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 3 of Predictions Week – Independent Practice.
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 third day they are practicing Predictions, I make a connection to the scaffolding lesson we did yesterday. I ask students what strategy we are working on this week and wait for them to say Predictions. This time, I want them to remind me what Predictions is, which are guesses you make based on clues in the text.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say, “Today, I want you to keep track of your Predictions in whatever book you are reading on your own.” I use our current chapter Read Aloud book and model the use of a sticky note to write down one of my Predictions. I always write my name and class # at the top of the sticky note, then the title of the book underneath my name. Then I write the Prediction that I made. I also tell students that if they find that their prediction came true at some point during their reading, they should put a star next to it to confirm it. I remind them though, that predictions do not have to be correct and their Predictions can be adjusted after they read.
Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I ask them to think about what types of things they might predict in any book. After a minute or two of thinking time, I tell them to turn and talk to their partner to share some ideas. I give the students a few minutes then call on some to share. Hopefully, students will share things like predicting problems and solutions, how a character might act, how a character might react to something, etc.
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 are familiar with Predictions, I tell them that during Independent Reading, their job is to prepare a sticky note for our Post-It Parking Lot with any book of their choice. The day before, they practiced the strategy with text that I chose so today they get an opportunity to apply the strategy to the books that they choose. I expect them to have their sticky note prepared by the end of Independent Reading time. When they finish their task, they should continue reading books from their browsing box. At the end of Reader’s Workshop, they will place their sticky note on the Post-It Parking Lot and then gather at the carpet to share a few examples. I remind students that I will only share sticky notes that are complete and correct.
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 their sticky notes. 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 a sticky note with their name, class #, book title, and then a Prediction that they made. Then I ask them to place it in their designated class # spot on the Post-It Parking Lot. While students are putting their browsing boxes away, I scan the sticky notes to find a few great examples to share. Once students gather at the carpet, I share the complete and correct examples with the class. I then tell them that we will continue our Predictions work tomorrow. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end.