Happy Saturday, Friends!! Have you had spring break yet?!?! Here in NJ, we have not!! And, we’ve got another four weeks until it gets here!! Can you even!?!? I know that by the time it gets it here, a lot of you down south and out west will be close to getting out for the summer.
We are in the middle of what I call the “sweet spot” in school, the time between winter break and spring break. We are in such a groove, the weeks are mostly uninterrupted, and lots of great learning is happening.
So, if you’ve been reading this blog or following me on social media for a bit, then you know that Article of the Week (AoW) is one of the BEST things I do in my room. It truly covers everything important we are learning in middle school and is just the best practice I know of that delivers so much “bang” in such little time.
Recently, I had a teacher reach out and say that while she followed my plans for getting started with an AoW routine, her kids were still struggling to do a good job. I told her that it was likely that her students need more modeling to show them what was expected each week. I explained that just recently, I had to do a little “reminder” about how we tackle the Article of the Week with my kids. And since it was fresh in my mind, I thought I’d do a blog post about it in case there are others struggling, too.
So… the AoW routine that I do with my kids requires quite a few sophisticated skills. And while they’ve been covering these skills in ELA for a long time, they have not mastered most of them yet. Therefore, they still need lots of modeling and practice (with feedback!) about how to tackle them.
I cover elements of nonfiction in September. In that unit, I teach the following:
- Text Features
- Topic, Main Idea, and Supporting Details
- Author’s Purpose
- Organizational Patterns of Nonfiction
During that unit, we put quite a bit into our Interactive Student Notebooks (ISNs)… notes, foldable organizers, practice, and exemplars. All of this work sets up us for being successful for AoW.
A few times a year, I have to stop our “regularly scheduled programming” for a quick AoW refresher. All I do is take a day to model how to complete an AoW from start to finish. (I do this under the document camera and talk aloud the entire time to model how to do this). And I use all the tools from our ISNs to remind them that they have everything they need in their notebooks to do a great job.
And then lastly, I demonstrate how to write a response and a reflection. (Pictured are the slides from my Article of the Week resource. When I intro the AoW routine, I print the PowerPoint out as “slides” and the kids glue them into their notebooks.)
Again, my students are far from “masters” of the AoW out of the shoot. We have to review a TON throughout the year. Don’t ever be afraid to “waste” a day modeling how to do something properly, even if you think kids should already have it down. This is never, EVER a waste in my opinion 🙂
What routines do you find you have to reteach a few times throughout the year? I’d love to hear from you!!