Sharing My Practice * Linda Kroll * Mills College

Learning to Teach Literacy


One of the first uses of the Quest sites for learning to teach literacy was the viewing of Jenn Myers guided reading lesson. Students observed the lesson, noted what Jenn did, and focused their assessment and observation of the children on one particular child. They then shared in the whole group both what they had observed and what they learned about one particular child.

Jenn Myers guided reading lesson

Observation guide for Guided reading

Guided Reading lesson 
This is the beginning of the guided reading lesson that Luisa taught, modeled on Jenn Myers guided reading lesson

Based on the viewing of this website, one of our students went on to teach a guided reading lesson modeled on Jenn Myers work. She was already scheduled to work with a small group. After watching Jenn conduct the guided reading lesson, she commented to her supervisor that she changed what she was going to do to be modeled on Jenn's work. The result was that she felt much more strongly that she knew what she was doing--although conducting the lesson raised many questions as well.

She videotaped herself teaching this lesson and part of that lesson is here for you to view as well. Included also is her journal reflection on the teaching of the lesson. Later she presented this lesson and tape to her student teaching seminar where we all had the chance to view it, comment on it and help her address the questions she raised with regard to guided reading and teaching.

Journal entry reflection
Luisa's reflection after she taught the lesson.

How do different teachers enact specific literacy practices? What are the effects of these enactments on the children�€™s learning, behavior and work?

In our class we study a variety of methods of literacy instruction. The Quest sites give us entry into multiple classrooms, where we can see, question, and discuss a variety of teaching methods.

To use the sites to think about the teaching of literacy, we focused on the teaching of writing. The students did three weeks of site viewing at home and each week came prepared to discuss a particular site with a group of students. The three different weeks were designed to focus on three aspects of the teaching of writing: Writers workshop, Mini-lessons in writers workshop, and Conferencing in writers workshop. They were given the choice from three different sites to focus on one and really get to know it. These sites were Gill Maimon�€™s and Mattie Davis�€™ from Philadelphia, PA, and Jenn Myers from Morgan Hill, CA. Each week we met in small groups and then debriefed in the whole class about what they had observed and learned.

In addition to the video viewing assignments, they also had reading assignments from Routman�€™s Writing Essentials, the text we used to learn about the teaching of writing. Each week they were asked to compare what they saw in the videos with what they read in the text. During the final week, they also watched the dvd that accompanied the text to look at further examples of writing conferences.

Gill Maimon's site

Mattie Davis' site

Jenn Myers' site

Writers workshop viewing guide

Writers workshop viewing guide 2

Writing Mini lessons viewing guide

Writing conferences viewing guide

Writing conferences viewing guide 1

Discussion of Mattie's website 
small group discussion of Mattie's class

Week 1--For this week students took home one of three possible discs (Jenn, Mattie or Gill) and watched whatever writing videos that were there. They had a set of questions to consider while they watched, and brought back notes and comments to share in small groups in class. They could watch the videos again, or simply discuss what they saw. We repeatedly asked them for evidence of what they concluded, and asked them to relate what they saw to what they read about as well.


Part 1 of the class discussion 
Class discussion about the writing websites.

The class discussion about the writing websites--Part 1


Class discussion part 2 of writing workshop videos 
The second half of the discussion

Part 2 of the class discussion about writers workshop and the teaching of writing as viewed in all three sites.


Class discussion of mini lessons in writers workshop 
The whole class discussion after viewing the videos and talking in small groups.

The second week we discussed minilessons and what they observed. The final week we discussed writing conferences. While we watched these elementary school class lessons, Fredi and I also ran a writers workshop, taught minilessons, and conducted writing conferences so that the students would experience these ways of teaching and learning as observers and participants.


Teaching and Assessing Reading

During the spring semester students completed a major assignment that connected reading assessment and instruction. The assignment involved conducting a miscue or running record assessment with a child, designing a set of lessons for that child and some others, and then conducting a final assessment. In addition, following the final assessment, student teachers conducted a retrospective miscue analysis with the child, listening together to the recording of the child's reading and discussing the child's strengths and strategies with him or her.

Miscue analysis

Retrospective Miscue Analysis



This electronic portfolio was created using the KEEP Toolkit™, developed at the
Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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