I'd bet this is the
5th 100th time I've sat down to write this post. This year brought some changes to my little teaching world that I underestimated.
Over the last 4 years I've taught some combo of ELA, SS, and Science to two classes of students in a collaborative setting. This year we added a new teacher and a 3rd class into the mix, so we now have 64 students.
It has been a while since I've had more than 45 students. The paperwork, management, kid shuffling, and makeup work situations have taken some time to get under control. Not that I'm a pro at it or anything now, but at least I don't feel like I'm drowning in paper (not daily anyway).
My teammates and I chose to group our students in flexible ability groups. I support this method and have found, time and time again, that our students perform well in this type of situation and it helps me to tailor my teaching to their needs.
What I was not prepared for was a class of 19 students who are reading significantly below grade level. Being in collaborative I've always had students way below grade level, but never an entire class.
We started out with Reading Workshop rules and read to self for Daily 5. I didn't have enough books to keep them reading. My principal is very supportive immediately offered to order more books for us. We have 100 PreK-2 grade books coming, but they aren't here yet.
In the meantime, we read Raymond and Graham Rule the School and we've worked on author's purpose, story elements, cause and effect, and a few other skills.
It is not enough. I'm at that point where I feel like I'll never be able to do enough. There are so many things these kiddos need and, honestly, I've been overwhelmed and lost and more stressed than I've ever been during the first 5 weeks of school.
The students are great to work with. We have a lot of fun together and they want to learn, so that does make things much easier. I've just been putting a lot of pressure on myself to already have it all together!!
It feels both good
and bad to finally put this out there. I started this blog as a way to share my ideas with other bloggers and teachers out there. I love all the ideas I get from reading other blogs, but I also have a tendency to compare myself and my class to what others are doing.
I jumped in way too fast this year. I didn't have the resources I needed in my classroom library to start out with Daily 5 the way I wanted, so we've just bounced around with different skills and routines. I needed to go back to more of the basics, but the pull of the pacing guide and testing got the better of me this time around! I just felt pressured to push them right into the curriculum and we should've eased our way in a little more.
It has been a struggle to establish a homework routine, but we are certainly much closer on that. We have established a great word of the day routine and I feel like we are making progress with vocabulary through that. Writing is really a struggle. Even a complete sentence is difficult for us right now and capitalization and punctuation are just all over the place!
This will be a year when I have to constantly remind myself that I must do what is best for my children to advance them as far as I can. We will get this down and we will begin to see progress, it is just going to be slower with this class than with the others.
Since we are departmentalized we only have 90 minutes per class. That is not a lot of time considering how much help my kiddos need.
Now, the pity party/whiny portion of this post is over. I always believe in having a plan, even if I don't follow it or it doesn't turn out right! Here is the plan:
1. As soon as our 100 new books get here I will start each child a book bag. This bag will stay in my classroom and will be used for Read to Self. Each child will get a shopping day one time a week.
2. We will begin working on our stamina for read to self.
3. I will introduce read to someone. We will model, model, model and I will reread the Daily 5, daily if I must to get this down pat!!
4. I'm going to try this for a schedule at least 4 days a week:
15 min. Mini Lesson
20 min. Daily 5 rotation
15 min. Mini Lesson
20 min. Mini Lesson
20 min. Vocabulary/listen to reading
5. I will repeat: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can 10 times each day! LOL
Any suggestions?! Anyone have experience with restarting Daily 5?
Friends, thank you so much for listening while I spill it all! You are wonderful! I am thankful for the inspiration I get from each of you!