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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A few thoughts on structure

As I begin my Reader's Workshop each morning I have a firm structure that I use to begin EACH day.  Let me explain:

My students come to the meeting space (a rug near my easel and rocking chair) with three things:  their reading folder, reading journal, and a pencil.  I don't allow them to bring their books for one simple reason.  They read instead of listen to the lesson!  :)  Imagine telling your students NOT to read, but sometimes it's necessary.

Students sit next to their literature partners, without exception.  This person is the workshop "turn and talk" partner.    I have assigned them partners, thinking of reading levels, attention concerns, genre interests, etc.  Some partners switch often, but I have a few that are static.  It all depends on the needs of the readers.

All students must be able to see the easel.  They occasionally take notes or copy anchor notes into their reading journal.

Journals:  Notes go in the back, work goes in the front.

This is how we start each day:

  • Students come in when the bell rings and begin the day's morning message.  This could be a math review, question generating task, or content area prompt.
  • After 5-10 minutes of work (during which time they must also make their lunch choice, turn in lunch money and library books, etc...the usual morning routine tasks) students do a "Fit with Fred" warm-up.
  • We are now 15 minutes into the day.  After FWF, students take out their reader's workshop materials, find their partner, sit down, and the lesson begins!
Please let me know if you have questions, another way of starting or organizing your workshop, or ideas to share!

All mini-lessons are approximately 12-15 minutes in length or less.

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