Saturday, January 7, 2012

Let's Recap: And take a breath

This week has been such an adventure for us, but wow has it felt long! Thank goodness the weekend is here, right?! Ok, to recap our fabulous centers overhaul!

Katie: "Today was amazing! My kiddos were so engaged in writing today!"

Rebecca: "I am excited that your post office is up and running! My kids will be excited too. I love the idea of building stamina with both reading and writing. How did you set the stage for your firsties to have such an engaged writing day? "

Katie: "To begin, we reviewed our anchor charts on why reading and writing are important. I had my kiddos echo read them with me so they heard themselves read the purpose to centers."

Rebecca: "I like that you keep connecting back to the importance of the charts to help your friends remember. What do you think has been your "winning strategy" with the implementation thus far?"

Katie: "I think what worked in my favor was conducting the check-ins. Once a student was demonstrating off task behavior, I rang the bell and had the students gather for a quick check-in on how they felt they were doing with the current center they were working on. I also use this time, which is no more than 3 minutes, to review what the reading and writing stations should look like and sound like."

Rebecca: "Check-ins are brilliant! I need to be better about doing that. I think that would really help my posse of rowdy boys be better about being on task!  "

Katie: "What worked well for you?"

Rebecca: "In my room we have been working on being "deep thinkers" during centers. I have done lots of modeling on making connections (text to self, text to text, and text to world) and using our comprehension strategy animals. Ooh Katie, we should share our comprehension strategy animals!"

Katie: "We totally should! I love that you are teaching your students how to be deep thinkers and tying it to the strategies that we use in our classrooms!"

Rebecca: "I have absolutely LOVED center share. It has been a really positive thing for my friends. They are eager to share their connections and their hearts from centers. Some of the connections are a little...should we say... superficial, but at least they are making them. I think as they develop a real consciousness about what they are doing the quality of their connections will improve."

Katie: "Center Share has become such a fantastic time! I love that we are teaching our kiddos to think and reflect about what they have been working on and learning. As time goes on, I bet we will see less and less of the superficial comments and more outstanding insights!"

All and all, we think we are going to love this new center system. It will be interesting to see what happens when we incorporate Learning Licenses!

~ Katie and Rebecca

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