This post is about the three types of reading that are currently occurring in my 3/4 classroom.

I wanted to just write about Literature Circles - but needed to give you a bit of background to the previous two reading group strategies that need to be accomplished before you embark on Literature Circles.

Hi, Paula from Paula's Place and welcome to an insight into my busy classroom.
I have collated some old photos to share with you the three types of reading that happens in my space.
Guided Reading,
Reciprocal Reading
Literature Circles

(There is also the shared read with our class novel)

Guided Reading

 The small group focus allows the teaching to be more focused on their specific needs.

Guided Reading is a small group reading model that allows us to work with a group on a selected set of strategies together.

The two screen shots are from a youtube video that is a great source to check out for guided reading

This resource is great in supporting teachers to do Guided Reading

The steps for a guided reading lesson are:
Before reading: Set the purpose for reading, introduce vocabulary, make predictions, talk about the strategies good readers use.
During reading: Guide students as they read, provide wait time, give prompts or clues as needed by individual students, such as "Try that again. Does that make sense? Look at how the word begins."
After reading: Strengthen comprehension skills and provide praise for strategies used by students during the reading.

Benchmarking for Point of Need

The reading and writing block is a busy time for all of us.
As 'daily 5' is further cemented in our systems and structures - I can spend more time conferring with individual students.

As my children read one on one with me, I record their reading on a Running Record sheet. This process is so important in analysing what is the next step and what is their true instructional text.

'daily 5' allows us the opportunity to do this much more often. Our other students are engaged with best fit tasks while we do this. They know that everyone has this time with the teacher and it is important to not interrupt and let the reading happen.

In our state, we had a 6-18th month strategy that says that we need to take running records every three weeks for each child. Before 'daily 5' this was difficult to manage. Now it is possible to do 3-5 a day. It has become part of what we do. 

Reciprocal Reading 

This is a step just before Literature Circles where you teach some roles and the independence before the full on tasks of Literature Circles.

Each group has the same text and they take it in turns to be the 
- Summariser
- Question Generator
-  Clarifier and 
- Predictor

This is where we model and assist the students to fulfill these roles. 

Literature Circles 

You will love Literature Circles for your strong readers. 

They read, prepare and present responses to a best fit book. 

The level of conversation is amazing and you can explore whether you go deep, encourage alternative thinking and/or problem solve all while developing a love of literature. 

Here are some photos of my Literature Circle work.

It is a bit like an adult book group and each student has a role and prepares their read and their role prior to presenting each week. 

This is our timetable and each group knows when they check in and present. 

Here are names of books, group members and days for presenting. 

This is my note page to keep up with learning and reading behaviours. 

 These bookmarks help keep my readers on task. 

Get on board - you will love it!

Happy reading and Happy Easter

Have you got some fidgety students? Some students who get overwhelmed/frustrated/upset and need something to help calm them down? Me too! There are some fantastic resources out there to investigate sensory tools, but these are the ones that have worked for me.

I'm certainly not an expert, but after 4 years in prep and this year with a grade 2/3 I've taught a few kids who need something extra during the day.

For calming down

Lots of students, at sometime, need some help to calm down, for a huge range of reasons.

Some tools I've used to help students calm down are shown above. Students (and teachers!) love the feeling of squishing and rolling play dough - the tactile feeling is great. Puzzles help students to focus their attention on something new, and the structured task can help with uncertainty. A bowl of buttons is fun to move your hands through, to find matching buttons, to sort the buttons, or to explore the different colours and textures. Bubbles can be used to help students manage their breathing when they're upset/frustrated/overwhelmed. I love the feelings characters from the film Inside Out to help verbalise how students are feeling, and the calming bottles (also called brain bottles, glitter jars, etc) are great for focusing students' attention, slowing their breathing and talking about how their brain is feeling when it is all shaken up.

Fidgeting during teaching time

I've definitely had a few students who need something in their hands during learning time. They need to fidget and wriggle their fingers to keep their minds focused.

I love having a range of fidget tools. So do my students. In my room I have a mini shopping basket (I bought it from Daiso) that holds a range of fidget tools that particularly students can choose from. Every now and then I let all of my students choose a fidget tool, so that they aren't a secret or something students are jealous about. I have made a couple of cushions with buttons sewn on, which are great to fiddle with, and not hard to make. I bought lots of my fidget tools from the $2 Shop (like a Dollar Store), including plastic dinosaurs, soft hairbands, stress balls and sponges - lots of different textures and materials. A very easy option is to use manipulatives that you have around the room, like the tens or hundreds pieces from an MAB set. My newest, and new favourite, fidget option is my sensory bag. My mum created a set of 10 for my school so that each classroom has one. Inside the little pouch are 20 little square pillow-type things made with different materials - from fur and velvet, to satin, rubber and a chopped up textured placemat. Students love exploring the different textures!


I also love using sensory activities in my teaching.

Lots of teachers use rice/pasta/other sensory tubs - and I love them too! I've put lots of tasks in sensory tubs, including magnetic letters for matching activities and task cards. There are heaps of ideas out there to inspire you to use sensory tubs. The other photo above was an activity that some of my amazing colleagues did to discuss the brain and growing neurons/dendrites in your brain as you learn - the plasticine and the pipecleaners added a fantastic sensory task to this tricky subject - and they were teaching preps (5/6 year olds)!

A few other ideas

There are lots of other ideas out there, these are just the ones that I've tried and loved.
Some other suggestions from my fellow Australian Teachers Blog Collaborators are: chew tubes, body socks, breath books, headphones, weighted blankets & vests, pressure vests, hats/footy headgear, chewing gum, body brushes, pimple/textured cushions, slope boards (for feet), ankle weights, mini trampoline, various squeezy/squishy/goo toys.

I hope this has given you a few new ideas of things to try in your classroom. Thanks for reading!

Hi everyone, it's Christie from My Mum, the Teacher... I'm back and here to write about the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

The National Day of Action against and Bullying and Violence will be held on Friday 18 March 2016.Unfortunately bullying is a common schoolyard issue - it's not a new one, but according to stats is a growing issue.

  • Approximately one in four Year 4 to Year 9 Australian students (27%) report being bullied every few weeks or more often (considered to be frequent) during the last term at school.
  • Frequent school bullying was highest among Year 5 (32%) and Year 8 (29%) students.
  • 83% of students who bully others online, also bully others offline.
  • 84% of students who were bullied online were also bullied offline.
  • Peers are present as onlookers in 87% of bullying interactions, and play a central role in the bullying process.
  • Hurtful teasing was the most prevalent of all bullying behaviours experienced by students, followed by having hurtful lies told about them.
(Cross, D., Shaw, T., Hearn, L., Epstein, M., Monks, H., Lester, L., & Thomas, L. 2009. Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study (ACBPS). Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth). 

These don't even take into account online bullying (read more about CyberBullying here) which appears to be related to age (or access to technology), with older students more likely to engage in cyber bullying than younger students.

Bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence can all impact upon a persons social interactions and personal perceptions. School communities should have clear definitions outlined in their school policies and procedures for bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence, and how to handle these situations if and when they arise. 

Luckily, there is plenty of information available for parents, teachers and students. Click on the following resource links to be taken to the sites and start collecting information and activities to explore with your students.

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