Friday, March 7, 2014

The Book Whisperer

I don't know if I ever mentioned it on this blog, but when I read The Book Whisperer several years ago I became obsessed. OBSESSED! Like I took it with me to the lake one weekend thinking I'd skim through it on the way down and that turned into reading it all the way down, reading it while Steven set up the camper (God bless him!), reading it on the boat on the way to dinner at the marina, and finishing it up on the way back that night with my trusty book light kind of obsessed. Yes, I'm a total nerd. I have a book light. I really wish I had read this years ago when I actually taught reading. As a media specialist couldn't really implement anything,  but I gave copies to several of the reading teachers and talked about the strategies, etc in reading department meetings. At one point, I even had my old principal agree to let me lead a book study for professional learning, but then other things came up that were required for our system, so those took precedence. I really felt like everyone thought it was a great idea, but didn't have enough time or were too scared to implement it in their classes. I felt like I was getting no where.

Fast forward to this year. I have a principal and a curriculum director (the old principal) who really want to see this model in action and see what it can do. SO EXCITED! I am piloting a Readers Workshop model based on ideas from The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild, The Reading Zone, and probably a few other places that I am forgetting. I will be working with a 7th grade teacher who took over mid year when the old teacher moved to Texas. We are starting with one class just to get our feet wet. Also, we are going to split the class into two flexible groups. Half will stay with her to work on mini lessons & CRCT review and the other half will come to me in the media center. Half way through the class period we will swap them. I realize I am very lucky to be able to run this model with 15 kids at a time. Trial and error and monitoring will be a whole lot easier than with a full class. However, once I get the kids trained as to what I expect and what is required of them, we will move back to the regular classroom and work as a whole group. Then I'll work with the teacher to take over running the model. I am hoping that we can really make this work and that the kids like it. One of my big concerns is that we only have one 9 weeks to get it right. However, the prinicpal has said if we can prove it works well in our school, then we can look at expanding into the other grade levels next year. I'd love to model it for other teachers and help them with the transition.

I have created several record keeping forms, but I'm going to hold of on sharing them until I have used them. I'm thinking I'll be doing plently of tweaking once I get started.

Wish me luck! We start on St. Patrick's Day!