I have totally stepped out of my comfort zone. And that’s okay, because I have learned so much; about me, my teaching, my learning. My role in this substitute position, to support a wide range of students from kinder to 3rd grade in their reading process; their reading journey. As I thought of what I wanted to say in this post, three thoughts popped into my head.
1. I am not an expert. No I take that back. I am an expert at observing, at interacting, at asking questions, at wonder, at listening and learning. So I’ll share how this gives me the “title” of expert. I am an expert at understanding the importance of the reading process from my lens.. years of experience working with students as they approach life..their academic, emotional and social life. Learning to leave quick judgements behind and helping kids open up the doors with endless possibilities.
2. Reading fiction or nonfiction text is not a passive activity. Listening to read alouds is not a passive activity, being immersed in a book is not a passive activity. Its not done to you! It’s what you do about it while you’re emerged on that print, on those words, in that book.
3. Comprehension, inferences…What is the author saying? Why is the author telling us that? What do you think the author wants us to know? How else could this be said? What would you do? Reading goals: way beyond decoding, sight words, the mechanics of reading and writing. Turn and talk: let’s really make the time to find out what you know, what you’re not sure about. Why and where we go from here?
I wait for the kinders in the “Learning Lab”, we work together in our little groups. They know me, I’ve subbed in their rooms. Let’s get those sight words down pat. Now let’s see how to read them in our books. They’re leveled, they give me some information. Now we read our books and let’s talk about the story! I have more information. My 1st graders are ready to work with me. I’ve subbed in their rooms. We have built a relationship over the years. We’re figuring out fiction and nonfiction. We’re making connections and can’t wait to read and discuss. Somedays I “push in” and work in their rooms and see what that’s like for them. Ah, my 2nd graders (I’ve known many of them since the EC program). They’re eager to come to my room (happy is an understatement as I’ve heard other classmates want a turn to work with me). And times I “push in” and support them as they work in a very busy room. Distracted, we work together and complete the task. Lots of commotion, the chicks have hatched!
When they come to me we’re reading fiction and nonfiction. So much earnest discussion about the Wright Brothers. So much information that is new to all of us. And then we read Borreguita and Coyote and enjoy the lambs ingenuity as she cleverly tricks coyote. Laughter is good. We write about our favorite trick. Now time for the 3rd graders. Here too, I have known many of them since EC. We have prepared work to do (close reading articles and questionnaire). They also bring with them work that needs to be completed. It takes awhile to settle down, but we do and the work gets done. The close reading and comprehension questions give me some clues about comprehension, about inferences, about “why do you think, what’s happening here”? Then one session we’re reading a book that I hoped they’d enjoy. We read and we write. More information for me about their reading journey.
I share with the teachers what I’ve noticed about “my” kids. Because at this point that’s how I perceive them. I’m here to support them in their reading (and writing, when that’s what’s needed). I still have time with them. I am a grateful sub! I am learning so much from “my” different learners.
The year is almost over, in whatever capacity you work with students, how have they impacted your learning, your teaching, your thinking?
The Learning Lab is on same floor as 1st and 2nd grade. I’m very visible, as are the kids. And that’s a good thing.