Friday, August 23, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles

In a post on July 12,  I shared the Seattle Foam Fest race I was looking forward to running.  I am happy to report that I made it!  The 3.1-mile course was peppered with 15 obstacles.  A different strategy was required to overcome each obstacle. Before the race, I previewed the photographs of the obstacles and gave thought to the strategies I might need to navigate them fluently, but it wasn't until I was right upon them that they interrupted my personal running life.  I navigated most of them independently, but there were a few where I relied on the tips of a coach positioned at the obstacle to offer guidance and support. 

Our students come upon hurdles that interfere with their accuracy, fluency, and comprehension on a daily basis.  They need to access strategies that will enable them to quickly maneuver these hurdles.  We can teach strategies that will help keep obstacles from interfering with their reading success, and many times, students will be able to access and try a strategy when an obstacle blocks their reading path. 

During the race, I was reminded of the power of in-the-moment coaching.  It reconfirmed for me the importance of building independence in my students so I can sit with them one-on-one, providing just-in-time guidance over the hurdles that get in their way. 

Our coaching sessions are even more focused and powerful when we make consistent use of a conferring notebook.  As a new school year approaches, let's renew our commitment to mastering this powerful tool, which enables us to differentiate our teaching, monitor progress, and equip our students to overcome their obstacles and get back in the race.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 10 for 10 Picture Book Event 2013

Though it was nearly impossible to limit the list to ten, I have managed to do so. Here they are in ABC order. 

Boot & Shoe is written and illustrated by Marla Frazee
It is charming, funny, and I loved the message about differences and friendship. It would be a wonderful read aloud.    

Chick ‘n’ Pug is written and delightfully illustrated by Jennifer Gordon Sattler
It is just plain fun!  

Each Kindness is written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis
If you are a fan of The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, you'll love this book which is similar, but updated and in picture book form.    

Goldilocks and the 3 Dinosaurs is retold and illustrated by Mo Willems 
This is one of the most enjoyable retells around.  Mo Willems is a genius. Funny words. Funny illustrations. Rife with opportunities to predict and infer.  

How to Catch a Star is written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Will 
Simple, imaginative, and perfect to use for inference.  

Is That You, Monster?: Check Inside the Secret Pockets If You Dare! by Steve Cox
This falls under the category of deliciously scary. The right kiddo will love it. I might not put it in my classroom, but I would read it again and again with my grandson. It is a great lap book.  

Looking for a Moose is written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Randy Cecil
The text is sing-songy and fun to read. The illustrations are darling. It would be a fun read aloud, but an even better lap book with one or two children so you can pour over the pictures together looking for a moose. 

Oh, No! is written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Simple, rhythmic text. Rain forest creatures. Great pictures. Loved it. 

Old bear and His Cub is written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
It is a very sweet story. I choked up a little because I am getting to the age where I am beginning to care for my parents.

 Plant a Kiss is written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I am a huge fan of author and illustrator. They are perfect together. I couldn't help but love it.