Four Common Questions You May Have When Getting Started with Geodes

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You have a beautiful, full set of Geodes® in your classroom. Are they getting enough attention?

As you prepare to teach these beautifully illustrated, information-rich books for emerging and developing readers, you may have some questions about how to best use Geodes to support knowledge building in your classroom. This blog post will address common questions many educators have about how to use Geodes to help students have a deeper and more meaningful reading experience as they practice and improve their phonics and decoding skills.

Where do I begin?

Just start! At times it can be overwhelming to have several big boxes sitting in your classroom, even if they are filled with the most beautiful books you have ever seen. When I think back to my first experiences with Geodes, I remember thinking to myself, “I’m not sure what this is supposed to look like.” So I chose a few titles and sat down to read them with a group of students.

The students really led the way. They asked questions about the illustrations, noticed some clear connections to the module topic, and enjoyed the soft, inviting texture of the books. But it was when they began reading the text on their ownrecognizing spelling patterns, words, and vocabularythat they realized they could access these texts on their own. There was no turning back from there, and I was absolutely sold!

What will the rest of my class do while I read Geodes with a small group?

As students build confidence by mastering specific phonics skills, they will want to regularly enjoy being successful readers. Providing access to Geodes that students have already read might be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable ways for students to work independently while you work with small groups.

Consider making previously read Geodes available in bins for students to access them easily. The color copies will have great appeal, and they might stay out for the duration of the module to increase longevity. But black and white My Geodes® would remain popular all year! Creating differentiated practice opportunities is fun and becomes easier over time.

You may also consider using Inside Geodes to create independent station options for students through the following methods.

  • Do extended Word Work. Students practice decoding specific Fundations Focus Concept words that appear in a Geodes They also build (encode) and read additional words using the Focus Concept.
  • Reinforce the power of Content Stages that are an integral part of the design of Wit & Wisdom®. Use the Image Discussion Guide to provide a set of questions for a Geodes Examples include the following: “What do you notice about the image on page 6? What do you wonder? What can you learn from the images on pages 7, 12, and 13? How do the images build your knowledge?”
  • Capitalize on ways to integrate writing into the Geodes reading process. Use the Response Journal section to provide opportunities for students to respond in writing. This is a great way to reinforce important concepts and literary elements such as details, setting, main characters, and problem.
  • Revisit each Geodes book and focus on Teachable Moments. There are so many ways to engage students in purposeful rereadings of Geodes. An unsung hero of the Book Notes in Inside Geodes is the Teachable Moments section for every title. In either small groups or as a whole group, revisiting these books are golden opportunities to engage students in close reading that reinforces the structure and purpose of both Reveal lessons and Deep Dives. For example, in Grade 1 Module 2, the title Young Hare is introduced. The Teachable Moments in this text include having students examine text structure by asking them to pause and think about how they would answer the questions the author poses to the reader, as well as asking them to focus on a facet of style and conventions by identifying adjectives that describe the different lines Albrecht Dürer painted.

 Will students make connections to module topics and content?

I have found that I am rarely the one who makes explicit connections between Geodes and the Wit & Wisdom module topic because students always beat me to it. One of the unique and beautiful features of Geodes is that they are not only aligned to the module, but they also support the knowledge that students are building in said module so students can continue to grow the depth and breadth of their knowledge as they read Geodes.

I saw a whole new layer of possibilities when I looked at the Wit & Wisdom Module Learning Goals and Suggested Student Understandings for each module to see where explicit connections between both the topic and the skills could be made as students read each Geodes book.

Students can make connections in other ways. For example, in the beginning of the year, rising first graders will bring their excitement and knowledge about the world from their work in Kindergarten Module 4: The Continents. Displaying a map at the beginning of the school year will bridge that connection and fuel students’ excitement as they engage in Module 1: A World of Books. For first graders, consider capitalizing on the World Connection that is called out in Inside Geodes for each Geodes title. Students could post notes or comments, connected by yarn and push pins, to unfamiliar and familiar places around the globe. Students can also make global connections in a variety of ways. They may want to illustrate a fact from the More section or try their hand at using Dürer’s techniques to draw an animal.

How can I involve caregivers?

Nothing feels better to a child than knowing how to read. For visiting caregivers, have students make reading presentations that include reading a Geodes book aloud or asking “Did you know?” questions they have generated themselves from the Geodes’ More section. Students will enjoy sharing the knowledge that they have built from a single Geodes title and explaining the connection with the module topic to their families and caregivers. This is also a great time to share Family Tip Sheets, which have resulted in more visits to the local public library than I can name.

Topics: Implementation Support