Thursday, September 29, 2011

Charts & Challenges

Last week was the second full week of school and I was feeling pretty pleased with how well things were going. We had created "I" Charts (I for Independent) for 3 of the Daily 5 literacy tasks, practiced them and had built up from 3 to 6 minutes of stamina for Read to Self time.

For the most part, students were beginning to follow the routines and procedures we had made together. Below are the rough drafts that were made with my students. I always have a vision of what these Procedure Charts should contain and always re-create them every year with my new students. I've found the process of having students help develop these charts results in a stronger learning community and greater student buy-in. They never cease to amaze me with what they come up with! The rough drafts stay up for a couple of days in case they need to be modified or edited. I then make a permanent copy of each one. Charts are together on a book ring and hang in a prominent place.

Procedure Chart rough draft examples from this year

Despite all of this, something happened. . . not sure what or why, but we had a major set-back--down to only 2 minutes of Read to Self. After 2 days of re-teaching, more teacher and student demonstrations and practice, we were still having problems.
Final draft from last year

Time to dig deeper and have students define what Read to Self time would look and sound like under certain conditions; so together we made a rubric and created a "Read to Self Time-O-Meter" to monitor how they were doing with building stamina. So far, it seems to have done the trick--8 minutes today! And, should we have a set-back at any point during the year, we'll use the Classroom Meeting format for problem solving.

 The cute Time-O-Meter to monitor stamina came from Nicole Scott's awesome blog,  Flipping For First Grade and Pinterest. This visual has really helped---my students are so proud of their progress toward their goal of 15 minutes!
Read to Self Rubric--We used the I Chart above for the far left column and students brainstormed ideas for the other 2 columns!
 These are a couple of other "Challenges" we are monitoring daily for quality by timing, recording and posting data. These ideas came from the Langford Quality Learning seminar my district sponsored a while back.


  1. "Awesomely" inspirational! Thanks!!

  2. So good - it generalizes and extends up through grad school. I'll be sending lots of people to this post.

  3. Kathy, What I especially like about this blog post is the description of concrete acts of collaboration and cooperation with the class, helping children to participate in creating structures for the class and take more responsibility for their learning. American schooling seems to be shifting more and more back to a transmission kind of model of teaching in which teachers dispense knowledge and learners ingest knowledge. But real learning occurs in participatory communities. You've given us a wonderful glimpse of how that works in your classroom. Richard