Wednesday, March 5, 2014

SOLSC #5: I can't hang.

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

Prior to becoming a Literacy Coach, I taught middle school for ten years. First sixth, for six years, and then looped with 7th - 8th twice. Now, as a coach, I work in an elementary building. I took this job to learn lots more about how reading develops from kinder through fifth grade, and it's an understatement to say that I'm learning so much!

Well, props to all of you elementary school teachers. I subbed for second grade today, and it was so not what I was used to! Luckily, this is a class I'm in every day, so I have really good relationships with the kiddos, but I have never been in there, on my own, for a whole day. Let me just say: I'm exhausted.

Of course the best part of my day was during reading. During our workshop time, we had a mini-lesson on NF Text Features (highlighting table of contents, glossary, and index today) and then kids went and worked with nonfiction books while we saw small groups. During workshop time, I noticed many kids going up to the anchor chart for reference:

During the share time at the end of workshop, I had students return to our meeting area with their NF book and sit next to their talking partner. They each, then, had a turn to share the text features they found in their book:

They were so engaged in what they were doing, teaching one another about what they found. (We are only on day 2 of this skill, so it was good reinforcement for the kids!)

And, they still referenced the anchor chart as they discussed the text features they found. Here are two of them looking up at it as they talk about a book:

Teaching second grade reminded me just how important it was to explicitly model what I wanted. During our share time, I told them to talk about the text features they found, and since I didn't show them to use their books, they opened their Reader's Notebooks to show what they had written on the organizer we gave them. When I noticed, I promptly stopped them, and then showed them what I meant with someone's book. Then they were off and running.

Anyways, to all of you primary teachers, the ones who welcome our students to their first year of school, the ones who teach them foundational skills of reading and writing, the ones who teach them how to do three digit subtraction with regrouping - thank you! Our kids are lucky to have teachers so passionate about the grades they teach!

Have you ever taught a grade that was vastly different than what you're used to? Please share!

Happy Wednesday!


  1. For the first 2 years of my career, I was a substitute teacher. For the next 10 years, I was a reading intervention teacher. Then, I got moved to a first grade classroom, where I have been for 5 years. While I have worked with primary kiddos for 15 years, it's so different being in the classroom and being responsible for ALL learners in ALL subjects at ALL levels. There is so much I feel like I don't know! And you are so right that you have to sometimes be reminded to be more explicit about your expectations and model what it is you want. I'm sure all of your experiences with this class will only strengthen you!

  2. The kids were so cute working with their non-fiction books. I love the lesson. I used to teach the same type of lesson in my library. Thanks for sharing.

    My slice for day five.

  3. For me, Kindergarten or anything younger is too far out of my comfort zone. I can't handle that they can't/don't wipe their own noses!

  4. I've always taught elementary school-- either classroom, intervention or coach. Two years ago, I got a job at a K-8. The middle schoolers are a whole new breed to me, but I adore them. So much energy! So much laughter! So much change going on!


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