Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Things I Love About Workshop

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You know I have been reading about Reader's Workshop, I have read about Writer's Workshop, now I am implementing both at the same time! I am loving it.
This week I noticed that my kids were becoming frustrated with sharing their books bins. I hadn't planned on giving them their own personal book bins for about a month. You know after I thought procedures were established. However, I had several pouty faces when I said it was time to put our books back. I asked if they wanted to put their books at their desks. In my mind I thought, "they need books bins." So this morning we shopped for books. We have developed a class rating system for 1=Easy, 2=Medium, and 3=Challenging. I know that it probably isn't Kathy Collins or Debbie Miller worthy but it works for us. I helped some indecisive students choose and then we sat down and read. I noticed that reading partners were kind of sticking together and made a reflective question: "Do I want this? Do they need to always read independently?"
Here is what I noticed, those kiddos that need extra reading support, they enjoy reading with a partner. They are partnered with someone who reads on the same level. They compliment one another! Other students chose to read at their desk or in a cozy nook. I noticed that today they did the BEST job of reading, I mean really reading. I didn't have to tell anyone to "get to work!" It was very, very, very cool to watch.
I think right now, I am going to allow them to read with their partner. However, when they acquire more reading strategies, I will ask them to read independently.
Why am I telling you all this? Do you see how the workshop works? Do you see how I can modify what we do because this is what the kids need? That is workshop. I am not teaching any more information about how to treat books, or how to find your materials. They don't need that anymore, we are ready to move on to other things. I know this because of the workshop, conferencing, and sharing. This is what I love about the workshop. It is individualized instruction at its finest!

4 comments:

Jen Barney said...

Isn't it great! I thought that I would need to wait until after ISTEP to do my Reading Book Bags. However, they want to get their four & get started. So I am starting to introduce it this Tuesday! The kids LOVE it when I tell them to come over for Writer's Workshop- The risk, the challenge, it is all worth it!
Isn't this SO MUCH FUN!!

katied said...

Aren't partnerships heaven? Sounds like your kids are diving right into the workshop. I think kids appreciate reading with others and being independent. I love the workshop format. My son has reading/writing workshops in his 2nd grade classroom this year and has commented how "trusted" he feels by his teacher.

Sarah said...

I also find that when given a partner who can work as a guide, audience and coreader, children seem to be engaged for longer periods of time in real reading. Their text connections can be actualized immediately instead of waiting until after the reading time to reflect with the group. Even then, they might not get a turn to share their reading thinking.

Sarah Amick said...

Thank you so much for sharing your insights into this matter. I had been questioning this partnership reading thing. I didn't want it to turn into gab fest. I wanted meaningful reading. I see it occuring in room 127.
Hope you are all off to a great start!