Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let's rest and recharge


Snowflakes fell in earnest around the same time we were heading home from school. Ten days of rest sounds luxurious, but I think we need every single moment of it.

My "close reading of a novel" unit was a hit with students! When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead truly captured their interest, and the guided reading format helped my struggling readers to grasp the tricky back-and-forth-in-time narratives.

This unit is just about the opposite of reading workshop, which I still firmly believe helps students build a strong literacy foundation. The classroom novel unit supplements reading workshop, especially in my course, which is in the "AIS" (academic intervention services) category and designed to supplement English Language Arts instruction.

In addition to class discussions about plot development, characterization, and other narrative elements, I gave short answer questions for students to answer at the beginning or end of each class. I used the 2-point scoring rubric used in the state assessment and provided "model" and "anchor" responses. Student answers gave us (including students) feedback about how deeply they read the novel and the level of difficulty to expect on this year's state assessment.

I have been thinking and reading a lot about the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. All of it hurts my mind and heart, another good reason for ten days of rest.

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