Thursday, December 15, 2011

Main Idea... of Literacy Class

Today we began discussing Main Idea in Literacy Class, so I thought I'd share the main idea of my classes!

The main idea of my class is to get students reading at grade level...

To do so I will:

1. Have my students read silently everyday.

2. Participate in 6-minute solution every class period. This is where students will read the same passage 5 days in a row in one minute increments. They will record how many words they read correctly each day and track their progress. They get to see how reading and rereading things increases fluency! So awesome!

3. Learn and apply the basics (basics meaning: main idea, setting, characters, and conflict.)

4. Take practice comprehension tests.


The main thing I want to know is:

HOW DID THESE STUDENTS GET LEFT BEHIND FOR SO LONG!

Some of my kiddos (6th-8th graders) are reading at 3rd and 4th grade reading levels. How is it that they were passed along from grade to grade with hardly any support! It makes me sad, but I am very happy that I am able to help them! I am teaching them basic things that I have known since elementary school, and many of these concepts are completely new to them! Its kind of nice to see the light bulb go on! :)

I just hope they can apply these skills in their regular ed classrooms and on those dreaded MCA and NWEA tests!

I get to go to a Christmas party tonight, so I am excited!
Hope you all have a
Thrilling Thursday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gotta be a Good Life!

I have to love the fact that our Theater is putting on productions of their play today...During 1st, 2nd, and 3rd hours 6th and 7th graders are excused from class to view the play. I have 7th graders 1st and 2nd. What a shame... time to catch up on planning and figuring out the issues I am having with online grading!
Not to mention I sleep in 2 hours longer than I did for my first job. I kind of love it! I was leaving home at 6am when I was teaching at RMS... I get to sleep in until 7:30 at my newest job, I don't even leave the house until 8:20. :)
Have a TERRIFIC TUESDAY :) !

Friday, December 9, 2011

Survival Mode!

I must say that I am a HUGE fan of collaboration...but collaboration only goes so far and then it becomes utter confusion.

My biggest difficulties of the week:

1. The Principal not understanding that 42 minutes isn't enough time to have 15 minutes of reading time and a 10 minute reflection... I have to teach my kiddos skills somewhere!

2. No support... I love the team I work with. They seem to do a great job with their classes, but I need feedback from them to help their students. I can't meet their standards unless they reach out and tell me what their students need to work on. So for now, I am focusing on the basic skills of reading: fluency, comprehension, and analyzing stories.

I feel like I am not doing this in the manner in which they want me to, but I don't know what else to do. These students need stability in their lives, and they don't seem to be getting it at this school. Most of the student population come from inner city STP, and were removed from their schools due to discipline reasons. Allowing them to run the classroom isn't going to help them succeed. I work with small groups, 4-6 students, and they seem to think it is ok to get up whenever they want to. I squashed that right away. That isn't something that is okay in a small group setting. When one student leaves, it can be 25% of the class!

I don't like being negative, I am not a negative person. I love working with these students. They are struggling readers who know they need my help, I am just struggling to make an impact due to the lack of organization at this school. (I don't even have a key for my office space)

Until I get some feedback, or don't... I am going to work with the students on basic skills of reading that will help them to survive the MCA and MAP testing they are required to do bi-yearly. They will be reading and re-reading a single story 3 times to develop skills with making inferences, vocabulary, comprehension, determining main idea, fluency, and finding characters, setting, and plot. These are all skills that any student can benefit from receiving extra help, so I think this is the correct route to go....

Have I mentioned that I have no curriculum... I have a bunch of Reading Reference books, but no solid curriculum. That means, I spend a lot of time on the internet finding stories and worksheets, meanwhile creating my own for these students to work with.

Don't forget, I am a long term substitute... normally, this is not on the menu for long term subs. However, this is great experience for me. I feel that if I can take nothing and turn it into a class, I will be able to develop a class with curriculum no sweat! :)

I still look forward to working with the students to see how they respond to my strategies! Hopefully they can develop skills and become more independent in their reading abilities..

Yay for progress!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just a LITTLE Frustrated...

I'm having a bit of a HARD time with the planning process for my classes. The problem comes with not knowing if I will be hosting kiddos for 20 minutes or 42. For those of you non-teachers, I am sure you can understand, but for those teacher readers out there, it is a huge part of planning! They keep telling me they are in the process of creating my classes, but I am supposed to start with students on Monday...IT'S FRIDAY!
I have spent a lot of time observing this past week, and getting ideas for my class sessions, but it is still really hard to plan without actually seeing the test scores and needs of my students. I've done some discussing with other language specialists, and gotten a LOT of ideas and I think I have it narrowed down to a plan for all of my classes of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders:

1. Sustained Silent Reading 15 minutes (hoping that I will have my students for 42 minutes)

2. 5-day rotation between current event comprehension skills, Humanities (social studies) comprehension, vocabulary development, fictional elements and skills, and choice comprehension.

3. Throw in fluency 3 out of the 5 days of that rotation and that will be my class!

I will not have students 5 days a week. The students will follow an A/B schedule, so I will see them every other day.

As you can see, this rotation includes A LOT of reading comprehension. No matter what, kiddos need to work on reading comprehension. In the first 5-day rotation, I will spend time getting to know the students skills, personalities, and re-teaching the basics of reading intervention. We will go over strategies in reading and skills they can use in everyday reading.

This is not a "set in stone" deal. I haven't gone over this plan with the principal because he hasn't had a whole lot of time to meet with me. Hopefully I will meet his expectations for this program. The school is kind of putting a lot on my plate as a Long Term Substitute, but I think this has the potential to be great experience for me for my future job prospects.

This post is kind of TO BE CONTINUED... not sure what will happen. Today could lead to more understanding, or it might not. We'll see!

The Beautiful Winona State University

The Beautiful Winona State University
One of the places I miss the most, WSU. GO WARRIORS!