Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

Becky Pursley's First-Grade Class

The Teacher and the Class


Students Making Choices

Video Summary

The Teacher and the Class

Analyzing the Video

Making Connections

Selected Resources

Ms. Pursley working with two of her students.

First-grade teacher Becky Pursley places a lot of trust in her first-grade students at Barton Hills Elementary School in Austin, Texas. "I believe in giving children freedom and trusting they will do good things with it." Using reading and writing workshops that limit "teacher talk," Ms. Pursley emphasizes student choice throughout her literacy curriculum.

Day at a Glance*




BEAR (Be Excited About Reading) Time


Shared Reading/ Scholastic Newspaper


Readers' Workshop


Word Study




Readers' Theater


Individual Assessment


Guided Reading


Writing Workshop


Preparation for Publishing




End of the Day

* In the video you see excerpts from Ms. Pursley's class on November 12 and 13. On a typical day, other content areas are also included in the schedule.

But Ms. Pursley's commitment to a student-driven classroom is coupled with an equal commitment to meeting the Texas standards for first grade. "I can go with the flow of the classroom and still keep within the general Texas framework for learning," she says. Continually observing students, Ms. Pursley introduces important skills and concepts as "teachable moments" arise in class. In this way, she caters to the needs and background knowledge of each student while keeping her eye on benchmarks identified by the state.

Ms. Pursley uses formal and informal assessment to identify individual student needs. She formally assesses students two to three times a year with instruments adopted by her district -- the Texas Primary Reading Inventory and the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA). For informal assessment, Ms. Pursley listens to students read weekly -- and sometimes daily -- making notes, including marking miscues, in a binder containing records on each student.

Next > Analyzing the Video: Before Viewing

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