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Take a Break: A Place for Students to Self Regulate

Self regulation is one's ability to manage his/her emotions and the behaviors that accompany these emotions. These emotions can be perceived as both positive or negative, and many times our students don't know what an appropriate response is for various emotions. Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter: Antarctica.

Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out!

#seewhatididthere?
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
Every classroom in my school has a Take a Break spot. It's a space in the classroom where students can go when they need some time and space to be alone and self regulate their emotions. I just happened to name mine "Antarctica." My students can choose to put themselves in Antarctica, or sometimes I ask them to go when I feel they need a break.

What It Looks Like:

I used my teacher wardrobe cabinet in the corner and a file cabinet to make this little cubby in the corner of my classroom:
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
On the side of the file cabinet, I have a few photos of Antarctica that I printed off of Google. As the students sit in the chair, they face a bulletin board that has self regulating signs on it. We use the Zones of Regulation at my school to help students understand their feelings and emotions, so one of the posters has the colors and the associated feelings, and the other has calming down techniques. Click HERE if you'd like a free copy of these posters!

Here are some of the fidgets that are inside the desk:
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
Affiliate links to some of these self regulation tools are listed below. To see my entire disclosure policy, click HERE.

Most of the items above came from Amazon. The coloring pages I got from the Target Dollar Spot, the foam car was a freebie giveaway from the county fair (lol), and the rainbow colored square is something my school social worker made. Basically, it's two pieces of fabric sewn together with a flat glass pebble inside. Then she sewed lines to make it like a maze and the kids push the pebble through the maze. It's pretty cool!

How it Works:

When my students are feeling angry or out of control (which also includes being overly excited), they can move themselves to our Take a Break spot. While there, they can take out a tool from inside the desk to help them refocus, or choose another strategy for "getting back to green:" deep breaths, coloring, writing, taking a walk, etc.

After a few minutes of the student using the Take a Break spot, I will come over, ask how it's going, and see if they need any help from me. I try to get them back to learning in about 5 minutes, but sometimes it can take a shorter or longer time. My students know that once they're "calm, focused, and ready to learn," they need to come back and join the class.

Here are some photos of our space in action: 
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.
Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.

IMPORTANT!

The Take a Break spot should be IN the classroom, rather than out in the hallway. This allows student to stay in the classroom and still be exposed to the learning that's taking place during the break. There are times that my Take a Break spot is not enough of a break for my students and they need to be further removed from my classroom. If this is the case, then all teachers have a Buddy Class, and my student would go over to my teammate's classroom to use his Take a Break spot. Again, NOT in the hallway. We want our students to be IN the learning environment.

Looking to add some fidgets or calming tools to your Take a Break spot? Here are some of my favorites!

For more classroom management ideas, check out my Pinterest board here:



Do you have a space like this in your classroom? Leave me a comment below and tell me more about it!


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Sometimes when students have an inappropriate response to events that are out of their control, they need time and a safe space to process what happened. Enter Antarctica: A place to go when you need to chill out! This blog post is all about creating a Take a Break spot for your students to self regulate.


Making the Best of Timed Math Fact Tests

Who here gives timed math fact tests?

I remember doing them when I was in school. I was pretty good at them, but my anxiety and nervousness was through. the. ROOF. every single Friday afternoon.

Knowing that timed tests are so stressful for our students, why do we continue to do them? Well, some of us are required to... However, when you look at the CCSS for second grade, students are supposed to "know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers" by the end of second grade. And the wording is the same for third grade and multiplication facts.

We know that automaticity of math facts is crucial for when students move on to higher level math. My students practice their math facts every day in a variety of ways, including math games and using the Xtra Math website, but when it comes time to assess, the only option I can think of to assess automaticity is using a timed situation, which seems so old school. GROAN...

So how can I make these painful assessments less painful?

Are you required to give timed math fact tests? Check out this one simple change you can make during this routine that can help ease the anxiety and high pressure of timed math fact tests.

What is considered "knowing" math facts?

Research says that students should be able to automatically recall math facts orally in 2-3 seconds per fact. Students should be able to write facts at 2/3 the speed of their oral ability, so that means on a written timed test, it should take students about 3-4 seconds per fact to complete.

