.At the start of every school year, I am faced with the same challenge..... some of my kiddos can read fluently, but they aren't comprehending the text! One of the best techniques that I have employed in my classroom is Reciprocal Teaching... aka The Fabulous Four! Reciprocal teaching is hardly new. It has been around since 1984 - first named by Palincsar & Brown. Since then, countless researchers have demonstrated its effectiveness in the classroom. In fact, Dr. John Hattie's studies boast a 2 year reading increase in just 1 year of instruction by using Reciprocal Teaching. I love the way author- Lori Oczkus has renamed the technique, The Fab Four because it teaches kids four powerful strategies that good readers use when they read. They are predicting, questioning, summarizing and clarifying. Oczkus emphasizes the two key points of Reciprocal Teaching:
1. Kids are using all four strategies while reading vs practicing just one strategy during a lesson.
2. Kids are actively discussing and using these 4 powerful strategies.
In my classroom, I have found that if I make it fun.... kids will beg to do the technique that I know is good for them... sort of like sneaking veggies in the brownie mix! Here's how I use Reciprocal Teaching:
1. Small group instruction- Kids sit in a circle with each child holding one of the Reciprocal Teaching cards. After reading a chapter together, each child takes a turn leading the group with their card. After each student is done, the group may share their thoughts and add to the step.
2. Use props to accompany the cards. This definitely ups the "fun factor". Here are some props that I use:
Predict- Small snow globe- to resemble a fortune teller's crystal ball
Question- Microphone- to resemble a reporter asking a question
Summarize- A Glove- to remind them to use a 5 finger summary strategy
Clarify - A magnifying glass - to help us look closer at a challenging word or phrase
I use Reciprocal Teaching for class novels, close reading, basal stories and almost any passage that my students are reading. It is research based and highly engaging. Give it a try this week and let me know how it worked for your class!
As always .... check out what the experts have to say about Reciprocal Teaching:
https://bit.ly/2NBU3Lt - Dr. John Hattie, Visible Learning
https://bit.ly/2ptD538 - Lori Oczkus, author of Reciprocal Teaching at Work
This week, we finished our read aloud, How To Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell.
But instead of just talking about it... I surprised my kids with cups of dirt filled with worms! After the screaming subsided and everyone calmed down, I pulled out the chart paper and pencils- and the Shared Writing began! Shared Writing is a a great way to model the essential steps of the writing process -while you are writing about a common experience that you have had together. The ideas for a shared experience are limited only by your imagination. In the past, my kids have written about everything from Building a Life-Size Scarecrow to The Perfect April Fool Surprise, which involved playing a trick on our friends across the hall!
Top 3 things that I love about Shared Writing are:
a. You can focus on any writing skill that you are currently practicing.
b. It provides support and scaffolding for your struggling writers.
c. Best reason of all- IT IS FUN!!
Follow these easy steps to try it in your classroom this week!
STEPS of SHARED WRITING
The first step of shared writing is to create a common experience for the class. This is an event in which everyone participates or observes and can later generate thoughts and feelings about and eventually write a common story. Elementary school classrooms are full of opportunities to generate common experiences for kids. It is something that elementary school teachers do naturally. They look for ways to make the learning memorable and lasting for students. Common experiences are what children remember when they look back on the year they spent in a classroom. Lessons are easily forgotten but a shared experience is still being talked about long after the year has ended These might include a science experiment, a walk to the school garden, a visit from a speaker, a school assembly, a class party, etc. Ideas for shared experiences are limitless! The teacher can take pictures of the event to help preserve the memory.
And check out another source of writing that I use in my classroom:
Jeff Anderson- Write Guy
I attended many amazing conferences at Nerd Camp this summer, but the one that
had me the most excited to try back in my classroom was Anne Marie Johnson’s – "What I've Learned About Conferring from Studying My Doctor”. Earlier in the summer, I had recently finished reading two excellent books on the same topic:
DIY Literacy by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts
Teaching Reading in Small Groups by Jennifer Serravallo.
All 3 of these resources filled in the gaps and answered many of my questions about conducting powerful small group conferences. As a general rule, I understood the importance of meeting with individual students and small groups, but I was never totally confident on how to build the groups and/or how to truly use the time to remediate and propel kids forward on their reading path.
So this week in Room 223- I put the theory into practice and tried these strategies. Here are the highlights of what worked and what didn’t go so well…
Practices Which Moved Mountains in My Classroom!
Beware the PITFALLS and CHALLENGES!
As always, I suggest that you turn to the experts to inform the instruction in your classroom. Here are the links to the info that I referenced above.
Stay tuned for next Sunday’s blog on Personalized Reading… or how to get kids excited about reading independently!
It was like an Oprah show….only better! Can you picture it? 1500 educators… teachers, librarians, principals and authors packed into a high school gymnasium in Parma, Michigan on a beautiful, sunny weekday in the middle of their summer vacation. What brought these excited professionals together… Nerd Camp 2018, of course!
For two days in July, teachers and educators from across the nation attended and led sessions on reading and writing for students of all ages. As an attendee, I could feel the passion and excitement all around me. The rooms were humming with a fever- pitched buzz from educators who were scrambling for seats, sharing ideas, snapping pictures and planning ways to bring these ideas back to their classrooms this fall. Favorite authors, like Dav Pilkey shared stories and experiences that led him to write his beloved Captain Underpants and Dogman series- and the audience reacted to him with rock star adoration!! It was truly an event to remember.
For me, this camp was the best example of a profession that is dedicated, intellectually curious, and always striving to do better for their students. The field of education is often the target of much criticism and negativity, but from my viewpoint during those two special days in July, the future of education looks pretty bright.
My favorite session was on conducting small group conferences with maximum results. Stop back to School of Thought next week to find out how it went in my classroom, as I am about to put the theory of conferencing into practice!
In the meantime, need some ideas to get you excited for this school year? Check out these popular bloggers.