While reading chapter four, I found myself thinking about the word, "purposeful". The principal at Westside, Robin Braun, used this term many times when describing the Guided Reading program. During her presentation I noticed that this word kept coming up, but I assumed that it was a word that she just liked to use. However, as we are reading this book, I am finding that "purposeful" is the perfect word for describing each piece of the program. In this chapter we find suggestions for setting up your classroom in a purposeful manner in order to get the most out of your literacy program. While the author was describing each component of the Guided Reading classroom, I found myself envisioning the classroom that I observed at Westside. This classroom was a "textbook example" of the ideal literacy-balanced room. The teacher had the following components:
- Clearly defined areas that the children knew how to navigate.
- The teacher could see ALL the areas of her classroom from any vantage point.
- The classroom was ORGANIZED!
- She had plenty of display space for student work. Student products were all over the classroom.
- She had a clearly labeled and organized classroom library.
I loved the idea of arranging the classroom library by "author, illustrator, genre, series, theme, or topic" (48). I think too many times we organize our library by level. I can see where the library might seem more appealing to students if it were organized by topics. The students wouldn't be confined to one or two leveled baskets. They could find books in their level in ANY basket. Believe it or not, this wold increase student interest in reading!
Chapters Five and Six:
Throughout the years I have seen many examples of classroom work boards. I have even seen great work board examples on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. Do any of you currently use a work board in your classroom?
Did you notice the author mentions over and over that each new activity introduced on the work board needs to be introduced SLOWLY? Procedures, procedures, procedures, people! I know I am preaching to the choir, but the work areas will not succeed (students working independently) if they are not drilled on how to effectively use each area of your classroom. When you begin planning the start of next year's school year, please remember to refer to the Getting Started chart on page 63. What an awesome resource!
So, how do you feel about the management aspect of the program? Do you feel comfortable with the idea that the students can navigate each area on their own and work independently? Are you nervous?
In chapter six the authors detail the link between assessment and Guided Reading. Currently we are working on gathering the money needed to purchase DRA kits for each grade level. It is my hope that by the start of next year we will have the DRA kits at Ney and ready to be put to use. From this chapter I surmised there will be many ongoing, informal assessments that take place throughout the year. How familiar are you with running records and anecdotal records? Are you sufficiently comfortable to be able to use these next year?
We are almost halfway through this book. How are you feeling about Guided Reading for next year? Do you feel like this is going to be a good program for Ney? What are your biggest concerns? Do you foresee yourself needing support in any specific area?