Readers and Writers Workshop set up Help!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeachCafe, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2015

    I spoke to our reading specialist today and she said the biggest thing is getting our students reading and writing, reading and writing.

    I told her I was stressed searching TPT and all these other sites and trying to come up with "centers and stations" and she said for our students all that isn't necessary and not what we do.

    I casually mentioned The Daily 5 and she said we do more like that but I don't think anything is concrete. Just reading. To themselves, someone,etc.

    The teacher before me apparently read research from some education "gurus" that said all students need to be doing during readers/writers workshop is silent reading and that's what she did. She was in small groups and they were around the room silently reading and it worked. Of all classes her two had the highest ELA scores in the grade level.

    Now to me that seems like kids will get bored and be off task. I'm still wrapping my brain around the "Okay so I'm at the kidney table with 4-5 and what are the rest suppose to be doing so they're not off task, annoying each other, annoying me and my small groups" and so on.


    How do I introduce the "while we're rotating guiding reading groups I need you guys to be reading and writing" ???:help:

    I know everyone says to read the guru books but honestly I struggle reading how to/do this of books because they make me crazy wanting to make it all perfect.

    The only teacher book I've been able to read is Harry Wong's First Days of School. Maybe it's how they wrote it but it was easy to follow and it didn't feel pressuring. It was more suggestions on what to do. Most guru type of books feel like this is what you need to be doing because if you're not then you're not doing things right and honestly most are boring and dry I skim and those CAFE and Daily 5 books don't seem like skim materials and stuff you can cafeteria it and pick and choose what you want to order and eat.

    Any online versions? Or blogs that help?
     
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  3. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2015

    I just want to keep them entertained, on task and learning and I'm thinking if they're just reading and not doing centers and manipulative type of things they'll get bored.

    Then again, I'm REALLY struggling because after being in sped for 3 years where you HAD to have them rotating like kindergarten because any lag was stimming behavior city and behaviors galore I don't know how to operate with kids who actually get to task when you ask at the most 3 times and NO hand over hand, white on rice approach (sitting behind them so they don't bolt out of the chair, hit someone, etc) or be self directed and not need help opening this.

    I feel like I'm going to hover like a helicopter because that's what I'm use to because hands of doesn't come until March but 4th graders are 100% independent with the basics.

    I'm just so lost on what to do with totally independent students and readers/writers workshop.
     
  4. 2ndinTexas

    2ndinTexas Rookie

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    Aug 4, 2015

    Try this...

    Hi! :)

    I've been teaching Reading and Writing workshop for 8 years, and I love it. Now in my workshop time, the kids are doing lots of things, not just silent reading. I use the Cafe strategies, but I do the workshop model.

    I'm not sure you are interested in reading a book, but if you are, one of the best books (and I thought it was an easy read) is "Reading with Meaning" by Debbie Miller (not to be confused with Debbie Diller, who has some great books on Literacy Stations). The book is written well, and takes you through a lot of what she does.

    In my classroom, I do start out with silent reading while we build up our stamina, but then they have things they need to do as well. They each have sticky notes, pencils, reading response journal, etc, in their book boxes, with books they've selected for the week. They also keep a "book wallet" - just a file folder with the sides stapled closed - which houses the books we are working on during their guided reading groups. As I work with the kids, I give them instructions on what I want them to do during their reading time - it could be write sticky notes about things they are wondering, connections, questions, hard words, etc. At our next meeting, we'll look at their sticky notes and put them in their reading folders or perhaps on the "parking lot" on our wall (a place where we can put sticky notes to talk about whole group - check pinterest).

    My kids are doing story mapping, using thinking maps and outlines, character reflections, etc. during reading time. They are usually on task, quiet, and allow me to do my work with groups. Yes, I find reading silently is boring after too long, and the kids need to "work with" their books, not just read them. Yes, reading is a BIG part of it, but they need to do some reflection. We also partner up sometimes, to discuss books - as well as do literature circles and whole group discussions. I will also have a group work by themselves practicing a reader's theatre once we've read it together in our guided reading group. Then we'll perform it for a lower grade. I just like to change things up every so often, so they don't get bored, and so *I* don't get bored! :)

    I hope this helps a bit.
     
  5. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2015

    I'll see if I can PM you some docs on setting up Reader's Workshop that my district uses. It's a very detailed and thorough 25 day launch plan. :)
     
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Aug 5, 2015

    Here are some tactics I've found helpful for (what us older teachers called) seatwork.

