Monday, July 21, 2008

A small ice cream at lunch.
Half a round of brie with crackers.
A small ice cream after dinner.
Is it possible to be addicted to dairy?

I was reminded today, as I sat through the first day of a weeklong course on guided reading, how important it is for teachers to walk their talk. It is not okay to espouse a workshop model, or constructivist theory, and then subject students to 8 hours in their seats with narrow topics allowed for conversation. Allowing students to talk only around the topics you've prechosen is neither workshop nor constructivism.

On the positive side, learning about useful criteria for leveling books so that I can help put kids with the "just right" text is helpful. Though the process is labor and time intensive, having the information in the back of my mind as I approach the books/readers will assist me in narrowing down the occasional misses as I try to pair kids with books for independent reading. It was also a relief to hear the instructors repeat what the textbook said: leveling books is for the teacher's purpose. It is not so that we can label books with levels and train kids to only read books on their level, a la Accelerated Reader. Gradients and leveling are teacher tools for helping students find books with just the right supports and challenges.

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