Friday, July 29, 2011

NOW {Poetry Friday}

by Regie Routman

What do you love to do?
Make time for it.
Work will be there
Always constant
Love is fleeting
So is a sunrise
The bloom of an iris
A walk in the park
A child's laughter
Time with a friend

What do you love to do?
Go do it, savor it

How many times do you read a professional book and the last chapter is titled, Live a Full Life?  Earlier this week I reviewed Teaching Essentials by Regie Routman where you can find this last chapter and this poem.  I always look forward to vacations from school because I find time or make the time to enjoy and make my life fuller.  But, why do I wait for these breaks?  Regie has much wisdom on life in this small chapter.  I need to remember, "I am a more interesting person if I have stories to tell that are not just about school."  I hope to revisit this poem when I need nudging away from school to be a better person.

You can find Poetry Friday at Book Aunt, thanks Kate for hosting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pencil and Paper Games for kids

Pencil and Paper Games for kids by Jane Kemp and Clare Walters was a great little discount find on vacation.  This collection of games is geared for children 3-11.  I picked it up to find things to use in my classroom for my Family Math activities but found many more things I could use in the classroom.  Our earliest writers might benefit from Chapter One, drawing activities.  Our early readers through transitional readers might benefit from Alphabet and letter games or Word games.  I'm thinking these might be one way to have parent volunteers spend time with students.  There is a chapter with Number games.   I think older students will enjoy the Tricks, jokes and illusions intriguing.  Even our social studies experts can find games that use maps, mazes and codes. 

I think it's important for students to play games with others for interactions with people.  I think it helps with thinking, often strategically.  I think it's important to show students paper and pencil can be a lot of fun.  You will find some classic games you may have forgotten, Word within words.  There's a new name for the game, Boxes - Lion and Tiger.  Something that is nice for the reader is each activity starts with the age range, number of players, and what you will need.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Teaching Essentials

Teaching Essentials by Regie Routman had been in my to be read pile for quite some time.  When I was packing for our vacation two days after school got out, I was purposefully going to pack non teaching books.  I was trying to convince myself it's good to walk away.  However, when I was gathering my books Regie Routman called my name.  She's a thinker, she's global and she's always confirmed my thinking about teaching while stimulating my thinking.  I'm so glad I made Teaching Essentials a vacation read.

I found these quotes helpful as I was recovering from the end of the year "crash" and actually got me excited about the following year. 

-"Every child has strengths; we just need to see them and begin our teaching there."

-"Once children enter the doors of our schools and classrooms, we have an obligation to ensure they reach their fullest potential.  We need to see each child as capable right from the start."

-"Once we tap into a child's interests and provide the necessary demonstrations and support to help him write, success can come quickly."

-"I believe that effective teaching is about hearing all the voices-making sure that every student is valued, hear, and respected and knows that his or her voice can make a difference."

-"We need to do everything we can to show students what is possible, through the stories we tell, read, and write with them and through the literature we use to teach reading and other core subjects."

Regie encourages teachers to become smarter.  She encourages teachers to get involved with professional conversations, align our beliefs with our practices, and repeatedly encourages our work to be meaningful, engaging, and important.  If we can achieve this, we can conserve time and energy.  Regie encourages us to  teach whole-part-whole and guides us through this thinking with her optimal teaching model.  My favorite section is Start with the Student, Not the Standard.  This text also covers assessment within our teaching and suggestions for analyzing student work while providing feedback.   Another reason to look at this text is the guidance from Regie for creating independent, self-directed learners.   This book should not have sat in my to be read pile this long.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let's Make Rabbits

Let's Make Rabbits was a to me book created by Leo Lionni.  I was intrigued by the front cover when one rabbit is created with collage and another one is outlined in pencil.  The book begins with a pair of scissors and a pencil asking each other what they should do today.  The reader will notice a collection of warm subtle tones of various papers on the right side of the page.  The pencil drew a rabbit.  The scissors create a rabbit.  This makes a great mentor text for collage.  In a one page illustration the reader can see the various parts that were cut out to make a rabbit.  The two rabbits are best friends and get hungry.  The pencil and scissors each create a carrot.  The rabbits rest.  I do enjoy the various positions the rabbits are in to give students more ideas for their own creating.  Naturally the rabbits are hungry again.  They discover a real carrot and know it's real because it has a shadow.  They eat it.  Can you predict what happens next?

