Taking Note


During the past few weeks we have been introduced to a new way of thinking about Literacy in the classroom, The Daily 5.  We, as in the children, and us, the teachers.  We are lucky enough to have a wonderful educator at our beck and call, Sue, who is modelling, teaching, mentoring and encouraging all of us to change our thinking and do things differently.  We are experiencing success and lots of it, and it’s only week 3! Part of the change, for me anyway, is to take a step back from “teaching” and just watch.

While watching, I take notes, tally behaviours and get a feel for where my students need help. I don’t jump in, I try not to glare at disruptions and I try not to ‘fix’ their problems with suggestions of what they could read.  This is hard, I’m a teacher, I want to teach, it’s what I do!  At first, I felt like I was wasting time, I should be conferencing, guiding, teaching!  But, I persisted.  I watched.  I tallied.  I found patterns. I got to know my kids.

I have watched some of my students fall deeply into another world; Ancient China, Nazi Germany, a swamp, of all places and not want to come back to reality.  These are our bookworms, the kids we don’t worry about, they get it, they have it, that love of reading. I have watched some of my students flick pages, swap books, walk around, distract others, look out the windows with no engagement.  These kids will do anything to get out of reading, they just don’t enjoy it.  Talking to my colleagues, they can relate, they were these kids.  I was the bookworm.  They needed to be hooked.  Some of my kids, particularly my grade 6 boys need to find purpose and find something they really love, something they really WANT to read.  For my flickers and fakers, this is the problem.  They just can’t find that book that hooks!

I’m hooked!  On observation.  It will become part of my teaching and assessment.  Thanks Sue, for making me take note, so to speak.

5 thoughts on “Taking Note

  1. Great first post Kate. Such a wonderful topic and its so exciting to see teachers excited about their classrooms and programs. This excitement is catchy for the students as well. I can concur with your thoughts about observation as in reading recovery we have a roaming the known two weeks at the beginning of the program. It is so hard to not teach and just observe but you learn so much about what you need to teach next for each child. As well you learn how you can help them by what they already do and not just what the next item on a list of skills says is next.

    I’m hooked on your blog!

    Thanks from JennyA

  2. THE DAILY 5: What a great read! I identify with so much of what you are saying, it certainly is a learning journey and refines the way we teach and think! As a co teacher in the Upper school unit I’m excited by the Daily 5 and what it has to offer. You’re right… Sue is wonderful in her delivery and support. Bring it on!

    • I’m just as excited by the journey as you are! and I’m thoroughly enjoying the exploration of ways to ‘do’ Daily 5 in the upper school. I’m learning along with you and constantly having to think of ways to keep all the kids on the journey with us. I’m particularly impressed with the honesty from some kids about what they find difficult.

  3. It’s nice to be all on the same page. I’m really happy with how we all work together. I’m feeling very supported and enthusiastic!

  4. Well written post MisFitz! I wasn’t the bookworm but become the bookworm to please the teacher. As a grown up I now know I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons but would have done anything to please the teacher….Is there a group like this in your class?

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