chart to refer to as needed during our reading groups. If I’m required to display anchor charts in my classroom, I will experiment with taking the file to my local copy store and having them print it in a gi-normous size. Not sure what that will cost me, but it’s worth at least one try. Remember, I’m embracing change, right?
I created some bookmarks for my students to use as another handy resource to remind them of the steps in the strategy. Plus, for my own convenience (because who likes writing the same thing over and over again?!) I made up a lesson plan template.
Here’s how my week was planned:
- Monday – introduce the strategy to the whole class; model the strategy with a mentor text
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – meet with reading groups; students practiced the strategy and completed the accompanying graphic organizer in their Reading Notebook; I provided assistance as needed
- Friday – shared our inferences from our guided reading texts in our reading groups
That’s it! I’m sure with my new training I will refine these early efforts at strategy instruction during reading. Isn’t that how we grow as educators? What new changes are you looking forward to trying in 2017? Click on the link below for a free resource to help get you started with strategy instruction. Happy teaching!