I love creating in different medias.  I love to show students how to create.  I think it's important for us to try and offer various materials to show and demonstrate learning.   

Monday, July 25, 2011

Little One Step - Join Us

I hope you have seen Cathy's post - Let's Chat About Conferring with Patrick Allen.  I'm really looking forward to chatting with him and other participants and anyone who wants to join about conferring to conclude our Book Blog Chat.  It feels like we've come full circle via Twitter to communicate beyond reading a book alone.  We've all been inspired by Patrick and  his gentle, soothing writing.  He had this tweet over the weekend,  "#cyberpd Humbled.  All your blogs have inpsired me!  An honor to be a colleague among great thinkers!"  I think we will have some great conversations tonight all within 140 characters per post!

Little One Step is a picture book Patrick recommends for introducing the gradual release model to students.  In a very quick summary the Duck family gets lost in the woods.  Little One just doesn't think he can take another step.  His legs are just too wobbly.  With guidance and encouragement from his brothers he continues throught the woods, one step at a time.  In kindergarten we really need to take one step at a time.  I have found using a mentor text for many things to be very helpful in our journey of school life and learning.  I can't wait to share this (new to me) book with my new friends! 

Patrick writes this - "Little One Step can lead to a group discussion of the gradual release model.  It is a perfect jumping -off point for a discussion of the model we use for our learning throughout the year.  It is the perfect opportunity to talk about the talk that occurred between Little One Step and his brothers;  the perfect juxtapostion (thank you Kindle for an easy definition) for the important role conferring plays in reader's workshop."

While reading this book and thinking about gradual release I found myself thinking about Conferring:  The Keystone to Reader's Workshop and how this text has been a form of gradual release for my own learning.  I'm glad I have Little One Step to remind me I can take things one step at a time this year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Grandmother a Poet {Poetry Friday}

A tribute
to a knight in silver armor

Who rode away
on a white charge
to a land of no pain

He left a void
where I will stumble along

Until we meet
at another time and place

Author - Geraldine G Lane

Knight in shining armor by kristymama3
thank you flicker via kristymama3

I remember my grandmother having this poem read at my Grandfather's burial six years ago and realizing she was quite the poet, author, daily writer and I could learn from her.  My grandparents had been married for maybe over 60 years.  My grandparents were the boy and girl next door.  My grandparents are wonderful.

My grandmother kept a diary all her life.  It was part of her daily routine.  She would sit at her desk each evening before bed and scribble - her handwriting was so small cliff notes about her day.  She could pack a lot of thoughts into five or six lines of text.  She traveled to my Ohio home twice once six years ago and then again three years ago for my birthday and she kept that routine.  My aunt said in her care facility she spent at time she would take notes/drafts during the day and do a final copy into her favorite notebook at night.  I love how she found writing daily in her life and this inspires me.  My family is finding lots of writing and I have a collection to look through she left me to learn more about this amazing woman and writer.  My grandmother passed away at the beginning of this summer, my heart has been heavy but her own words/writing let me know things are ok. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and letting me "publish" my grandmother's writing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop Part 3

Our last posting for Conferring, The Keystone of Reader's Workshop #cyberpd is today, welcome.  I have really enjoyed reading the same book with other people from a variety of places.  I have really enjoyed the conversation and comments to help me think further and they also confirmed my thinking.  I feel like I've gotten to know people better and made new friends.  Thank you Blog Book Chatters for joining me on the journey.  Also, thank you to Laura K for hosting this weeks sharing.

