Admin Observation, Dustin Collins:
October 15, 2019
Area of Focus: Readers’ Workshop
Content Objective: I can reread to understand (determined from observation).
The students entered the classroom and found their spots on the carpet. You began by showing the students a nonfiction book. You challenged the students to think critically with open-ended questions. Students were excited to share and make connections as you challenged them to think about connections that they make as well as to access prior knowledge and experience from previous read-alouds. You aimed to help students consolidate their learning with your emphasis on connections. Your room is rich in visuals, anchor charts, objectives, and other learning-focused pieces which can be used during teachable moments as both subtle and explicit reminders.
When you broke out into story circles after the carpet time, it appeared that Alexis and you took different groups and focused on different objectives. The walk through observation was completed after a portion of this time, but the time observed ended in 100 percent focus and engagement from the students.
You began by asking students to think about “why we read nonfiction books?” You asked them to turn and talk promoting active participation as you aimed to captivate the audience. Student interest continued as you used a caring, calm, and patient voice to explain that two or three brains is better than one when asking individuals to help each other out. You used several solid classroom management techniques which included a countdown, changes in tone, subtle redirections of individual students, encouraging students to walk out and back in to show that they are ready, and you were consistent with your practices allowing for a productive and learning-focused class period with nearly all students focused throughout the duration of the time. It was helpful that you appeared passionate about reading and about using the strategies, and you validated student perspective and input by having them share, by paraphrasing their words, and by providing constructive feedback when necessary.
Parallel teaching was evident with Alexis today which shows a commitment to co-planning and co-teaching. What do you find to be the biggest strengths of a parallel teaching model, and what would be the biggest challenges for you? Dividing the students appeared to be intentional, and the transition seemed to be well managed and determined while being fully communicated to students in a subtle way. How were the story circles determined? I also wonder what the next steps will be for students in the learning journey? Thank you so much for today! Readers’ workshop was evident, active, and engaging for all!
Teacher Response by Julie Munro
Alexis and I chose parallel teaching specifically because the strength it gave us was to give students the chance to be the leaders/teachers for their reading partner. We combined 2 sessions: re-read to read for understanding and re-read to have a lively voice (which we actually changed to “re-read to read like an author as that was the wording from a previous writing workshop lesson, so the students were familiar with that wording). The only challenges I can see about parallel teaching are minor 1) I don’t get to see and hear the students’ learning firsthand (which yesterday had an impact on 1 student, but that issue might not have been any better had I been their teacher). 2) It can be challenging to end our mini lessons at the same time (as was beneficial for this particular lesson). Alexis and I had done enough detailed planning to choose how we would non-verbally let each other know where we were at time-wise, but we never looked over at each other at the same time.
Our groups were determined by “1st partner vs 2nd partner on the list. At this particular time of the year, I felt that would be helpful as the partners are homogenously grouped, and it would give us each a relatively even group – including a couple students who might be able to start a conversation.
This was a double lesson, (Bend 1, sessions 4 – 5) Alexis and I focused on ‘training’ the teachers to teach their lesson to their reading partner the next day. So we began day 2’s lesson with the Content Objective and Language Objective:
CO: I can re-read to understand. I can re-read so my voice sounds like an author.
LO: I can re-read again, and again, and again until I understand. I will know I understand because my voice will go up and down like a wave like an author.
They then practiced reading with their partner for 30 min. As Alexis and I conferred with partnerships