Bitsy Parks is a first-grade teacher in Beaverton, Oregon and an adjunct instructor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Bitsy Parks uses the short stretch before the holidays for a quick and fun how-to writing unit with her first graders.
Bitsy Parks confers with first grader Ella about the Brown and Pearl book series, and then listens to Ella read. She closes the conference by encouraging Ella to make more personal connections to books.
This brief video is an excerpt from a read aloud in a first-grade classroom during morning snack break. You’ll notice Bitsy Parks uses a projector so students can eat at tables and desks, and makes quick connections to other books.
Students in the first-grade classroom of Bitsy Parks lead a morning greeting at the start of the day. It’s a quick activity to check attendance, build reading skills, and help students learn the names of classmates in the community.
Bitsy Parks comforts a crying child after lunch, and realizes how essential it is to continually slow down the fast pace of learning in her classroom.
Bitsy Parks makes the home-school connection with first grader Grace early in the year as she writes about her birthday party.
Bitsy Parks confers with Aubrey early in the year, using books from whole-class lessons as a scaffold for understanding key text elements like title, author, and illustrations.
Bitsy Parks works with her first graders early in the year to teach them the basics of how words are constructed, by clapping through syllable counts.
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 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 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 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 a small group of first graders engage with the library early in the year by introducing a series with companion stuffed animals.
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 that the best way to relaunch literacy workshops in January after holiday break is to have her first graders reflect on 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.
Bitsy Parks explains the routines and procedures in her first-grade reading workshop.
Bitsy Parks completes a running record with first grader Wyatt as part of our running record series.
Bitsy Parks completes a running record with first grader Jillian. This is part of our new running records series.
Bitsy Parks explains her procedures for completing running records in her first-grade classroom. This is the first installment in a video series on running records.
Bitsy Parks shares some of her favorite strategies for quick and meaningful word work groups in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks confers with Michael about his gingerbread man writing. She encourages him to use a repeated phrase in the writing, echoing a whole-class lesson on repeated phrases.
Bitsy Parks finds inspiration for her teaching journal in the work of Debbie Miller. She explains how she uses her journal daily, and how it has evolved over time.
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