Predictions seem like such a simple thing. You might assume that students already know what they are so why teach it, right? I mean, they’ve learned about it since kindergarten and they’ve probably heard and used the word hundreds of times by third grade. But, in the spirit of metacognition, it is important to spend a week on this concept so that students name and notice it in their thinking and practice making predictions so they can anticipate what might happen next in a story.
I like to spend a sufficient amount of time on each strategy to allow for an introduction, modeling, scaffolding, independent practice, assessment, and reflection. Therefore, I spend approximately 1 week on each strategy and follow a similar instructional routine. This is day 2 of Predictions Week – Modeling/Scaffolding.
Connection: I always start by connecting today’s lesson to something kids have previously learned so that it triggers their schema and background knowledge. Since this is the second day they are learning about Predictions, I make a connection to the introduction lesson we did yesterday. I remind students that the strategy we are working on this week is called Predictions. They love to repeat words so I ask them to say it with me again. Of course, I want to remind them what a Prediction is, which is a guess you make based on clues in the text. I refer to the Predictions anchor chart from the day before.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say, “Today, we are going to look at some unfamiliar text from some new books and I want you to help me keep track of our Predictions for each. When I want to model this strategy, I copy a page from 4 different books that we haven’t read together in class. This way, they are not familiar with the text and will be able to anticipate what will happen next. I usually staple the excerpts in a small packet that I hand out to each student so they can follow along as I model the strategy. I then use the “To, With, and By” method of instruction to scaffold their learning. With the first example, I read the excerpt TO the class and model the strategy by thinking out loud. I am teaching the strategy TO them. I write down my Prediction on the corresponding page in the packet along with reasons why I think that. In other words, what makes me think that will happen? With the second example, I do the strategy WITH them. I ask them to read along with me and then I ask them to share their Predictions with reasons why. We write down their thoughts on the corresponding page in the packet. With the third example, I want the students to do it BY themselves, which leads us to the active engagement.
Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I ask them to read the third excerpt and try the strategy on their own. Since we are working on Predictions, they are supposed to anticipate what will happen next in the story. They are always expected to provide evidence and write their thoughts on the corresponding page in the packet. I give the students a few minutes then call on someone to share.
Link to Ongoing Work: During this portion of the mini-lesson, I give the students a task that they will focus on during Independent Reading time. Now that they’ve practiced Predictions, I tell them that during Independent Reading, their job is to finish the last excerpt in the packet. I want to give them one last opportunity to practice the strategy with text that I’ve chosen before they apply it to a text of their choice, which will happen the next day. This task is short and sweet so the students know that once it is completed, they read from their browsing box for the remainder of Independent Reading time. At the end of Reader’s Workshop, they will meet with their assigned reading partner to discuss what they wrote on the corresponding page in the packet. I remind them that I will randomly choose a few students to share so that they make sure to complete their task.
Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to choose new books (if needed), find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 40 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Reading. I set it up that way so that students have no reason to get out of their spots. They are expected to have 5 books in their browsing box at all times so if they finish a book they have others to choose from without moving around the room. They are also expected to have a pencil and sticky notes in their browsing boxes in case they need them for the day’s task. I strongly encourage them to use the bathroom so they do not need to go during reading time. At the end of the 5 minute Prep Time, I do a countdown, 5 4 3 2 1, Level 0 (referring to volume level). By the end of countdown, students must be in their spots and silent with all of the materials they need to sustain their reading. They must follow the distance rule of arm’s length apart from any other student. They are not to get out of their spots for any reason so that they can focus on their book and their task. Because I use Independent Reading time to work with students one-on-one or in small groups, I really stress to the students that the teacher is not available to everyone during this time. I encourage them to problem solve on their own and hold all questions or comments until the end of Independent Reading time. All of this takes practice but once it is all in place, Independent Reading becomes a magical time when students are engrossed in their books and the teacher is free to meet individual needs of students through conferencing, strategy groups, or guided reading.
Guided Practice: Today, I will be conferencing with students right at their comfy spots and asking them to show me the work they’ve completed in their packet. This is also when I could pull students for assessments, one-on-one reading, strategy groups, or guided reading groups.
Closing: At the end of 40 minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to complete the last page of their Predictions packet. I ask them to repeat the term, Predictions. Then I ask them to meet with their reading partner to share and discuss what they wrote. Did you and your partner agree? Was your evidence different than your partners? After partners have had a chance to share with each other, I ask a few students to share with the class. I then tell the class that we will continue to focus on Predictions for the rest of the week. I tell them to take their packets home to show their parents the strategy we are working on. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end so students put their browsing boxes away and make sure the library is neat and organized.