Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flashback Thursday: The Art of Reciprocal Teaching

HAPPY JULY 4th!
It is also thoughtful Thursday my friends, and you know what that means!  Time to join the fabulous Cara Carroll for her Throwback Thursday series!  Thanks Cara!

I have only just begun my blogging career this past year and WOW, have you taught me so much! 
Thank You! 
Thank You! 
Thank You!
I hope I can give you something thoughtful in return today.
It's on my favorite topic of Reciprocal Teaching- 
 but this post is a bit choppy.
I am FLASHING forward, then back, then present, then back...so give it a read and if you make it to the end...
A ten-finger WOOHOO for you!
 Be sure to enter the giveaway!

Now let's begin.

Are you familiar with Lori D. Oczkus?
How about the notion of Reciprocal Teaching?  
Well this past spring, I had the absolute pleasure of attending a 
3-day workshop presented by Lori.  Click here to see the workshop notes.  Lori did a fantastic job presenting her FAB 4 puppets during a ton of mini-lessons she demonstrated for us.  Her FLARE and ZEST for making strategy learning fun 
had me HOOK-LINE-and SINKER!
Throwback #1
The reason I stalked  pursued Lori and her Reciprocal Teaching seminar this spring was in light of something incredible I found last summer-
  My very first blog post was entitled, "Do you have H.E.A.R.T.?"  Heart being the acronym for Highly Effective and Reciprocal Teaching.  After posing that question to the audience, 
I shared this video-
Ashley's teaching video is 8 minutes long.  Perfect timing for a daily mini-lesson using an amazing amount of strategy learning!  Ashley is using all of Lori's Reciprocal Teaching techniques in her dialogue with the kids AND her overall ZEST for delivering THE FAB 4 is top notch!  I proudly admit to watching this video NUMEROUS times this year... To me, it is a mix of Whole Brain Teaching and Reciprocal Teaching.  
Perhaps they are one in the same!?!
What do you think?

THROWBACK again, to the beginning of school in August, when I launched my Critter Cafe unit.  I was inspired to use what I learned from watching Ashley's video and applying it to my first graders with the slight modification of using the beanie babies instead of puppets.
The short, intense mini-lessons with the critters were a HUGE hit with the kids!  Using that "reciprocal teaching style" I was able to teach AND engage a ton of reading strategies throughout the year with a class full of eager readers.
It was truly amazing to watch the kids in action!
We made our own little Critter Cafe reading nook in the classroom.
 The kids were allowed to use the beanies during Read to Self, Read to Someone, and with me during our conferring appointments. 
It was a huge confidence booster for them.... Having their beanie critter to coach them along.  
There is always that risk factor with beginning readers... 
"What if I....?"  "I can't...."  
As teachers, we WANT our babies taking those risks and pushing themselves to build stamina when they read.
I made a mental note that those "What if's"  became less and less, until one day, no worries...from even my lowest reader.  He was reading and telling me all about how he just cross-checked himself because cross-checking cheetah told him to!
BaZiNgA.
The Critter Cafe was working!
It's amazing to watch- a student sitting with their beanie critter, adjusting the book just right, setting their tone, and creating a conversation and dialogue that includes problem-solving and strategy objectives!   
I realized that up until last year, I was teaching the strategies but not allowing enough time for students to connect and RECIPROCATE that learning not just to me, but to their peers as well.  Students put no face value on higher-level skill-sets because the risk out-weighed the reward.  Some students were memorizing terms with no enduring understanding of the strategy.
Creating the Critter Cafe was my way of reaching ALL my littles...at every reading level.  Very simply, these beanie critters are my "lightening rod" to add that BAZINGA! to reading strategy learning.  Powerfully engaging and fun!  What more could I ask for?  

 So thank you, teachers, all across the country, 
for sharing so many beanie baby variations.
It inspired my own little version!
 I present my newly updated Critter Cafe unit!
 44 posters in all covering comprehension, decoding, building vocabulary, fluency, and a special feature of The Fab 4.

 


If you are just starting out with collecting your beanie babies, I suggest hitting the garage sales this summer!  I  lucked out last year with some great finds at yard sales, teacher donations, and some from Amazon.
If you would like a chance to WIN this unit,
 click here to enter my current giveaway!
To find it available to purchase, click here to visit my TPT store!
Thanks so much for stopping by and reading!
xoxo,

Psssssst.
Coming very, very soon.....
Tell ALL your friends to stop on by!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Made It: Critter Cafe Giveaway!

Friends I am so excited to share my good news with you today!
I just wrapped up my revisions on my Critter Cafe unit.
After some fab digital scrapbooking finds on TPT this summer, I changed the look of the entire unit.  There are now 44 reading strategy posters with a super-fun glittery ANIMAL print background that is sure to catch the eye of our youngest of readers!



As many of you know, I created the Critter Cafe at the start of last school year to help me deliver higher-level reading strategies to students through the use of beanie babies.  The critters serve as my "lightening rod" for sparking interest in new learning!  And, if you were to talk to any of my students, they would say, "WE LOVE the CRITTER CAFE!!!"  This unit has definitely been a Work of HEART and for me, a teacher who does NOT create many products for purchase, this was a huge big deal!  I am so happy to have it finished and excited to give a few away to a few lucky followers of my blog!
Simply enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!
It is also available for purchase at my TPT store.
******************************************************For my teacher peeps who have already been following the Critter Cafe and made contributions to the unit, please send me an email and I will forward the latest version to you ASAP!
******************************************************
Many HUGS and THANKS to all my blogging friends that have encouraged me to pursue this and share it with other teachers!
And thank you Tara for allowing me to link up and share this unit for your Monday Made It Linky!  Be sure to stop by and link up your creations with Tara every Monday!
xoxo,
Pin It button on image hover