How I try to lessen student anxiety during timed math fact tests

Even though I hate giving timed tests, I have to, so here's what I do. Each student takes out a pencil and a marker from his/her desk.  They write their names on their papers and then flip them upside-down until the time is ready to start.
Are you required to give timed math fact tests? Check out this one simple change you can make during this routine that can help ease the anxiety and high pressure of timed math fact tests.
I count down to the start of the time, and then students busily get to work with their pencils. If they finish before the timer goes off, they go back and check their answers. When the timer goes off, I yell, "switch!" Students put down their pencils and pick up their markers to finish the test. It's after the timer goes off that they're allowed to get up and turn in their papers. While I encourage the speedy completion of their papers, students then can take as much time as they need to finish their tests with their marker.

For my students with IEPs and/or anxiety, tests that must be completed in a certain amount of time are not their friends. I should add that many of these children often have extended time written into their IEPs or 504s, but even that is stressful for them. This simple change attempts to lessen the emphasis on time and places additional importance on actually completing the test. My students know that the four seconds per fact expectation so they have that goal in mind, but time is not the only thing I value. 
Are you required to give timed math fact tests? Check out this one simple change you can make during this routine that can help ease the anxiety and high pressure of timed math fact tests.
When I grade the timed tests, I only record the problems written in pencil. Students should be able to recall and write 15 math facts in one minute (15 x 4 seconds = 60 seconds), and 80% or better is considered meeting expectations, so I am looking for at least 12 facts correct in that time limit. 

I still hate giving timed tests. But making this small, yet powerful change has eased the stress and anxiety in many of my students. Have you tried this tip? Let me know how it went in the comments!


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Are you required to give timed math fact tests? Check out this one simple change you can make during this routine that can help ease the anxiety and high pressure of timed math fact tests.

Classroom Bulletin Boards Made EASY!

I have 5 GIGANTIC bulletin boards in my classroom. FIVE. Two of my walls have end-to-end bulletin boards. While I know that bulletin board space for some of you is a hot commodity, for me, it is almost a burden trying to fill them up.

There are SO many amazing bulletin board ideas on Pinterest, but honestly... not only do I not have the creative juices to plan for that, but I just don't have the time or the desire. We know the importance of anchor charts and how bulletin boards should serve a purpose and not just focus on the "cute factor," so how can we use this prime real estate in our classroom to showcase meaningful content?
Struggling to fill your bulletin boards with meaningful content? Check out this blog post for an easy way to create anchor charts to hang on your bulletin boards that students will actually use!  Options
This post contains affiliate links. To view my entire disclosure statement, click here.

I have one bulletin board for each core subject area: reading, writing & math, and the other two I use for my class rules, calendar, Take a Break spot, student work, and more. But let's focus on the three subject boards, specifically, my math board.

My boards are big enough to hang three 24"x 36" pieces of chart paper. So on my math board, I have my Number Grid posted for student reference and two blank pieces of chart paper. One piece is labeled Vocabulary, and the other sheet is titled Concepts. I leave a space at the top of each chart to add a sticky note with the unit number, and I change that out for every unit. At the top, it says "Focus on Math" in large letters.

Love the fadeless wood bulletin board paper? Click HERE to check it out!

Then, for every new lesson, I add a sticky note or two with the concepts and vocabulary we learned. I use the larger 6" x 8" sticky notes for this. By the end of the unit, we've accumulated all sorts of concepts, strategies and vocabulary words that my students can refer to when they do their independent work. I even leave them up during tests because why not? If they are resourceful enough to refer the anchor charts, then let the kids use them!
Struggling to fill your bulletin boards with meaningful content? Check out this blog post for an easy way to create anchor charts to hang on your bulletin boards that students will actually use!  Options
Here's a close up of the Concepts anchor chart:
Struggling to fill your bulletin boards with meaningful content? Check out this blog post for an easy way to create anchor charts to hang on your bulletin boards that students will actually use!  Options
And the Vocabulary anchor chart:
Struggling to fill your bulletin boards with meaningful content? Check out this blog post for an easy way to create anchor charts to hang on your bulletin boards that students will actually use!  Options
My reading and writing boards look similar, but have additional smaller charts on construction paper that break down larger strategies.

Why This Works

I heard this question during a PD and it really struck me: Are your bulletin boards wall PAPER or wall POWER? We are definitely aiming to display wall POWER on our boards! By adding something new every day to my bulletin boards, my students are eager to see what I will add. I often create these sticky notes with the students and ask for their input for wording, diagrams, etc. Sometimes I even let my kids make the sticky notes and hang them up!

And when a student asks me a question about a strategy or vocabulary words we've learned, I can just point to my boards, and they can independently find the answer to their own question!

Want to pin this post? Use this image:
Struggling to fill your bulletin boards with meaningful content? Check out this blog post for an easy way to create anchor charts to hang on your bulletin boards that students will actually use!
For more bulletin board ideas, check out my Pinterest Board.

