Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the 3-5 units of study. If you have further questions, contact Michele Farah.
I don’t do partnerships in Readers Workshop. Is that O.K.?
Partnerships are non-negotiable with Readers Workshop. During partnerships, students are held accountable for their independent reading work. Students prepare for their conversations during their independent reading time and come together with their partners to discuss their thinking. Partnership time is also a critical time to develop and meet the Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards.
My mini-lessons in reading are taking too long, what can I do?
Often mini-lessons grow into maxi-lessons for many reasons. One common reason a mini-lesson may grow is when student input is allowed during a mini-lesson. For example, sometimes teachers say things like, “who can tell me what we did yesterday?” or “who knows what strategies we have been working on?” A mini-lesson should be direct instruction with very little input from the student. This ensures that students hear the information we our teaching and eliminates the possibility for misinformation from student input. Another reason mini-lessons may be long is if teachers are not doing Read-Aloud with accountable talk outside of their reading workshop time. This is a separate block of time that sets students up for the work that they will be doing in reading workshop.
My students have low skills and are having difficulty just getting sounds down on the paper. Should I just wait to start teaching writing workshop until they have these concepts?
Beginning the writing workshop at the start of the year ensures that students begin to build a writing life, understand how to get started doing the work writers do and establishes routines and rituals. Having these routines in place allows teachers to utilize their small group work to support their struggling writers with shared and interactive writing. A regularly scheduled interactive and shared writing time enables teachers to teach hearing and recording sounds, as well as concepts about print, process, craft and conventions.
How long should immersion last?
Depending on how much experience your students have had with the text type, immersion typically lasts 3-5 days. As students move up the grade levels, the level of work they do within the text type becomes more sophisticated. Therefore, immersing students at each grade level is very important. A new immersion packet has been added to the resource section of Atlas Rubicon and teachers will find many examples of possible immersion sessions.