Catch and Release with Online Notebooks using Hapara

The workshop model has absolutely changed the way I teach and think about students. I love the insights into their thinking that I now have, that somehow I never used to have with the traditional way of teaching literature.

But conferring is my constant challenge.

I talk to students all the time, yet I don’t talk to them enough.

The all the time is in the form of hallway conversations, the check-ins during lunch, and when I ensure that they have enough to read over the upcoming break or weekend.

It’s the mini-lesson, checking for understanding, making sure they “get it” conferences that I wish I could do more of, and I wish I could do better.

I did discover one strategy that works for me and my students, and I’ll share it here. Continue reading “Catch and Release with Online Notebooks using Hapara”

Book Talks When the Teacher is Out

An inevitable reality of teaching is that sometimes the teacher has to be absent. It’s part of life, so I refuse to feel guilty about it.

Mostly.

When I can plan ahead for my absences, I ensure that students are working on something which puts learning at the forefront, rather than having a “let’s take advantage of this poor substitute teacher” situation. That eases the guilt a bit.

Next month, I will attend the Adolescent Literacy Summit and I’m super-excited to learn from some amazing presenters. However, I’ll be missing three days of classes, and I want my students to be doing something worth-while and that helps them move forward with the development of their reading lives.

I’ve planned countless lessons over the years, so I’m not worried about the “lesson” part of the classes that I’ll be missing.

But this book talk habit is a new one.

It’s harder to plan for when I’m not there.

And book talks are an essential part of readers workshop. Kids need to get excited about new books every day!

That’s the situation I’m facing, and I’m exploring some solutions. Continue reading “Book Talks When the Teacher is Out”