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August 29. 2018

Daily Lit Bit - 8/29/18

Book clubs provide an authentic opportunity for children to apply many of the literacy behaviors and understandings that they have learned through other instructional contexts: thinking within, beyond, and about a text; listening and understanding; interacting socially; engaging in extended discussions; and more.

August 27. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Organize Your Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

If you're starting to unpack Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™, here are some practical tips on organizing your classroom for each instructional context.

Interactive Read-Aloud: Interactive read-aloud takes place in the whole-class meeting area of your classroom. It is ideal to have a bright rug or natural barriers, such as bookshelves, to mark the area. Children sit on the floor, so arrange your chair and an easel to give all children an unobstructed view. As you finish with a book, you can move it to a bin in the classroom library or display it on the easel or bookshelves, offering children the opportunity to choose to read it independently. Keep interactive read-aloud lessons, books, and supplies in your resource area for easy access.

Shared Reading: As you arrange your classroom for shared reading, be sure to accommodate children so that every child can see the big book or chart. Store texts and tools nearby for easy access. 

Texts: 

  • large print books 
  • projected texts 
  • shared/interactive writing texts 
  • small copies of large texts 

 Tools: 

  • easel plain pointer 
  • Wikki Stix® 
  • word cards 
  • highlighter tape 
  • magnetic letters 
  • whiteboard pocket chart 
  • word masks of various sizes markers 
  • correction tape and sticky notes computer and screen, or document camera, to project an image

Reading Minilessons: Many of your lessons on management, skills, strategies, and literary analysis will flow from observations you make during interactive read-aloud and conferring with children during independent reading. When organizing your classroom for reading minilessons, designate wall space near the meeting area to display anchor charts with principles that children are currently learning and applying.

Guided Reading: Your guided reading area is best located in an area of the classroom that accommodates a table large enough to seat 4-6 children and yourself. A kidney-shaped table is ideal. Arrange the table so you sit facing the children and classroom, allowing you to monitor the children working in independent work areas. Ideally the lessons and books are arranged by level on shelves behind your small-group table, allowing you to easily retrieve and return instructional materials.

Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study: When you present phonics and word study lessons, you will need a pocket chart; picture, letter, and word cards; and chart paper. Store your lesson folders, Sing a Song of Poetry, and Ready Resources in your resource area to streamline planning and the gathering of materials. For more tips on organizing PWS, refer to this Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System Unpacking Document.

Independent Reading: Choose a place in your classroom to create a classroom library. Shelves that accommodate book bins are ideal, with bins organized by genre topic, author, and interest for easy access and browsing by children. Organize the conferring cards in your resource area, so that you can quickly pull the appropriate cards to support your conferences with readers.

Book Clubs: Book clubs can take place anywhere in your classroom where there is room for small groups of children to sit, either in a circle of chairs or in a circle on the floor, and discuss books together. Designate a shelf in your resource area where you can store the books and discussion cards together for easy access.

From the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

August 23. 2018

Newest Additions to Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™!

Last year came the first wave of Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™--the system designed to reshape literacy instruction as we know it. But that was just the beginning!

New and exciting resources will continue to roll out over the next few years; Book Clubs and Reading Minilessons are two of the latest instructional contexts to be released. Here’s what you’ll expect in these two important resources. 

Reading Minilessons

With this second wave of Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) comes the long-awaited release of The Reading Minilessons Book for grades K, 1, 2, and 3. This book is full of brief, highly specific, focused lessons that teaches students—in a whole-class setting—a principle that they can apply in many ways. These lessons are often referred to by Fountas and Pinnell as the glue that holds all of the other instructional contexts together. During the lessons, the students revisit mentor texts that they have read aloud or read during shared reading. The students then move to their individual choice reading where right on the edge of their consciousness as readers is that principle they explored in the minilesson, which they apply to their own reading. They finish by coming back for a brief sharing period where they can share their discoveries. 

Click HERE to learn more about The Reading Minilessons Book.

Book Clubs

Book Clubs and Literature Discussion provide an authentic opportunity to bring students together for in-depth discussion of captivating books that have been selected by Fountas and Pinnell as exemplary. The FPC Book Club Collection comes with 32 trade titles per grades K–3 and 48 titles per grades 4–6. Six copies of each title come in the collection along with a Discussion Card for the teacher to help support the discussion. The role of the teacher in these discussions should be limited. It is a time for students to exchange ideas with their peers and co-construct richer understandings of a text. As they bring together much of their learning during Book Clubs, students find a sense of agency.

Click HERE to learn more about the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Book Clubs Collection.

Use these contexts to turn your classroom into a Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ where your students learn how to be confident, self-determined, curious, kind, and literate members of a community.  

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team
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 8. 2018

4 Ways to Prepare for Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

If you are thinking about updating the literacy system in your school or you have just invested in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ and you’re wondering where to begin, it's important to take the time to come up with an action plan. Luckily, we've designed 4 easy steps to putting your vision of a coherent literacy system into action with this user friendly Interactive Action Plan!

You can find the complete, printable version of the Interactive Action Plan for Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) HERE. Below is a short breakdown of this plan and how to use it to get started! 

Step 1: Define Your Vision and Values

In Step 1 of the Interactive Action Plan, you will define and record your values and goals. Defining your values establishes a foundation upon which to build your instructional priorities and instructional plan. You will first review and reflect on Fountas and Pinnell’s Core Values. You might find that you share the same values or perhaps you might want to use them to guide the decisions you make.  Then you will take time to envision and name the values you have for literacy instruction in your own classroom. 

Step 2: Set Your Goals

Let your core values established in Step 1 form the backbone of your decisions and lead you to set instructional goals that reinforce those values. In Step 2 of the Interactive Action Plan, you’ll have the opportunity to identify and prioritize your implementation and instructional goals through a self-assessment of your current literacy instruction.

Step 3: Get to Know Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

Use Step 3 in the Interactive Action Plan to get to know FPC and get familiar with all of the instructional contexts that are in the system. Here, is where you would also take the time to get familiar with The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, which is the instructional anchor for every goal, book, and lesson in FPC. The Literacy Continuum is a mandatory tool for being able to implement this system effectively, so it’s critical to get to know it as much as you can. Here is a link to a Study Guide if you’re not sure where to start.  In this step, you will also map out an implementation plan, as well as identify professional learning needs and opportunities.

Step 4: Plan Your Literacy Time

Time for literacy is critical, but finding time to fit it all in can be a challenge. It will help to create a literacy schedule in advance, which is what you will do in Step 4 of the Interactive Action Plan. Plan a week (or weeks) in your Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ using examples to get you started. Thoughtful and intentional planning is needed to ensure efficient, engaging, and effective literacy opportunities in your classroom. 

This Interactive Action Plan is sure to prepare you for the implementation of this exciting new literacy system. Get started on your exciting journey today—a journey that will transform your classroom, your teaching, and the literacy lives of your students. 

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

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