Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Reader's Workshop

The best way for me to explain how Reader's Workshop plays out in my classroom is by thinking about the Plate Spinner at the circus. Here's a guy who gets one plate spinning and then gets another and another spinning. Once he gets the dozen or so plates moving he needs to quickly adjust his focus to the first couple of groups to keep their momentum going. He constantly needs to assess his plates and make quick decisions based on the needs of what he observes.


This is how Reader's Workshop is for me, actually this is how my whole day is. I am constantly monitoring many different things at the same time where I may start with a plan but then change suddenly depending on the need of my class. It's not perfect but it works. There may be days when I start spinning a plate and it flops and breaks, but the nice thing is that are a whole stack of plates ready to use. If at first you do not succeed, try try again.

I have found it best to just jump in and try and watch the class begin to take a life of its own. There is beauty during those brief moments when all the plates are spinning perfectly at the same time and you step back for just a moment and breath easy.

2 comments:

  1. Wow. This is such a wonderful metaphor! I feel like that a LOT - though sometimes it seems like those moments of beauty are far too rare.

    Thanks for stopping by Epic Adventures! I'll be interested to see your reflections on your year.

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  2. John,
    You said, "He constantly needs to assess his plates and make quick decisions based on the needs of what he observes." I think this, combined with your picture, is an excellent comparison of teaching in an active elementary classroom.

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