Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reading Workshop

Years ago we implemented Writing Workshop into our daily schedule. I've enjoyed pulling from a variety of resources and tools over the years to provide a diverse opportunity for my students to become wonderful writers (most recently incorporating WONDER Wednesdays - or Genius Hour - into our writing workshop) As I move up to third grade this year, I have SO much to learn and soak up! I'm excited for a new challenge and enjoyed attending our district's Humanities Summer Institute to familiarize myself with the curriculum. I enjoyed connecting with several other third grade teachers, who I will certainly call on in the coming years; plus several of my team members were able to attend, which provided an opportunity for us to share ideas. 

My favorite part of any workshop is the collaboration piece. I am not the most creative person when it comes to initiating an idea, but I can borrow someone else's idea and build it into the perfect plan to meet the needs of my students. Our district is filled with educators who are experts, willing to share their passions and ideas with us all (thank goodness). One of the third grade teachers in our district is an expert in Reading Workshop and I had to privilege to hear a few of her presentations. Her name is Amy Henderson and you can follow her on Twitter at @OCTHenderson for more ideas.

Amy was kind to share her Reading Workshop ideas with us and I was on the edge of my seat to hear more! I love to be surrounded by passionate educators. People who are excited to share ideas and learn together is an environment that I thrive in. There is such great energy! I took tons of notes from Amy's sessions and I want to reflect here on a few of the things so I can try to remember to implement them in my classroom this fall:

*Hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for your classroom library - this sounds super to me! Several of my students will be returning to me (we get to loop together) so I am searching for engaging activities that make this year different and more exciting than last year. Amy suggests to cover your library to spark their curiosity and talk about it as much as possible. After building the anticipation, hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to allow students to seek out new books to read and get excited about. What fun!

*Have students personalize their book box - We call our book box our 'B.O.B.' for 'Box Of Books' and they will most likely be the same containers that I used last year. However, instead of me labeling each BOB with students' names, they can personalize their BOB with their own name tag (show off that cursive) and decorate with pictures and words that describe them as a reader - even add to it as the year goes on.

*Book Recommendations - Just like when I am looking for a new book to read and I ask my friends via text, over dinner or social media, students will make book recommendations for each other. Our school participates in Restorative Practices and this would make a wonderful Circle Up topic every week or two! Students can verbally share about a book they have read or heard. To step it up a notch, students can create a product to recommend their book - either unplugged or digital - and post it to their blog. We often use PicCollage to create products quickly so I made an example at the library the other day:
I saw an idea on Pinterest last year for Book Burps and will try to tweak it a bit to work for our classroom - students make a 30 second commercial to interest others to read a book they enjoyed. I'd love for students to post these book recommendations by our classroom library or with a QR Code so others may find new books to interest them. Amy had a great idea to pay close attention to those who have similar interests to set the stage for book clubs.

*Reader's Notebook - Amy's Reader's Notebook reminded me of when I used to scrapbook. I enjoyed that hobby SO much, why not combine it with another hobby - READING! She used a photo copy (or drawing) of the cover of the book and wrote about it. She also had copies of Anchor Charts from throughout the year for students to refer to. Now that our district is using Google Drive, I'd like my students to take pictures of our Anchor Charts and hopefully use as a reference for years to come!

These are just a few of the many, many ideas Amy shared with us. She also shared how to pace the timing of the workshop, use sentence stems (Anchor Chart) to promote book chats, 'Stop and Jot' for students to write about something they want to note in their reading, and more. I look forward to meeting with her again soon to gain additional ideas! I'm so thankful to work with amazing educators that are willing to share and collaborate. 

Do you have Reading Workshop in your classroom? What can you add to help others to have a successful Reading Workshop?

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