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 one week on each strategy and follow a similar instructional routine. This is day three of Characterization 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 Characterization, 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 Characterization. This time, I want them to remind me what Characterization is, which is when the author brings characters to life through appearance, thoughts, actions, dialogue, and interaction with others.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say, “Today, I want you to identify Characterization 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 identify a Characterization example. I always write my name and class # at the top of the sticky note, then the title of the book underneath my name before I model the task at hand.
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 Characterization they might come across in any story. 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 actions, feelings, and how others react to them.
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 Characterization, 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 five 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 forty minutes of uninterrupted Independent 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.
At the end of forty minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to complete a sticky note with their name, class #, book title, and an example of Characterization. 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 Characterization work tomorrow. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end.