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August 23. 2018

FAQ Friday: How High Do You Test Students in the Benchmark Assessment?

Q: How high do you test students in the Benchmark Assessment?

A: You should assess students to find the 3 levels of difficulty in order to confirm the highest level for instruction: independent, instructional, and hard reading levels. The instructional-level text is one that is more complex than the student can read independently but one that can be read proficiently with the support of teaching. The instructional-level text challenges readers to expand their systems of strategic actions. In the instructional text, students encounter new words to solve, as well as more complex language. Comprehension is challenged and stretched. Finding an appropriate instructional level allows you to teach the student “at the edge” of his current understanding and then to reach and go beyond it. The assessment results also provide information about the text level that will be too demanding of the reader, where the process is likely to break down. The “hard” level is one that will not allow the reader to perform proficiently even with supportive teaching. 

There may be some situations when the numbers don’t line up perfectly. If you start at a good place you should only need to read 3 texts with each child. Sometimes the hard text is not even completed. Note the directions to stop when the number of errors reaches the E number found on the text.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>

August 20. 2018

Teacher Tip: Work Actively to Create Inclusion

It is not enough to create acceptance; you also have to work actively to include students. Take the attitude that all students in the class have much to learn from each other; they have the responsibility and opportunity to help their peers learn. 

Walk into your empty classroom. Does it extend a welcome to every student? Are their names prominent? They should see themselves and their work on the walls. Work hard to pronounce their names correctly. Ask also for their name in their native language. They will enjoy helping you, and in the process, you are communicating not only that they are important, but also that you value their languages even if you cannot speak them. For example, if you are reading aloud or talking about a new word, ask students how the word would be said in another language (like Spanish or Urdu). You can easily put common phrases like “please and thank you” or “good morning” on the wall in every language represented in your classroom. All students will enjoy using a bit of another language.

From Guiding Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

August 17. 2018

FAQ Friday: Is There a Digital Way to Take a Reading Record?

Q: Is there a digital way to take a reading record?

A: Yes. The Benchmark Assessment System Reading Record App (RRA) allows teachers to conduct assessments on their iPads instead of using the printed Recording Forms. Use of the RRA requires an in-app purchase. Search for "Fountas and Pinnell" in the Apple iTunes store.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>

August 16. 2018

3 Steps to Organizing Your Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Resources

The boxes have arrived. The space has been made. Now it’s time to organize the materials that will transform your classroom, your teaching, and the literacy lives of your students. Welcome to Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™!

The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team knows how daunting this task might be, so we’ve come up with a step-by-step Interactive Implementation Plan for organizing your Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) materials. Below is a quick summary, but to get the full benefit of the plan click HERE and print it out for you and your colleagues.

Step 1: Unpack Your System

Using this visual step-by-step guide—together with your implementation goals—unpack inventory, and get to know your FPC books and resources. Thoughtful and intentional unpacking will help you prepare for efficient organization and implementation. In this step you will have the opportunity to unpack and inventory your FPC, and familiarize yourself with the resources in each instructional context using the tools provided in the Interactive Implementation Plan. In this step, you will have an inventory sheet and colored pictures of the components in each context with clear directions on how to organize them. 

Step 2: Organize Your Classroom

The classroom is a place of joy, activity, and continuous inquiry. As you plan the layout of your classroom, consider how to incorporate three types of learning spaces: an area for whole-group instruction and gatherings; an area for small-group instructions and discussions; and areas for students to work independently. The Interactive Implementation Plan will allow you to explore and envision how to plan the layout of your classroom; consider suggestions and examples for arranging your classroom; and organize learning tools to optimize effective teaching and learning.

Step 3: Implement your Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

As you implement FPC, you will be creating a warm and inviting, yet functional, space that supports the classroom community. As you organize your classroom and prepare to teach with FPC, consider how your space, materials, literacy time and planning work together to enhance learning across the day, and what professional learning will elevate your expertise. In step 3 of the Interactive Implementation Plan you will have the opportunity to create a “getting started” period with FPC, get to know The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum; and identify a professional learning path.

Turning a vision into action requires thoughtful planning and organizing. FPC is a literacy system that allows you to operationalize your vision. Use this Interactive Implementation Plan to put you, your students, and your school on the path to literacy success. 

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team
August 14. 2018

Teacher Tip: Establish Routines in the Classroom

From school entry to the end of elementary school, they key to teaching students to make good choices is to establish and teach routines for each activity in the classroom. A routine is a set of actions or steps that you repeat for accomplishing something. Don't have too many routines and don't make them too complex because even intermediate or middle-level students can find it difficult to remember a long list. During the first week of school, demonstrate and teach a few routines to get started, and then use them over and over.

From Guiding Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.