My literacy block in 2nd grade is organized as follows. Using a combination
of Sharon Taberski's ideas for Reading Workshop and the Four Block model, I have separated my time into chunks.
First, I do some type of Word Study during the block which could be either word wall work or a grammar mini lesson using their current reading. This block generally lasts for 30 minutes. Activities for reviewing the word wall can be found on my site in the Working With Words section. Generally, once a week we play Wordo and Wheel of Fortune. We also do word cheers, a list of which are on the site. I also do work building on words we know. Using a word wall word like found I have them write ground, pound, hound and other words in that family. We do a Making Words lesson every Wednesday and on Thursday we do our sorting. I have set up the folders with the baseball card pages this year and each child has their own set of letters. It has really helped speed up the distribution of letters and the collection.
They have Writers Workshop each day. This week we had a mini lesson on writing blurb's for books we had read in an author study. We have been looking at the structure of blurb's and it was time for them to write their own. They did a great job on this. Blurbs are an easy, interesting way to get a short piece published.
Everyday we do a whole class comprehension mini lesson during what is called my Guided Reading block. This is where the Mosaic instruction is mainly based. My class is always reading an on grade selection during this time. This is to ensure that they are exposed to the necessary vocabulary and text structure for their grade level regardless of whether they are below grade or not. We have been reading Magic Tree House and tying in content area instruction during this time. We also have read Junie B. Jones and are now reading a Magic School Bus selection on Whales tying in Science. I want to be sure to expose them to lots of nonfiction concepts and vocabulary. When we are not reading a whole class selection like the ones above, the kids are in Literature Circles. There are generally 5 groups and the titles are different. The levels vary as well and range from books like Danny and the Dinosaur to Time Warp Trio books. During this time I try to meet with a different group each day, 1 for each day of the week. When we are reading whole class selections like Magic Tree House, I like to use a lot of partner reading formats. I don't change partners all the time because as Lucy Calkins says in her book it is nice to allow them to develop a relationship with someone through books. When I find a twosome that works well I leave it.
We have transformed our Self Selected block this year and now have more of a Reading Workshop. Each child works during this time on their own individual level. We had a minilesson this week that involved a piece of text that I lifted out of the newspaper. It happened to be a Dennis the Menace comic strip. I copied it on the overhead and we looked at the format. The lesson focused on text structure and the author's use of bold lettering and punctuation to make points. The kids were asked in their independent reading to find a similar example sentence. They were off reading and I was conferencing. Other examples could be to find descriptive language, or interesting ways to say said. We also do comprehension work at this time so many mini lessons involve the same strategies used in Guided Reading.
Each day I do Reading Workshop in this manner, which involves the kids reading independently with books on their level. This comes from Sharon Taberski's book On Solid Ground. The kids have a red reading folder with about 5-6 books in it. They are to read these until we conference again. I have an assessment notebook in each folder for my conference time. I write notes for myself during the conference and include a short note for the child so they know what to work on for the next meeting. This allows me to keep track of what they need to work on and check to see that they have followed through. My kids also log connections, questions and other things in the book. On days that I conference I do not meet during this time with guided reading groups. On days that I pull a small group I do not conference. I have come to learn that you can't do both in a day and do it effectively. In the four block structure this would be considered my SSR block. Mini lessons for this block are focusing on fix up strategies, decoding issues and comprehension strategies. I feel that the change to my SSR block has helped me maximize the learning during this time.
My district gives me a 90 minute block but it is not long enough. We generally spend the entire morning on literacy. We go from 8:40 to 11:20.
What are you guys doing in your blocks? Please send in your breakdown for the next issue using the form we have created.