"We should observe children tinkering with words, sentences, and whole text.  We should listen to children think while they explore as readers (each of us with a notebook and pencil nearby) and ask them to explain their thinking and reasoning to us."

I read this phrase early on in our reading for this session and loved it.  I thought there are words here that included kindergarten/emergent readers.  I loved the word tinkering.  When I looked tinkering up at I found these two definitions applicable.

-to busy oneself with a thing without useful results:
-to work unskillfully or clumsily at anything.

I think tinkering implies my students should be messing about, exploring, and trying to work with words, sentences and a whole text.  The definition guides my thinking further to understand the useful results from tinkering might not happen immediately which supports Patrick's slow down message.  My conferring sessions may appear clumsily and unskillful but with time and experience I believe kindergarten students can and will show skill, strength, and understanding.  If you've ever spent time with a kindergarten child then you will completely agree they can explain their thinking and reasoning.  Oral language for most is their first strength. 

I found the notion of walk-aways ("a tool or strategy used or discovered as students negotiate text and develop the capacity for independence, so that next time we meet and I ask, "How's iyour reading going?" they can tell me.")  and the example chart a wonderful resource I think I will refer to during the year.  I am wondering if my students will be able to hold on to their walk-away idea for two nights or more until they return.  I wonder/imagine I will have to think aloud walk aways and with time I know they can pick up on it. 

I'm going to continue pondering Patrick's list of Conferring Premises.  I loved many of the ideas and wonder what I would change to make it my own as I think about K conferences.  I think I will have get in school with students and do many conferring sessions before I tweak the original list to fit my room.  Also, Patrick thanks for the laugh as I read a few of yours.  I agree it's important to laugh while we work and find the humor in our daily lives. 

My thinking is not ending but to close my posting I leave you with this from the text.  "We need to slow down and get back to the business of knowing children, of knowing readers."  I'm ready for this task now and can visualize it with better clarity in my kindergarten room.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Conferring Blog Book Chat Follow up Part 2

I enjoyed keeping my end of the conversation going to #cyberpd last week, I thought I would do it again this week.  If I was in a physical room with my Conferring Blog Book Chatters for, the conversation would probably go back and forth.  We would probably take turns listening and responding.  We might get excited and talk over each other or speak really fast.  However, we aren't in a room together, we are in #cyberpd!  So, I'm going to share some thinking I've had as I followed comments to my post from yesterday.  It was so exciting to know other's were reading my thinking and took the time to respond.  I really appreciate their efforts.

Cathy (Reflect and Refine) thank you for reminding me K conferences are going to be short and they should be short.  I that is part of my internal struggle after five years in third grade.  Teaching and learning is not always about length of time.  I also love the idea and know I want to be up conferring during our independent reading time.  My small group work is going to be at a different time this year.  Rethinking we are together.

Debf (Primary Perspective) It's so nice to know I have a cheering section who believes I will strike a balance.  We all need encouragement and support within our teaching.  I'm also wondering if conferring is something I could blog or write about during the year with K.  I think there might be an opportunity here.

Tony (Atychiphobia)- I didn't know you were married to a first grade teacher.  How lovely.  I think life with 5 and 6 year old children can easily feel like a ridiculous mess some days and that's when you take a step back, rethink and say tomorrow is another day.  :)  Two binders does sound crazy but with two classes and getting older in age, I've found some sanity with my organization to make one group my blue group and the other the red group.  If you don't tell anyone, I even snuck around the building late at night when rooms were being adjusted to swap out my book boxes to have only these two colors.  Believe it or not, I think it helps the kids and parents too. 

Laura (Camp Read A Lot)- It's so nice to know others are thinking about the same things as I am.  I had a conferring session this year where I learned more about the student that I had all year in guided reading.  It was the side by side, one on one time that really taught me what this child needed and showed me he was struggling with something that wasn't showing up in small group instruction.

