(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!) Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge: Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna and Beth. More Slice of Life posts can be found at Two Writing Teachers .
How do teachers maximize time for student benefits?
Tip One: Increase talk time of students in order for them to solidify their learning. A very specific tip was shared by Lucy Calkins at the Spring Saturday Reunion at Teachers College.
Five minutes. Find five minutes for students to talk after they have been reading. No cost. No text dependent questions. No quiz.
“TALK!” – Lucy Calkins
Chapter 1 “Why Talk is Important in Classrooms” from Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey’s Content Area Conversations will give you additional ideas about the value of talk including “Reading and writing float on a sea of talk.”
Tip Two: Maximize your use of small groups across the day from Shanna B Schwartz. “Weave small groups across the day, through reading workshop, writing workshop and word study periods.” Use small groups to help students meet targets and accelerate learning!
Another source of information about “small group” instruction is Debbie Diller’s Making the Most of Small Groups: Differentiation for All. In this book Diller also explains the difference between guided reading groups and small groups working on such skills as comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, etc. The goals of the group are determined by the data upon which they are formed!