Here’s what I ‘m thinking about . . . the end is in sight! There are just 50 school days remaining in the school year – 50 days in which to finish the curricular requirements, get to the end of the new math series, wrap up the science projects, and do all the paperwork! It will go by so fast and as the weather gets better, the more difficult it becomes for our students to stay focused. Don’t let the sense of urgency overwhelm you or your students. Next week’s testing is a good time to plan for energizing activities that will help your students be focused, active learners. Let me know if the coach can help!
Take a look at these books . . . The March/April issue of The Reading Teacher has a number of articles that I would love to share but one in particular is titled “Using Coding Apps to Support Literacy Instruction and Develop Coding Literacy”. The authors explain how the logical thinking, problem solving, planning, and sequencing required in coding activities are supportive of literacy skills development. They are able to cite several CCSS ELA standards that are connected to coding skills. It is an interesting article with several free resources listed. I’ll gladly give you a copy.
I buy a lot of books for my granddaughter, Niamh. While I was shopping for books for her Easter basket, I was happy to see two of my favorite Little Golden Books on the bookstore shelf. I bought both of them and can’t wait to read them to her soon. I was curious about these wonderful books, so I went on line to find out more. First of all, over 2 billion Little Golden Books have been sold since the 1940’s and The Poky Little Puppy was the best selling children’s book of the 20th century – almost 15 million copies sold. Many authors and illustrators that are well known for other books wrote and illustrated Little Golden Books – Ann McGovern, Garth Williams, the Provensens, Feodor Rojankovsky, Margaret Wise Brown, and James Marshall. The impact of these books, available at grocery stores and “mega marts”, is huge – most us know and love a title or two and so do our children. Niamh and I are going to enjoy reading her copy of I am Bunny and The Golden Egg Book!
Coach’s corner . . . As I get closer to the end of my teaching/coaching career, I have been reflecting on my successes and failures. I have had a lot of both but today a failure is on my mind. Running records are the best way to discover what readers do as they read, and therefore are the most powerful tool in our literacy toolboxes. As a coach, I have worked with many teachers to be sure they can take running records during a reading conference as well as during the F&P testing. I have helped teachers learn how to analyze miscues and interpret retellings and score writing about reading. But I have failed in my work with running records when there are still teachers who can only assess reading with the F&P – they do not use other materials to assess reading growth – even when told outright to not use the F&P for the second trimester. The F&P uses constructed text – stories crafted just for the purpose of the assessment. Our kids read trade books, magazines, ebooks and online articles – that is their authentic reading. We need to know how our readers work with the books they are choosing for independent reading so we need to know how to take and interpret a running record with these texts. I have failed to help some teachers develop those critical skills and as a coach, it is a tough realization. I can only hope is that these skills will develop with time and that the F&P will not continue to be overused.
As we work with the Common Core . . . remember that April is Poetry Month. Many of the standards for reading literature and foundational skills for reading can be met through a study of poetry. I have lots of books of poetry to share and I have several engaging poetry activities I can bring into your classroom – let’s talk!