Teaching and Learning in Reader’s Workshop
Students engage with their learning across content areas through Workshop as an instructional approach. In Reader’s Workshop, students are actively engaged in literacy, view themselves as readers, set goals for their learning, and reflect upon their own literacy growth. Explicit instruction is given to the class through a mini-lesson which is directly tied to the current curricular unit of study. Teachers model for students how to engage in deep, critical thinking utilizing many instructional methods. Students witness firsthand what interactive engagement with text looks like and sounds like. Research indicates that for students to internalize this learning, they must experience it in a variety of ways. In Reader’s Workshop, students practice the instruction independently as they read, by constructing an in-depth and cohesive written response to text, and by meeting with a small group of peers for targeted instruction based on the students’ individual needs. In these Guided Reading groups, the teacher meets with several students who are working on similar instructional goals. Teachers confer with readers consistently in order to individually coach, instruct, and set goals with the readers in the class on an individual basis. This entire practice allows the teacher to differentiate to a high degree. At the conclusion of the workshop time, the teacher “rounds up” all of the students to discuss and debrief on the work they have done as readers that day. Students share insights, reflections, and comments about what they have learned about the text and about themselves as readers.
At home, readers should engage in the act of reading every day within self-selected texts that are of high interest to the reader. Students should always be reading within a book that they can understand to a high degree. Parents should build in discussions about reading into their everyday routines in order to reinforce the concept of a reading life.
Teaching and Learning in Writer’s Workshop
Creating a parallel connection between reading and writing is critical for students to develop an understanding of the relationship between the two, but more importantly, to view themselves as readers and writers. In Writer’s Workshop, students are actively engaged in process writing across genre in alignment with Reader’s Workshop units of study. The primary purpose of Writer’s Workshop is for students to view themselves as writers and to view the world as writers do. Students set goals for their learning and reflect upon their own growth. Explicit instruction is given to the class through a mini-lesson which is directly tied to the current curricular unit of study. Teachers model a wide range of writing strategies through the use of mentor texts, writer’s notebooks, and examples of student writing. These strategies represent aspects of writing craft that students will use as lifelong writers. Students witness firsthand how writers engage with every aspect of the writing process, from the way through revising, editing, and publishing. At the culmination of a writing unit, students reflect upon their growth as writers, and set goals for future learning. Research indicates that for students to internalize their learning, they must experience it in a variety of ways. In Writer’s Workshop, students practice the focus of the mini-lesson independently in their writer’s notebook, in a working draft, or a combination of the two. They make purposeful decisions about their own writing as they choose how to develop and refine their writing piece. Teachers and students confer daily in order to individually coach, instruct, and set goals with the writers in the class on an individual basis. This entire practice allows the teacher to differentiate to a high degree. At the conclusion of the workshop time, the teacher “rounds up” all of the students to discuss and debrief on the work they have done as writers that day. Students share insights, reflections, and comments about their learning as writers. At home, writers should continue to explore their writing life through their writer’s notebooks and through discussing important life experiences, questions, and reactions with parents and siblings on a daily basis. These conversations provide fertile ground for writers to draw upon their own lives when writing in any genre. It is the experiences of the every day that are held as a treasure to writers.
For More Information
The implementation of the workshop model is grounded in many years of research and ongoing best practice models. For further information, please see the following resources:
Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project
International Reading Association
Resources by Lucy Calkins on Primary and Intermediate Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop:
The Art of Teaching Writing: http://www.heinemann.com/products/08817.aspx
The Art of Teaching Reading: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Reading-Lucy-McCormick-Calkins/dp/0321080599/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334066870&sr=8-1
Research on the Reading-Writing Genre Link:
Article on Small Group Reading Instruction in Primary Grades:
Workshop Model for Reading and Writing Instruction
* Mini-Lesson: Explicit instruction in a transferrable literacy skill.
* Independent Practice: Students individually practice what was just taught and modeled in the mini-lesson.
* Partner Work: Students meet with a classmate and further practice the focus of the mini-lesson or a strategy from another day’s lesson.
* Guided Reading/Writing: Small group instruction that addresses specific needs of students. The teacher guides and observes the reading and writing behaviors of each student.
* Conferring: Teacher meets one-to-one with each child and gives positive feedback about the child’s work. The teacher and child then discuss and develop personal reading/writing goals that the child will work on to help enhance his/her literacy development.
* Round-Up: Children think and reflect upon what he/she did as a reader/writer during workshop (“What did I learn today? How did that help me as a reader/writer today? How will I use what I’ve learned tomorrow and in the future?”). This time also provides closure to workshop and gives the teacher one last opportunity to reinforce the concept taught that day.
Reader’s Workshop Genre Units
* Launching Reader’s Workshop
* Picture Books
* Author Study of Kevin Henkes
* Realistic Fiction
* Non-Fiction/Informational Text
Writer’s Workshop Genre Units
* Launch of Writer’s Workshop
* Personal Narrative
* Friendly letter
* Fictional Narrative
Phonics and Word Work: Fundations Program
* Focuses on learning the structural analysis of the English language in order to promote life-long literacy
* Part of our Balanced Literacy program which incorporates phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics, handwriting and spelling
* One, thirty minute time period everyday
* Multi-Sensory (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) approach to instruction
First Grade Components of Fundations
* Letter formation
* Phonological and
* Sound mastery
* Trick words (sight words)
* Written composition
Social Studies Curriculum Framework:
* Characteristics of good citizenship
* Town Laws
* Community Helpers
* Wants and Needs
* Goods and Services
History/Social Studies Literacy:
* Family origins
* Research project
* Native American Culture
* Different points of view of a past event
* How views have changed over time
* Identify contemporary issues and analyze one’s responsibility for resolving them (eg. recycling, nutrition, safety)
We utilize the Math in Focus program to address The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Math in Focus is based on the Singapore model which emphasizes rich and complex problems. Fewer concepts are taught for a more thorough and deeper understanding. Lessons are taught from concrete(use of manipulatives), to pictorial, to abstract. This program acts as one tool for delivering a well-balanced math curriculum which meets all new mathematics standards.
1st grade emphasizes the concepts of:
- number and place value
- understanding of addition and subtraction strategies
- geometry, measurement and data
Link for The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: http://www.corestandards.org/Math
Link for Math in Focus parent information: http://www.hmheducation.com/singaporemath/what-is-singapore-math.php
The first grade science curriculum is inquiry centered, meaning that students observe, question, predict, experiment, measure and draw conclusions. Development of attitudes, habits of mind, conceptual understanding and content are the areas supported through instruction. Classes use our science lab for many hands-on activities, and science notebooking is introduced with greater independence as the units progress. Units chosen are aligned with the CT Curriculum Standards. The link for these standards is found below.
Units of Study:
Forces and Motion - Students participate in activities that provide them with an understanding of the motion of objects and how motion can be changed by pushing and pulling.
Sunshine and Shadows -- Students observe and measure how shadows change during the day in relation to the position of the sun in the sky.
Living Things -- Students learn about and observe living things and their life cycles. They observe how living things acquire what they need for continued growth and life.
Link for the CT Science Curriculum Frameworks: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/curriculum/science/pk8_science_curriculumstandards2011.pdf