Sunday, October 13, 2013

10/14/13 Classroom Newsletter

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In a previous post, I blogged about the “junior teacher” reading aloud to the students while the children eat their snacks.  It’s been such a great learning experience for so many reasons. 
In addition to the daily read-aloud, our classroom junior teachers have other responsibilities.  They are teacher assistant, messenger, mail delivery person, calendar and weather reporter and line leader.  What is most impressive to me ~ the junior teachers are prepared for their read aloud without reminders from me.  They are serious about this responsibility.  I’ve had some children tell me about their reading selection, days ahead of their scheduled day.  They’re motivated!

I love how the children carefully share the story illustrations and make eye contact with their audience as they move the books to show the pictures.  Just as we (teachers) monitor for active listening, they are checking in to make sure their peers are listening as well. Their proud, beautiful smiles tell another story…they have been reading their selections with someone at home, and they’re proud of their efforts!   I see many confident, motivated readers who are working on accuracy, and paying attention to other skills such as, pacing, tone, and appropriate pausing.


This has been a positive learning experience for me as well.  I’ve been able to pick up more information about my student’s reading interests and habits.   I love it!   I order through Scholastic Reading Clubs this year, and this month I used my points to order five books similar to books the students are reading.  I’ve also been able to observe and make notes about who’s making connections while listening to the text.  (The children show they are making a connection by “connecting” their pointer fingers on each hand.)

A few of the CCSS Speaking & Listening Standards have been a little tricky.  We are trying to move from more general questions about key details in the text - “What happened at the end?” -  to more specific questions about events and characters.  Collaborative conversations are challenging as well.  The children are doing a good job of listening to others with care and speaking one at a time about the texts, but they need a lot of modeling to learn how to build on others’ talk in conversations.  I have been working on modeling this social skill by responding to comments and encouraging the children to then respond to my comments.  (I’m working on this during small-group reading too.)  I think this is a tough skill for adults, and it makes sense that collaborative conversations are challenging for six and seven year olds as well. 

It’s pretty cool ... this daily read aloud routine came about in our classroom because one of our students was motivated to read to her friends.  She spread “the magic” and now, we’re all learning from one another.

 Junior Teacher Readers...









We had a few updates about our friend, and hope for his return to school this week.

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