5 Things All Teachers Should Do Before Going Home

One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. And that feeling is even worse when you're hectically running around before school starts, trying to get everything ready for the day. So a few years ago, I made myself a list on a sticky note of things to do before I leave for the day and stuck it on my computer screen. It really helped to focus my efforts after school was over (so that I don't waste 15 minutes catching up on Facebook...), as well as helped me be better prepared for the next day.
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.
Here are five things I do every night before I leave school:

1. Change Your Boards

Nothing makes me happier at the end of the day to erase the day's date and write tomorrow's date on the board! On my front board, I also list the tasks my students complete each morning and display our daily schedule. On the side board, I list our learning objectives for each subject.
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

2. Write Your Morning Message

My class holds a morning meeting every day, and one of the components is to write the class a message for the day. I'm embarrassed to admit I have frantically written this message while my students were completing their morning work, just a few minutes before morning meeting starts. So now, I make sure I write my morning message for the next day before I go home. That way, I make sure to include everything I want to say AND it's legible!
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

3. Stuff Mailboxes

Have you ever realized 10 minutes before dismissal that you forgot to put the math homework in mailboxes, and then frantically try to stuff mailboxes AND dismiss your class? I have. More times than I care to say... So every night before I go home, I stuff mailboxes: papers I'm passing back, homework, notes from the office, etc. I keep a tray on top of my mailboxes where I put the papers so that I'm not wandering around my classroom, trying to remember where I put that stack of papers...
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

4. Answer/Write Emails

I hate notifications, and I am not one of those teachers that lets 2,491 unread emails pile up in my inbox. So I always take a few minutes to respond and write to parents, admin, and other teachers before I leave.

5. Clean Off Your Desk

I don't claim to be Miss Organization whatsoever, but I do straighten up my teacher table a bit before I go home.

One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.For some reason, I always find 187 pens/pencils/markers and 12 pairs of scissors on my teacher table, among MANY other things. This was all the JUNK I found on my table today...
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.
My teacher space isn't spotless; I still have my stacks of papers and books, but at least I have a clean spot to work the next day.

Depending on how organized you are, you could even take this a step further. A teacher friend of mine leaves her desk every single night with everything a sub would need in the event one of her kids gets sick and she has to call in. Now that is NOT me AT ALL, but maybe it would work for you!

In all, it takes me about 20-30 minutes to do all of these things (depending on how many emails I have to write!). But it saves me a huge amount of stress when I come in the next morning, especially on Mondays. And it allows me to settle in when I arrive and not run around like a crazy person.

What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!


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One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

Building School-Wide Community

Last year at the end of the year, the administration asked all of our students to fill out a survey about our school culture and climate. When the results came back, we were pretty discouraged. Over half of our students reported that they don't feel respected at school. HALF. We are a PBIS school and all teachers use components of Responsive Classroom and Love & Logic techniques school-wide, but something more had to be done.

This summer, our PBIS team caught wind of another school in our district that organized their students into "families." Similar to how high schools have homerooms, every student is assigned a family and stay in that family for their entire time at our school. This idea could be the ticket to getting our school community back on track!
Strengthen your school community by establishing school-wide family groups! Similar to homerooms in high school, a family group consists of students from each grade at your school that travel together as a cohort for their entire time at the school.
We have three goals for the family groups: 
1. To foster a positive school environment
2. To teach character education
3. For students to get to know other children and adults in the building they might not come in contact with.
Every single faculty and staff member in the building belongs to a family: from classroom teachers to interventionists; specialists to special education; pupil services, administration, custodial staff, and even the cook... everyone has a "home."

It took our counselor and school psychologist about 3 hours to thoughtfully place all of the students into 28 family groups. Part of their strategy was to place some of the hard-to-connect-with kiddos with fourth and fifth grade teachers. Let's build those relationships NOW, so that when they get into the upper grades, the connections will already be there!

My family group consists of myself and our library aide, and we have 16 students in our family group, 2-3 students from each grade, kindergarten to fifth grade.

How It Works

Every Wednesday from 2:30 to 3:00, the entire school transitions to their family groups. The principal makes an announcement for the fifth graders pick up the kindergarteners, the fourth graders to pick up the first graders, and the second and third graders just go on their own to their family group classroom. I will admit the very first meeting was a little hairy, as the entire school met in the gym to learn who their family group teachers would be... But now that we are two months in, the transition is fairly quick and only takes about 3 minutes.

