Sunday, September 14, 2014

Opening Doors: Stepping Inside a Learning Community

It's hard to believe we've nearly completed the first month of school.  With assessments nearing completion (that's another day's story), it feels good to be getting into the routine with students.  Yesterday, I was afforded the opportunity to come in to read aloud to Deb Frazier's first graders.  Next week, I will begin going into her classroom during reader's workshop to meet with readers needing extra support.

Upon entering I found her students gathered around the carpet engaged in a deep conversation about living in other places.  I had to smile as I listened to students share their stories of visiting family around the globe.  It wasn't long until the conversation turned to their reading lives.  Many families had started Shelfari shelves and friends were deciding "what they knew about the reader" based upon the books resting on their shelves.  Deb led the discussion linking students' home reading lives to the books available in their classroom library.  "If you read this _____, you might want to check out _____ basket."  This class is beginning to develop as a reading community.  It was obvious students were already learning to categorize books, developing a reading niche, and beginning to build conversations with one another.

Deb and I had decided to use the read aloud I would be sharing, My Pet Book, as part of the focus lesson for the morning.  I can't lie, it felt good to be holding a read aloud and sharing it with a live audience.  If you haven't read the book, a boy decides a book is the perfect pet for him.  It doesn't need to be fed.  It's quiet.  You don't have to carry a scoop when you take it for a walk.  It's perfect --- until it runs away.  Oh no!

For me, it was helpful to be able to see how the readers I will be supporting interacted with their peers in book conversations.  It was helpful for me to find out how they talked about books and listen to their responses.  It was helpful for me to see how they got started as we sent them off to read.  Of course, it was therapeutic to have an opportunity to read aloud to a group of students, especially a group as eager to be drawn into the story as this class was.

Opening Doors
In Rethinking Intervention Frost reminds us, "If you want students to do well in regular classroom instruction, then the intervention curriculum has to be aligned to the classroom curriculum (p.9)."  Opportunities for students to receive added support IN their learning communities is one way to meet the needs of students.  Helping them to apply new strategies and understandings in daily classroom work will help them continue to progress.

I'm grateful for the educators I work with each day, and their willingness to work together to help make the best decisions for kids.  We've flexibly used what we have learned about students and their learning communities to determine the best way to support them today.  We will continue to flexibly make adjustments as needed to help students grow as readers across the year.  In the weeks to come, we will be moving from getting to know each other, to celebrating all we know so we can continue to build on it, and then begin taking next steps.

1 comment:

  1. The power of the seamless movement in the room from whole group focus lesson to independent reading to intervention and back to independent reading and finishing with group shares has been a beautiful thing! Thank you for your sacrifices and hours of reflection for our kids!