    I would set out books specifically relating to subjects we were currently studying that month, such as in science, math, social studies, etc. Some students especially enjoyed searching for extra information outside of the school textbooks. I had a balance of fiction and non-fiction, and I included grade appropriate picture books and "chapter" books.

    I've found much success in allowing quiet paired reading with "1 inch voices." I've seen a lot of research promoting this, too. Often a peer's interaction is more powerful (and patient) than a teacher's interaction.

    For paired reading and cooperative learning, despite what all the books for teachers say, I've found the easiest way to set that up is to just plain do it. If I've selected the groups appropriately, there's no need to have the kids decide on who's the "president", "secretary," etc. and I don't even assign such roles. I use my college professor's rule: I ask everyone to participate without any mugwumps. I have 1 or 2 trial cooperative lessons at the beginning of the year, and purposefully plan that the lessons might be a total failure! Then we discuss after each lesson how we can improve the next time. I keep the discussion positive with student feedback on how to improve. The absolute best advice I ever received was to have the students make a list on the wall of encouraging remarks to say to each other. By the 2nd or 3rd lesson, you'll be surprised at how many students use those encouraging remarks! Personally, I feel students learn best by correcting their mistakes, as this fits current brain based research.

    I don't like using a lot of dittos (another old teachers' word) for seatwork. I have taught in schools where that was the expected procedure for teachers, and the students rush through them to jot down the answers to be sure to finish on time and tire out quickly, but they tire out because their brains are not being stimulated. It's just busy work.

    On the other hand, in the above situation, I found a clever alternative! Using dittos from other English speaking countries found on the Internet can provide an extra surprising challenge in language related worksheets. What are common words and phrases in America might be different in Britain. The students enjoyed being stumped and surprisingly would sometimes even find ANOTHER correct answer that fit the challenge.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 5, 2015

  8. Sunskyteach

    Sunskyteach Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2015

    I HIGHLY recommend reading the Daily 5 book first as well as Café. The Daily 5 is something that once you get it going as a routine it's all settled. Plus, it gets the kids doing those authentic reading and writing tasks it sounds like your school is after.
     
  9. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Ditto what Sunnyskyteach said. The books are very easy to read too.
     
  10. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2015

    Thanks all!

    Things have just gotten real for me and I'm getting freaked out now thatn I have 13 week days until the first day of school :eek:

    If the models aren't centers and all that then what the crap are all these pictures of this giant classrooms with sinks and 8 different workstations for on Pinterest?

    Is this CC states? Or are they blowing smoke? Even the intermediate grades have all these centers explosion rooms and centers and stations and there's millions of worksheets and all that hoopla on TPT to download for "centers and stations" and charts with group rotations. I'm getting headaches trying to find all these manipulatives to match all these stations - letters, magnets, laminated cards, etc.

    I thought with ALL that stuff that['s exactly what every single person is doing. There's just so much of it. :unsure:
     
  11. *Schoolmarm*

    *Schoolmarm* Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2015

    Sounds like the jitters! Don't worry, we all get them. It's going to be fine, you'll do like you've always done: try something and modify it to fit you and your students.

    With a Daily Five structure or something similar, your students won't be bored when they're not in your group. They'll love having choice in the books they read.

    The moment someone is off task, stop everything and gather up for a discussion/review of how the students feel - what went well/not well. This is the training part. They'll build stamina and be just fine.

    Don't worry about doing the program perfectly. Use it as a structure to fit your needs and your students' needs. BTW, the Daily Five webinar is helpful and affordable. I like seeing programs in action in a variety of classrooms rather than just reading about them.
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Aug 7, 2015

    I find the Daily 5 book wonderfully practical. If you would consider reading a book, that one is helpful.

    Decide what activities you do want going on, teach those, practice, before even going into your small groups.
     
  13. *Schoolmarm*

    *Schoolmarm* Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2015

    The Brown Bag Teacher has been doing a summer book study on the Daily Five. She teaches 1st grade, but many of the same training tips will apply to your 4th graders. Here is a link to one of her articles on teaching independence.

    http://thebrownbagteacher.blogspot.com/2015/06/building-independence-with-daily-5-book.html

    She has posted many pictures and you can jump around to what you think will really help you. One thing I can't wait to try is graphing my students' independent time to show how long they were able to stay on task during each session.
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree with your reading specialist. Centers and stations are WAY too much work on the teacher's end, and a Daily 5 or Reading Workshop approach works just as well, if not better, plus it's much easier on the teacher. I've tried Daily 5 and like it okay. If I were going back to a regular classroom this year, I think I'd switch to more of a Reading Workshop approach, based on the research of Fountas and Pinnell, who are widely known as "literacy gurus" and could be who the reading specialist was referring to when you were talking.
     
