Monday, April 14, 2014

Returning from Spring Break

Michigan in March

Spring Break in Michigan in the schools often occurs when there is no sign of spring in our weather.  As a results, many families leave the state for warmer and sunnier climates.  Florida and Gulf Shores Alabama are favorites.  If you are in Gulf Shores during the first week of April you will see almost more Michigan license plates than those from Alabama.

This means that the students returning from Spring Break today have thoughts and memories of fun days in their minds.  But that is not what they see as they arrive at school.  This morning started rainy and very windy with snow in our forecast for this afternoon and evening.

My task today will be to help the students refocus and continue reading.  But wait, that's my task every day.

I work with the most struggling and reluctant readers in our middle school.

I have the data of their reading levels both for fluency and comprehension.  I know their MEAP scores (our Michigan assessment), and I know their classroom grades.

Reading strategies-I have been thoroughly trained and have implemented several of these-visual imagery, self-questioning, inference, word identification which I share with them over the course of the class.

But none of the above items are the most important thing I have to impart to my students.

The most important take-away I want my students to have from Reading Essentials class is a love of reading and the desire to pick up a book-not as a last resort for something to do but rather as an enjoyable activity for which you never have enough time.

So today, I will be using The One and Only Ivan to accomplish that goal.  We are on our last week with this book.  This story lends itself perfectly to teaching inference and self-questioning.  I was most impressed, however, when my student reacted enthusiastically to my introduction of the One and Only Ivan.  J is one of the lowest readers in our 8th grade.  But after I introduced Ivan, J went immediately to the school media center to get his own copy of the story.

He quickly began reading it outside of class.  One day he stopped me in the hall. " Mrs. B, Stella died today," he said sadly.

A reluctant reader who had never read a complete book before is becoming emotionally involved with a story.  Success!!

That is the heart of my class-encouraging students to read as an enjoyable activity. No homework, no worksheets, no projects.  Just read a book and talk to me about it.

It's what adults like to do with their reading.  It also works for middle school students.

Over the next few days, I'll share some of the activities I used with the One and Only Ivan.  Feel free to use them and send me your own ideas.

No comments:

Post a Comment