Saturday, July 11, 2015

Launching Read to Self - Book Study

Welcome to Chapter 5, Launching Read to Self - The First Daily 5!  I'm back with the book study led by Brenda over a Primary Inspired as we walk through The Daily 5.

First, let me tell you, I am so tired!  I spent the last week down in Louisiana for my niece's birthday.

My sister and me at Spirits on Bourbon & House (the bartender) and me

As soon as I got out of the airport, my sister, her husband, and I hit up Bourbon Street.  This place, Spirits on Bourbon, was on that show Bar Rescue.  I don't watch it, but I'm totally claiming to have been somewhere and met people who are famous! ;)  If you go there, the best drinks are the Resurrection and the Barber Beer.  I can say that because I tried them all! Haha!

My nephew, Dylan, my niece, Leila, and me at the Baton Rouge Zoo

The real reason for my trip was my Little Bit there in the middle.  Her birthday was last weekend.  I'll be headed back in the winter for the other one.  

So I spent the whole week going to sleep at about 2am (because that's only 11pm in Alaska) and waking up between 5:30 and 7:00 each morning (because I was, after all, there for the kids not the sleep).  I am surprised I lasted the week!  On top of that, it was so hot!  At least it wasn't raining.

Anyway.  Back to this book.

I have heard many teachers say that they got a little overwhelmed by the ideas presented in the launch.  "Do you really do all of that on the first day of school?"  "My literacy block isn't long enough to get all of those lessons in!"  "How do I do this with my basal series?"  There were several other questions, but I don't remember them and they didn't all have to do with the start-up.  I'll give my input, but keep in mind that I'm just a teacher, not an expert in D5 by any means.

The Sisters discuss what their first day of school looks like.  They give the students time to choose books to fill their book boxes, they teach the Three Ways to Read a Book lessons (both of them), they go through the 10 Steps to Teaching Independence, they teach the I PICK Good-Fit Books lesson, they teach the Underline Words You Can't Spell lesson (Work on Writing foundation lesson), the Check for Understanding lesson (Read to Someone foundation lesson from CAFE strategies), and the Set Up and Clean Up Materials lesson (foundation lessons from Listen to Reading and Work Work).

Holy mother of I-don't-have-time-for-that!!  The good news:  You don't have to do everything exactly like The Sisters.  We can't all be at that level of rock star status right away, and that's okay.  I personally, don't teach any of that on the first day of school.  Instead, I focus on a few other things required by my school, like the emergency drills (because we always have a fire drill and an earthquake drill on the second or third day) and setting the rules and expectations for class - not to mention a few fun "getting to know you" and community building activities as well as dealing with supplies and such.  I get started with D5 on the second day of school.

My instruction on the first day of school includes no lessons from D5.  Instead, my lessons pertain to the following:
  • Introduce the meeting place
  • Signal for coming to the meeting place
  • Meeting place behaviors
  • How to do a turn-and-talk
  • Book care
  • Handling a book box
All of that seems pretty common sense, right?  Well, I forget every year that my students coming to me are not the students that left me in May.  I get so upset because I feel hopeless.  These kids can't do anything that I'm asking, let alone do it quickly!  So I leave these lessons for the first day of school because I know they need them.  If I get a quick group, we can move on to some of the lessons that I had planned for day two, but I always start with those.  My second day includes:
  • Three ways to read a book (part 1)
  • Read to self iChart (this includes creating a rubric for guidelines for behavior)
  • Listening behavior
If we have time, I continue with:
  • Three ways to read a book (part 2)
  • Review meeting spot behaviors
  • Review iChart, add behaviors
  • Respectful manners and language
  • What readers read
  • Active listening
  • Patience and polite words
  • I PICK good-fit books
  • Practice turn-and-talk
  • Work with book boxes
  • Book box choices (review I PICK lesson)
  • ... 
I obviously don't have time for all of those lessons on the second day of school, but I do them over the course of the first week in that order.  Some classes move faster than others, but I find that all of my classes have needed all of the "common sense" lessons in order to be successful.  My reader's workshop launch usually happens over the course of the first three or four weeks of school because I also have to fit in the content lessons.  I have about 49 lessons in my launch.  Once I get my plans in a more user-friendly format, I'll share.  Right now, it barely makes sense to me.  (I feel like the kids when they are writing... I ask them to read their stories to me, and it's just a bunch of letters... "Umm... I don't actually know what I wrote.  I need more time." Haha!!)

As for the D5 book, I have been making notes on how to best accomplish some of the tasks.  For example, The Sisters have the kids choose some books on the first day.  For the first week in my district, K/1 students come one-at-a-time for Fall benchmark assessment appointments while grades 2+ have already begun class.  I think that, while I'm going over the results of the assessment with the parents at the end of the appointment, I'll have the kid choose books.  Then it'll be ready to go for the first day of school.

As for the book choice, I was wondering about leveling my books.  However, I'm not going to because my con list has always included the fact that books aren't leveled at the book store or public library.  After reading The Sisters' story about Pedro, it's settled.  No leveling the books!  (I teach a lot of ELL students, and I know this will be a concern for them in even our school library.)

For the record, I absolutely LOVE the I PICK lesson.  I do it every year.  It really drives the point home, especially when I have the kids put on each other's shoes!  Lyndsey over at A Year of Many Firsts has a cute "Make It a Good Fit" activity that I've never used because it seems time consuming, but it might be good for a station later or a reinforcement activity on another day.  I don't know.  I'll think about it.  The activity is in her The Daily Five {Free Classroom Resources} pack.

My only question is the K - know the words.  What do you do with the kid that thinks he knows the words?  You know the one... He invents words based on the first letter and just moves on without checking to make sure the word makes sense.  He's just calling words rather than reading for meaning.  He takes the book anyway.  How do you help him stop and pay attention to the whole word rather than making a best guess?

I have decided to make classroom library a choice for D5 stations, though.  Once they choose their book, they can transition to Read to Self.  I'll have to figure out how to make it work so everyone has the opportunity to go once a week.  Maybe two kids for each round?  I don't know.  Another thing to think about.

So back to those questions I mentioned before...

     "Do you really do all of that on the first day of school?"

Like I said before... I don't, but it's whatever you feel comfortable with.

     "My literacy block isn't long enough to get all those lessons in!"

Again, stick to what makes you comfortable.  The best part about teaching is that we are all learning as much as our students every day!  It will work out, honest!  Just follow the sequence as best you can; you don't have to try to cram everything in.

     "How do I do this with my basal series?"

This takes some practice - and probably your grade level team.  You go through the lessons in your basal to find the most important pieces.  Sift through all of the "cute" and the "fun" and the games and the activities, and ask yourself "What am I being expected to actually teach?  What do the students need to learn?"  Teach that in your focus lessons.  Once you get the workshop up and running, you will have plenty of time to teach content.

All that's left to say is that you need to make sure to watch out for the negativity:
This is taking too much of my instructional time!

It does take time... In the beginning!  Once your students are completely independent (which could take anywhere from two weeks to two months depending on your group), you will have so much time for instruction!!

(Haha!! It made me think of this...)

If you have a blog, leave me a comment with your link so I can find out what you think about this chapter.  If you don't, leave me a comment anyway!  I'm looking forward to learning from you!

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