Thursday, February 23, 2017

Small Group & Conferring Institute DAY 3: Conferring in Reading

We started off today by comparing the many similarities of conferring in reading to conferring in writing:

  • Similar structure: Research, Decide, & Teach (A conference with Jennifer Serravallo)
  • A clear teaching point
  • We give a compliment that is just at the student's edge of learning, something we hope they keep doing.
  • Students have an opportunity for multiple tries
  • We use a tool to support conferring - a demonstration notebook or a mini-chart
  • We give students ambitious and purposeful work
  • We take notes to inform our instruction

My new favorite way to take notes is with a class list. I like having three columns per skill to record repeated practice. This allows you to hone in on the non-negotiables of the unit:

There are important conferences to have with students:

Important Kinds of Reading Conferences

  • Matching Kids to Book & Volume of Reading

  • Thinking While Reading
  • Solving Tricky Words/Parts (Identifying Trouble)
  • Connecting and Synthesizing Parts of a Book
  • Beginning and Middle and Ending of a book

What is key to me that we talked about was the importance of studying student work. This is helpful for two reasons:

1. As we study students' work we'll see trends emerge and allows us to see a progression of learning. Not only do we use that to inform our instruction, but we can create a micro-progression on a chart to put up in the class for students to evaluate their work. This is my big take away from this week. I need to continue to work at supporting students to be independent in applying the non-negotiable skills and strategies from our units. Here is a GREAT video on micro-progressions from Kate Roberts & Maggie Beattie Roberts and their book DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence: Micro-progressions

2. Also, as we look at an individual student's work we can see possible compliments and teaching points. It was so helpful to practice doing this as a group. We watched a video of a student reading and generated this list. Here's how the progression of that work went as a group. (By the way I just loved my small group and the fun friends I met at large group! #friendsforlife)

We talked about getting ready for a conference, the research phase...

We talked about possible questions & lines of dialogue to ask and follow during research:

Then we watched a video to see what we could learn about this student as a reader and what questions do we have about her...

We generated a list of possible compliments and teaching points...

Then we prioritized them...

It was so helpful to collaborate around this work and share our thinking. There were many questions about, "How do we know what to teach?" And Katrina (@katrinadavino), my amazing small group leader, had some great words of wisdom, "As we build our content knowledge of the progression of skills for both reading and writing, then we will know what to teach, but until then, teach the teaching points from the lesson/unit." Take the pressure off, use the charts you've created to support your conferring and small group work!

I am struck once again by the importance of collaborating around this work. It's so much easier, and more fun, to develop our content knowledge together as we talk and share our thinking about student learning and our instruction to support that. Thank you to my small group, my large group, and the fun teachers and coaches from Lisle, IL that I collaborated with this week.

For me, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, Small Groups in Reading. I feel I am getting so much more clarity in this area for primary (K-1), but I need to be with my people and talk through some of this stuff! Can't wait!

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