Kindergarten Scares Me

So... you know this famous quote?

Today, mission accomplished.  I taught Kindergarten. 

Over the last week I have been having a conversation with some of my kindergarten teachers about Close Reading.  They are hungry for more information about what that looks like in the primary grades with students that are not reading or are reading at a very low level.  I shared my kindergarten inspiration blog, Kinderconfidential, written by Kristine Mraz where she shared her thoughts about Close Reading with her kindergarteners.  And I pondered the learning I have experienced following the Close Reading Blogathon by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts, as I anxiously await their book coming out next week:  Falling in Love with Close Reading .

During all this conversation and pondering I thought to myself, "I am the reading coach, I should be modeling and willing to step into their shoes and learn what will work for our youngest readers.  Even if it is epic fail.  Even if I pass out."  (This was a real possibility.)

So I channeled my inner Mary Ehrenworth and what I learned from her Secret and Songs of Text session I attended at the summer Reading Institute at Teachers' College.  She used the visual texts of a Picasso painting and a music video.  I looked through the big books in Maria Mallon and Cheryl Dillard's kindergarten classroom and decided to try to teach them to closely read visual text from one big book.  My goal was to get the kids to notice nuances of what is happening in the "text" and what the story "seemed" to be they would continue to grow and change their ideas along the way.  I would have liked to do this with just one visual but this is where they are right now, so I tried to meet them with what they are used to seeing and teach them this new "Close Reading".

So, while I'm throwing myself out there in front of my colleagues... I might as well share with the rest of the world.  Because honestly, whether I am impressed with other lessons I see or photos in classrooms...I ALWAYS learn something from others who share.  So since I managed to not pass out I'm sharing the video I had running.

I have plenty I could critique and would like to do over a little differently, but I was mostly happy with the outcomes and look forward to watching Mrs. Mallon teach lesson 2!   Would LOVE to hear your thoughts!


I don't know why you ever worried about teaching kindergarten - you are a natural! There are so many things going through my mind - new vocabulary of "visual text" - thinking about pictures in a new way - how is this the same and different from the way we first teach children to take a picture walk? - new wording "I seem to think..." I'm starting to think..." My thinking is growing and changing..." - how is this the same and different from the way we teach prediction and confirming or changing predictions? - evidence, evidence, evidence - and the discussion continues... Thank you for being brave enough to take this risk in our continuing dialogue! That's why you're the Reading Coach!

This was a wonderful lesson on how to slow down and model how look at the visual text. All readers will feel successful close reading in this way. There is no right and wrong answer when doing this - just finding out what evidence in the visual text leads them to think in a particular way. Now on to the next few pages... :) MM

Excellent lesson Melanie. I can't wait for our WOW day to learn more. First grade is hungry for more professional development from you!!!

Fran said...

Thanks so much, Melanie!

I have found it exceptionally difficult to stick with one picture when working with fiction/literature, and as I think about "change" and "point of view" in informational text I may be abandoning the "one picture" there as well. Kindergartners need to think and they can. Their thinking may follow different routes but that's a fun challenge to tackle!