Thursday, October 23, 2008

Reading Workshop Amusements

I do have to admit that first graders make me laugh quite frequently. Yesterday it was my little prince who forced me to turn away so he wouldn't see me cracking up. He's an extremely bright little guy who seems to be treated as a prince at home (from what we can tell). He has great things to say in class, but is completely unwilling to stop or to refrain from sharing at inappropriate times. He craves constant attention from his teachers and peers. He is willing to argue just about anything and has impressive perseverance in an argument. As a result, he drives me bonkers quite frequently. However, I also adore him.

Yesterday the amazing reading teacher who works with the prince's guided reading group was collecting some of their guided reading books from earlier in the year. She was asking the prince for his copy of a certain book and he was insisting that he had already given it to her. As he searched through his book box he continued to vociferously state that he did not have the book. Mid-claim he found his copy of the book. As he handed it to her he said, "Oh, yeah, you're right." She and I looked at each other in shock, wishing we had the statement on tape.

The week before our intersession break I was working with one of my reading groups. Two of these little ones have been driving me crazy because they aren't putting into practice the reading strategies we've been learning. They just look at me, quite patiently, when they come across a difficult word. They're also really good at listening to each other so that if someone else in the group can read the word they'll hear it (not a sustainable strategy obviously). One thing I've really been focusing on with them is looking at the beginning of the word and getting their mouths ready. They have not done it consistently without reminders from me. It's going to make my head explode soon. On this particular day we were reading a book about different animals. One of the animals was a wombat. My kids have no background knowledge on wombats and would not recognize one if it bit them on the butt. So, getting their mouths ready and looking at the picture weren't going to be hugely helpful, unfortunately. In the midst of our guided reading group chaos broke out in another area of the room. Another teacher dealt with it but I got distracted by it and lost my focus for a minute or two. When I managed to look back at the kids they were all on the wombat page, getting their mouths ready. All I could hear was, "Wah, wah, wah, wah..." It's not clear how long they'd been at it. I was proud of their effort but I'm sure that wasn't obvious as I struggled to keep from laughing out loud.

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