With common core making an appearance next year, every teacher I know is already gearing up for the transition. My team is no exception. Last week we had the privilege of visiting another school in our state that is already doing common core based lessons and see how we can begin moving into that type of teaching.
We have always had a reading anthology that we were expected to instruct our students from. You know the type, everyone reads the same boring story and you do activities based on the story. BORING!!!! We have had the same reading text book for over 6 years and the stories in there are in much need of a rest. For the past 5 years I have been using the reading workshop model for teaching reading skills and meeting with my guided reading groups. I love the workshop approach and wouldn't give it up for anything. After spending a little over an hour in reading workshop I would then subject my students to 45 minutes of the reading text book. In my classroom we have been spending around 2 hours on reading!!! There isn't anything wrong with that if they were already good at all other subjects, but sadly they need to have instruction in those areas too!
After the school visit, my team and I decided to approach our principal about ditching the reading text book and teaching core reading skills within the reading workshop approach. She was all for this. Now that we have an extra hour of instructional time in our day by dumping our reading text, we are also adding in Writing Workshop. I have always loved this approach to teaching writing, but have never had the time in the day to do it correctly. I am now in the planning phases for both of these workshops and the excitement is contagious! I am so excited about this new phase of instruction and can't wait to see what kind of growth my students are going to make from now until the end of the year.
Our first minilesson for our "new" reading workshop is going to be on stamina. We are going to expect our students to eventually read silently for 40 minutes. I know what your thinking, "your crazy! My kids can't read that long!" I don't know about your state end of year assessments, but here in NC, our kids are expected to read 8 passages in about 2 1/2 hours. I feel that if I don't get them practicing this early on, I am failing them as a teacher. Check back next week for the progress on our stamina lessons and on how the writing workshop is going.
Check out this stamina poster I created to use to introduce this during our minilesson
Visit my Teachers pay teacher store to pick up a free poster!