Saturday, February 6, 2010

Grade 3 Readers' Workshop Lesson

Last Wednesday morning, Christy Constande and Vicky Cole hosted 20 CCE colleagues during our Vertical Demonstration Day on co-teaching and small group instruction. They began their one hour Readers' Workshop by introducing Reading Standard 2: Getting the Meaning, and explaining to students that today they would analyze text to gain meaning. They referenced their previous lesson on opinions and inferences, and explained that authors leave breadcrumbs as clues throughout text that readers are supposed to gather as they read to gain understanding. Text Color

For their lesson, they used an excerpt from a read aloud book, Book Fair Day, and modeled how to note details that are stated directly in the text,"seen" text. Then, they taught students to extend that thinking by taking notes about what they know but that is not stated in the text, the "unseen." Putting these two pieces together, the students were then challenged to make and write down an inference.

During active involvement, the students had the chance to practice this new strategy in their reading journal using one of three excerpts the teachers provided to each pair. Teachers conferred with the students to help them during active involvement and two students shared their thinking.
In the link portion of the lesson, Vicky and Christy asked students to use this strategy today during their independent reading to gain meaning of the text.

As students transitioned to the Work Session, the teachers called two small groups, one to the front of the room, and one to the back. Vicky, based on analysis of their diagnostic data, taught a twelve minute small group lesson to five students on noting details. Then, she circulated to assist students that were working independently. She read the students' work during the "drive bys," and selected student samples for closing session.
At the same time, Christy taught a twenty five minute inferencing small group with the book, When the Relatives Came, to a group that she had anticipated would struggle with the concept of making an inference. This gave the group members an opportunity to practice the strategy with direct feedback and scaffolding from the teacher.

During the Closing session, Vicky facilitated while two students shared their work from their independent session. Then Christy shared student thinking from her small group. They reminded readers that today and every day they should always consider the "seen" and "unseen" breadcrumbs left as clues in the text by authors, and that they needed to gather the breadcrumbs to make inferences in order to gain a deeper understanding of the text.

After the lesson, the twenty observers gathered in the conference room to discuss the lesson and share ideas. Vicky and Christy joined the debrief to share their reflections and answer questions. The observers said they appreciated watching a demonstration lesson where they could see the students stuggling to grasp a concept; They liked that the teachers used authentic text to model their thinking; They enjoyed watching how both teachers brought their own experience into the lesson; They appreciated the depth at which the teachers modeled for students during the think aloud.

In addition, the teachers complimented Mrs. Constande and Mrs. Cole on their established rituals and routines, the ease at which transitions occurred, and the systematic data driven way they formed small groups. They liked the accountability during work period because the teachers provided a tool for students to record their thinking. They discussed that it is very evident that the teachers plan well together and equally take responsibility for their lessons.

The teachers then asked Vicky and Christy how they felt about co-teaching versus teaching alone, and whether they preferred the departmentalized co-teach or the all day co-teach. Furthermore, they wanted to know when they planned together and what they brought to planning when they met. They wondered, "Is the pm class instruction different than your am lesson?" The teachers spent about a half hour with us answering questions and sharing their ideas.

In watching this dynamic duo, you can tell that they do a fabulous job planning lessons together that are thoughtful, well organized, and take student thinking to the next level. You can see their reasoning behind their small group instruction and the organized manner in which it is approached to make sure every student gets what they need. If you want to see co-teaching and small group instruction in action, this is certainly a model classroom to visit whether you do it in person or virtually.

Untitled from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.


dayle timmons said...

Vicky and Christy are like art in motion. Watching them work their magic certainly made me reflect on what I do in my classroom. It makes me want to work harder to create the synergy that they enjoy! Great demonstration lesson!

Mrs.Mallon & Mrs. Dillard said...

Thanks for sharing this amazing lesson. It's great to see how the "bread crumbs" we scatter in K and 1st grade travel with them to each new grade but at greater depth and understanding. MM

craig said...

This is a great lesson. Thanks for sharing with us. However, I'm puzzled by the odd pronunciation of the word "inference". Why not be consistent and pronounce it correctly?