Monday, October 24, 2011

Self-Monitoring

So, I think I've mentioned that I've been in one school district, one school, for the past fifteen years.  For the fifteen years I have been there, we have used an anthology (ahhh, can you say basal?) reading program.  I never liked it.  In fact, I've always hated it.  It never seemed rigorous enough.  Luckily, I had a great principal that allowed me to toss the anthology and teach with novels. 

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Insert Snoopy Happy Dance Here!!!!!!

Well, in the past couple of years I've morphed into using the reading workshop model with my friends reading books of their choosing.  I love it, but I work in a district that still uses an anthology.*  With no specific curriculum to follow, other than the district's and state's standards that must be met, I've had to build my own.  This is where the web has been invaluable.  By putting what I find out there together with what I know, I can say it's been going well. 

Last week, I did a lesson on self-monitoring.  It is a blend of a lesson I found online and the self-monitoring I've been teaching for years.   Now, I have to say that this is not the original anchor chart.  The original chart was made with my friends and was super messy not so neatly done.  I found that this is a chart we refer to often.  It was a chart I knew would hang in my room for a while, so after school one day I remade the chart to be way less sloppy a bit neater.  

I think self-monitoring is an important lesson. The first thing I do is ask if anyone has ever been reading a book and suddenly realized that they had no idea what was going on.  Everyone can raise their hand on that one, teacher included.  We then discuss how readers self-monitor to keep  meaning.  I find my most able readers do most of these unconsciously, while my getting there readers have no idea they should even be doing these things.  For my getting there readers, this is an anchor chart that often comes up during individual conferencing.  It takes a while for them to internalize these behaviors, so we briefly touch on one or two of them during most conferences.

To explicitly explain what these self-monitoring techniques are and how they help us as readers isn't enough though.  This is where the constant modeling comes in.  With any read aloud or shared reading we do, I'm sure to ask one, two, a few of these questions as I read.  It may not be the focus of the mini-lesson, but I want them to see that good readers constantly self-monitor.  It's also a great time to model how self-monitoring helps you make deeper connections to the text. 

Since this chart is going to be up for a while, I decided to hang it up on the wall.  Do you see it?

No?  Okay, look a little closer.


Yeah, I was up on a six-foot ladder after school last week hanging that chart.  You can bet that's one chart that won't be coming down for a while! 

*I should note that my district has been making some major changes in it's literacy program and is slowly implementing the reading workshop model over the course of this school year.  It's not been easy to take a school so firmly entrenched in an anthology to a workshop model, but I can tell you my coworkers are true superstars.  They are working so hard and doing great things!

5 comments:

  1. I love your chart! Thanks for sharing and I am so glad that you are able to teach the way you want now.
    Beth
    Thinking of Teaching

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  2. I am also teaching my students how to use their meta cognition and think about what they read. During tests, students are required to stop after each paragraph think about what they read and highlight any important information. I love your anchor chart and think I will make one just like it tomorrow.

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  3. I just have to tell you that you are Awesome! I love the way you put reading together and empower the students in your class. I never fail to reflect on my own practice and the learning that happens in my class ( which is a zillion kms away in Australia!)

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  4. Beth-Thanks so much. I hope the chart is useful.

    Mrs. Shepherd - I like your test idea of highlighting. I have a couple of Fast Freddies in my class that would really benefit from doing that. I'm going to try it. Thanks!

    dendav - WE ARE ALL AWESOME! It is very rare that I meet a teacher who isn't doing everything they can to make sure thier students learn as much as they can. I just happen to stick my stuff out here on the web. I have no doubt that behind classroom doors around the world you will find teachers doing more amazing things than anything I could come up with!

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  5. Yup, that's right. I just spelled their incorrectly up above. So much for my typing skills. See dendav! Not all that awesome! ;-)

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