I'm participating in a study group through a local organization, The Literacy Connection. I became a member several years ago and continue to fit in the time to participate in their book study during the year. I have found a great network of colleagues to work with each year, it's fluid and the attendees vary each year but what remains the same is talking about professional resources because we are interested in improving our practice and the work of our students.
That Workshop Book by Samantha Bennett is this years focus. A small piece of the first chapter struck me to work with last week. The subheading reads, Workshop as Routine. Thinking about the definition of routine, (which she provides) "a regular course of procedure, habitual performance; ordinary." Routine is necessary, in a workshop it...
-encourages risk taking to make meaning
-helps students expect to share and celebrate
-it helps free up the brain from anxious questioning
This was my favorite sentence found in this section, "You are consciously and intentionally setting up the predictable on a daily basis(the workshop structure) so the unpredictable (students thinking and making meaning) can happen."
When I read this, I thought about something that was routine that needed fine tuning. I teach two classes of kindergarten and they come every other day, alternating Fridays. So, within two weeks they come 5 days. After they do their morning routine, they participate in what I call Book Look Reading. While both groups could refine what they do during this time of our morning, one group needed a bit more redirection. I hadn't really tried anchor charts with the kindergartners, not sure why, chalk it up to my first year back and the Fire Marshall reducing the amount of wall space covered.
I did some thinking about the purpose of our Book Look time, what I wanted the children to accomplish during the this time and how I would guide them in creating our anchor chart. The conversations we had about the picture clues generated was really interesting and aided in their ownership. For example, the book tubs drawn, "are the spines of the books." We also talked about placing the books cover forward back in the tubs to make them more inviting for the next person. Immediately after through our morning calendar three students went to work fixing the many tubs of books in our room. I am very pleased with our final product and the common language it provided us to use daily.