At 3:00, the principal comes back on the announcements to end the family group time. The fifth graders and fourth graders walk their younger students back to class, and then we get ready to go home (we dismiss at 3:10).

What We Teach

I am on the team who writes the lessons for each session. We do our best to provide everything the faculty and staff needs to complete the lessons with little to no prep for them, even down to the exact words they can say for each part of the lesson. We wrote the lessons using a combination of the Morning Meeting and TCRWP Minilesson structure. Each lesson has an objective, usually related to a character trait. We start the lesson with a greeting, then there is a Teach, followed by the students actively engaged in whatever the objective of the lesson is. At the end, we send the kiddos off with a Link, just a final sentence or two relating back to the lesson objective.

Our first three sessions were focused on community building. We came up with a family name, took a photo, made a poster for our group, and set goals for ourselves for this school year.
Strengthen your school community by establishing school-wide family groups! Similar to homerooms in high school, a family group consists of students from each grade at your school that travel together as a cohort for their entire time at the school.
After that, we took the next four sessions to review our school rules: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, Be Trustworthy.

Click HERE if you want a copy of the safety flip book pictured above.

Now that we have established our families and reviewed the school rules, we are going to switch to meeting every other week. The topics that we cover are going to be based on our PBIS data and what our students need. Our upcoming lessons are going to be about empathy, giving, perseverance, acts of kindness, and being thankful. Lesson plans are flexible, and so if we need to throw in a few lessons on respect, we can do that. We are also planning on having each group do some kind of fun send off for their fifth graders at the end of the year.

Benefits of Family Groups

I don't have any hard data, but walking through the hallways, I can definitely feel a difference. Whether or not it's related to the establishment of our family groups, I don't know. But I do know that I have fifth graders who know my name, and smile and greet me every time we pass each other. I have had three K-2 students from my family group who have traded in their PBIS tickets to hang out with me and play with Legos during recess.

There is a real camaraderie and family feel in the building. I love how the older students take the younger students under their wings and act as a mentor to them. We all feel like we belong and are in this thing called "school" together.
Strengthen your school community by establishing school-wide family groups! Similar to homerooms in high school, a family group consists of students from each grade at your school that travel together as a cohort for their entire time at the school.
And our hallways are too cute with all of the family group projects and activities we've created!



Do you do something similar to this at your school? Let me know about it in the comments! And if you're feeling like your school climate needs to be lifted, share this idea with your administration. We need to take care of students' hearts before we can fill their brains.

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Strengthen your school community by establishing school-wide family groups! Similar to homerooms in high school, a family group consists of students from each grade at your school that travel together as a cohort for their entire time at the school.




Spelling in the Writer's Workshop

"Teacher, how do you spell ______?"

Is it just me, or is that question like nails on a chalkboard to you? How do we deal with this age-old question our students ask us a million times every day? As teachers, we know that spelling isn't our main focus during writing time. We know the importance of invented spelling, students applying what they know about letter sounds and spelling patterns, and stretching words out.

However, instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to give our students more concrete resources and tools so that they don't feel like we've just rejected them. I want to empower my students by giving them the tools and the resources they need so that they can be independent writers.
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!

One of my favorite tools in my classroom is my Word Wall. There are some gorgeous word walls out there in Pinterest-Land, but for me, a word wall needs to be first and foremost FUNCTIONAL. I want my word wall to be accessible to my students so that they can easily take words down. In order to make this happen, I put all of my word wall cards on a ring and hang them from hooks on my whiteboard.
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!

I also encourage my students to use the other visuals in the classroom like anchor charts and posters when stuck on a word. Here is one of my friends who independently made the connection between the literary essay unit to the current persuasive essay unit, took out this anchor chart, and copied down one of the sentence starters. This was, by far, one of the proudest moments I've ever had as a teacher!
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!

Another tool we use is these Give it a Try booklet. Students love it because they're not messing up their story, and teachers love it because their students are still using what they know about letter sounds and spelling patterns to stretch out words. It's super easy to use. If a student is stuck on a word, they try to write it three different ways in their booklet. Then they bring it to me, and I will either circle the correctly spelled attempt or write the word on the right side of the dark vertical line.
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!
I would say that 75% of the time, my students are able to spell the word correctly on their own. They just need that little boost of confidence to know they spelled the word correctly. An added bonus is that the Give it a Try will eventually become an individualized dictionary for each student! Click HERE to get a FREE copy!
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!

