Last Friday we also had early release. The kids got to go home to play, and we teachers stayed at school to work. The thing is, I don't think the community knows that teachers stay to work on early release days because I had parent from a different grade say, "Any big plans this afternoon for you, Miss Bongers?" I kind of thought she was being sarcastic, so of course I replied with, "Oh, you know... just big plans to plan some literature discussion groups for next week!" She laughed, thinking I was kidding.
On early release days, teachers are required to be at school to work on a variety of tasks that are pre-assigned by our administration. This past Friday, our staff worked diligently to apply a lot of the new training we received last week at a literacy workshop on literature discussion groups. Although it would be awesome if we did, we teachers don't just magically know everything. :) We, too, have to learn, study, and practice. The world of education, best practices, and research of how students learn best continues to evolve every single day! As we learn more about literature discussion groups, we need to study and practice putting together planners for our literature discussion groups so that our instruction and facilitation are as effective as possible to lift students' comprehension and discussion.
For those of you who followed my blog last week, you followed me as I worked with my Pink and Say LDG. Prior to introducing the book to students, I created a planner using our district's LDG protocol to help me launch the book and facilitate the group successfully. Here is an example of what I planned (for nearly 3 hours!) prior to working with the group. We don't have a teacher's manual full of planners that we just whip out a minute before we meet with a group. Teachers work really hard and need time to plan PURPOSEFUL lessons for students so that their comprehension is truly lifted as they read, flag, and discuss text.