Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Super Reader vs. Super 'Bad' Reader

This is "Super-Reader!"

SuperReader uses many different strategies for figuring out unknown words and making meaning while reading. SuperReader prepares for reading by looking at the cover and title of a book, reading the blurb on the back and taking a picture walk. SuperReader reads many books, shares them with a reading partner and builds his reading muscles every day. SuperReader is gentle with books and understands how precious they are.

SuperReader is cool! Unlike....

Super 'Bad' Reader!

Super 'Bad' Reader likes to destroy books. Super 'Bad' Reader is not gentle with them. In fact Super 'Bad' Reader rips, throws and eats books. Super 'Bad' Reader pulls them away from SuperReaders who are allowing their imaginations to whisk them away to fantastic places while reading. Super 'Bad' Reader gives up when there are difficult words or phrases and does not try any strategy for figuring out tricky words. Super 'Bad' Reader reads words without thinking of their meaning or visualizing the images the author is describing. Super 'Bad' Reader makes young children cry. Super 'Bad' Reader needs a patient and loving teacher.

The above characters were created by my first grade students. They thought of the names (Lauren and I were not so keen on the term "BAD" because as you teachers and parents is not the child who is bad, it is the action. If a child hits another child it is that action that is wrong - it is not a reflection on the character of the child. But, kids aren't so PC and insisted on the name. So we let it slide.) The students chose the colors, the costume, the attitude, the entire look. They are wearing masks because you are not supposed to know if they are male or female. Lauren took the rough sketches we created together as a class and crafted the final versions pictured here.

The evolution of SuperReader and Super 'Bad' Reader is an interesting one.

I have been fortunate in my teaching career to work with a principal and vice principal whose educational philosophy meshes with my own. I have rarely been asked to do anything that I found to be a waste of time or that was in opposition with my stance on education. This seems to be rare in my field. When teachers get together to bitch about their schools I am the odd man out because I am without horror stories to share.

But recently Lauren and I were asked to create rubrics for our students. They would provide the students with clear expectations for work in all academic areas. I didn't really understand what this would look like for first graders. I am quite comfortable creating rubrics and guidelines for the college course I teach but I was really at a loss when it came to doing this for 5 and 6 year old children.

So, we brainstormed and came up with a way to visually represent the expectations for our students as readers. We found a way to take a task which was initally confusing and turn it into an amazing source of information. It makes me think of one of my favorite childhood sayings...

I am still not sure if SuperReader and Super 'Bad' Reader satisfy the requirement but it has been such a cool experience. The characters have sparked interest in the children and have given them a motivating goal that is at once understandable and relatable. It is winning challenges like this that makes teaching that much sweeter...or should I say SUPER!


Scot said...

"BR" could also stand for "Bizarro Reader" like Bizarro Superman. Of course BR could also stand for Baskin Robbins, which is a no-no while reading too.

kimy said...

nothing sour about this post! super!

Salty Miss Jill said...

Very cute! (I love Super Reader's teeth!)

d. chedwick bryant said...

kids are so genuine. and smart!

Mona said...

Yaaay! I a Super reader By definition!

By the looks of it, superman is a good reader while batman is a bad reader! LOL!

WAT said...

Hey, ya always make me kinda go back to my childhood, which is soooo important in today's strange/creepy world.

It's a nice feeling to be an adult, yet still feel like a kid at times. That is so cool.



Pod said...

but gazza, where oh where are the shots of you in your lemony tights?
(do you wear them in your new mean green lovin machine??)

Mikey T said...

The BR on Bad Reader's chest makes me think of an evil BR (Banana Republic) boss I once had.

Reya Mellicker said...

I think my dog is Super Bad Reader in a superhero outfit! Yikes!!

I love the challenges in your job - they're so different than those people face in corporate settings!

Much love to you and Bliss ... that's the name I voted for anyway. Have you asked your car what name she/he would like?

Pod said...

thanks for the bernard love too

lettuce said...

we have all that too - at every level, from nursery to higher education - aims, objectives, learning outcomes, personal goals blah blah blah.

what you and Lauren did with that is fab, your children are so very lucky to have you!

(and these ideas on reading skills could, actually, apply to some of our students..........)

lettuce said...

(and lol to pod's comment. Yes, where oh where?)

Gary said...

Scot - I like that "Bizarro Reader". Do you think that is more PC? It is certainly more in line with the superhero theme.

Kimy - Clever, clever.

Salty - Thanks. The teeth were Lauren's idea but are very reflective of what I see before me when I look at my students.

Ched - and so are you.

Mona - SuperReader to the rescue! (see Wat's comment) Spreading literacy to those in need. Put on your costume and get out there.

Wat - I know what you mean. I like to mix my grown-up side with a little kid attitude at times as well.

Poddy - How did you know about my lemony tights. Who have you been speaking with? ...I hope you are hanging in there.

Mikey - You are your own superhero.

Reya - The car has spoken and has chosen Sweat Pea. Now to see if the poll agrees. So far, so good. And I am being good and only voting once.

Lettuce - When is enough enough? Kindergarten is the new first grade, babies are enrolled in preschools before they can babble and even playtime is assessed. More on that to come in my next post...which I need to write soon or it won't be my next post but will simply linger in the draft section of this blog.

Sara said...

What a great idea! I'm a literacy coach at an elementary school...always looking for some good hooks. I also enjoyed your recommended children's books -- I taught in room 108 my first three years too, therefore love Mrs. Spitzer's Garden a good bit. :) My BAE and MEd are in Deaf/HH. Thinking about getting my PhD soon...what program are you working on? Good luck! I hope it's going well!!


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