Sask. Reads Instructional Approaches in My Classroom

The Saskatchewan Reads: A Companion Document to the Saskatchewan English Language Arts Curriculum – Grades 1, 2, 3 is a document that every Saskatchewan teacher should familiarize themselves with. It highlights curriculum connections, learning environments, big ideas of reading, assessment for, as, and of learning, instructional approaches, and interventions. Today I want to focus on how I use the instructional approaches in my classroom.

There are four instructional approaches aligned with the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR):

  • Modeled Reading – “I Do”
  • Shared Reading – “We Do”
  • Scaffolded/Guided Reading – “We Do Together”
  • Independent Reading – “You Do”

Utilizing the GRR allows the teacher to “gradually transfers increased responsibility to the students” (Saskatchewan Reads, 2019, n.p.). It is an evidence-based strategy that allows for student growth and achievement.

Modeled Reading involves verbalizing reading strategies and thought processes in a planned way while reading to the class. Basically, the teacher is repeatedly practicing the reading skill(s) that students will eventually be expected to do. This can be accomplished through various forms of literature across any subject matter. It extends beyond a simple read-aloud because reading behaviors are emphasized, modeled, and then practiced by students afterwards.

Modeled Reading in My Classroom: One of my favorite modeling lessons involves fairy tale stories. I like to use fairy tales because students are often familiar with them and there are many different versions. During a reading of the Three Little Pigs, I modeled ‘skippy frog’ (skip the tricky word, read to the end, and then go back and try again) and ‘chunky monkey’ (chunk the words into smaller parts that you know). The comprehension strategies that I focused on were retelling in order (sequencing) and using prior knowledge. I am expecting my students to start using these strategies more independently and modeling them is the first step. The next day I modeled another version of The Three Little Pigs and emphasized comparing/contrasting in addition to the other strategies.

Shared Reading involves using different genres to share in reading and strategy use. It goes beyond choral reading or round-robin reading because the students and teachers are working together and the teacher continues to model their thought process.

Shared Reading in My Classroom: My students love poems and this genre is often perfect for shared reading. We read the poem “Straw, Sticks, and Bricks” which also supported their comprehension. I modeled the poem the first day utilizing ‘stretchy snake’ (sounding out the words) and ‘flippy dolphin’ (changing the vowel sound). Then the next day we reviewed the events of the poem together and any phonics generalizations. Students then got a chance to share in the reading. Afterwards, students practiced the reading strategies that we had been focusing on with our reading strategy cards.

Decoding Strategy Cards purchased from: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Decoding-Strategy-Task-Cards-Includes-7-Strategies-Posters-and-More-3395143?aref=1rpj2ve4

I also will be completing this sentence strip One Pig, Two Pigs book with the students to further practice our strategies in a shared way. Sentence strip stories lend themselves nicely to all four instructional approaches, especially when repetition occurs.

Scaffolded/Guided Reading involves targeted reading instruction in flexible groupings based on student needs. Students practice reading and reading strategies through a variety of content areas and leveled books. Instructional time and lesson focus varies based on group needs and teacher observations. This extends beyond round-robin reading because students can work at their own pace and the strategies taught apply to reading opportunities beyond that specific text.

Guided Reading in My Classroom: For Guided Reading (and Levelled Literacy Intervention), I used different levels of The Three Little Pigs based on student needs and we read them in their flexible groupings. Students got a chance to practice our previous reading and comprehension strategies, such as compare/contrast. We always read the books two days in a row before students take them home to share with their parents. On the second day, students will write about their reading to solidify their comprehension. The second reading also helps develop their confidence and fluency.

Independent Reading involves students selecting “just-right” texts and then applying their reading strategies independently. This differs from silent reading because of the discussions, written reflections, and goal-setting that occurs between students and their teacher.

Independent Reading in My Classroom: My independent reading time is scheduled alongside guided reading typically. I have a classroom library of over 500 books that students can choose from. Students read for 7-10 minutes and then conference with a peer for 3-5 minutes about what they read. They can also engage in a shared read or read-aloud at this time. I leave five minutes at the end of each guided reading lesson to check-in with students about what they read and what strategies they used. I use the attached document to conference with students about what they read and if it was the right fit. Sometimes I need to ask further comprehension questions but I like that this document ties back to our classroom anchor chart.

It can be this simple to use the four instructional approaches in your classroom! This concept can be applied to other genres, countless subjects, and any story (whether the reading materials connect or not)! I am planning to repeat this structure when reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Be sure to check out Saskatchewan Reads and please feel free to leave a comment about how you use the four instructional approaches in your classroom!

Writing Practice

Our school Learning Improvement Plan (LIP) focuses on writing. In Grade One the writing curricular expectation is that students write 5+ sentences on a familiar topic, with a main idea and details present in 6+ word sentences. The sentences must include capitalization, appropriate spacing, and beginning punctuation use. Students use new vocabulary learned, accompany their written work with illustrations, and engage in “fix-ups” with teacher support. The writing progress that Grade One students display from the beginning of the year when they are still working on writing their names and/or copying single sentence models to the end of the year when they are engaged in the beginning steps of the writing process is truly remarkable and one of the reasons I think teaching Grade One is the best!

In my room, I am ensuring that students have a strong writing foundation to work from. We are focusing on the basics of letter formation using prompts, songs, and materials from the Handwriting Without Tears program and a multi-sensory approach. My students have loved creating letters with the wood piece set that comes with the program and we are often found singing “Start Your Letters At the Top.” This week we put my whiteboard tables to use to put “pen-to-paper” so to speak but with a ton more student engagement! The students keep asking to write their letters again and they were able to work for a half an hour (I planned for 10 minutes tops but there was no stopping them)!