Jill (My Primary Passion) - Thank you for also thinking we can make a difference when things are short.  They have to be with young students who are figuring out so much about school.  Also, I think your reflection about doing more at the end of the year shows growth within a classroom reading workshop community.  We always want growth and rigor!

Thank you Blog Book Chatters, I can't wait til next week!

Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop Part 2

I would like to thank Jill for hosting Part 2 of this blog book chat around Patrick Allen's Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.  I finished reading Part 2 this morning and felt I needed to let my mind wander longer with my thinking.  I purposefully haven't read anyone else's thoughts from my Conferring Book Blog Chatters in hopes to share my own original thinking.  I know I will agree with everything they say but how can I apply Part 2 to my world. 

As I read Part 2, I found myself easily applying every word to my third grade classroom from my past.  However, that's not where I am now and I had to remind myself to focus on what could I take from Patrick's thinking into my room of emergent readers.  As I was reading, I realized part of my struggle with my shift to kindergarten is missing the conferring piece that was easier with transitional readers and students that came daily.  These ideas from the text helped me with my thinking.

-"The ritual of conferring is consistent, but there is a fluidity and flexibility of thought that continues to develop as we confer."
-"Your conference notes are solid testaments to the kind of formative assessment that can inform reading instruction."
-"Conferring allows me to gather written evidence as my students move along the gradual release model; conferring happens in the moment and so does assessment."

Hmmm, I first realized my conferring needs to be more consistent and yes balanced with small group instruction.  I've struggled with wondering if they are as effective with emergent readers.  My kindergarteners are babies and I say that with all due respect and affection.  I've had kindergarten conferring sessions that have just taught me so much but they've been far and inbetween.  When Patrick wrote, "Bringing the think-aloud into the conference is a technique to use when you first start conferring", I made this note...think alouds may need to be done much longer in a kindergarten classroom.  Then Patrick quotes Lev Vygotsky, "What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow."  Tomorrow does not need to mean the next day.  This all returns to the notion of slowing down.

So far, I've planned daily for small group instruction.  I did a better job of conferring a little bit the second year but I'm thinking for the third year I need to know when I can/will confer and make it happen daily.  I  did it with every other grade, it only makes sense and I feel encouraged it's important with all readers.   With two classes of children coming through my doors I need the one on one, side by side time to truly know individuals.  I've known I've needed a Reading Conference Check Off form but seeing Patrick's with an official title just stared me in the face and I wondered why didn't I do that before?  Every bit of organization is crucial in my world of two classes.  I also love the idea of thinking about conferences as side-by-side and touchstone.    

I'm also thinking I am going to have two binders for reading workshop (per class).  One for conferring and one for small group instruction.  Previously, I've put all that information on the same format for a recording sheet but now I think having a thinner binder focused on one type of documentation will be easier to use, manage, and think about.  I loved Patrick's willingness to share his forms, share how a conferring session went in written form, and then show what his notes consisted of for that session.  I might dabble with Patrick's conferring form as he suggests the reader does and I loved he asked his readers to include adapted from on their own pages. 

I'm sure other's have shared about Patrick's RIP format, his thoughts on rigor, assessment, and 3 cheers for the section, How Might We Make Note of What We See and What We Learn, all in the name of data and children.  I can't wait to see how Part 3 is going to impact my thinking.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cat in the Clouds

I think this is a great book to generate interest in weather, especially for older students.  The dedication page sets the tone for the reader to want to know more about weather, Mount Washington, and meteorologist. 

"Since 1932, a handful of hardy meteorologists - and courageous cats - have lived at the Mount Washington Observatory, known as the "Home of the World's Worst Weather."  Heavy snow, freezing fog, and record-breaking winds make the summit of New England's highest peak an ideal location for studying the elements."

