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My book: Beyond Retelling
Filed under: Beyond Retelling | Tagged: Beyond Retelling Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas, Debra Renner Smith | Leave a Comment »
To help keep kids’ in seats instead of moving back and forth to picking out books during their self-selected reading time (or independent reading time), book baggies help. Often, teachers will have their students place books that are at their level or are ‘just-right’ books into the baggies. Some teachers will include nonfiction books, magazines, fiction books, picture books, even chapter books.
Filed under: Beyond Retelling, comprehension strategies, conference, confering, Debra Renner Smith, debrennersmith.blogspot.com, explicit teaching, Favorite Picture Book, http://www.debrennersmith.blogspot.com, I can read the book, independent reading, just right books, Linda Gambrell, Pat Cunningham, Patricia Cunningham, Reading Aloud, reading real books, Self Selected Reading, SSR, www.debrennersmith.blogspot.com | Tagged: Debra Renner Smith, Four Blocks, independent reading, just right books, Pat Cunningham, Patricia Cunningham, SSR, True Stories from Four Block Classrooms, True Stories to Four Blocks Classrooms | 2 Comments »
Pat and I are very thankful for each and every teacher (and educator) who attended the session. Our session’s room held 75. People stood by the walls, sat on the floors, kept the backdoors open, the side doors open, and were quiet as mice so over 120 people were in the room and over 50-75 patiently strained to hear outside the room. We are grateful. Today at 10:30 we have a book signing at 10:30 at the Pearson booth, 800, in the exhibit hall. International Reading Association attendance is way down to roughly 3700 attendees this February. We are appreciative for each and every person who attended our session.
Pat Cunningham and I are presenting our book at the International Reading Association on Sunday. Our session is Comprehension Strategy: Thinking Theme (Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas). It is hosted in the Phoenix Convention Center in room W211B. I can’t wait! I hope to see you all there!
Filed under: Beyond Retelling, Debra Renner Smith, Pat Cunningham | Tagged: Beyond Retelling Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas, Big Ideas, Debra Renner Smith, International Reading Association, Pat Cunningham, thinking theme | 1 Comment »
The teacher builds background knowledge by showing pictures and posing a question, “How do you show courage in these situations?” Turn and talk to your partner about a time you showed courage.
After the discussion, the children generate a kid-friendly definition about the theme. A question is posed to set purpose for the selection that the students read:
Ideas based on Patricia Cunningham and Debra Renner Smith’s book, Beyond Retelling,
Don Murray wrote “I write to know what it is I didn’t know I knew!”
I remember as I wrote my book with Pat Cunningham, Beyond Retelling, this quote was stuck on my computer. I would send a chapter to her. She would send it back with very important questions. I would write what I didn’t know I knew or remembered. As we ponder the question, “How will we help our students with topic development?” I think it is important to think about prior knowledge and developing the memories that they have experienced about their lives. This certainly helped me as Pat and I wrote this book together.
Writing a kid friendly theme is important. Students internalize a theme when it is child centered instead of copied from a dictionary. The teacher records the students’ thinking on a chart. They answer the question, “What does perseverance mean?” How would you describe it to your students? The students and I described perseverance as, “Perseverance means trying and trying and trying even when it is hard. It means never giving up.”
As we know, setting purpose helps students know what to think about while they read or we read. Deb is teaching a lesson about perseverance to a group of students. She is setting purpose for this lesson by asking the big question, “Sometimes people do not give up, no matter how tough it gets. How do you think having perseverance is helpful or useful to the toys?” This question is also written on the chart paper to assist students in remembering their job today while reading. Deb reminds the students, “Your job today while reading is to figure out how you think having perseverance is helpful or useful to the toys. What is your job?” Deb knows if the students can answer, we are good to go… if the students cannot answer… it is time to repeat the purpose for the lesson!
Deb starts the lesson by reading the beginning of the book, The Little Engine That Could, aloud. The students are listening for actions or events in the story where the characters are showing perseverance. If a character shows perseverance, then the student puts a thumb up. If the student thinks that the character is not showing perseverance, then the student puts a thumb down. If the student is not sure, then the student shakes the thumb sideways.
Deb is reading a few pages of the book while the students are thinking about perseverance.
The children talk to each other about places in the book that the characters’ actions show perseverance.
Here are the children indicating with thumbs up. “Yes, this is an event that shows perseverance. ” The child with the mouth wide open is saying YES!
After supporting the students for a few pages, the students took over and did the work. While reading, all students were reading to find characters who were doing events that showed perseverance.
Some students read alone. Some students read with a partner. Some read in a small group. No child is left stranded with text that is too hard. Students are talking and processing the theme together.
First, the teacher leads a discussion between the students about the first column: “Events or actions by characters connected to the theme, including examples and nonexamples.” Second, the teacher leads a discussion between the students about the second column: “Why did the character act that way?” Third, the teacher leads a discussion between the students about the third column: “What did the character get for acting that way?” Fourth, the teacher leads a discussion between the students about the fourth column: “Did this event show the theme of _____ or not? Yes, because…; No, because…” It is important for the teacher to encourage the students to explain why the event IS showing the theme, or why the event IS NOT showing the theme.
The teacher leads a discussion:
How come the character is acting this way? Is the clown showing perseverance when he keeps stopping this engine then the next engine then the next engine? Does little blue keep trying when he says, “I think I can” over and over?
Having the students engage in these discussions leads to synthesis and deep thinking instead of simple knowledge questions: Who are the characters, where did the story take place? Etc.