Speaking of dictionaries, my students also keep their SUPER SPELLER in their writing folders. It has frequently used words for every letter of the alphabet, as well as color words, number words, and family words. Because I can't even tell you how many times I've been asked how to spell the word "cousin" in the last 11 years!
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!
I've recently updated this resource to also include an editable version, if I didn't include a word that your students need. Click HERE to check it out!

What else do you do in your classroom to guide your students to be independent writers?
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!


Teach the Reader. Not the Book.

I was sitting in a professional development class this spring where we were watching a webinar previously recorded from the Heinemann Group, and one of the instructors made this statement:
Using knowledge of text bands of complexity, learn how you can "teach the reader and not the book."
Have you ever heard something and you thought, "Wow. Just WOW." That's what happened to me when I heard Dan Feigelson say, "Teach the reader, not the book." I felt like I was smacked in the face by a 20-ton truck. In a good way. If that's possible.

For so long I had been doing just that, teaching the book. For 10 years the bulk of my reading instruction was through guided reading. I would pick out books, preview them with my group, students would read individually (yes, I did have the common sense to know that round robin reading is NEVER OK!), and I would pop in and listen to them read, often asking comprehension questions during and after reading that were text specific.
Using knowledge of text bands of complexity, learn how you can "teach the reader and not the book."
Did my readers grow? Of course. But was it because of my teaching? Wellll.... I'm not entirely convinced. Even as I transitioned this past year to conducting more strategy groups and individual conferences instead of guided groups, I still fell back to teaching the book. It's the easy thing to do.

Here's the problem with teaching the book: it doesn't grow the whole reader. Students answering surface level or even higher level comprehension questions based on a book doesn't help the reader when s/he reads his/her next book. And besides, teachers would never be able to keep up. We cannot possibly read and be knowledgeable of every single book that our students will read during the school year.

So how do we teach the reader? 

Instead of focusing on individual books, focus on what skills and strategies students need to work on at their reading level. Fountas & Pinnell, in conjunction with the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project has placed all guided reading levels A-Z into groups called text bands.

What is a text band, you say?

A text band is a single or a small group of F&P levels that have similar characteristics. Within these text bands are instructional considerations related to decoding, word work, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and structure you can work on with your students. Have you ever wondered why it is so hard for students to make the leap from level M to level N? It's because they're in different text bands. And let me tell you, that jump is HUGE!

What's the difference between an M and an N?
In a nutshell...
Level M: Traditional story structure with one clear/central problem/solution in the text. Character feelings change but the traits stay the same.
Level N: Moves away from traditional structure with characters dealing with one (or more) complex problems that are harder to identify. Characters tend to be complicated and conflicted.

Of course there are many more differences between the two, but those are my big takeaways.

 Wondering what the text band groupings are? I made this little chart:
Using knowledge of text bands of complexity, learn how you can "teach the reader and not the book."
I feel like this chart is the missing piece to my reading instruction puzzle. I always wondered why my students struggled to move from I to J. And then J to K. That's because up until Level I, we were hitting decoding strategies hard. Once they get to J, they should have more automaticity in decoding. In J we are switching our focus to more comprehension and students have to hold on to longer stories. WOW. Did that 20-ton truck just drive by again??

So how can I use this information I now know about text bands to teach the reader, and not the book?

If you are well versed in the characteristics of the text bands, you will know the skills and thinking work your students will need to do in order to move to the next text band. So, for example, I know that if I sit down with a student for a conferring session who is reading a level N book, that child is going to need to do a lot of inferring and putting the pieces together to understand the central story line and struggles & motivations of the main character. I might comment or ask questions such as:
  • "Talk about why the main character does what s/he does."
  • "What does the text seem mostly about?" (and teaching that this does and can change over time)
  • "What is the big, underlying problem?"
  • "How does the setting play a role in the the plot/character development?"
These types of questions can work for any text at this level because they are relevant to all books at the NOPQ text band. And as the teacher, I can coach in to students who are struggling with any of these concepts, as they will need to have them mastered to move on to the next text band.

How can I find out more about text bands? 

I got my information about the characteristics of text bands from the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project. Because I don't know the copyright of the document I have, I don't feel comfortable sharing it out on the world wide web. However, if you do a Google search of "text band characteristics," several links/documents are available for you to do your own research. Personally, I found the ones from Fountas and Pinnell to be the the easiest to locate and pretty straight foward. I also thought this site had some great information on what to work on for each text band if you click on her Band Aids section :)



I hope this blog post has been an "aha!" for you, just like Dan Feigelson's simple statement was to me. As for me, I am really looking forward to digging into the text bands more this summer, so I can really teach my readers. The whole readers.


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