Cat in the Clouds by Eric Pinder is the story of a cat who shows up at Mark and Susan's home.  Nin, gets along with Mark and Susan but not with the two house cats they already own.  Mark decides to take Nin to Mount Washington.  As the reader follows Nin's journey to Mount Washington these words may peak interest for further discussion and thinking;  snow tracker, parka, observatory, weather instruments, white flowers called Diapensia, cold front, and various weather words.  While Nin stays warm inside he watches humans try to play a game of walking on the deck with winds stronger than a hurricane.  His human friends also use their arms like sails to sled across the deck on snow and ice. 

The appendix provides the reader with more information on various cats that have been "mascots" on Mount Washington over the years.  On April 12, 1934 an incredible storm was witnessed with winds recorded at 231 miles per hour.  Luckily for my friend and I we had a beautiful day as we hiked Mount Washington this year.  She is from Colorado and does this sort of thing all the time.  I however, living in Ohio decided to make this my first mountain hiking experience and I am happy to say we made it to the top and I bought this book, elevation 6288 ft.  You however, do not have to hike Mount Washington to find this book.

Monday, July 11, 2011

moon loon

"I recently took a trip to New Hampshire for a week on Lake Winnipesaukee.  It was very peaceful and I got to watch loons.  A loon is special bird that dives to eat fish.  In the summer it migrates to fresh water lakes to raise their young and in the winter they migrate back to the ocean." 

Taken from my letter to families introducing myself before school starts.  A side note, I have always sent  new families a letter introducing myself, mentioning a few things they may need to help them at school, a few hopes I have for the year.  I think it's really important for parents to know a little something about the person they are trusting to spend that first day of school with, at any grade but even more so in kindergarten.

When traveling, it's always fun to find books special to that area to learn more about where we've been and help us collect memories.  I was thrilled to find moon loon by Sandy Ferguson Fuller to help talk to my students about my summer.   The story starts with a little girl wondering why the loon she observes cries/wails?  She continues to wonder more questions sharing bits of loon information which leads to further wondering.  For example, "I know that loons will mate for life.  Where is your wife?"  The girl shares information she knows based on observations through a short verse, often in a poetic form.  At the end of the summer the little girl and the loon will part.  The girl leaving the lake to her home and the loon returning to salt water, ocean waters.  The girl continues to pose questions about their time apart and the ending is the start of the following spring.  The illustrations are beautiful and just enough to share with my new students about the fascinating bird, that swims and isn't a duck.

My own great vacation observation was having a loon swim close to the dock and watching it swim completely under the clear water.  Their sound is peaceful to hear at night or in the early morning as it echos across the lake.  I was then surprised to hear my family has seen them in the Finger Lakes Region just last summer.  This seems a bit inland from salt water.  That's a wondering I have.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

August 10 for 10: Our Second Annual Picture Book Event

"If you ever get to the point where you think you have it all figured out, it is time for you to quit."  Patrick Allen was given this advice from his supervising teacher during student teaching and shares this pearl of wisdom in his book, Conferring: The Keystone of Reading Workshop. 

Well, I'm here to say I don't have it all figured out.  I keep evolving as a teacher.  I keep finding new picture books to share.  Some of these are old.  Some of these are new.  Some of these are borrowed, I'm not sure if any are blue.  Which leads two friends to join forces for August 10 for 10: Our Second Annual Picture Book Event.

Here's a little history of how this blog-o-sphere event got started last year.  My original thinking and my partner Cathy Mere at Refine and Reflect: Building a Learning Community, original thinking from 2010.  It was such a pleasure to have Cathy contact me about my own thinking.  Sometimes it's easy to doubt our own knowledge and strengths.   Cathy kept probing and with gentle nudging got me thinking I might have ten picture books I've couldn't live without.  She does know how to build a learning community, what a great title for her blog!  So, there we have it we wanted to know what other teacher's couldn't live without in their classrooms.  We wanted to learn and gather more books to use in our own classrooms.  We wanted to connect with bloggers who also enjoy children's literature. 

