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Weaning Myself off the Basal

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Kacie409 Kacie409 is offline
 
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Weaning Myself off the Basal
Old 07-21-2017, 04:44 PM
 
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We have the option this year to either use or not use our basal (Reading Street). I would love to completely move away from the basal, but I feel overwhelmed when I try to figure out the best way to do that. So, I'm thinking of making this a transition year. I'm thinking of picking the stories I like best, and then spending two weeks on each of those stories. This will allow me to blend some of the structure the basal provides with some other lessons and centers that I add. Does anyone already do this? If you spend two weeks on each story, what do those weeks look like? I would appreciate your advice.


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Old 07-21-2017, 06:04 PM
 
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I hear a lot about basals on PT, but in my 12 years of teaching I've never taught in a school with a basal. I'd love to help, but I need a little clarification. Are the stories read alouds or shared reading? Do you do guided reading? Do you have requirements about how to structure your reading block?

Here's what I do:

Morning work is focused on word study. Students are in different groups based on their 'Words their Way' assessment. 10mins

One student a day shares a book talk with the class. 5mins

Afterwards, we do 3 rounds of guided reading with only 3 center choices (partner reading, reading/listening to reading on ipads , and word work). 1hr

Then during reading workshop, I do a read aloud focused on some type of reading strategy (ex: making connections), next students reading independently to practice while I work with students, and then a quick share. 30-40 mins depending on the read aloud.

We have shared reading time which is usually a poem of the week or a readers theater 10min

Last, we have writing workshop which follows the same reading workshop format. 30mins
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Weaning off the basal
Old 07-22-2017, 02:31 AM
 
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I admire you for making this change ! It'll be a good one since basals don't usually meet the varied needs of our students. Your idea of transition is excellent.

Is the series "structure" standards based so that you're targetting the essentials? Maybe make sure of that. Do some written response kind of activities like character webs for example. This work can be the kinds of assignments students will do during reading workshop or whatever you're doing in place of basals.Then will there be time for independent reading or guided reading?

Sounds like you're getting ready for an important transition. Keep posting back here for more ideas.
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Two Weeks on one story?
Old 07-22-2017, 07:47 AM
 
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I am not sure what that would look like. My third graders would have gotten bored with talking and analyzing the same text for two weeks. Isn't it our job to keep them excited about reading? If they like reading in class then maybe, just maybe they will chose to read for pleasure at home. The more you read the better reader you become. JMO I do agree that using something besides the basal is best for the students.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:49 AM
 
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I would try to order sets of real books at different levels that you could do small group guided reading or book clubs with and focus on a comprehension skill for a few weeks at a time


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Reading Street Leveled Readers Only
Old 07-22-2017, 02:15 PM
 
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We ended up doing this last year around October when we realized that our basal didn't work with the new pacing guide our district provided. At all. We have Reading Street as well...

So we scratched it and it was a rough year. I don't feel like I did my kids a service because we were kind of winging it...but here's what we're planning for this year.

We will continue to use the leveled readers for guided reading groups. They're leveled and for the most part, go with our content. We will also use some outside reading passages that go with our science and social studies content.

This is tentatively what our team has laid out:

10 min- Vocabulary Instruction
15-20 min - mini-lesson <- this is focused on the skill of the week per our pacing guide, mostly
25 min - guided reading group (this will be focused on the skill of the week...but will be leveled...other students will be reading independently and working on a quick "must do" activity for the day
25 min - second guided reading group
5 min - wrap up/reflection

In guided reading, you will be using the Reading Street leveled readers and whatever passages you'd like to teach guided reading. The kids will be reading an independent book on their own that they'll use to practice the skill of the week on their own.

Not sure if this helps...it took last year of working through some ideas to come up with this. We will see if the timeline works or not.
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Two Weeks on One Story?
Old 07-23-2017, 07:08 AM
 
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If I did teach one story for two weeks I would pull in other literature that made connections to add interest. You could find a picture book to read aloud to the class that made a connection in some way. Then discuss and write about those connections. A good poem would also work if you could find the right one. Also you could focus on one aspect of the featured story and find a nonfiction connection. For example if the story is set during World War II you could read them some NF about the war. Or if the conflict of the story is a storm you could read NF about storms. Comparing fiction with NF would be interesting and get the kids really thinking and making connections which helps comprehension,
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What grade?
Old 07-23-2017, 09:30 AM
 
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Your profile says 4 to 6. But what grade are we talking about?

I bought books in sets like teacher0279 talked about. I focused on one genre at a time. That way we study the traits of that one genre together while each group enjoys a different novel.

For example we study the genre of mystery. I use a few read alouds during our study as mentor text. We read Grandpa's Teeth, Private I. Guana and The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History. We discussed the difference between fiction and non fiction mysteries and the traits of mystery.

Then my lowest readers read Nate The Great. My middle readers read one of the Cam Jansen series. Then my high readers read one of The Boxcar children's mysteries.

If we had a mystery in our basal we read that as well and made connections with other mysteries.

Organizing a year of reading through genres made planning easier. I was also able to buy novels a few at a time this was focusing on one genre at a time to build my classroom novels for instruction,
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Kacie I doing the same thing this year
Old 08-02-2017, 06:51 AM
 
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I am used to the structure of either a basal or direct instruction (Reading Mastery). This year, like you, I would like to use better literature and I'm finding it overwhelming. I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to chime in to let you know you're not the only one. So far I've gotten awesome help from the people on these boards!!
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Guided reading or literature circle
Old 08-11-2017, 07:54 AM
 
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1956, when you had your lower readers read Nate the Great, the middle read Cam Jansen, and the high read Boxcar Children, how were they doing this... was each group reading with you in a guided reading group? I know I will have kids who are 1 to 2 grade levels behind in reading, so I am trying to make sure I meet their needs. In the past I was teaching the direct instruction/reading mastery, which is awesome for struggling readers. But I'd say half of the stories are kind of blah. But they really learn how to read. This year I'm going to be trying to use "authentic literature" but it's very overwhelming and I'm also trying to figure out what literature to use for my lower readers in a guided reading group.


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Old 08-11-2017, 04:18 PM
 
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Nate the Great, Cam Jansen, and Boxcar Children are all books that I've pulled for reading group as well. In the lower grades especially, it's crazy how far apart they are in terms of their reading skills. Last year, I had to have 6 reading groups because one student was reading level A books (like..."This is a dog. This is a cat." while way on the other spectrum I had a student who could read Boxcar Children chapter books. I met with 4 groups each day. The lowest groups met every day. While the higher groups alternated.
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