i don't get readers workshop

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by teresateaches, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    Aug 11, 2012

    a little backstory...

    i've been teaching history for the past three years. i'm an english teacher by endorsement though, and i'm moving back to teaching english this year after a break from it.

    i am moving from an urban title I school to a very wealthy suburban school where the children of powerful senators have attended.

    anyhow....all of that is to say, i'm moving from teaching kids HOW to read in seventh grade to teaching them how to read deeply and thoughtfully.

    i'm reading up on the readers workshop and i'm interested but feeling a little overwhelmed. :dizzy:

    i've the order the book "In The Middle" by Atwell and it will arrive Tuesday. I've googled and read the Scholastic stuff.

    I don't really get HOW to implement it though.

    I'll be seeing all my students on Mondays for shorter blocks then Tuesday - Friday is blocks of 90 minutes where I will only see the kids every other day (so either Tuesday and Thursday or Wednesday and Friday).

    Any help or links are appreciated!

    :thanks:
    :D
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 11, 2012

    Are you also teaching writing during this time?
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Aug 11, 2012

    :haha:

    Mopar, I'm not sure whether that was a joke or not, but I found it funny.
     
  5. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    Aug 14, 2012

    Of course! How can you teach LA without writing?
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2012

    We split our writing and reading class. So students actually have a reading and writing class.

    Basically, you will set goals with your students. These can be page number goals that students will read each day or week. Then you will give the students time to read books of their choosing (or you guiding them to choose) and they will read. Students can discuss reading, write about their reading, journal, etc.
     
  7. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    Aug 14, 2012

    Ah gotcha. We do writing in the reading classes.

    Where do you implement state mandated standards? How and when do you relate them to the students' individualized reading?
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2012

    I use mini lessons to hit the standards. Many times I will read aloud a newspaper article, poem, short story, or even hit them while reading a novel aloud.

    Then my students set goals. These usually have something to do with the standards (either are the standard or are a reading strategy).

    We also do have some time when students practice a skill with a piece of my choosing.
     
  9. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    Aug 15, 2012

    So, I just finished reading Parts I and II of the Atwell book.

    Evaluation and grading....I can't imagine how her method would fly in my school. I can tell you right now, it would NOT fly with neither parents nor administration.

    So, does anyone have experience with alternative assessment for workshops? Does anyone implement tests and quizzes? I know those will be required.

    I love the ideas and methods she is presenting, but we live in a NCLB world and these methods don't fly when schools face losing funding for low AYP scores.
     
  10. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    Aug 17, 2012

    If you want to survive in an NCLB world, you probably won't do workshop. You'll do daily test prep and drill-and-kill, and you'll be a Bad Teacher, and you won't inspire your students or help them learn to love reading or writing. And you'll probably be more likely to get re-hired, in any school worried about NCLB/RTTT/etc.

    But if you're moving to a more affluent school, the expectations might be very different, and you might find more support for a more meaningful curriculum. However, you'll likely find that the parents of students with the most parent involvement will request other teachers who are perceived as "good" or "proven," and you'll likely find the least-supported students "dumped" into your classroom even before the first day of school, and once classes start, the presence of "difficult students" in your classes will likely inspire other students to request re-assignment.

    Frankly, I don't think someone teaching for the first time at a new school, grade level, or subject could "pull off" writing workshop, unless you're in a school where the other teachers use similar methods and your students & parents are already familiar with the concept.

    I found it very useful to read a number of other books which discussed other teachers' implementation of (and response to) a reading workshop environment. I liked Time for Meaning: Crafting Literate Lives in Middle and High School (Randy Bomer). I included a list of books I read in my blog post at http://www.markwelchblog.com/2003/0...ange-thoughts-on-becoming-a-teacher/#booklist but I see that I didn't include several relevant titles there.

    FYI, my experience is that most of the Scholastic teaching books are superficial, formulaic, and generally poor quality. Some are just cheap rip-offs of better-quality books offered by other publishers.

    But I'm a bad example, since I ultimately chose not to continue as a classroom teacher in an NCLB environment.
     
  11. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    Aug 17, 2012

    Well, I've just gotten back SOL tests for the school I am moving to and 98% of the children passed the English SOL.

    I already have my assignment for the year and will be teaching 2 honors classes, 2 general ed and one inclusion.

    And I have to disagree with your first part. Last year, in a low SES school, I broke the mold of drill and kill and moved to stations, where students did student led inquiry and project based learning. We spent little to no time focusing on test prep and I never drilled a thing.

    I had an 82% pass rate, which, for a Title I school is phenomenal. When you consider our math scores were in the single digits and they drill, kill and STILL fail....

    That is a personal choice, but I think a good teacher can survive and be successful with her students under NCLB but they have to be willing to stand up and advocate for the children in their class. They have to do what is right.

    That said, I still plan to implement this and I'm not worried about getting anything or anyone dumped in my class. The hardest kid at this school will have nothing on my easiest kid from my previous school.

    I still need help with the assessment piece, not because the school requires test prep. They don't. These kids will pass standing on their head with their eyes closed. But parents demand quantitative evidence of passing and failing which falls, in their eyes, in the form of tests.
     
  12. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Aug 18, 2012

    Have you read Day to Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop? That might be helpful to you.
     

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