Light Bulb Moments

In case you haven’t noticed, read-aloud (chapter book) time in our room is a big deal.  This ain’t no lay-on-the-floor-and-rest-after-recess-time.  My kids will tell you that read-aloud is one of the most important times of the day–we use the chapter book to connect to reading, writing, vocabulary and many other things.

Right now we are deep in the middle of The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell.  In Reader’s Workshop, we’re working on inferring in fiction text.  So today as we read our chapter book, we focused on noticing and recording inferences we were making about the story.  We reviewed the meaning of inferring (which we defined as background knowledge + text=inference), and then got started.  There were a couple of parts when I paused in my reading to say “You might be able to infer something here,” but for the most part I just left them to their listening and thinking.  Then I read a sentence and K, who was sitting right in front of me made a rather loud noise, somewhere in between a gasp and a screech.   She covered her mouth, grinned, and then scribbled something in her notebook.  And I knew exactly what she was thinking.  She had figured out something in the story–she had made an inference.

Now, every time you infer something in a story, you don’t make a big deal like that; it’s not always so obvious.  But this was a really great illustration for us.  Some kids in my class have a hard time knowing when they are inferring; they know what to do, but they don’t always attend to when they’re doing it.  But I’ll but from today on, they will know that when you have a “light bulb moment”, when you say “Ahh! Now I get it!” or when you think “aha!”, you’re probably inferring.  It was cool to watch several others do the very same thing–most without the screech–as we continued to read.  And I’ll bet we’ll notice more of it tomorrow.  I love how the thing that really made it visible, too, is something I couldn’t have planned for (the best learning moments happen like that!).  It came very naturally, and was really powerful for them.  Next time you think “aha!” or have a “light bulb moment”, pay attention –you might be inferring something, too. 🙂

Getting back into it…reading

I feel like I apologize alot.  Especially about how long it’s been since I’ve posted on here.  But hey, here I am doing it again.  Sorry–that’s just the way it is.  I do have a full-time job, after all.  🙂

So I’m thinking I’m just going to give a quick overview of what’s been going on for the last month, and then I can hopefully come back more often and fill in the gaps.  Hopefully.

Reading:  For most of the month of October, we were working on text features in nonfiction and asking questions that help us better comprehend what we’re reading.  I loved the text features project we did, where the kids were given a plain text (about the Iroquois, which we were studying in Social Studies) and asked to add text features to it that would help their reader better understand what was being presented.  It was a great way to see how much they really understood about how pictures, diagrams, captions, headings, subtitles, etc., impact the reader.  These turned out great, and most kiddos really got into it!  We also practiced a strategy called Stop and Ask Questions, which is a mainstay in Making Meaning.  As we read (picture books during Reader’s Workshop, chapter book during Read Aloud and independently in their own reading), we stopped at several points in the story to record what we were wondering.  The goal was to focus our thoughts in on specific details in the story, then pay attention for when the question was answered.  Like I say often: The other part of a good question is a good answer.   Last week, then, we moved on to a new unit on story elements.  We’ve been looking at how analyzing characters, setting, plot, problem/solution, etc., can help us better understand that story.  Today we read the first half of Star of Fear, Star of Hope and will continue with this text tomorrow.  Stay tuned for more in reading soon!