if you’re in new jersey like us, you might have enjoyed your first real snow day this week. at the first sign of snow, we jump on the chance to pull out two snow-related books. below, we’ll share a few quick ways you might use them in your classroom.
this post will focus on creating character posters to share during a reading celebration. we have used this celebration method at the end of a unit of study that focuses on character, which is often a unit during which students plan and read at least one book with a partner.
when planning for a celebration using character posters, we think about the focus of our unit and what our expectations should be so that students can show their work toward these focuses. because we devote a day of reading workshop to creating the posters, we want to make sure that they are valuable, and so we have them double as a way to celebrate and share each reader’s work during the unit and a summative assessment for us of their work during the unit.
this week we focus on gallery walks as a way to celebrate reading work. as the name implies, this type of celebration is structured like a museum gallery walk and is an idea that we’ve borrowed from mary ehrenworth, a staff developer at tcrwp.
during a gallery walk, students open their reader’s notebook to a page that they are particularly proud of and leave the notebook out at their seat. we sometimes place large post-its in at each table for gallery walkers to leave feedback. once all the notebooks are out, students travel around the room looking at the work that other students have done. we ask that students travel quietly and provide written feedback on each notebook that they read. when the walk is over, students return to their seats and look over the feedback that they’ve gotten from their peers. we will also provide positive feedback (compliments) to students during this time as well, and travel around the room with students.
the break went too quickly, as all breaks usually do. when we return this week, we’ll be excited to hear about our students’ winter break adventures and, as we’re hoping is the case for many, the reading time that they managed to steal.
we’re sure that many of you are like us and have hung on carol dweck’s research on the benefits of a growth mindset for your students – benefits for them as people, as learners, but also benefits for your classroom community – and looked for ways to help foster this kind of growth mindset in your kids.
in a recent article we read, dweck addressed some of the misunderstandings of her research around mindsets. one area that stood out to us was the dangers of praising the effort when a student is struggling or failing. dweck said, “teachers were just praising effort that was not effective, saying “wow, you tried really hard!” but students know that if they didn’t make progress and you’re praising them, it’s a consolation prize. they also know you think they can’t do any better. so this kind of growth-mindset idea was misappropriated to try to make kids feel good when they were not achieving.”
it’s well-intended, and feels good, to offer a student who’s struggling, and even failing, some praise, often in the name of boosting her confidence. dweck got us thinking, though, that we certainly don’t want to be encouraging our students to continue doing things that won’t lead them to growth or success. our goal is to have students accept challenge and failure as a chance to grow and do better, to see challenge and failure as a chance to change and improve.
what, specifically, can we do to support students who are struggling? what feedback or prompting is beneficial for us to give?
almost there! the holidays are, literally, just around the corner. we know how important it is for our students to maintain their reading lives over the break.
so, we’ve just discovered that fable learning has opened their digital library for free from 12/16/16-1/3/16! we’ve taken a quick browse and there is a pretty expansive library available. they also have flyers to send home to your families in both english and spanish.
if you’re a teacher who uses the writing workshop model, chances are that you build a day into your writing unit of study for a celebration. celebrating is an important part of the writing process – and a step that we include on our writing process anchor chart. while there are, of course, plenty of types of writing that never get shared with anyone beside the writer, celebrating the work we’ve done and sharing our writing with others is important. it gives us a chance to reflect on our work and acknowledge the work and growth we’ve done as writers. it also helps to make our writing more purposeful, as the celebration is often the first chance to share the writing with its audience.
but, what of reading?
we believe that reading work and reading growth is also something to be celebrated, and that time needs to be built into our reading units of study for this just as it is for writing.