Reading Workshop - Middle School

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by katrinkit, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I would like to find out how to create a reading workshop in my classroom. I have bits and pieces, but not a real plan...

    I am taking over for the teacher I was a long term sub for - 7th grade and 6th grade Literature. I do not enjoy the way the class was run before me - very anthology based. My feeling is that students need to understand how what they are learning in school can aid them outside of school. I used a workshop-type method my first year of teaching, but everything was set up for me and now I have to do it on my own, from setup to implementation. I need help...

    1. What kind of resources should I be reading?
    2. Management?
    3. Mini-Lesson ideas?
    4. Any advice?
     
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  3. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 12, 2007

    Run out right now and get a copy of In the Middle and The Reading Zone both by Nancie Atwell. Even if you cannot set up your workshop just like she does (and I don't know anyone who realistically could), these books give great ideas and resources for getting started.
     
  4. shanepunim

    shanepunim Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2007

    YES! Nancie Atwell has the answers to the workshop method. I read her books for the writing workshop. I was stupid and did not follow her examples enough, and I PAID for it. I was very busy last year.

    I also spent a lot of time this summer at Border's & Barnes & Noble. They have plenty of additional aids that the teachers' store do not. I found a great book called The Writer's Workshop Survival Guide. I think the author was Muschla (sp?).

    The same publisher also makes a fantastic book called The Classroom Teacher's Survival Guide. I have gone through both this summer and I feel recharged, refreshed, & ready to go.

    Hope that helps.

    Kim
     
  5. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 12, 2007

    That same author also has a reading workshop survival guide.
     
  6. Mrs.Gould

    Mrs.Gould Comrade

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    Jul 12, 2007

    I recommend Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnell. It says for grades 3-6 but the 7th and 8th grade teachers in my district are using the Reader's Workshop as well, just modifying it a bit because they aren't able to have as much time as elementary school teachers have. I just was trained for 4 days on the program and have started setting up my library in my room. I'm excited about it!
     
  7. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Jul 16, 2007

    All of the reading suggestions are great! I'll add one that I like to your list: Books and Beyond: New Ways to Reach Readers
    by Michael F. Opitz, Michael P. Ford, Matthew D. Zbaracki
     
  8. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2007

    Okay, I bought In the Middle, Mosaic of Thought (it says Reading Workshop on the cover) and Reading in the Middle School by Laura Robb. These were the only books I could find at the Borders and Barnes and Noble by my house - I am ordering some of the others that you have suggested soon.

    I am overwhelmed! I teach one each of sixth grade and seventh grade literature. How do I make them different? What strategies do I focus on so they are not getting them same strategies the next year?

    What strategies do you teach your classes? How long do you spend on each?
     
  9. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2007

    Oh yeah - I also have 32-36 students in each class - should I be planning to meet with each student every week? Do you meet with your higher students once every couple of weeks?

    Books only go so far!
     
  10. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 16, 2007

    First of all, you don't have to make them all that different! You can have the same proceudres and schedules, just change the reading material. If you are reading a short piece for strategy instruction, you can even use the same piece with both grades, just make the discussion deeper for the older kids.


    As for which strategies to teach, I would start with comprehension monitoring. Teach kids to know when the understand and what to do when they don't. Then go from there. There is no specified order that the strategies must be taught. Last year I started with connections, then questioning, then inferring and synthesizing. As for repeated strategy instruction year after year, don't worry about that. In our district, the kids start learning the reading strategies in kindergarten (my daughter talks about her schema and makes connections like crazy). What happens is that the discussion becomes deeper, and you don't necessarily have to "teach" the strategies in such a basic way. It's kind of like a spiral.

    Okay, conferences. I have anywhere from 20 to 28 kids in my LA classes. I try to conference with each of them once a week. Do I always get there? Nope. But I do my best. I have a binder with the alpha dividers in it. Each student has a "conference note sheet" where I write down what we discussed and any notes to myself about the students. I can use those to plan later minilessons or for parent conferences.

