Saturday, November 9, 2013

How to Plan and Schedule Guided Reading Groups

Planning for Guided Reading can be a particularly daunting task. Especially if you want to meet with your lowest groups every day, and every single group at least once a week. Throw in a few assemblies, library time, and any other number of interruptions and it's a hair pulling experience! I'd like to share my solution for planning all this out.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thinking Across Content - Good Mathematicians Poster

We all know that students who monitor their thinking while reading do better. Therefore it follows that students who monitor their thinking across ALL subject areas will do better in other subjects as well. The problem many students face is knowing how to transition those skills to other subjects. In fact, many don't even know they can! We have to explicitly teach kids to use thinking skills across all subjects.

Language of Learning
Kids need to know that there is a "language of learning." This is particularly powerful with students who are strugglers, or "our low babies" as we call them at my school.  This language includes, but is not limited to: inferring, thinking, determining importance, predicting, questioning, visualizing, schema, purpose, structure, monitoring comprehension, etc. These skills help students dig deeper into metacognition and actively improve their learning.  I won't cover the meanings of each of these as I have previously done so on the blog.

Actively Using the Language

The most important role you play after teaching the skills is to model their use. No matter what subject you are teaching, use the language of learning. Help students find connections (schema) to other content areas. The brain looks for patterns, so encouraging schema helps students move new content into long term memory.  Use questioning strategies to help students make inferences, predictions, and determine importance. Make sure you are using the terminology as you teach for the most powerful results.

Won't This Take Too Much Time?
Ah yes, the time issue. Believe me, I'm right there with you. No it doesn't take a lot of extra time at all. When you are planning, look for places you can utilize the skills in your lesson. However most of your opportunities will arise through active questioning and discussion during the lesson. That's the beauty of this, students will see the application of the skills in real time!

To give students a visual connection on bridging the skills from reading to math, I have created a companion poster to my Good Readers poster called the Good Mathematicians poster. This one takes the same skills from the reading poster, but targets them for math.  Side by side, these will be a powerful reference for reinforcement! You can make your own posters (I used Swift Publisher 3 on my Mac), or you can download the posters at my TPT store here: Good Mathematicians PosterGood Reader Poster.

I have seen the profoundly positive impact of teaching students to THINK across the curriculum year after year.  If you have not yet discovered this amazing tool, I encourage to you begin tomorrow! You will be thrilled with the results.