Bitsy Parks is a first-grade teacher in Beaverton, Oregon and an adjunct instructor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Bitsy Parks works with a first grader stuck on writing about Pokemon characters. She uses other writing from Clover to nudge her to try something new.
Bitsy Parks teaches the foundations of first-grade classroom life through minilessons early in the year.
“I read 35 pages!” An elated student deflates Bitsy Parks in her first-grade classroom. By mid-fall she is alarmed at the responses of students to their reading in the whole-group share — they are all about quantity, with no thinking or reflection. She uses modeling and careful questioning to foster more thoughtful reader response.
“How do you know what level they have selected?” a visitor asks Bitsy Parks as she observes during a first-grade independent reading period. “I don’t,” Bitsy responds, and explains why it is a beautiful thing.
Bitsy Parks selects read alouds for the first weeks of school for many different purposes, from building community to helping her first graders navigate the classroom library.
Bitsy Parks uses reading share time early in the year to describe and summarize the work in two conferences to help students learn how conferring, independent reading time, and strategy practice work. One of the books used in a conference is from a recent read aloud.
Bitsy Parks is stressed from trying to "cover" all the lessons in the first required reading unit of the year with her first graders. She takes a deep breath, and decides to integrate more of her own lessons into her instruction.
Bitsy Parks helps first graders early in the year engage with the library by introducing a series with companion stuffed animals to a small group.
Bitsy Parks reflects upon her own not-so-successful experiences as a parent in getting her four children to read during the summer months. She uses these parenting lessons to help students take the initiative for summer reading by writing down commitments and goals in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks has a simple seven-step process for a hard day’s work of weeding out her first-grade classroom library.
Bitsy Parks realizes charts will help her first graders craft sentences. She shares how her sentence writing charts have changed over time.
Bitsy Parks explains how the ending weeks of read alouds in her first-grade classroom are designed to celebrate learning and shared experiences from the entire year.
Bitsy Parks finds goals aren't enough for her first-grade students — real growth requires that the goals eventually become habits. She develops a process mid-year to help children refine their goals step-by-step.
Bitsy Parks discovers the best way to relaunch literacy workshops in January after holiday break is to have her first graders reflect upon and celebrate what they learned in the fall with personal anchor charts.
Bitsy Parks uses mentor texts and her own writing in a minilesson on how her first graders might use repeated phrases in their writing for more impact.
Bitsy Parks helps her first-grade students complete “thumb reflections” on making connections in reading early in the year by modeling connections from three conferences in a whole-class share session.
Bitsy Parks presents a minilesson on figuring out tricky words by recounting a student's strategy from a recent reading conference, using it to begin an anchor chart.
Bitsy Parks uses read alouds from earlier in September to teach the key building block of comprehension — connections
Bitsy Parks confers with first grader Leo early in the school year, reinforcing the basic principle of making connections to text while reading.
Bitsy Parks takes time to celebrate first grader Colson’s finished writing, even as she nudges him to try a technique shared in the day’s minilesson.
Bitsy Parks teaches her first graders early in the year how to read like writers, highlighting examples from favorite mentor texts.
Bitsy Parks finds building excitement for book awards works in tandem with generating enthusiasm for reading in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks shows how even the simplest picture book can lead to powerful conferring. In this example, a first-grade English language learner is reading a picture book that uses only two words in the text.
Bitsy Parks shares how she starts the day with literacy in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks teaches her first graders to write sticky note reminders throughout the day, and is delighted by the learning and community building that ensues.
Bitsy Parks describes her process over the years in increasing both the quality and quantity of read-alouds in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks has her first graders complete a quick reading reflection before a share session early in the school year.
Bitsy Parks explains how she designs her first-grade classroom library for “gradual release” throughout the school year in a way that allows students to build book-browsing skills.
Bitsy Parks has her first-grade students record their writing as part of a regular workshop and assessment routine, and then uses QR codes to share the recordings with families and the larger community.
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