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 5 of Predictions Week – Reflection.
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 final day of Predictions Week, I make a connection to all of the activities we have done throughout the week. I remind them that on Monday we introduced the strategy and noticed it. On Tuesday, we practiced the strategy with familiar books that we have all read together. On Wednesday, they applied the strategy to their own books. And on Thursday, they proved that they understood the strategy by turning in a Predictions Guide. This is when I hand back the students’ Guides with feedback so that they can review and reflect on their level of understanding.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say that today they will be reflecting on Predictions. I explain that they will use their Reader’s Notebook to answer the question: If you were going to teach someone what Predictions are, what would you say? Also, after writing their explanation, I want them to draw a picture to go with it that represents what a Prediction is. A visual representation is a great way for students to express their understanding. Other ideas that reach different learning styles are for students are to write a song about the strategy or act it out in a creative way.
Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I ask them to think about what they might say to answer the question and what their picture might look like. 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.
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 the task that we’ve discussed in their Reader’s Notebooks. 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 Guides. This is also a good opportunity to work with students that need re-teaching and extra support with this strategy.
Closing: At the end of 40 minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to write in their Reader’s Notebook to teach someone what a Prediction is and draw a picture to represent it. I ask them to meet with their reading partner to share their work. After giving them time to meet, I call on a few students to share. I then tell the class to put their graded Prediction Guide in their mailbox to take home. Sending the graded Guide home at the end of each week is a great way to keep parents aware of the strategies you are working on in class and how their children are doing. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end so students put their browsing boxes away and make sure the library is neat and organized.