TCRWP October 27th Saturday Reunion

I awoke to catch the 4:45am Friday train to NYC so I could be part of a school visit to PS41 in Greenwich Village starting at 9am. I arrived in time and spent the day observing grades K-5 doing reading and writing workshop. Here are some of the clear and purposeful anchor charts I saw hung at PS41:

In 1st grade:

Writing: Generating Ideas Charts in a 3rd grade classroom:

Writing Realistic Fiction Anchor charts in a 4th grade classroom:

 Jotting in a 2nd grade classroom:

When Students read book we don’t know   by Alex Marron
Teachers can’t read everything our kids are reading. Instead of trying to, try to do this:
1.Read the first book in several popular series.
2.Read a variety of genres so you are familiar with HOW that genre goes and see if kids understand the way the genre goes when you conference with them.
3.Go to your strongest readers and ask them for recommendations. They know!
4.Get kids excited about the series YOU are reading by buzzing about these books. Then they will be reading books you know!
5.KNOW how books go at each level. Then see if they are doing the kind of thinking required at this level.
KNOW How Books GO at each level:
KLM books have:
General, predictable characters
Character that always wants something and in the end they get something
but it might be different than what they first wanted (EX: In Those Shoes, Jeremy wants shoes but gets a friend)
Multi-syllabic words (are they being problem-solvers of tricky words?)
More domain specific words (can they understand these words in context?)
Character will not change but their FEELINGS will.
We can help these readers to  identify the feeling of the character, track his feeling across the book, and state how the feeling changes
NOPQ books have:
Characters that change and learn a lesson
We can help them track character in beg, note changes by the end
Multiple plot lines
Are students aware of this? Also pay attention to what is happening both internally and externally
Lots of figurative language
Do they “get it”? Teach them how to attack understanding of idioms using the context
EX: Ramona, Amber Brown
RST books have:
Setting becomes important and is like a character
Especially in HF and Fantasy. Do they have a sense of place? Are they reading the long descriptions and visualizing?
Character Traits are not explicitly stated
Characters are more than one way
Push them by asking “And what else? Are they different in different situations?
Underlying plot lines
The plot may start somewhere in the storyline (not always at the very beginning) and the reader needs to suspend comprehension, hold onto what is happening and ask LOTS of questions. Soon it will all make sense.
EX: Great Gilly Hopkins
UVW books have:
Characters are VERY complex and nuanced
It may not be until the very end that we understand the character because the book is more of a journey; The character has multiple traits and internal factors also influence who they are externally
Big shifts occur in time
flashbacks / flashforwards / structure may be diff perspectives told by chapter
Something stands for more. What does it really stand for? Are their things repeated?
What is it really about?
Variety of Language structures
Knowing characteristics of bands of books can help us anticipate the hurdles are students may have. We can teach into the skills they need to read and understand the books they are reading.
General questions to ask when you don’t know the book:
1.What seems important so far?
2.What themes, issues, lessons are you noticing?
3.What have you learned about the character so far? Show me a part in the book that told you that.
NOTE: if they seem to only retell, you know they are reading for plot. So teach into the other strategies (character traits, setting, themes, symbolism
Great New Books – Suggested by Rob Ross
Two great historical fiction books set in the time of the Civil Rights Movement.
NONFICTION BOOKS by Nicola Davies, Molly, Bang and Gail Gibbons:
Lucy shared highlights of the NEW Units for teaching Writing that can be purchased through Heinemann come April. The Unit sets are GRADE SPECIFIC.
NEXT Reunion Saturday – March 9th and Katherine Paterson will be the Keynote Speaker!

Example of how WRITING can change the world!

Read about how “Dante Cano, a fifth-grader from New Jersey, thought the yellow flags that referees throw when there’s a penalty should also be pink, so we he wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.”

And his idea in writing was accepted. During the Oct. 28th football game between the Jets and Dolphins, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the refs threw PINK FLAGS to indicate a pentalty had occurred.

Share this story with students as an example that writing CAN change the world!!