#TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion: Laughter and Learning Session #1

Session # I Make the Most Powerful Use of the New K-2 Units of Study in Reading with Amanda Hartman

What are you loving most about the new units of study in reading?

The concise mini-lessons?

The charts?

The post-its?

The books?

The authors worked together and thought very carefully about the language so the teaching and language is consistent, concise and precise.  Another consideration in the development was how does the mini-lesson bring together the theme of unit?  Not just solving words?  The new units were designed to relieve some of the teacher planning. The goal was to allow teachers to transfer their energy to study student work and or plan rest of the lesson.

Lucy said. . .  let the teachers hold the books during the lesson . . .having the book there, marked up is a great tool. The mini-lesson is not a script to be read word for word but a resource to support what is most important in the lesson and to keep the teacher focused.

In the units teachers will find a level of ambitiousness.  They will feel fast-paced.  The goal is to provide multiple opportunities to develop stamina, skills, volume, and a love of reading at all grade levels.  In order to be readers, students have to read a lot!

What did the TC staff and the authors do?  Amanda shared that they did a lot of videotaping of mini-lessons and then studied those lessons.  As they watched the mini-lessons, they looked for:

  • What was the same?
  • What was different?
  • Not memorizing?
  • What held true to the written mini-lesson?
  • What was truly important?

Amanda shared that there were so many differences even when the author delivers the lesson. (And she knows that as one of the authors.)

What can teachers do?  Lesson Study

  • Video tape your mini-lessons
  • Compare and contrast your lesson and the written mini-lesson
  • Look at your follow-up to the lesson – did you hold true to the theme/purpose of the lesson?
  • Check for the big idea of the lesson


Routines do not have to be taught in isolation.  Routines do not always have to be taught FIRST. Consider teaching a routine inside the lesson so the purpose is set for students.  You would see this in first grade with volume, reading mats, and logs. Always think about those routines (and purpose) across lessons, bends, units, and the year!


Amanda’s demonstrations were quick, succinct, and so helpful.

Examples:  Grade 2 – Lesson 1 –  Jack and the Bean Stalk

The reader is In charge of what you want to read and HOW you want to read.

So tragic, the old woman who swallowed a fly.  How do you think she felt? (Elicit ideas from students.) Possible ideas include:  Scary, silly, worried, frustrated

  • Let’s all try to read it in the “worried” voice (still under 10 min.)
  • Do it with your partner (Time for practice now inside the ML.)
  • Do it with your partner now!

This work allows the teacher to be responsive to the readers in the class.  It’s not about anguishing over the fact that “my students didn’t come up with those ideas”.  Instead it’s about bringing the students into the world of readers in a “playful” way but also giving them some language and ways to start thinking about reading.

Another Example – Grade 2 bend 3

Jot while they read, to make sure they are thinking. Add the post it examples and name how you get that thought. When students go off to stop and jot, they TELL the story – not big idea – WHAT’s the idea? The goal is to move the students beyond retelling.

So let’s pretend you’d like to pull a small group to help them think as they read. (studying book baggies and post its for 3 hours – All retelling)

How would that group go?

structure Compliment – “You are growing like a beanstalk and are reading chapter books. AND TELL WHY I brought them together – So many post its and I wanted to know what you were thinking.”

“I have read your books so I know what the book says.

  • “Remind you of this chart and “Katie Woo” (same one) What were those things that we thought of inside Katie Woo.
  • Try that right now in your book – rereading
  • Push yourself to have an idea
  • Ready
  • Open up your book
  • Start to read it
  • Read it.
  • When get to post- it
  • Stop and think…. “(And have chart in front of kids while watching them “DO IT” – like a feeling. Katie Woo is really sick and feels terrible !)

Cautions – Remember what it means to be six years old – they forget a lot.  Remind students quietly.  Begin with the least intrusive scaffold. Then provide more support for students who need it. “Tell me what you are thinking.” Have that one student practice it orally. Point to the big chart or a smaller version of the chart for a picture clue.  Then you can say, “Great, now write that down.” or have them practice some more if still struggling. Only provide the help that is needed. “If I never provide the least support, I will never know when kids can’t get it and why!”


Study your unit pages closely so you know where you will build the charts.  Use the charts to know what questions to ask or even to name the work the students are doing.


Bring the charts down. Put  them on the bulletin board. Move them around for use with small groups or conferences. If students are not USING the charts, do a bit of reflection.  How are you, the teacher, using the charts across the session?

  • Only in your mini-lesson?
  • With small groups?
  • In conferences?
  • In sharing?

The more YOU use the charts across the session, the more students will also use the charts!

Shared Reading


“Having Fun, not everyone will read on 1st read, students chime in when works, not slowing down for students”

How can you involve all students is reading a book like “Brown Bear”?

