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 4 of Predictions Week – Assessment.
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 fourth day they are learning about Predictions, I make a connection to the independent practice lesson we did yesterday. I remind them that yesterday, they applied the Predictions strategy to their own books. And now that they’ve practiced Predictions in different ways throughout the week, it is time to prove that they understand it.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say that today they will be filling out a Predictions Guide while they are reading a book of their choice. They will turn in the Guide as an assessment of their understanding. I will use those to provide feedback to the students and parents. The Guides also help me put together flexible strategy groups for small group instruction.
Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I place a copy of the Guide on the projector and show students our current Read Aloud book. I fill in the name, date, and title of the book in the appropriate spots. The Guide asks, “What are three things you think might happen in the rest of this story.” So I ask the students for their suggestions. After a minute or two of thinking time, I tell them to turn and talk to their partner to share their ideas then call on some to share. I write down three of their Predictions and tell them we will revisit the Guide we have just done together during Read Aloud later to put a star next to any of the Predictions that came true.
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. I tell them that during Independent Reading, their job is to complete their own Predictions Guide with their own book. I remind them that this will be turned in for a grade/feedback at the end of Independent Reading time so it should be their best quality work. When they finish their task, they should continue reading books from their browsing box. After asking if there are any questions, I send them off for Prep Time.
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 helping some with their Guide. 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 their Guide. They should make sure all parts are filled and place them in the Finished Basket. I then tell the class that we will wrap up our Predictions work tomorrow. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end so students put their browsing boxes away and make sure the library is neat and organized.