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.
How do you define play and choice time in early childhood classrooms? According to Renée Dinnerstein,“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.”
Renée reveals what can happen when you embrace a culture of inquiry, providing opportunities for children to be explorative and creative in their thinking. She believes that, “A child’s engagement is the most powerful asset we have for teaching and learning.” Give your students choice time, and watch them engage in joyful, important, playful, age-appropriate work that will empower them to become lifelong learners.
"The bottom line is when children are at play, they’re not just playing––they’re learning machines, and play is the engine that drives them.” —Renée Dinnerstein
Early childhood educators have always understood the importance of play—in all its many forms—in the lives of their students. Guided play takes place in a purposeful environment that’s been carefully planned to stimulate and support children’s curiosity and creativity. As students interact with one another and the materials, teachers observe, record, confer, occasionally participate, or facilitate, and they use this information to plan next steps. However, the children decide how they will explore and interact with the materials, not the teachers.
"[As a new teacher], I needed theoretically sound, research-based, instructional ideas to support the students in my classroom. …[and] I needed support for the logistics: getting my classroom workshop ready; ideas for units of student and learning experiences; suggestions for whole-group, small group, individualized instruction and conferring; and ways to use assessment to drive my instruction. However, I needed these logistics to include the necessary linguistic considerations to support my English learners.” —Lindsey Moses
Lindsey Moses, author of Supporting English Learners in the Reading Workshop (2015), works with classroom teachers across the country supporting the implementation of effective literacy instruction in diverse settings. Her experience and research reveal extensive knowledge, ideas and examples to guide teachers with facilitating a workshop setting that is just as effective for English learners as native speakers.
Enjoy this clip from her most recent webinar series for a glimpse into this Online Professional Development opportunity.
Early childhood educators have always understood the importance of play—in all its many forms—in the lives of their students. Free play is spontaneous and filled with make-believe as children pursue the fantasies of their unencumbered imaginations. A twig becomes the sword of a swashbuckling pirate, or a piece of flowing fabric is transformed into a superhero’s cape or the gown of a fairy princess. Free play is entirely child directed and free of adult intervention. Guided play takes place in a purposeful environment that’s been carefully planned to stimulate and support children’s curiosity and creativity. As students interact with one another and the materials, teachers observe, record, confer, occasionally participate, or facilitate, and they use this information to plan next steps. However, the children decide how they will explore and interact with the materials, not the teachers.