We will be writing our letters in shaving cream trays next week. We will also be using play dough and wikki stix for letter formation. With their engagement levels high and their interests peaked, it will be no time until they are reaching the writing goals! It makes my teacher heart oh-so happy!

Digital Citizenship: The Need to Know

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Image by Paul Downey

I read a great article about digital citizenship by Vicki Davis (link below). Her approach to teaching digital citizenship is to teach both proactive knowledge and experiential knowledge.

For proactive knowledge she teaches 9 key things using her book, Reinventing Writing, and examples, lessons, assignments, etc. The 9 pieces of proactive knowledge are: passwords (strength and remembering them), privacy, personal information (and who to share it with), photographs (what can be shared and geotagging), property (copyright and licensing), permission (citing), protection (viruses, malware, phishing, ransomware, and identity theft), professionalism (netiquette, conflict resolution, and decision making), and personal brand (voice).

Resources she uses: LastPass; 10 Important Password Tips Everyone Should Know; Common Sense Media Curriculum; Location-Based Safety Guide; Creative Commons

For experiential knowledge she uses lessons, discussions, examples, assignments, etc. to bring the 9 P’s to life:

1. Truth or Fiction (of scams and cons) using Snopes, Truth or Fiction, the Threat Encyclopedia, or the Federal Trade Commission.

2. Turn Students into Teachers by getting them to find the scams and present.

3. Collaborative Learning Communities through Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Gamifi-ed, AIC Conflict Simulation, game-based learning, Ning blog, and a classroom wiki. This also allows students to connect with those around the world.

My Reflection:

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE AND THE RESOURCES. I felt a bit lost as to how I would teach digital citizenship in my classroom but this will serve as a great roadmap. Davis notes that she teaches from a digital citizenship curriculum so I may have to get creative as to how this fits in with the curriculum outcomes I am teaching. If I was teaching Grade 9 for instance, these are the outcomes that I believe would fit:

CR9.1a – View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of texts that address identity (e.g., The Search for Self), social responsibility (e.g., Our Shared Narratives), and efficacy (e.g., Doing the Right Thing).

CR9.3a – Use pragmatic (e.g., language suitable for intended audience), textual (e.g., author’s thesis or argument, how author organized text to achieve unity, coherence, and effect), syntactic (e.g., parallel structures), semantic/lexical/morphological (e.g., connotation and denotation), graphophonic (e.g., common spellings and variants for effect or dialect), and other cues (e.g., fonts, colour) to construct and to confirm meaning.

CR9.4a – View and demonstrate comprehension and evaluation of visual and multimedia texts including illustrations, maps, charts, graphs, pamphlets, photography, art works, video clips, and dramatizations to glean ideas suitable for identified audience and purpose.

CC9.1a – Create various visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore identity (e.g., The Search for Self), social responsibility (e.g., Our Shared Narratives), and efficacy (e.g., Doing the Right Thing).

CC9.2a – Create and present an individual researched inquiry project related to a topic, theme, or issue studied in English language arts.

CC9.3a – Select and use appropriate strategies to communicate meaning before (e.g., considering and valuing own observations, experiences, ideas, and opinions as sources for ideas), during (e.g., shaping and reshaping drafts with audience and purpose in mind), and after (e.g., ensuring that all parts support the main idea or thesis) speaking, writing, and other representing activities.

CC9.5a – Create and present a variety of visual and multimedia presentations to best represent message for an intended audience and purpose.

CC9.6a – Use oral language to interact purposefully, confidently, and appropriately in a variety of situations including participating in one-to-one, small group, and large group discussions (e.g., prompting and supporting others, solving problems, resolving conflicts, building consensus, articulating and explaining personal viewpoint, discussing preferences, speaking to extend current understanding, and celebrating special events and accomplishments).

CC9.9a – Experiment with a variety of text forms (e.g., debates, meetings, presentations to unfamiliar audiences, poetry, précis, short script, advice column, video documentary, comic strip) and techniques (e.g., tone, persona, point of view, imagery, dialogue, figurative language).

Obviously, I would have to go beyond teaching digital citizenship to meet these outcomes but these are all places where digital citizenship can be touched upon. Through technology and digital citizenship I could definitely have my students focus on the 6 strands of ELA: reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting, and viewing.

The best part about this process is that I would be learning alongside my students, as I have lots to learn about digital citizenship. Another resource I would use is lol…OMG! by Matt Ivester.

“Citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. That role starts as soon as we click on the internet.” – Vicki Davis

Read more at: Edutopia’s “What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship” and Anne Collier who believes we should drop the word “digital” in digital citizenship.

 

Discussion:

What resources would you use to teach digital citizenship? What curriculum connections can you make (Saskatchewan Curriculum)? Do you think we are teaching digital citizenship or just citizenship; are the terms one in the same?

Grade 7/8 Art First Nations’ Social Issues Unit

Health 3/4 Unit Plan: Healthy Eating, Exercise, and the Immune System

Note: if you are interested in the accompanying worksheets that are not attached but are mentioned in the unit plan, send me a comment and I can email them to you!

Happy planning/teaching! 🙂

Update: I added a station, differentiated lesson.

Some pictures from a lesson I added to make it more hands-on: 20141126_09584120141126_09583020141126_095855 (1)20141126_09584820141126_09590820141126_095915

Final Assignment:

my food guideWeekly ActivityWeekly FoodEat Well frontEat Well back  Healthy Action Plan