I was surprised this past November when I tweeted Cathy to say I found another book for my August 10 for 10 event.  After using this book in my classroom I knew instantly it made my list.  She was chuckling in the background and I'm not sure she believed I was thinking about it so soon.  As I said earlier, my thinking is evolving so it makes sense my list of picture books would also evolve.  I've taught K again for the second year and with more experience everything gets better.  Right now, all I can tell you is I have one that will remain on my list from last year and I have one new one.  What would you put on a list of ten picture books you couldn't live without?

I am borrowing Cathy's words, I couldn't say it better.

Join UsPass the news along to your friends and join us August 10th for a virtual picture book party!  You might want to save your money as last year this event resulted in some new picture book purchases.  Contact us on our blogs, on Twitter (@mandyrobek or @cathymere), or by e-mail to let us know you are joining this event.  On the day of the event - August 10th - we will be linking all the "must have" posts.  Can't wait!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Looking for a MOOSE

I've been to New Hampshire five times and each time I hope, wish, and actively look to see a moose in the wild.  I've seen moose crossing signs and my hopes get higher.  Each time to be slightly disappointed when I realize another trip has gone by and I haven't spotted a moose.  So, imagine my excitement and overwhelming joy when I found this just right book I could highly connect with!

Looking for a MOOSE by Phyllis Root is hysterical to someone in my situation.  After reading the first two pages, I bought this book to share with my students and my family, without reading more. 

"Have you ever seen a moose -
     a long-leggy moose -
          a branchy-antler,

"No!  We've never, ever, ever,
   ever, ever seen a moose.
      And we really, really,
           really, really want
               to see a moose."

This book was calling my name.  The children journey through the woods, swamp, bushes, and hillside.  The rhyming and descriptive language is so fun to read!  At times, if I don't watch the rate in which I read, it feels a bit like a tongue twister.   I think this book would be a great example for a writing mentor text too.  You just have to read an example -

"We wade in the swamp -
Squeech squooch!
Squeech squooch! -
the sloppy-gloppy, lily-loppy,
slurpy-glurpy swamp.

I know my young students will be excited to use their picture reading skills to see how illustrator Randy Cecil has placed hidden parts of a moose or two along the journey in the background.  This caused great excitement for my grown up friends I read to on vacation.  The ending of the story is just what I hope to have happen one day. 

Just a quick shout out to a great independent book store I always visit when in New Hampshire, Innisfree Bookshop at Mill Falls Marketplace, Meredith.  They don't have a website or I'd show you a link.  Maybe next time a little photo will have to be taken.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Conferring Blog Book Chat Follow up

If I was in a physical room with my Conferring Blog Book Chatters, the conversation would probably go back and forth.  We would probably take turns listening and responding.  We might get excited and talk over each other or speak really fast.  However, we aren't in a room together, we are in #cyberpd!  So, I'm going to share some thinking I've had as I followed comments to my post from yesterday.  It was so exciting to know other's were reading my thinking and took the time to respond.  I really appreciate their efforts.

Tony (Atychiphobia)- Thank you for validating my thinking and sharing suggestions to help me achieve balance.  I also appreciated you recognizing K can be a challenge. 

Maria (Teaching in the Twenty First Century) - Thank you for making me feel better by sharing teachers of older students have similar issues. 

Randi (Tastes like Chocolate) - I had to chuckle and could only wish to have a para professional in my room.  I have tried a few ways to organize my data collecting, observations, and thinking.  What I've returned to and continue to love is a three column chart, organized in a 3 ring binder.  I've created a Google Doc as a pdf so you can see the actual form.  Whether I'm teaching one set of students or two, as I do in kindergarten I've found I like to have all my thoughts for each child together.  I find it hard to flip through a plain notebook and look for things for individual students.  I use this recording sheet for conferring notes, kidwatching notes, guided reading notes, and further thinking I have.

