Saturday, September 21, 2019

Figuring out what PD teachers need (and want)

Planning professional development for teachers can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you don't even know what PD they need! This post gives you two easy-to-implement ideas that will help you figure out what topics your teachers want and need to learn about. Get started right away - there's even a free download!
One of the biggest questions I get is: How do I plan great PD?

Well, that's a pretty big question. Because planning PD is a pretty involved process. 

Moving from A: "I haven't figured out where to start" to Z: "My teachers are using the strategies we have learned" requires a lot and it can be overwhelming!

So the next few posts from the Buzzing with Ms. B blog are all about PD! 

You're going to read about how to plan a PD calendar, some great activities to help teachers work with content, and tips that save my life every time.

But the very first thing? How do you even know where to start?

If your administrator is the hands-off type (which can be great and can be not so great), you may have been tasked with planning PD for your campus without much direction.
But figuring out where to start planning shouldn't be overwhelming. Here are two easy ways you can identify areas your campus needs to grow in so you can plan some quality PD for those topics!
Method #1
Start with a survey.  
Ask teachers where they feel like they are doing well and where they feel like they need support.
If you get enough people asking for the same kinds of support, you can turn that into a PD topic!
For example, if most of your teachers say they're struggling with guided reading, BAM! Start from the beginning with guided reading.
If most teachers say they don't know how to build number sense, and you see that that's an important missing piece, there you go! Structure trainings around the topic of number sense!

Planning professional development for teachers can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you don't even know what PD they need! This post gives you two easy-to-implement ideas that will help you figure out what topics your teachers want and need to learn about. Get started right away - there's even a free download!
Method #2
Do a schoolwide classroom sweep.  
Visit every classroom and record your observations.
Planning professional development for teachers can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you don't even know what PD they need! This post gives you two easy-to-implement ideas that will help you figure out what topics your teachers want and need to learn about. Get started right away - there's even a free download! If your coaching is limited to a specific content area, visit classrooms while teachers are teaching that subject. You can even observe a lot from looking at the classroom environment, materials, and the walls. Take notes.
When you get back to your office or space, lay out your notes and see what patterns you notice.
For example, if you find that all of the anchor charts in the classroom are actually posters (they're prepared in advance, not with students), then build in modeling how to create an anchor chart to your next PD.
If teachers have interactive notebooks with nothing in them, create some PD around how to use interactive notebooks effectively.


These two methods will give you TONS of information about where your teachers are and where they should go next. Then, all you have to do is... all the work of planning. But don't worry - that's what my next post is all about!

Want to learn more?
Check out check out my IG Highlights @buzzingwithmsb for more PD tips!

Want to get that handy classroom sweep document? Get it AND other professional development tools in the free download! 



Saturday, September 7, 2019

So what's the deal with round-robin during guided reading?

Why don't we use round robin in guided reading anymore? There are a few reasons that teachers continue to use this practice, and a few reasons that we shouldn't. Read about what guided reading looks like without round robin, how to implement this best practice, and how to make it effective for all of your kids, whether they're in kindergarten or upper elementary! #guidedreading #bestpractice
Uh-oh. Am I totally opening a can of worms right now?
Round robin is a practice that is probably as American as apple pie. In case you haven't heard the term, round-robin means everyone has a copy of the text.

You choose students to take turns reading aloud. When one student finished reading aloud, maybe you stop him or her and have a teaching point or a conversation.

Then you move to the next student. Sometimes this happens during guided reading. Sometimes teachers use this as a whole-class reading strategy.

They may call on students randomly, move in a predictable pattern, or ask students to "popcorn read", where a student reads a piece, stops wherever they want, and then calls on the next student to read.

Here's the thing: research shows that round robin is not the most effective way to grow readers.

Here's why:

1. Only one student is doing the reading at any time, rather than all of your students.

2. Round-robin means that students are reading aloud, which some people like because they feel like it's good for fluency. The issue is that your students aren't the best model of fluency in the classroom. You are.

3. When one student is reading, the others might be "following along", but are they thinking, comprehending and reacting, or are they just desperately trying to keep track in case they're next? Or, if you move in a predictable pattern, they are probably counting out the paragraphs until they figure out which part is going to be theirs. Then they're practicing it in their heads, over and over. How do I know this? Because I used to do that.

4. Studies show that, when kids read in round-robin fashion, they are actually doing far less reading than by using other methods.

