Home : 2007 : Aug : 20
One of those "Ahhhs!" came when our large group instruction began by laying out the three balancing acts of Balanced Literacy. She acknowledged that not every one totally agrees on the components of Balanced Literacy but that everyone seemed to agree on these balancing acts:
1. Balance between part and whole (part is like the code of reading, comprehension, fluency and whole is like reading a whole text and integrating the parts)
2. Balance between reading to, with, and by students
3. Balance in group size (although she said that you will teach whole group, most of a Balanced Literacy's teacher's instruction takes place in small group or one on one/ one on two)
Teachers are constantly perfoming the balancing act with those above elements. Not everyday in every classroom will the balance be quite the same. Here's where the "Ahhhh" is coming, everyone!!
So then she laid out the Teacher's College definitions and components of Balanced Literacy (NOT everyone agrees on these, but I think most of us do)... RW, WW, Sm. Group work, Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Word Study, Interactive or Shared Write.
Each of those components cooresponds to either part or whole teaching, both of which are- of course- necessary.
RW and WW are whole
Read aloud, word study, interactive writing are part
Shared Reading, Sm. Group work, and shared write can be whole OR part!
We were talking here on PT about shared reading in particular and I think I was having trouble explaining it because I was at a loss for whether or not you always had to have a teaching point (that would be "part"), but our instructor said that while sometimes you will, many other times, you'll be just guiding the children through the text with light scaffolding (whole).
Sorry-- these other couple notes are randoms:
Concerning our minilessons, our instructor (I'll post her name later when I have the spelling nearby), made the point that the beauty of the 7 minute-- and yes, it should be 7 minutes and no longer in K-2-- is that you can totally bomb it over and over again because no matter what, everyday, children will return to their book nooks and read. Reading is what's important. Good minilessons are hoped for, but don't always deliver. For now, she says, as long as every child is reading right on level with books they have chosen, we are doing right by those children. By simply putting into place the reader's workshop routines and structure, you are doing a good and important thing. Once everything's actually there, then you can work at bettering each part.
In the same way as she stressed having a set RW structure, she really stressed following the TC minilesson architecture, which we all know is:
I liked the way that she described the connection-- it's like we're opening the file in our children's brains FOR THEM. We're effectively saying, "Here is the file that we'll be working in today, I'm going to add this new piece of information that goes with this."
Being a staff developer, she observes teachers a lot and sometimes teaches minilessons in their classes. She said that one tip off that a teacher isn't following the structure is that the kids start raising their hands during the Teach. If they do that, well then we know that the teacher hadn't taught the children that every single day, she will demonstrate and then invite the class to try.
WHEW! I think I'll have to try my best to keep up with this, because the information is coming fast, and it's all I can do to keep up! The people here are amazingly smart and really nice too. Our hostel living experience is well-- interesting (I'm now writing you from the bottom bunk of a 10 person room... it's college all over!), but it's well worth the price of $34 a night! Tomorrow we'll hear from the author of Words Their Way-- he should be good. Until then...
Most info. in this blog was presented by TC Staff Developer: Shanna Schwartz
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