How can Mrs. Nash implement these activities?
Page 10: Implement with Class
After four weeks (i.e., twelve sessions) of training, Mrs. Nash’s students should be ready to independently implement PALS. Mrs. Nash, following the intentions of the PALS strategy’s developers, plans to incorporate PALS three days (i.e., sessions) per week for approximately 35 minutes per session for a minimum of 17 weeks. In order to create a consistent and predictable schedule for her students, Mrs. Nash will see to it that these three weekly sessions occur during her regularly scheduled reading time—the same hour and days each week. In addition, she might sometimes ask her students to engage in these peer-tutoring activities during their independent reading time. Regardless of the week’s activities, Mrs. Nash will avoid holding PALS sessions during nonacademic times (e.g., recess, snack time) or when some of her students are participating in special events outside the classroom. The illustration below breaks down a 35-minute PALS session (allowing several minutes for transitions).
1. Partner Reading
2. Paragraph Shrinking
3. Prediction Relay
As she carries out the recommended PALS implementation, Mrs. Nash monitors each student pair as they read for a few minutes during each session, making certain that she watches each student read at least once every week. As she makes her way around the classroom, she remembers to pay special attention to the fluency with which her students read, as well as how effectively they are able to summarize their reading passages into good main idea statements.
If a number of her students appear to be having difficulty with a PALS activity or with other factors that contribute to the successful implementation of PALS (e.g., coaching procedures, motivation, cooperating with a peer partner), Mrs. Nash may want to conduct a mini-lesson. This should involve the entire class and:
- Serve as a brief review or tutorial
- Be conducted after a few weeks of full implementation (and not during training)
- Occur during a regularly scheduled PALS session
- Last 5 to 10 minutes
Keep in Mind
In order to create and maintain an effective learning environment, a teacher must establish classroom rules and have a good behavior management system in place.
For Your Information
In addition to observing students during each PALS session, the teacher can frequently assess each student’s reading progress through curriculum-based measurement (CBM). To learn more about CBM for reading, please take a look at the following IRIS Module:
A type of progress monitoring conducted on a regular basis to assess student performance throughout an entire year’s curriculum; teachers can use CBM to evaluate not only their students’ progress but also the effectiveness of their instructional methods.
Listen as Devin Kearns highlights the importance of monitoring students while they are engaged in PALS activities (time: 1:00).
Devin Kearns, MA
Transcript: Devin Kearns, MA
Monitoring is the teacher’s key role in grades 2–6 PALS. Once training is over, essentially PALS runs itself, which is the beautiful thing about the program. Students learn the activities and they can do them on their own. However, that’s not the end of PALS in terms of what teachers need to be doing with their students. What we recommend is that you spend about two minutes with each pair, watching them read and perform the activities, and that will give you a pretty clear sense of how well they’re doing any of the activities. So you can watch them during partner reading, and you can see if they’re making a lot of mistakes. You can see what types of words they’re missing. If you’re noticing there’s a problem that your whole class is having after PALS is over, or between PALS sessions, take a minute or two to remind students about a key thing that you want them to improve upon and make sure that they really improve on that.