I love Debbie Miller. I love the “Two Sisters.” I love Regie Routman. I love Ellin Oliver Keene. Now I am really sounding like I spend a lot of time in first grade surrounded by 6 and 7 year olds! The reality is, I do love what these reading gurus stand for. I love teaching my students to take a book from their book box and move beyond “word reading.” Regardless of reading level, I love to teach young children to dig deeper into their reading. The connections, the questions, the predictions, the inferences that result are exciting. At times, they bring tears of joy to my eyes!
What do you do, however, when you spend time introducing comprehension strategies in a systematic manner and students still “don’t get it?” I have never subscribed to the thought process of “Well, I taught it. It’s not my fault they didn’t get it.” I feel like if they didn’t get it, then I didn’t really teach it. (Not well anyways.) That’s when I go back to the drawing board. I try to come at it in a different way.
I have been excited this year about QR codes. I love using the app “Show Me” on the iPad to create a video that captures my thinking about something. I have been using “Show Me” to model different comprehension strategies. My students scan the QR code during their independent work on writing time and then practice the strategy on their own.
The QR code doesn’t take the place of my direct teaching, however. They are meant to reinforce the correct way to do something. Students can watch the QR codes as many times as they need to get it right.
It has been fun. It has also saved me some time. I don’t feel so much like a broken record this year.
O.k. So the title of this blog may be misleading. Teaching students to deliberately and conscientiously use strategies to understand and remember their reading better takes time. My goal as a curriculum coach, however, is to help simplify information and give teachers a place to start. I created brochures on each thinking strategy to share with colleagues at my school a couple of years ago. Today I would like to share them with you. If you are interested in adding a shared reading component to your day where you teach students to make connections, ask questions, or synthesize information, this is a place to start. The content is inspired by Debbie Miller and her work “Reading with Meaning.”
*Click on a link below to find the strategy you are looking for. FYI-I created these brochures on my home computer using Microsoft Works. Since we do not have that program at school, I scanned each page in order to share them with you.
In an earlier post, I described how my students were using the “Puppet Pals” app to create animated retellings of stories that we are reading in class. For those of you interested in giving it a try yourself, I have found the following things to be extremely helpful in the process.
1. Teach students to plan out their thoughts before jumping in and creating digital retellings. To do this, I use the format described in Debbie Miller’s book “Reading with Meaning” as well as in “The CAFE Book” by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. I model the process a few times first, and then release the students to try it with a partner. The following template has proven to be helpful as students organize their ideas. retelling template
2. Be o.k. with the fact that your students’ initial attempts may not be perfect. As with anything we teach, students need modeling and guided practice to become proficient. Start early in the year and take time to revisit the concept (perhaps weekly).
3. Make time for sharing. Our students sometimes learn from their peers better than they do from us. We model, talk, and try to shape student learning. One student will pick it up and then another. Sometimes it is what a child says during share time that “clicks” with another child and “Viola!” they too get it now.
I have begun posting some retellings on our classroom website to keep parents connected to what we are learning. Once I figured it out, the process was fairly simple. For those of my colleagues that are interested, here are the steps below (They may vary a bit for you depending upon your school website):
1. Connect your iPad to your computer
2. Open up the app and click on “saved shows.”
3. Choose “export” and you will get an “Export in Progress” message.
4. Your video will be copied to your camera roll.
5. Log in to your website (or blog).
6. Click on “subsites” to edit your page and add your video(s).
7. I created a page called “Showcases of Technology” to save the videos to. The page “type” is a “document library.”
8. Click on “create new” and choose the file that you want to upload. (I first had to transfer the file from my iPad camera roll to my computer.)
9. Click “save” to prevent your hard work from being lost!