    Hope this helps! Keep asking those questions!
     
  11. kyblue07

    kyblue07 Companion

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    Jul 17, 2007

    Just wanted to throw in two cents about fitting in time for conferences. Last year I had my students complete weekly reading journals every week. At first these journals were basic recall of info from the books they were reading (we did AR program). Gradually with mini-lessons, examples, and experience students were writing and using critical thinking rather than just surface level or recall of the plot. They were really thinking about the books and the writer's and reader's craft. These journals became as sort of 'conference' between myself and each student. I would write a reply on the back and then the students, in turn, would comment back to me, etc. If you looked at these journal sheets in their folders, you would find many conversations within our replies. I didn't always have time to conference with each and every student when I wanted or needed to, but we always had our journal sheets to communicate and 'conference'. This could be applied to a more formal reading journal that is kept in a notebook and much like Atwell describes in her books. I just didn't have the time or the space for notebooks and it's more convenient for me to carry home and review. At the end of the year when students were doing a final review of their folders to take home, it was the journal sheets and our conversations that they all wanted to keep and read again.
    Not sure if this answered any of your questions but hope it helps in some way!!!
     
  12. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Jul 19, 2007

  13. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 20, 2007

    Okay, so now I have four books I have been reading and am wondering about what to use for organization for the students...do you use notebooks with tabbed dividers, or do you use a journal notebook and that's it, do you have your students use a binder, do you use composition notebooks?

    Also - in whatever you have chosen to use - do your students write anything (maybe jot down a few notes) about the minilesson for the day?

    Do you have your students do one letter a week - or do they write a journal response each day - there are so many options - I want to know what teachers do in the real world!!

    Thank you all for answering my questions!
     
  14. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 20, 2007

    No problem!
     
  15. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Jul 20, 2007

  16. cjven

    cjven Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2007

    I am also new to teaching literature this year. What exactly do you talk to you students about in the weekly conference? Is it just for students to ask questions or discuss the stories read? What do you do?
     
  17. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2007

    Like KY, I also used journals to substitute for conferencing when I couldn't get to every kid. It did work very well, and like her students, mine wanted to keep theirs at the end of the year. I had them all get those mead wireless notebooks.
     
  18. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 22, 2007

    In my reading conferences, I first ask the kids to tell me what's going on right now in their books. Then I ask might ask them if they are confused about anything (if so, I'd better see a post-it marking the point that they noticed a comprehention meltdown) and what they are doing to try to get un-confused. I might ask them questions about how they are using the specific reading strategy our mini-lessons have been focusing on. Another topic might be a discussion of the author's style and how this author compares to other author's we've read.

    One on one conferences are a great way to assess kids in a way that can truly inform your teaching. Yes, they are time consuming, but I can think of no other way that you can get such an accurate picture of where each child is at.
     
  19. thargaden

    thargaden New Member

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    Sep 24, 2007

    Setting Up Reading Workshop--the BEST advice I know of!

    Get Lucy Calkins' book "Launching the Writing Workshop". There are PDFs online you can read to get the flavor of the book.
    Email me for the link; I cannot post it as I just joined.

    I use her program religiously and it has paid off hugely this year. I love the productive, engaged, passionate buzz that surrounds workshop time. Everyone is so QUIET and they are all hunched intently over their books and notebooks.

    What I can suggest is that you teach the kids very explicitly what the workshop structure will be. First you get together with your partner. You should shop around for partners for two weeks or so then get into yearlong permanent partnerships. OK, so they are with their partners either on the floor in the meeting area or in desks/chairs. They will always bring their notebooks and pencils. Then you'll want them to know that they should expect a daily minilesson. This is where you tell them what you want to teach them today and model it yourself with your own notebook. They might take notes in their notebooks.

