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Daily Lit Bit

October 18. 2017

Daily Lit Bit - 10/18/17

School shouldn't be a place where everything is leveled. It should resemble a library or a bookstore where books are categorized by author, by topic, by genre, anything that would interest readers. We want the readers not to see themselves as a level, but as people who are choosing books that interest them and that they want to read.

October 17. 2017

Teacher Tip: Nurture Young Learners’ Curiosity through Inquiry

All children need the opportunity for play and inquiry. A rich and joyful early literacy environment in which reading, writing, and talking are part of play, often become play. We must remember that children, especially young children, learn through play. Play enhances language and literacy learning. When your teaching is inquiry-oriented, you enable young children to learn how to learn, investigate and discover new understandings, and pose wonderings about the possibilities.
 
With two kinds of inquiry, information seeking and wondering, children are immersed in constructive learning that results in an exciting, meaningful expansion of knowledge that continues through life. Fountas and Pinnell discuss the inquiry process in depth in their book, Literacy Beginnings.
 
Try these four simple steps of the inquiry process to guide your teaching and propel literacy learning:
1. Playful Exploration (Notice, Wonder)
2. Define Questions (Plan for Observing)
3. Find Out (Investigate, Explore)
4. Share Learning (Discuss, Draw Conclusions)

October 10. 2017

Teacher Tip: Selecting Guided Reading Texts for Intermediate/Middle-Level Readers

For all students from the first years of school to upper elementary and middle school, text selection is very important. We recommend short texts for guided reading even at intermediate and middle-grade levels. The things students learn reading short texts can be applied to longer texts in independent reading. Here are some other considerations for selecting texts for intermediate/middle-level readers:
  • Select nonfiction texts with compelling topics and stories that will engage readers.
  • Select texts that have excellent examples of high-quality writing in the genre.
  • Examine the illustrations to assure that nonfiction texts include complex graphics that help readers learn how to synthesize information from them and integrate it with the body of the text.
  • Assure that fiction texts have high quality illustrations (where applicable) that enhance the meaning of the text and communicate the mood.
  • Assure that the range of texts are accurate, culturally sensitive, and reflect the diversity of our world.
  • Select texts that have deeper messages so that students can reach out for them.

From Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

October 5. 2017

Daily Lit Bit - 10/5/17

Work with colleagues in your school to establish a set of core values that will form the backbone for every decision you make. A set of values is not the same as a comprehensive curriculum. It’s a known set of statements that gives you a touchstone against which to measure your decisions.

October 3. 2017

Teacher Tip: Create a List of Classroom Norms

Any time twenty-five or so people work together for hours every day in one room, they need agreements about how members of the group will work together so the time and space works well for everyone. Gather your students and have a talk about how they feel they can best learn and share what you need to offer your best teaching. Create a set of norms together for your classroom using either shared or interactive writing, as you discuss rationales.

You will want a simple list of these descriptive guidelines to which you can refer if needed. Post them on the wall where students can easily see them. Some general guidelines for norms include:

  • Encourage students to participate in constructing the list.
  • Don't make the list long--keep it short.
  • State the agreements in positive terms.
  • Norms should describe specific behaviors as much as possible.
  • Revisit the list during self-assessment.
  • Add items if problems arise and another is needed.

As students learn the procedures for routines, they are also learning and internalizing important descriptors for the kinds of behaviors that are required so that everyone can enjoy their work and learn.

From Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.