Please visit Creating Lifelong Learners by Mathew Needleman this coming week to participate in or get ideas for opening up a learning unit. This is geared toward Open Court units, but I say, you can always get ideas for your own units and anthologies! So come along for this exciting collaboration!
I will be participating as well and posting my ideas here on this blog, but there will be many, many teachers and coaches creating excellent ideas all across the web. Please do consider joining in!
If you have browsed my blog enough, you will come to notice that I primarily blog about math and writing. Yup. I’m a better math and writing teacher than I am a reading teacher. So, here’s my challenge to myself for this next few weeks. I will reflect upon my practice as a teacher of reading, celebrate the successes, and work to improve myself. I am not looking forward to this exercise, reason being, I’m not good at teaching reading because I don’t have a enough understanding about how students learn to read.
I’ve read all the literature. I’ve taken the training workshops. I’ve done the prescribed curriculum. But I don’t “understand” it to the level that I can take ownership of it, differentiate instruction for my students, adapt curriculum to my teaching style, and so on.
Where is my gap?
Coaches eventually come around to saying, consider your own education because that is the paradigm through which you view your students’ education. Well, we have a problem there because I don’t know how I learned to read. By the age of four, I can read and write in two languages. Then, I immigrated to America at the age of five and within one year, I was top of my class academically, orally fluent in English, reading voraciously, and writing copious fantasy stories for my class assignments. This is not typical for my inner city students. Literacy comes very easy for me. Reading easiest of all. No wonder for the first year of my career as a teacher, I implicitly expect my students to come to me already knowing how to read and write. And I still consider myself a failure as a teacher of reading.
What about you?
What is your educational background? How does it affect your teaching? Do you have any resources that can help ME gain a deeper understanding of reading instruction.
Matthew of OpenCourtResources.com created a professional networking site for literacy coaches at ning.com. If you are a coach, interested in becoming one, or just looking to improve your skill as a literacy educator, consider visiting and joining in. Thank you Matthew for creating a valuable resource!
I am trying out a new second grade reading and writing homework using the Tree Map. My goal is for students to prepare students to be able to dissect a story, looking at the characters, setting, problem and solution. Eventually, I want to transition into using the academic language of “characters, setting, problem and solution” but for now, I’m using scaffolding language. Take a look to see if it’s useful for you.
I updated my reading and writing homework, which uses a flow map, for second grade. This is a tentative change for me. I will observe how my students handle this homework before making more changes. For now, the changes include some sentence starters to help the students write about their reading.