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    Kathy Collins conference notes
    By 1stgradenew

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    Ok, I went to Kathy Collins on Friday and it was AWESOME! I got to talk to her for 20 minutes before the conference started and ate lunch with her and two other teachers! I was so star struck that I forgot to ask so many questions that I had...opps! I told her about Bookmuchers blog and she said she might visit! I tried to take lots of notes to share…they may seem a little crazy though so ask questions! Ok, here they go! There are lots of them J


    “You are the richly literate adult in their lives”

    Shared Reading
    · - poetry, big book, songs, text excerpt (ex. Re-writing an excerpt from Frog and Toad when working on dialogue/voice
    · In K do it everyday, in 1st everyday through Dec. then a few times a week (15 min max)
    · 2nd- mostly poetry beginning of the year (friendship, school, community)
    · Each day do a warm up with a familiar text (allow student to choose ) then to main text for week – 1st day just read, let kids respond wait til 2nd day to “dig in”
    · During shared reading teacher and students both have plans- meet in the middle- teacher must be very responsive

    Read Aloud with Accountable Talk
    · Must hold an interactive conversation- students are accountable with text and to each other

    Word Study
    · Only teach things that 2/3 of your class needs- don’t waste your time if 2/3 of more are already using it in their writing. (i.e. don’t teach a letter for a whole week if you see kids using it in their writing –k. Don’t teach short a all week if you see kids using it- 1st)
    · Look at writing to assess what you teach

    Classroom Library
    · 40% leveled.
    Don’t spend time deciding on level…if unsure between two levels go higher(you can always change it)
    · Might contain-
    · Leveled baskets
    · Genre baskets
    · Topic baskets
    · Authors
    · Series
    · Current unit of study (RW and WW) baskets – poetry, non-fiction
    · Baskets that contain texts other than books (more info below)
    · Kid’s picks (top 10 funniest, etc.)
    · Shared reading texts, multiple copies)


    **Text other than books-if you want your class to be readers who read everything in sight then fill your library with “everything in sight”
    Kathy shared a few examples-
    · One year Snapple caps had jokes on them. She had a basket of Snapple caps to read. The kids raced in to class to read the jokes each morning.
    · Kids section of Sunday paper- laminate in and make a basket, comic books or comics from paper.



    Reading Workshop

    Most precise teaching is during conferences so keep everything else short (mini lesson)
    When making a teaching decision- if ½ your kids need something or are on the edge of needing something it’s worth a minilesson
    Minilessons appeal to the large majority, review for the upper group, expose for the lower group
    During independent reading time- if you think it’s going to get crazy stop it b/c once kids gets to see crazy private reading time they will think it can always be that way)
    Midworkshop shareo Can buy you more time- if your students cant read for long times- “Readers can I stop you...(remind them of something) back to reading
    o Share the wealth- Jimmy just did something that I want to share with you…
    o When minilesson wasn’t clear- readers I asked you to do this, but I don’t think I was clear let me say it in a different way
    o Management- voice level,
    o Support partners- before partner time, “One time you can talk about today is your thoughts in your head while you read”

    Share Time 5 min max( reinforcement of minilesson, preview upcoming minilesson, add-on forget to say something or it’s not worth a whole minilesson)
    Mini-lesson-
    Connection- Keep the connection tight and small (no questions)
    You are the one who talks during minilesson- don’t feel bad limiting them
    Demonstrate, demonstrate, demonstrate
    Methods of Active Engagement-§ Work with a whole group text (needs to be familiar- example- big book)
    § Work with a teacher supplied text- very labor intensive
    § Say something- turn and talk
    § BYOB(great option)
    § Envision it (ex. You hear a loud noise outside the room, envision how you would look up from your book mark with your finger- and get back to reading)
    § Make a plan (talk to your partner and decide how you might read)
    § Research(teaching demo-watch me-turn and talk-what did you see me do?)
    o Link- plant the reading behaviors seed( say things like When you read today or at the doctors office, when you read tonight at home under the covers with a flashlight, or When you read today with your partner or with your mom tonight…..)


    Reading Conferences
    4 types- research decide teach, coaching conference, proficient partner conference, table conference
    Research decide teach
    Research in the moment and use what you know about the child
    Ask child to go back and reread (fluency, comprehension)
    Ask child to keep reading(word solving)
    If there are many conference options use the ER method- go for the emergency (making meaning is always the most important)

    Coaching Conference
    Kathy can a great analogy for this. She used the example of when she was training for marathons. When she was running a hills day instead of her trainer stopping her mid hill and saying “Kathy can I stop you…sometimes good runners really use their arm and pump up to get up a hill, ok so now I want you to try it, pump,pump,pump “ Her trainer would just say “Pump your arms”
    Similar to guided reading
    Quick, lean prompts so that you don’t stop the reader
    Often non-verbal(point to picture to remind of that strategy, point to 1st letter)
    If verbal-very short- (does that make sense? Check the picture)
    Comprehension- say, “oh that’s funny” Did you think that was funny?” at the end stop reader and say “readers have thoughts when they read, tell me your thoughts when you read this story”
    o Proficient Partner Conference
    § You are the ultimate partner for word solving, conversations, etc.
    § Whisper in the help the conversation ( Whisper to Gabe, “Ask Tommy to prove that about Poppleton” then Gabe says just that to Tommy)

    o Table Conference
    § Research table- compliment a few things
    § Share 1 thing a good reader at the table did (can be your teaching point)
    § Great way to conference if you aren’t confident in yourself. Sort of like a mini-lesson


    Strategy Goups
    Can be same level students are totally different levels
    BYOB- trying teaching point in your own book
    Instead of 6 separate conferences of another minilesson hold a strategy group
    Send of once they try in their own book or you can do a link in the end

    Intervention Group
    When you hear your self say “I have taught this 600 times…” it’s time for an intervention group
    Analogy- Ben Wallace is horrible at shooting free-throws so the coach says come before practice and shot 250 free throws
    Intervention- this week I want you to read from the green dot basket (level f- one level below just right) for practice—practice with fluency
    “Different Way In intervention” analogy- maybe Ben Wallace’s wrists are strong- do more wrist exercises)
    If fluency is the problem have small groups work on reading sentence strips that cut apart of phrases to help- keep in book bin and practice first 5 min. of private reading time
    Reading Partners-
    Must have
    Time each day to read together and talk
    Strategies to solve problems and conflicts
    A variety of ways to work together
    A repertoire of things readers might talk about
    A sense of purpose
    Opportunities to reflect and set goals
    Some Books Kathy Suggested:
    “Random Family” by Adrian LaBlanc
    “Other Peoples Words” (family literacy issues) by Victoria Perselgates(?)
    Adventures of Polo (wordless picture book)
    A book by Sandra Wild- about spelling
    Diane snowball(spelling k-8)

    I asked Kathy about the rumor on the Reading Units of Study and she said they are just starting on the one for upper grades and she doesn’t know if they will do a primary b/c Lucy is currently much for interested in upper grades (including middle school) and she has no interest right now in doing it…hmmm…

    I also asked Kathy if she suggests any books for conferences and she said two people from teachers college will have a book out in the fall. She couldn’t remember the name of the book but the authors are Gravity Goldberg and Serravallo. She said the book is actually for upper grades but she read it and it would be great for 1st and 2nd ( has many primary examples)

    WOW! That was a lot…hope it helps someone J

    View the original thread this idea was posted on



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