Get a beat going. Have a rhythm.

Remember in shared reading the teacher does the comprehension work.

  • May do a “guess the covered word”
  • Choose a noun to cover up
  • “incredible, you are so smart that you know the word horse!”
  • This creates a lot of print awareness by end of unit 1 in kindergarten
  • will have high frequency words in unit 2
  • Need skills embedded in shared reading
  • Can make up song that parallels the structure – using their names
  • Can make little books with their names

Use Songs and Chants for Reading Warm Ups / Transitions

One goal of reading is that it will be FUN and enjoyable for all students.  This doesn’t happen if students are continually being pushed and feel like they are slogging through the mud instead of joyously reading.  Readers that know they are progressing build up their own capacity to persevere when they develop a growth mindset.  Songs and chants can help with this.  Here were two ideas.  Recognize the sources?  Not fancy-schmancy!  Not glitzy!  Yes, engaged!  Yes, FUN!

Happy Birthday Song

I like to play with you.

I like to play with you.

I like to play with ____.

I like to play with you.

2015-10-17 10.32.26

2015-10-17 10.42.46

Take Away:  Volume of Reading Matters Especially with Beginning Readers

If your readers are stuck, look to see what’s available in the grades below.  Remember that levels are only guides and that sometimes we will have to look behind us or in front of us (grades before and above) to find the resources that will help our students be successful and have FUN! (Laughter is a great indicator!)

For Additional Information about the K-5 Units of Study in Reading

Resources:  Facebook page for Units of Study in Reading

Videos:  Video Orientation for K, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, and Reading Pathways


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

18 responses

  1. I am using the units this year for the first time and I love learning from your reflections. I hope to get into a training this summer, as I know it will help me improve. Thanks for always sharing!

    1. You are welcome! Sharing information is so much fun! ❤

  2. As always, such simple and useful ideas. You always provide examples that are clear and easy to incorporate at any grade level. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome! Amanda’s sessions are so easy to follow!

  3. […] Session # I Make the Most Powerful Use of the New K-2 Units of Study in Reading with Amanda Hartman What are you loving most about the new units of study in reading? The concise mini-lessons? The charts? The post-its? The books? The authors worked together and thought very carefully about the language so the…  […]

  4. Your tweets were my lifeline to learning on Saturday, Fran. Thanks for this comprehensive post, too.

    1. Thanks, Tara! The wifi was a bit iffy so I didn’t always have internet! More to come!

  5. You continue to overwhelm us with your ability to share what you have learned from PD sessions. Your ability to synthesize, reflect and share your learning is amazing. Thank you –our teachers really appreciate your posts.
    Clare and Tammy

    1. You are so welcome! Stealing from Vicki, it’s so obviously a passion that it’s easier to write about these days as I try to figure out how to use all my learning!

      (Writing was easier than making my four choices from the 150 possible! Ouch – so hard!)

      I appreciate your kind thoughts and look forward to seeing you at NCTE15!

  6. Thank you, Fran, for this information about the Saturday Reunion. It is always a well-attended and beneficial PD day.

    1. You are welcome, Carol! Fellowship and learning across the miles – YAY, Learning!

  7. After reading this I wish I had attended Amanda’s session. There were so many choices and I thought each session I attended was great. Just wish I could have attended more than four. Thanks for sharing – there are some great ideas.

    1. Lisa,
      It’s such a testament to the quality of sessions at #tcrwp that we can’t hardly make up our minds – but yet are also comforted by the fact that ALL the sessions are great! Everyone at TC is so talented! You are welcome!

  8. You are so generous to share your learning, thank you! I always learn from you. What an amazing day!

    1. Elsie, It was such a fabulous day! And I’ve only covered the first two hours! More to come! You are welcome! I was blessed to be able to participate!

  9. Thanks for sharing your notes, Fran. The new reading units sound amazing.

    1. Dana,
      I’ve only used a bit of first grade so far. The mini-lessons are so precise (and shorter) with so many connections built into the word work and shared reading! Lots of work that helps the teacher plan the whole reading workshop very smoothly!

  10. […] #TCRWP 89th Saturday Reunion: Laughter and Learning Session #1 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Steph Scrap Quilts

"Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..."


A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Tim's Teaching Thoughts

Ideas and Reflections on Teaching

Hands Down, Speak Out

Listening and Talking Across Literacy and Math

Teachers | Books | Readers

Literacy Leaders Connecting Students and Books

Dr. Carla Michelle Brown * Speaker * author * Educator

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them. www.carlambrown.com

Curriculum Coffee

A Written Shot of Espresso

Mrs. Palmer Ponders

Noticing and celebrating life's moments of any size.


Seeking Ways to Grow Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers & Writers

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers


adventures in multiple tenses

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together


Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

%d bloggers like this: