If I could design my own classroom, I know exactly what it would look like. There would be all kinds of reading spaces. I know what encourages students to read quietly-a space where they can be alone. My ideal room would have all sorts of nooks and crannies. There would be soft lighting with comfortable spots to plop down and read. Bean bag chairs would sit alongside overstuffed chairs just asking for someone to sit in them and read.
Unfortunately, I do not have my own space to design. I must share a classroom with others. I’ve tried several rooms before I landed in my current spot. First, I had a small classroom. But there were other teachers using the same space before and after me. But I adjusted and was flexible-not the best for the students however. Then a third teacher needed the space and I had to find another.
I moved to the art room for a year but that was less than idea as well. The art room was used by the art teacher for just one period a day. Then it sat empty-the largest classroom in our building and it is used just first period. The art room was large, bright and frequently covered with art projects. Art projects that were tempting for my students to touch. But the final straw was the clay project. When the art class was doing a clay project, the room was full of clay dust. It covered all surfaces. The custodian even changed her hours so she could come in early and clean the room before I needed it. But the dust was always there.
There was no carpet in the room. All the chairs were high stools. I wasn’t happy there. The custodian suggested that I look at the computer room. It was available during my class time and was clean. I looked it over and saw the advantages. Since last January that has been my reading class ‘home’.
There are down sides to the computer room. First there are tables with thirty computers taking up most of the room. However, my students are able to find spots and make their own reading nooks. The floor is carpeted and that makes stretching out on the floor possible.
The design of the room is essential to the success of my reading class. What makes this reading intervention success is that the students read for an extended time daily. I must have spaces for the students to do that successfully. Middle school students love to socialize. Our reading spaces must discourage socializing and give the students a feeling of being alone with their book.
If you use Daily 5 for literacy instruction in your classroom, you will recognize several familar items in these pictures. We have students reading with a plastic tub of materials nearby. The students are also meeting with their teacher-reading, discussing and setting goals. Read to self is an important part of our daily reading time. Our class, an exploratory, is a reading interventio
Our classes have been following an episode of the Andy Griffith Show from 1962 called Andy Discovers America. I have transcribed the entire episode so the students can read as they watched the show. We have been able to use this in a variety of ways. We use it for reader's theater, visual imagery, and prediction. Most of the students have never watched the Andy Griffith Show before although as one student commented, "My grandfather really likes that show." The students are enjoying watching the show and they find the antics of Barney to be just as funny as they were to me when I watched the show as a youngster. The first question many students ask when they come to class is, "Are we watching Andy Griffith today?"
I work with students who struggle with reading. Typically these students do not enjoy reading and don't make it a priority in their live. So one of the main goals of Reading Essentials Class is to increase their time reading. Miraculously this increased reading time leads to increased reading skill. It isn't quite that easy. Along with the increased reading time, we teach the students some skills that help with those areas of reading where they struggle such as decoding or comprehension.
In our Read to Self time students are to pick up their tubs which contain the reading material that they selected. Then they find a comfy spot to sit quietly and read. We demonstrate how to find spots where they are not distracted by other students. We have 10 spots marked on the floor and they choose one of those spots.
The students are expected to remain in their spot for the entire time. By setting up this simple system, students can't use any of the normal excuses they use to get off-task with their reading.
It works well in most cases.
Our classes have been following an episode of the Andy Griffith Show from 1962 called Andy Discovers America. I have transcribed the entire episode and have been able to use this in a variety of ways. We use it for reader's theater, visual imagery, and prediction. Most of the students have never watched the show before although as one student commented, "My grandfather really likes that show." The students are enjoying watching the show and they find the antics of Barney to be just as funny as they were to me when I watched the show as a youngster.
This week we have been studying the Word Identification Strategy and applying it to words we find in our daily reading. The Word Identification Strategy is designed to help adolescents read the multi-syllable words that are found in Social Studies, Science and Math classes. We are learning to take the words apart or DISSECT them. We found many words in Hunger Games, which is a popular choice of many of the students. These words include:
. We then moved on to look at Social Studies words including conservation, conversion, accurate, accumulate. I'm asking the students to located words in their own reading for us to practice reading.
Many in our classes of Reading Essentials are reading Hunger Games. We added to the excitement by having a copy of Hunger Games for every student in the three classes. Thanks to World Book Night, we received a box full of books free.
I found World Book Night on Twitter. You can follow my twitter account at @benedictbooks.
I jumped at the chance to get a box of books free to pass out to whomever I wanted. You can read about World Book Night at http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/.
The students are enjoyed the story especially with all the hype now with the movie being out. But the vocabulary is great and we are using it as the basis for our DISSECT lessons ri
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 marks the beginning of Reading Essentials Class at Hopkins Middle School. Mrs. Navis and I notified each student and brought them to our classroom. We explained the class format and work to the students. We then spent time listening to our students talk about their interests and activities outside of school. They certainly have a wide variety of interests from cake decorating to sports of many kinds including fishing, hunting, wrestling, basketball and football. We plan to provide reading material that is of interest to all the students.
Tonight is our first Parent's Meeting at Hopkins MIddle School Media Center at 7 PM. I hope to see many of our parents there and get to know you as we work together to help our students grow and mature in reading and writing.