Managing classroom libraries requires a delicate balance between organization, choice, behavior, and matching children with appropriate texts. Classroom libraries can be organized in many ways– by genre, series, or some other category. Susan Taberski (2000) suggests having bins of unleveled books from which students choose their independent reading selections and bins of books by level for when they need practice with something "just right." Other teachers label their books using the Fountas and Pinnell A through Z gradient.
Because an "assessed" reading level doesn't always correspond with a student's level of comprehension, it is important that students spend time with more than just independent-level texts. To do this, it is necessary to spend time working with students on independent text selection that supports decoding development, fosters comprehension and thinking, and pique students' interests in reading.
In Lindsey Moses and Meridith Ogden’s new book “What are the Rest of my Kids Doing?” Fostering Independence in the K-2 Reading Workshop, the authors introduce a set of five research-based principles centered around successful components of early literacy instruction. In addition to the formalized research literature, each principle is one that has been found to be useful for primary teachers when fostering independence with purposeful learning experiences. In their book, Moses and Ogden offer teaching moves based on these specific research-based principles.
As a principal, I take pride in the literacy workshops in our school—places where students are consistently invested in their learning and their work. When I step into a fourth grade classroom, it has that quiet hum of productive engagement. When I pull up a chair next to Clare, she tells me that she wants her narrative to have feeling in it, just like in The Other Side, by Jaqueline Woodson. The book is open on the table next to her draft covered in arrows, stars, and cross-outs. In a first grade classroom, I stand back and watch as Carlo finishes the book he is reading. He gets up and heads over to the classroom library, and after browsing a few different bins selects a book and plops right down in the bean bag in the library corner to embark on his next reading adventure. Children here see the literacy work they do in school connect seamlessly with the rich reading and writing they do outside of school–work that they do not as an assignment, but because they enjoy it.
Minds on Mathematics is a landmark, practical resource for bringing the workshop model to life in your math classroom. In today’s blog, which is adapted from the book, author Wendy Ward Hoffer discusses the heart behind the math workshop model and the benefits this instructional approach offers to you and your students.