Beginning the READ 180 Routine – Teaching the Rotations
- Grades: 9–12
- Unit Plan:
- Learn each of the three rotations for the READ 180 classroom (computer, independent reading, and small group instruction) and the expectations for each.
- Check out audiotapes and books for independent reading.
- Read and discuss the anti-bullying materials provided during small-group lessons.
- Describe an ideal classroom learning environment and make commitments toward that ideal.
- READ 180 Stage C classroom materials
- Tape players and headphones
- Areas of the classroom for separate student activities
- Paper and pens or fine-tip markers
Set Up and Prepare
- Enter a demonstration student into the READ 180 database for modeling purposes.
- Have class library and READ 180 books numbered for easy checkout.
- Have class lists ready as check-out sheets.
- Print and copy the Walter Dean Myers interview from the Scholastic News Archived Special Report "Are You Being Bullied?" for small-group instruction.
Step 1: Explain procedures for checking out audio books and independent reading books in your classroom. Clearly model how checked-out materials will be recorded and stored in the classroom. Explain the organization of your classroom library and emphasize that students are making a commitment to the book they choose.
Call small groups of students to the materials to choose their book for independent reading. While students are choosing and recording their selections on your check-out sheet, explain the expectations for the independent reading rotation time in class. In my classroom, students may read wherever they are comfortable in the room as long as they do not interfere with the other rotations.
When each student has selected a book, remind students how to care for your materials and where they will be stored. In my classroom, I use color-coded (for class period) and numbered (student number) sticky dots to give students their own space for storing checked-out materials.
Demonstrate the READ 180 software. Model how to access the program, sign in, store the CD-ROMs, and exit at the sound of the timer. Explain the components of the program (Reading Zone, Spelling Zone, and Word Study) and the requirements for focused, regular use. I require my students at the beginning of the year to begin each session in the reading zone to work on fluency, then move to the word study and spelling zones of the program. Participation in all rotations of my class is NOT optional!
Practice moving between the two rotations (computer and independent reading) smoothly and efficiently. I use a timer and make the transition time a game to see which class can beat the lowest time. Although this may seem obvious to students of high school age, I have learned that this transition practice is essential and saves much wasted time later on.
Post the three groups and rotation schedule (I use overhead transparencies and an overhead timer). Go through the groups so that everyone has a clear indication of where to go and where the next rotation will be. Have students move into their first rotation and begin. I always begin the small group instruction with short articles that we read and discuss together. At the beginning of the year, I choose articles that relate to bullying or establishing a productive classroom climate.
For this lesson in small-group instruction, read the Walter Dean Myers interview on bullying from Scholastic News. In my classroom, I ask for volunteers to read in small group or read it aloud to the students. No one is ever forced to read aloud (other than to me as assessment) in front of others. However, once my students learn to trust that my classroom is a safe environment, almost all are eager to share the reading in small group.
Discuss the anti-bullying ideas from the article. Keep the lesson the same for all three groups.
As a whole class, discuss bullying in our high school. What can be done to stop it? Chart suggestions and consult a school counselor for advice if needed. Assign a written description of the ideal classroom learning environment for students to complete in class.
After a brief sharing and discussion of what the ideal classroom is like, ask students to write the commitments they are willing to make to this class toward creating and maintaining that ideal classroom. Post each commitment after it is shared. I also post photos of students under the heading of "Picture Yourself as Part of the Team."
Supporting All Learners
Offer your own commitments to the class. This not only models the activity for students, but helps them understand that the ideal classroom environment is everyone's responsibility.
Refer back to the display of commitments before a substitute teacher is scheduled or anytime the classroom environment seems less than ideal. Remind students of each commitment and how these add up to our ideal learning environment.
- Students check out a book for independent reading.
- Students begin assigned rotations at the computer, small group, or independent reading.
- Students write a description of their ideal classroom learning environment during class. Then they are asked to make commitments toward achieving that ideal in this classroom.
Things are going well when students understands the rotation schedule and can efficiently gather their materials and begin rotations in a timely manner. Things are going well once students understand that we work until the timer beeps or the bell rings. Things are going very well when students are on task and excited about the work they do. Things are excellent when students want to stay after class to finish, arrive at your door before school starts, or come in at lunch to work!
The READ 180 program provides data and progress reports for all student work done on the program. This is a part of my students' grades, as is their participation in both independent reading and small-group instruction.