Thursday, September 20, 2012

Focus Lessons in Reading and Writing

Today I was thinking of the parts of the writing workshop in classrooms.  One of the important parts is the mini lesson or the focus lesson.  This is not the old 'teacher-talking-student-listening' maxi lesson.  It is the time to give a teaching point that students can learn from and possible use that day in their writing. I do say possibly. It is not a requirement. Sometimes, if I really want the student to try it to just get a feel for how to do it, I might challenge them to try it. I would even bribe them with, "...and if you try it, you can share today!"

 It is another Gramma Preschool day today. When Meron, my four-year-old grand daughter, comes, I have a plan...a schedule. For the reading part of our day, we will review the book we read last time, but we will also introduce a new read aloud book. Today's book is: In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming. I chose this book because in science we are going to be going outside to look at sunflowers. This is a connection between science and reading. I also chose it for the pictures and word choice.

We will start the read aloud... focus lesson by talking about the author, illustrator and title. We will take a fast picture walk. As we do the walk, I will help her to notice the passing of time. It is never mentioned in words. At the beginning the sun is high in the sky and it ends with the fireflies blinking and moon rising above. This is a great book for the beginning reader, but it is also one that could be used for passing of time with the older writer, too. Picture books are wonderful treasures for all ages.

My challenge for Meron today will be to try that in her writing. I want to connect the writing time into the learning areas of reading and science and possibly math as we count sunflower seeds!

It will be important for me to remember to keep my focus lesson short, even though I will be incorporating a read aloud. This is one of the things teachers lessons are not maxi lessons!  Happy Reading!

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