This mini-unit is really to set up my expectations in ELA for the school year. Each drill is not meant to be one day of teaching. These all happen throughout the first two weeks of school before I jump into my Common Core Standards and my units. I just like the kids to know my systems and ideas about ELA before we get started so that they know what I want them to do throughout the year. It makes it easier when I'm introducing new ideas and concepts when the kids already know the general expectations about reading. The first few days will focus on the reading strategies that we all teach, but aren't spelled out the common core. The "best practices" we've learned so much about; asking questions, making inferences, etc. I know these did not go away with the introduction of common core, and I want my kids to know that there are standards and there are things that good readers just do. Common core really gives us a way to dig deep into reading since they don't tell us exactly WHAT to teach. I feel like they give me more freedom in HOW to teach. Hopefully, my kiddos will get that freedom in reading now, too.
I will model these throughout the year for my kids and focus on these during RTI and the times I set aside for silent reading, but they aren't the focus of my mini-lessons after this point.
The rest of the unit just outlines my expectations for proving answers, referring to the text, working together and the like.
I'll have this up for them as I give some directions.
It's time to get you in shape for our reading and writing lessons this year. 5th grade is no easy task, but if you have some practice in our essential systems and routines, you'll be ready. Over the next few days, you'll learn and practice my expectations for how your will work this year. You won't learn any new reading skills or how to write this week. Are you ready?
What do we do when we read?
I want this kids to chat about this with each other for a moment and then I'll take some ideas on the board. I haven't introduced numbered heads at this point, and I actually like for the kids to talk with a whole group to start. Everyone is just getting to know each other, so this type of conversation can cover many purposes.
Your mind is very active while you process text. You may think you’re just reading some words to yourself and hearing them somewhere inside your head, but there's a lot more going on in there. Metacognition, or thinking about your own thinking, helps you become a better reader. Nobody knows for sure what goes on in the mind of a reader. So, I like to think that there are two different ways to read. We read like a reader and we read like a writer. What do you think this means? Think about what a reader and a writer does. Chat with your partners for a bit, then we'll write down your thoughts.
Here are some of my kids' ideas.
To me, teaching reading can be a little scary. How do I know what is going on in that head of yours? How do I know HOW you are reading? Can you show me on paper that you are reading? Sure you can answer questions, but can I ever know exactly how you arrived at that answer? This is all hard for a teacher to see, so I want you to have a few tools that I expect you to use throughout the year. I found an interesting theory about reading and I like what the person has to say. He says we all read like readers and like writers. To read like a reader, he says we all question, predict, infer, connect, feel and evaluate. To read like a writer, we think about HOW the author used the 6 traits of writing: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions. You'll learn these quickly this week, and then we'll use all of these throughout the rest of the year.
At this point, I'll break the students into groups of 3. I want them to read the Read Like a Reader section first. I don't want the groups too large at the beginning of the year so the kids can focus on the task. This also gives me a chance to see how they work in small groups. I'll be moving around to see how they are working, but also to gather some thoughts about who they work well with.
While you are reading with your partners, I want you to jot down a few ideas of what you think the most important details are. We'll collect those thoughts on the SMART board when all groups are ready. Then we'll do the same for Reading Like A Writer. The idea isn't to memorize every piece of information here. I just want you to know how I expect you to be reading throughout the year. We'll have our class ideas and these sheets in our homework folders and reading notebooks at all times.
The Read Like A Reader section is nothing new to us. It's the basic reading strategies that good readers use. I just like Peha's work because he writes in a way that makes sense to the kids. He speaks to the kids and his resources are free, so that's a win-win for me! This document is large, so think about how it might suit you best.
To wrap up today, I'll jot down the kids' ideas they wrote down while reading. These strategies probably won't be new to the kids, so I'm hoping they'll give me some good information. This will let me know how fast I can move from this point. I'm pretty sure that the "Read Like A Writer" is going to be much more difficult for them even though they are familiar with the 6 traits of writing. My experience has been that they've "heard" of these, but never actually evaluated writing based on them. I'm hoping I can move quickly until I get to that point.
Here are my kids' thoughts about each strategy.