“I think that many teachers have been subjected to intensive efforts to remake their small-group instruction so that it is 'just so.' There have been so many books written on how to lead small groups in precisely the right ways that too many teachers approach a little hub of readers, gripped by anxiety over doing this The Right Way. Meanwhile, the whole point is to be personal, be responsive, and to channel kids to do some work while you observe and coach.”
– Lucy Calkins, in A Guide to the Reading Workshop
Studying and Thinking about Powerful Whole Group Instruction: Minilessons, Shared Reading, & Read Aloud K-3
See below for a full transcript of the chat
Written by Anna Gratz Cockerille
One power of reading workshop is the way in which instruction can move seamlessly from whole-group, to small-group, to individual and back again in the span of a class period. Certainly, a reading teacher’s best chance of really moving kids further in their understanding is while working with small groups and individuals, where instruction can be differentiated to meet the needs of the each student. It is not as possible to meet every student’s needs during whole-group instruction. Inevitably, there will be students who are beyond or not quite at the level of whole-group lessons. But these lessons serve a very important purpose, nonetheless. They serve to rally students’ energy around a single, worthy cause. They serve to create classroom community-wide goals for reading and common language to talk about these goals. They serve to get students jazzed up about a new line of thinking, or a new trajectory in their path of work.
The Writing Strategies Book was released on Monday – February 6th, 2017. To celebrate the book's birthday, author Jennifer Serravallo hosted a special Facebook Live to book talk and take questions from readers. If you don't have access to Facebook, you can watch the video below and The Writing Strategies Book is available now:
Today on the Heinemann Podcast, The Writing Strategies Book author, Jennifer Serravallo. In 2015, The Reading Strategies Book made the New York Times Best Seller List by making it simpler to match students’ needs to high-quality instruction. Now, in The Writing Strategies Book, Jen Serravallo does the same, collecting 300 of the most effective strategies to share with writers, and grouping them beneath 10 crucial goals. When we sat down to talk a few weeks ago, I wanted to know how Jen approached the organization of The Writing Strategies Book.
It’s not often your favorite author asks you to co-write their next book, but that’s exactly what happened to Ken Lindblom when he met Leila Christenbury at a NCTE lunch a couple of years ago. Ken was telling Leila how influential her book, Making the Journey, had been to him as he started his teaching career and then to his education students. Leila suggested that with the right partner a new edition might be possible and from there, the duo teamed up. Listen as Leila and Ken offer up timeless advice, humorous anecdotes, and stories of successes and failures in the classroom that they have infused into the 4th edition of Making the Journey. They instill confidence in soon-to-be English teachers, and that’s where we started our conversation.
How do you define play and choice time in early childhood classrooms? According to Renée Dinnerstein, play is an engine that drives learning. She writes, "during choice time, children choose to play in a variety of centers that have been carefully designed and equipped to scaffold children’s natural instinct for play.” In her book Choice Time, Renée gives us everything we need to set up choice-time centers that promote inquiry-based, guided play in a classroom. Renée also summarizes the research, describing the different kinds of play and why they are important. She says by giving your students choice time, and allowing them to engage in joyful, important, playful, age-appropriate work will empower them to become lifelong learners.