Thursday, October 16, 2008
Kindergarten Readers and Writers
I was all smiles on Tuesday after spending 40 minutes in Laurie Thomson and Julia Lewis' classroom. This co-teaching duo runs a well oiled machine just 9 short weeks into Kindergarten.
When I entered, students were just getting back to their meeting area for the Closing Session of Readers' Workshop. Three students were preparing to share and it was evident that the teachers had pre-selected students during their Work Period. The students placed their independent reading text under the document camera, read one page, and shared the reading strategy they had tried that day. The first student demonstrated how she pointed to the words as she read; the second student demonstrated how he pointed to the words and looked at the pictures to figure out a difficult word; the third student demonstrated how she pointed at the words, and when she got to a difficult word she got her mouth ready and sounded out the first letter of the word, then she looked at her picture clues. I could tell through this sharing that students are being taught purposeful reading mini-lessons, are reading daily and applying their mini-lesson strategies, and have the opportunity to share. The teachers are using this Closing Session effectively to scaffold student learning.
Furthermore, I stayed through the Writers' Workshop mini-lesson and into the Work Period. The focus was on using word wall snap words in your writing. The teachers modeled with a think aloud and wrote under the document camera for students to watch. As Miss Lewis wrote, she would stop and sound out a word, or at times look on the word wall. Students practiced by turning and talking to a partner about which snap words they could incorporate in their writing today.
The transition from Opening to Work Period was smooth and quick. Students got to work right away on their writing as the teachers individually conferred with students. As I walked around and conferred with students, it was clear that these writers are writing daily and excited to share their stories with others. I was surprised that I could read so many papers without assistance, and with others, I simply asked the student to read their story to me. They did a masterful job.
I enjoyed my visit to Room 122 and can't wait to return.