I was absent from school on Wednesday. I hadn't planned it. I got really sick and couldn't get out of bed. So, I called my favorite substitute (avoid SubCentral at all costs!!!) to see if she was available (which she was), and told her where my emergency sub folder was. Since I hadn't left any specific plans, just the generic activities that were in the emergency folder, I didn't expect much when I came back to school today.
I opened my classroom door and immediately started vacuuming, sharpening pencils, cleaning, the tables, etc. Part of my normal morning routine now includes planning the guided reading lesson for the day, so I took out my little bin and noticed that the last set of guided reading books, the ones I had planned to use on Wednesday, weren't there. Hmmm? I thought. Then I looked at the reading chart to see which group I would see that day and I noticed the clothespin had been moved to the next group. Hmmmm? I thought again. So I checked the "Just Right" baggies of that group, and sure enough, the book was in each of their baggies. I really couldn't figure out how the substitute would have known what to do. Oh well, I thought, and started planning for the next group. A few minutes before I had to pick up the kids, the substitute came into my room to get her things (she stores her stuff in my room) for the class she was subbing for today and I asked her about the day yesterday.
She said "Oh, yeah, we did everything. We did the word sort and the kids said they were supposed to glue, then they wanted to do the calendar, so we did that. Then they wanted to read their "Just Right" books so we did that, except that a couple of kids insisted that they had to stay on the rug to do a reading group. I asked them, 'What am I supposed to do?' and they showed me the [guided reading] bin and the set of six books. They told me I had to show them the book and then they would read it to me."
Needless to say, I was beaming with pride. My students had guided the substitute through our entire morning routine including the guided reading group. Maybe all of my efforts are paying off. It seems that they have really internalized the structures.