Today I attended a local series of workshops that are presented each year by a local reading association. I LOVE being part of the local professional development movement! There is nothing like getting together with other teachers and listening to the expertise that exists within our own professional ranks. I always leave feeling energized, rather than the overwhelmed and defeated feeling I have after district organized PD. No data to analyze or numbers to crunch. No scrambling to figure out how to fix everything. Just pure ideas and great practice.
The first session I attended was on guided reading – specifically Jan Richardson’s Next Steps book. (This is a great book! It takes Fountas and Pinnell and adds an update twist.) I enjoyed reading this book a couple years ago and was ready for a refresher in guided reading. I have always been a strong believer of the power of guided reading, but it is always great to refresh your thinking and learn from someone else’s approach!
What I took away from the training (before I left to set up my session):
- You should be able to pack A LOT into your reading groups – vocabulary work, running records, reading strategies,conferences.
- Each group should be a solid 20-40 minutes – I’m stuck with 20, but I wish I could do 30…
- Conference with one student from each group on Tuesday,Wednesday, and Thursday. Monday is for introducing a skill, Friday for wrapping it up – I want to add The CAFÉ back into my work. Why have I unintentionally fazed it out?
- Keep a calendar on the cover of each group folder to schedule conferences.
- Make efficient use of my limited time during GR groups.
- Get more organized with my materials.
- Begin conferencing again…
- Revisit Jan Richardson’s book.
I went on to have a lovely session on integrating literacy into the content areas. It was a fun new presentation and I had great feedback and ideas to add to the presentation. I easily filled up my hour without even opening my online links or hooking up my iPad to demonstrate the apps I shared.
I plan to support some of my presentation on the blog as soon as I have a few minutes to convert things over.
Do you have local organizations or groups that do staff development? I am convinced that we need to be our own strongest supporters!