    One important point about miniessons is that you are teaching them a repertoire of strategies they can use in the phase of the writing prcess you hapen to be in at the time. So right now we are moving from generating ideas (prewriting) to drafting. We had an actual chart on the wall of five strategies they can use for generating narratie writing. They may use whatever strategy works for them in a given workshop session. The rule is they can write any true stiies from their lives as long as they keep writing th whole time. We say to them, "There is only one choice during writing time and that is writing."

    So you teach them a new strategy related to the phase you are on. Then you add it to the chart. Then model it for them, actually writing in front of them, either in your notebook, on chart paper, or on an overhead. Then tell them that they can, of course, use this or any of the strategies in the chart.

    Then they should know that they need to spread out to their workshop spots and get to work, silently. I have a quote by Franz Kafka in my room: One can never be too alone when one writes. It can never be silent enough when one writes; even NIGHT is not NIGHT enough.
    I refer to this frequently when sending them off to work, and I insist upon abslute quiet except for kids with whom I am conferring. And those I remind to whisper to me as low as I whisper to them.

    So they are writing, each on a different strategy perhaps, and you are circulating among them. At first this is to check that they remain working and quiet. You might have to make a couple of whole-class announcements ("writers, can I have your eyes and attention? It is not night enough in here for writing...etc...") at first to get the expectation of complete silence across.

    I have a conference record sheet in a binder for each writer. As I speak to them I make notes that I can use later to help them. I try to never leave a writing conference without giving some very specific feedback--both a compliment and something to stretch them.

    Then after about 20 min I reconvene the partners on the meeting rug and have them share their writing work.

    I tell them often how great they are, how much they have grown, and how much writing means to me. I try to make sure that they know how important writingisin the real world.

    And I learned ALL THAT from Lucy's book. I just hoe that one day I can meet her and say THAK YOU for giving me this wonderful, inspiring way to squeeze every drop of joy from my time with my students.

    Best of luck. Workshop can change your life.

    Tina
     
  20. thargaden

    thargaden New Member

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    Sep 24, 2007

    Oops--I talked too mcuh about writing...

    I got on a roll and forgot that you were just asking about reading. Well, it works much the same. I start with a unit on how to do reading workshop, how to pick a book, how to monitor comprehension, how to be a partner, etc. Then we do a unit on character--paying attention to their actions, to their dialogue, to their changes.

    So the minilessons are about reading strategies. The structure of the workshop is essentially the same. I start off with a daily poem, have the kids mark it up, and then do a read-around of favorite lines, thoughts, etc. This idea is taken from Nancie Atwell's book In the Middle. THEN I launch into the minilesson.

    Thanks for bearing wth me--Tina:whistle::whistle:
     
  21. caliteachergirl

    caliteachergirl New Member

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    Oct 19, 2007

    reading notebooks

    I use a sort of hybrid workshop method in my classroom. The kids use composition notebooks divided into three sections, class notes, My Reading Life, and Post-its. The kids read for 30 minutes per night and complete a post-it about their reading. Twice a week they have to select a good post it and stretch their thinking on it in the My Reading Life section. They also post their four best post-its in the back of their notebooks. I use the overhead projector everyday and the kids coppy the notes into their notebooks. If there a lot of notes, I make photocopies for them to glue in on their own time. I then grade the notebooks using a rubric about once a month. Oh-they also have a reading log they have to glue in the back, and are expected to read a book every two weeks and log it in.

    HOpe this helps!
     
  22. Li'lrabbit

    Li'lrabbit Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2007

    All good titles, and there are a dozen other good ones too. But the title you MUST get it is Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnel.

    GRAW tells you exactly how to set up the reader's response journals, and gives you specific, step by step instructions for setting up procedures and routines, acquiring and organizing your book sets, managing conference groups, and getting it all done without tearing your hair out.

    Reader's workshop is a really fun way to teach reading, fun for you, and lots of fun for the kids too.
     

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