Monday, June 04, 2007

SSR 2.0 - final update

An end of the year update - with a podcast - on a little exploration into changing the traditional, standard boundaries of silent reading (SSR, "sustained silent reading") in an elementary school classroom. I have posted a couple of times earlier here on this:

On June 1st I sat down with my third grade reading group to talk about this one more time. Here's what they had to say:

SSR 2.0, podcast #2 (6 min. mp3),
linked for now from my presentation wiki for the IRA Conference

I must say the boundaries of what they read online is also changing, morphing - in very much the same way the boundaries established by a teacher in a traditional silent reading period might change. For instance, there was this real excitement over reading about (ahem, looking at the pictures of) different Pokemon characters on Wikipedia. This wonderful discovery came from reading some of the posts from Doug Noon's fourth grade bloggers. So I watched for a couple of days, finally put my foot down, and said, no more just clicking on this or that to just see pictures of the different characters. Get off Wikipedia, for goodness sake. Kind of like a teacher might not allow somebody to "read" Where's Waldo? day after day.... Know where those boys eventually wound up? - reading and rereading the posts on Pokemon from Doug's kids.

Then there are the walkabouts that happen, like today, a student was at a classblogmeister blog that had Google Earth embedded into a blog post. Never having used the program, she figured out how to see our school from space - pretty much on her own. Reading? Sure, she had to. I have to check with her tomorrow to see where this was - very cool!

Then there is the reading of a post that leads to "non-blog" reading, like a news report linked within a blog. Several of my kids have done this thanks to the fifth grade bloggers in Gordon Brune's class.

At the end of all this, I will say there is a renewed and excited interest in reading with this group - which had not existed before I opened this door. Sure, they still read from books, but they read also from blogs, online reference, online news, and who knows what else tomorrow. Just like their teachers - and their parents.


Anonymous said...

This was really interesting. I'm sorry that my students are out of school now, and won't hear about this. I hated those Pokemon stories, and ended up telling them to quit writing them. I had a feeling that other kids were reading them, but they were a real pain to edit and revise. I was useless as a helper because I didn't know enough about the Pokemon universe to be able to tell when there were misspelled words in their work. That's where the wikipedia pages came into the picture. We used them for spell checking! I may write more about this...very glad to know that it was worthwhile for someone.

Sarah said...

My favorite thought today is that given a roadblock your kids found a way to pursue the Pokemon universe. Years ago with a 1st grader, Joshua, I finally put up a huge poster of all the characters and that is how I taught him to read.So I do know the names. Can you believe that?
I had to just teach phonics "his way". And last year a student who was autistic was so fixated on Pokemon I'd about cry when he would corner someone visiting the room for an hour on Pokemon. Or in the public library where the now retired head librarian would be so kind as to help him find these books.

We are no longer allowed to "waste" time on SSR. Like many mis-interpreted things in a lunking Under-performing universe.

So I start school about 45 minutes early to get it in. Next year I'll go about 30 minutes longer to fit in a few things like science. But I think we are getting new tech and one thing I'm definitely doing is SSR but I'm so controlling. I found a few sites with books on-line, story sites so I'm going to require that for "part" of your time. Two years ago my 6th graders taught me that looking at Google pictures, images, was their idea of a good short story.Especially if being observed.I can still hear myself saying, "What are you doing?"

Anonymous said...

I continue to be impressed with your SSR 2.0. I'm hoping that my district will soon get off the schnide and get some definitions/guidelines written so our teachers can use this. Until then, I will be sharing your class' blog site to at least use it as a reading tool. Baby steps!