The Big Fresh October 6, 2018 Get Under the Ball
Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger.
It wasn’t looking good. Despite two time-outs and a few adjustments, the team just couldn’t change the momentum of the game. It would’ve been easy to panic. It would’ve been easy to just give up. The players I had just witnessed win a game with confidence, now looked unsure of everything. The team set up to receive the ball, my daughter looked at her back row and calmly reminded them, “Just get under the ball.”
Marissa was a third grader struggling in reading. Having come to our school just over a year ago, she wasn’t making the gains needed to catch up to her peers. We sat around the table discussing her support. She was seeing three different people: her classroom teacher, the reading support teacher, and the literacy coach. As we talked, it became obvious that everyone was telling her something different. She could read a variety of texts, but making sense of them was difficult. She seemed to be so busy trying to please everyone that she was losing sight of making meaning. It was decided she needed to notice when meaning was off-track. We created a plan to keep her focused on meaning, planned the same language for prompting, and reduced the number of adults she was seeing each day. She just needed to bring her focus to one idea: stopping to think when she noticed meaning breaking down.
In our classrooms sit readers like Marissa who need to make great gains. In today’s high-stakes world, it’s easy to panic. Before we know it, we have a laundry list of goals for the reader. Our students who need the greatest consistency often sit beside different teachers across their day. We feel the pressure to accelerate progress and find ourselves trying to remediate deficits with an abundance of skills, strategies, and prompts. If we aren’t careful, our readers can lose time to read and practice new learning. We forget to lift the strengths, to celebrate the little steps, and to stay focused on the one foundational step that might help a reader to move forward. What if we could peel away the layers to choose the one thing that mattered most? What if we just “got under the ball?”
This week we look at one strategy for "getting under the ball" in conferences. Focusing on one thing with a struggling learner can wipe away a lot of distractions, and leaves students of any age with a sense of their strengths and what's next. Plus we'll tackle more as always -- enjoy!
Cathy Mere is a literacy specialist in Hilliard (Ohio) City Schools. She is the author of More Than Guided Reading. A trained literacy coach and former Reading Recovery teacher, Cathy leads professional development workshops and presents at state and national conferences. She blogs at Refine and Reflect.
Free for All
[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links, follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChoiceLiteracy or Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/choiceliteracy/]
Stephanie Affinito explains how to use student checklists in literacy intervention:
Check out our new online courses for teachers and literacy coaches! In the next month we're featuring 12-day self-paced classes from Katherine Sokolowski on student research projects in grades 3-7, Christy Rush-Levine on quick and meaningful reading conferences in middle school, and Jennifer Schwanke on better outreach to families. Courses include three-month trial memberships to Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy, screencasts, videos, articles, and personal responses from the instructor to your questions. Explore detailed descriptions at this link:
For Members Only
A paid membership gives you access to all premium content. For details on trial and annual memberships, click here.
Kate Mills and Tara Barnett share strategies for building bridges between intervention and classroom instruction:
That's all for this week!
Did someone send you a link to this newsletter? You can sign up for your own copy here: