Thanks for all the kind words. A nice treat before going to bed in a minute...
To answer your questions regarding ability grouped reading lessons. Are your groups fixed for the year (ex- You always have the students that need extra support)? If so, I'd worry about that entire organizational plan. If the groups are flexible, based on pre and post tests, let's say, then your mini-lessons will simply be based on your students needs as a whole. For example, I have always found grammar mini-lessons for writing very easy. I simply teach what I am noticing is being used and confused. I leave the minor errors to my individual conference time (and who wants to hear about quotation marks for the thousandth time when only two need help?).
The other thing I would urge you and your team to do is find more time for writing each day. Beyond the writing assessment, I deeply believe that writing is just as critical as- let's say- math. Think about the importance of writing with just about ANY job and job path. It's a big one. My husband struggled so much in his nursing classes due to the written papers. He would just say, "I can't write!" He ended up becoming a school counselor instead and found out that he struggled just as much to write those papers as well in the process.
So, I promise my students at least 35 minutes of independent reading and 35 minutes of independent writing every day, even when time gets crunched (which is often). Every single day. It's a hard one to promise- and I struggle with this at times- but I fully believe in its importance.
And now it's time for bed. I hope you don't view my suggestions as mandates. Just something to think about...something I feel pretty passionate about. :)
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