  15. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2015

    Thank you so much for this!!!

    What's the difference in the two?

    I thought the reader's workshop was the Daily 5 approach? :unsure:

    I need the dummies series to seriously make Reader's Workshop for Dummies and spell it out so plain and simple you could read it to a child and they could play act their with their dolls and stuff, lol.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    They are similar, both being structures for teaching literacy, but they don't run exactly the same. Let me start by saying that I am no expert in either one. I have read the Daily 5 book twice, and I've implemented it in my classroom twice. I attempted a Reader's Workshop my first year teaching, when I really had no idea what I was doing. If I were going to implement it again, which I would if I were going back to a regular classroom instead of sped, I would read up on Fountas & Pinnell. There are many other posters on this board who are more knowledgable on Reader's Workshop than I am... That said, my understanding is that Reader's Workshop is more of a block where you, the teacher, are doing individual reading conferences while your students are doing independent reading (which might include reading the book you've assigned for their guided reading group, a book of their choosing, or another book you've helped them select) and responding to their reading in writing (in a reader's response notebook that you've modeled and taught them to use). Daily 5 involves more "activities" than reader's workshop - five different activities as opposed to two main activities. Both allow the teacher time to meet with individual students and small groups. Both have time for whole-group mini-lessons. With Reader's Workshop, mini-lessons are typically at the beginning of the workshop. The teacher teaches a lesson and then expects the students to use what they've learned in that lesson while doing their independent reading. Daily 5 has mini-lessons scattered in between rotations, not only at the beginning, and students may or may not use what they learned in the lesson during the rotation.

    Hopefully that gives you an understanding on the most basic level. Given that you are short on time and probably aren't able to read up on either in detail before school starts, I'd ask someone at your school which they recommend (hopefully they are familiar with both) or what others at your school do. I'd model your classroom off that of your colleagues this year. Then, over the course of this year and next summer, I'd read up on both D5 and RW. Find out what suits your teaching style and philosophy best and try to implement it with a full, solid understanding next year.

    If you want to read more, some books I'd recommend are Daily 5, CAFE, 100 Minutes, and anything by Fountas & Pinnell.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 9, 2015


    I'm in a workshop school (we were previously Teachers College affiliated-- have worked with Lucy Calkins, Isoke Nia, others...) before and after CCSS, we've never used centers within the workshop time. Some of those center ideas can be used, however, for word work or meaningful PAT kinds of times.
    Find what works for you. :cool:
     
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/reading-workshop-overview

    This video was super helpful for me when looking into readers workshop (which is very different from Daily 5). Below the video are other related videos that you might also be interested in.

    I had my kids read silently and in pairs with varied success last year. If you have just one or two kids off task, it can make it very difficult for others to stay focused. I have also done Daily 5 with 4th graders, and they liked it, but my activities weren't challenging enough for the high kids.
     
  19. *Schoolmarm*

    *Schoolmarm* Rookie

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    Looking back, do you think it would be possible to offer differentiated activities for the higher kids within the Daily Five structure? Like some sort of built in differentiation. Or would that make it too complicated?
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I had a class with reading levels between 1st-7th grades. I had some fun lower level word work activities that everyone wanted to do but only 2/3 of the class actually needed. I had a hard time finding equally fun word work activities for the higher level kids. It ended up with the advanced kids doing more Read to Self and Partner Read. I am sure I could have found more center-type activities but, ultimately, it took a lot of set up time to provide activities to meet all students' needs. Also, I was at an awful school, and there were some things out of my control that made Daily 5 unnecessarily challenging to do right.
     
  21. Stlteach89

    Stlteach89 Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2015

    It's my first year, but I can tell you what I know. My district has set expectations for guided reading, many of which are new for this year. K and first do a daily 5 structure. I'm in second and I know second and third read to self, respond to reading, and lower students read with a partner while I meet with reading groups. All of it is preceded by a mini lesson covering the strategy we will be focusing on that day. Something to keep in mind for reading groups is that you can decide how you group students. It could be by level, but keep in mind it could also be by strategy needs. My first few days coming up will be all about guided reading procedures and a lot of stamina building since our reading block is 90 minutes.
     

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