TCRWP: Reading Institute Day 5

Accelerating Readers with Brooke Geller

Our agenda for the day:

Supporting complex texts and close reading during units of study

  • Gallery walk

We displayed our learning in charts, brochures, flyers, and even blogs so class members could walk around and see evidence of learning.  It’s fascinating to see our learning displayed in so many ways.

  • Round table conversations

We met in grade level groups and discussed issues, questions, and/or concerns.  See notes below.

  • Celebration

Brooke read aloud from Stand for Children by Marion Wright Edelman and then we each stood and said who we were standing for.


 Notes from grade level round table conversations: 

Grade 7:  Using some tips from Tracy Fell including personalizing student notebooks, writing at personal reader’s history and publishing it the first week of school. Brooke shared this possible schedule for 7th grade.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Read Aloud….

Independent Reading

Reading Workshop Read Aloud…

Independent Reading

Reading Workshop Reading Workshop

Under this schedule Mondays and Wednesday will be component days and will include some vocabulary work.  This particular group of teachers will also have “Great Works” studies three times a year for 3 week units where they will do a whole class book.

Grade 6:  Because there is a focus on world cultures, they were looking for additional texts.   Home of the Brave, Long Walk to Water, Your Move by Eve Bunting, and Inside Out and Back Again were all mentioned!  They also talked about how characters change across series like Harry Potter – book ladders available on the #tcrwp website and this document .

Grade 5:   Discussed launching the first unit and working with the close reading lenses at the beginning of the year.  Because many students have not come from workshop classes, discussion centered around transitions including:  reviewing curriculum calendars from grade 4 and concerted vertical alignment with adjacent grade levels.  READ ALOUD – Popularities – From book – My first French Kiss   One teacher shared using Home of the Brave (Applegate) early in the year with close reading work and then coming back to it later in the year as a part of  author study. HF – Counting on Grace

Grade 4:  They talked about access to notes from other grades, Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong for social issues, The Can Man, A Room of My Own, and Those Shoes, and Getting Through Thursday.


 Successful Book Clubs

Brooke reminded us of the videos that show students talking about books like Bud not Buddy, My Name is Isabelle and Night (MS) and that it is helpful to let the students see the videos so they have a picture of their goal.

 However, that video will NOT take the place of a mini-lesson.

Possible scenario for envisioning Book Clubs ( coaches, admin. & teachers)

  1. Watch video
  2. Create a  T chart of what want/ know about a book club
Looks Like Sounds Like
  • A group of people – 3 or more
  People talking


  1. Students set goals for own book club
  2. Meet as a book club
  3. Watch the video again and reflect on own work
  4. Revise chart based on own work, the video, and reflection


Social Studies Centers with Kathleen Tolan

We began with a whole group close reading  of the Gorillas NF Read Aloud Video

  • Notice the tone.  How would you describe it?
  • List the different ways the teacher engages the students?
  • What methods of teaching are used?
  • What scaffold or supports are used to maximize learning for all?
  • What skills are children being prompted to use?
  • What level of questioning is being used?
  • What evidence of accountable talk do you see?
  • Is the teacher able to assess students understanding of the content during the read aloud?
  • How might assessment follow this read aloud?

These questions provided a variety of lenses to process the demonstration!

Whole Group Activity Boston Massacre

We used a basic picture like this by Paul Revere and compared it to two other versions:




Discussion questions included:

Who benefits from Paul Revere’s image?

Who was the image created for?

And how does it affect that person in that time period?

Why did Paul Revere tell the story this way?

(We worked with two other pictures that my Mac is not allowing me to copy)

Then we layered in “The Bloody Work of King Street” by Paul Revere.

A great ending to our work with Social Studies Centers but just the beginning to our curiosity about all those old pictures of The Boston Tea Party and ALL of those old stories.


Kathleen’s wisdom:  Probably 30% of what you believe is actually true!

We want our students to read something  and then put it up against facts.  They need to be able to judge misinformation.


Closing Celebration!

Many thanks and accolades

3 songs sung by teachers

A tribute to Walter Dean Myers who passed this week

Kathy Collins – Keynote   Not so random thoughts on Butterflies, Thigh Gaps, and Teaching

Thigh gap, unattainable body mechanics, compared to NCLB!

So very funny!  Such a good way to end the week.  Kathy left us with a note of hope as she read the book, The Little Brute Family.

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