Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flashback Thursday: The Art of Reciprocal Teaching

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 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!
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 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!

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


  1. So, would you & the Handsome Italian like to move to Atlanta so you could teach next door? Seriously, give it some thought :) haha!

    In love with this & that video. When I finish up all this grad school work, that book is at the top of my list. Thanks for sharing and really really wish I hadn't gotten rid of all those Beanie Babies :(

    First Grade Fairytales

  2. Kelly,
    Talk about a dream job! How amazing would it be to teach right next to a teacher like you! I would be honored! I will start putting a bug in Chris's ear!!
    You know, another great way to get some beanies is to add them to a Wish List. Give it to parents and see what you get!!
    Happy July 4th my dear!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this flashback/present post about reciprocal teaching. Always enjoy reading your posts...

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers


Pin It button on image hover