Cathy (Reflect and Refine) - I am honored you'd hang my thinking in your room!  Thank you for understanding my thoughts.

Shelley (Thoughts of a Teacher), Chris (Reading Amid the Chaos), Jill (My Primary Passion)- I found your writing so reassuring and as we ponder our own thinking and make it public it's reaffirming to know others understand. 

Laura (Camp Read A Lot)- Thank you for sharing your friend's organization of having a separate independent reading time.  I too have a separate independent reading time and love the feel of the room with any age group of readers.  Last year I used this time for a guided reading group but it might make more sense to do think of it as my conferring time while the are all reading from their book boxes. 

Shari (The Literate Mind) - I love the word urgency, that is exactly how I feel and constantly try to talk myself out of it (and others too.)

Debf (Primary Perspective) - You made me laugh out loud!  I hadn't pictured my own writing as soothing, what a compliment that is.  I do hope to provoke thinking, isn't that the goal of blogging and I am glad I'm reaching that small goal for you.  Glad to be on another book journey together.

I'm sure all of these thoughts might have fit within the comment section to each of my commenter's but I wanted to share with everyone the power of doing a Blog Book Chat in helping each other grow.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop Part 1

First things first, I would like to thank Cathy, Jill, and Laura K for hosting this blog book chat around Patrick Allen's Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader's Workshop.  It's been in my to be read pile for some time or I should say my Kindle wishlist and their idea made me take the plunge.  Splash!

I couldn't put the first two chapters down!  I find author's hook me by sharing tidbits about the personal life.  I feel like I had a friend in Patrick by the end of of Chapter 2 and was ready to get to the nuts and bolts about conferring for Chapter 3.  I found the first two chapters to be soothing and reassuring, just like I feel when I read books by Debbie Miller or hear her present.  I enjoyed reading Patrick's reflections and I didn't feel rushed to read more pages to find out more answers.  So far, the book feels more like a journey in helping me wrestle with an internal struggle of mine.

I have missed regularly conferring with students.  I have missed...
-"Purposeful conversations that provided me with meaningful instruction-rich in strategy, inquiry, vocabulary, and skills.
-"...conversations that stretched my thinking and monitored my understanding."
-"Purpose is uncovered during the reading conference,..."
-"Conferring helps me find out new things about the reader and provides an intimate opportunity for a shared "coming to know"
-"Conferring helps me uncover a reader's learning in a manageable, thoughtful way while leading to documentable data..."

In kindergarten, I am still trying to find my groove and balance the organization within reading workshop with guided reading groups and conferring opportunities.  I think guided reading is essential for emergent readers.  I don't think it's the end all be all for emergent readers.  I miss the amount of conferring I did with third graders.  I am wondering and want to keep reading to see what Patrick might suggest for emergent/young readers/teachers.

I think the the first thing I've taken away from  reading Part 1 is the guidance and need our students have to make a workshop model a success within a classroom community.  Patrick is very explicit at the beginning of his year.  In kindergarten, we have to be very explicit with everything to establish our routine, community, and learning.  Patrick is explicit as he starts his year with conversations about stamina, trust, respect, endurance, and responsiblity.  He provides questions to help you dig a bit deeper with your students during conferencing.  He provides mentor text for endurance and gradual release.  I think it's important and I've found it successful to explain to students what we are going to do in various parts of reading workshop.  There are teacher expections and student expectations and Patrick shares them with students.  I think it helps the students understand how they can use and interact within a workshop model.  To quote Patrick, "learner's perception of who they are and what they can do has the greatest effect on what they learn."  Patrick provides the reader with many of examples for nudging, guiding, and increasing independence.  I know I learn more about a student by conferring, I know conferring is invaluable to help a student grow, I know I need to find a way to do both conferring with individuals and and strategy instruction in small groups with five days of attendance over two weeks. 
If you, my readers have any thoughts, please let me know.  Your thinking will help mine.