5. Studies also show that round-robin encourages a few bad habits: teachers interrupting to tell students what the word is when they're struggling, which results in students interrupting other students to tell them words they are having trouble with.

6. Round-robin puts teachers and students in a tough spot. Do you call on the struggling reader to read aloud? If you do, you're asking them to struggle in front of everyone, which is very hard on self-esteem. If you don't, the other kids notice that you don't, and decide that student is a "bad reader". That student does, too. (They probably already feel that way, but this confirms it.)

Am I telling you you're doing it all wrong? No! But when we learn something new, we should apply that to our teaching, right? So then what do we do instead of round-robin?

Why don't we use round robin in guided reading anymore? There are a few reasons that teachers continue to use this practice, and a few reasons that we shouldn't. Read about what guided reading looks like without round robin, how to implement this best practice, and how to make it effective for all of your kids, whether they're in kindergarten or upper elementary! #guidedreading #bestpractice

Here are some of the reasons people don't want to stop using round-robin.

1. They say kids like to read aloud.
Some do. There are appropriate times for that. At other points in the day, reading with a partner means half of your students are reading, not just one. You can differentiate texts that way, too. But guided reading isn't the place for it. And not all kids enjoy it.

2. They say kids like to help each other.
Some do. Working in teams gives them lots of opportunities to help each other. But guided reading isn't the place for it.

3. They don't know any other way to do it.
But there is a way!

Why don't we use round robin in guided reading anymore? There are a few reasons that teachers continue to use this practice, and a few reasons that we shouldn't. Read about what guided reading looks like without round robin, how to implement this best practice, and how to make it effective for all of your kids, whether they're in kindergarten or upper elementary! #guidedreading #bestpractice


Here's what you do:

1. You do your normal beginning-of-lesson things. You introduce the strategy you're going to work on (which is the point of guided reading - introducing a strategy and having students practice it with your guidance). You introduce the text and background knowledge, etc.

Why don't we use round robin in guided reading anymore? There are a few reasons that teachers continue to use this practice, and a few reasons that we shouldn't. Read about what guided reading looks like without round robin, how to implement this best practice, and how to make it effective for all of your kids, whether they're in kindergarten or upper elementary! #guidedreading #bestpractice2. You introduce their purpose for reading (I use a purpose question that will require them to respond using the strategy they're practicing. For example, if we're practicing inferences, they have to make an inference to answer the question.) If they're only reading a certain amount of pages, have them put a sticky note marked STOP on the page you want them to stop on.

3. You ask all students to start reading. You can start them at the same time in the upper grades, because they are able to read to themselves. For some groups, you can have them whisper read. Just teacher judgment, there. For primary grades, many students read aloud. If you're worried about students listening to each other, stagger start them so they start reading at different times. Start one, wait till they read a few sentences or so, start the next, wait, start the next. etc.

4. As students are reading to themselves, they're supposed to be applying their strategy somehow, whether it's decoding, comprehension, or fluency. Tap front of a student. This signals them to "turn up the volume" a little so you can "listen in" wherever they are. They don't go back to the beginning or the beginning of a paragraph or anything. They just turn up the volume. Pause them, and prompt them to apply the strategy. You may prompt them in decoding if you see there's an issue. Listen to them read again. Prompt again. Move on to a different student.

5. Listen in to each student at some point during the lesson, prompting and discussing. I take anecdotal notes in order to plan my next lesson(s).

Why don't we use round robin in guided reading anymore? There are a few reasons that teachers continue to use this practice, and a few reasons that we shouldn't. Read about what guided reading looks like without round robin, how to implement this best practice, and how to make it effective for all of your kids, whether they're in kindergarten or upper elementary! #guidedreading #bestpractice

6. As they finish reading the text (or the chunk of text), they answer the purpose question, and then go back and reread. They NEVER just sit there.

7. After everybody's "done", we have a discussion about their strategy use and the purpose question.

Then we're done, unless I prompt them to apply this strategy to their independent reading.
I know that was a lot of information, but I really hope it's helpful. Got questions? Let me know!

P.S.
For more on lesson planning, for guided reading, check out my post where I break it down!
Why don't we use round robin in guided reading anymore? There are a few reasons that teachers continue to use this practice, and a few reasons that we shouldn't. Read about what guided reading looks like without round robin, how to implement this best practice, and how to make it effective for all of your kids, whether they're in kindergarten or upper elementary! #guidedreading #bestpractice

 
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