Sunday, July 29, 2012

New blog design and reading workshop

In case you haven't noticed, I have a beautiful new blog design that I love. Thanks to Erika and Misty at Honey Bunch Blog Design! They are wonderful to work with. I thought it would take much longer to get together than it did. They sent me a variety of choices on Monday and I had the new design up by Saturday. I love it and think it fits me perfectly. Chris calls me his little bookworm all the time. I am changing the name of my blog to Ms. Kerri and Her Krazy Klass since I switch back and forth between kindergarten and first grade. I would love it if you would replace my old button with the new one, if you have my button on your blog.

Ok. So I'm finally going to post about something actually school related. I finished read Daily 5 week before last and have been super excited to start this come the new school year. But my interest has also been really piqued in reader's workshop. Kindergarten Kindergarten has had several posts here lately about reader's workshop and how she does it in her classroom. (You can check out the first of the series here) Inspired by her, I ordered the book, Growing Readers by Kathy Collins. I was excited to see they had it for the kindle and I got it about half price and I didn't have to wait to start reading it. The joys of reading on my kindle. (or maybe it's dangerous. I'm not saying.)
I'm only 18% through the book but I've already been inspired. I really like Kathy Collins' style of writing. She offers great insight and shows how it works on the classroom. Here are a few things that I have learned already:

The structure of readers' workshop is:
  • Minilesson - 10 minutes 
  • Send students to go read for 20 minutes. During this time the teacher is offering indivdualized reading instruction
  • Partner reading - 10 minutes - Teacher confers with small groups of partners
  • Share time - 10 minutes - This share time is the teacher sharing what she observed as opposed to the kids sharing.
As I read this, I saw how this fits with Daily 5 and how they could work together. There are some differences. If I followed a readers' workshop structure, I probably wouldn't allow for as much choice in what the kids are doing like in Daily 5. Not sure yet, how I would do this.

Another structure I liked was the reading conference. This is something I experimented with last year. I like how Collins outlined the conference.
  • They should last 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Observe the students as they read and jot notes.
  • Start by offering a compliment on something the student did well.
  • Teach one skill or strategy, demonstrate it and then let the student try it out.
Collins suggests keeping notes on these conferences. You keep track of the compliment you gave the student, the teaching point and what you need to work on with the students. I've made a little sheet to help me keep track of the conferences. It's just the first of a project I've started to get my reading notebook together. You can download it if you would like to use it.

One other interesting idea, she offered was switching up the order of your day sometimes. By teaching math in the morning and literacy in the afternoon every once in a while, you offer your students who might not be as successful in literacy the chance the to be successful right of the bat. I like this idea. I'm not sure how it would work out with my schedule but it's something I'm going to think about it.
As I read more of the book, I'll keep sharing some ideas and share some more freebies. Thanks so much for all of you that answered my questions yesterday. I got some great feedback and it was nice to hear what other people do. I'm still on the hunt for the spelling program that will work for me. I've gotten a few ideas. Thanks for sharing. If you do readers' workshop, leave me a comment and let me know how it is in your room. Hopefully, I'll be back on track with offering some more educational posts this week.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. Kerri, I love your design! Erika & Misty did my design too & they are fabulous!! :) Thank you for the reading workshop tips & freebie.
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Thanks for sharing your conference pages!

    Mrs.D Reading with Mrs. D

  3. Great conference page - that will come in handy for me! Thanks for sharing - and for visiting my blog!

    Second Grade Sparkle

  4. Kerri LOVE the new page! Last year my school system changed over from a scripted reading program to readers workshop model and it was hard to be the best at everything. I incorporated Collins model and I felt like this is the one thing that I started to do well by the end of the year. I like your freebie and I am going to try and use this one, just wondering do you think you could fit a few more on the page only because I would use it on a clipboard and I would like to use one for each child so that I can just check their page and reference back to what we have been working on and see the progress them have made and if you copied the page on back of each other you could possibly get like 10 conferences on one sheet. Just a thought!
    Kindness Counts in Kindergarten

    1. Hollie, I am posting a new freebie tonight or tomorrow that has more than 4 places for conferences on each side. I hope it helps.

  5. Love your new look!
    Thanks for the freebie too!

    A Pirates Life for Us

  6. I LOVE your new design. So adorable! Thank you so much for sharing your reading conference worksheet. I have been trying to figure out how I want to do my workshop this year and this sheet will compliment my ideas. Love it! :o)

  7. I found your blog through Classroom Freebies. Thanks so much for the freebie! I'm your newest follower. Check out my blog at Teaching Third