Sunday, October 6, 2013

Better Late Than Never

Tomorrow starts week 7 of the school year and I spent a big part of today looking at my reading textbook and trying to figure out how it all works. We use Reading Street by Pearson and I gotta say, I think I like it!

I've been using different stories and bits and pieces while trying to follow our district curriculum and I've had to create a lot of my own materials and search for things online to fit it all together. It's kind of like forcing a square peg into a round hole.

Well, I've already covered all of the objectives for the first benchmark, and I've still got two weeks to go. So I kind of felt like I had a bit of freedom to do what I want to review before the test.

Well, I discovered this little link on the Pearson website called Teacher Resources. You can probably guess why this post is titled better late than never! Yes, I just today discovered the teacher resources. Let me tell you, a whole bunch of treasures fell out! Haha!

To make a long story short, I think I have a decent grasp on how this is all designed to work, and I've decided to be a bit of a rebel and abandon the so called curriculum our district has provided and try out a week using the book our state spent a fortune to provide for us. I'm going to try to use a chapter in the book as designed, as closely as I can, because I want to see how it all works. 

This could be a disaster, jumping in like I am, or it could be exactly the stress relief I have been looking for... No more searching and creating anymore. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to use the amazing resources provided, and it just might work beautifully!

Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Time Issue

There are never enough hours in the day. And if there were, I don't know if I could get enough caffeine in my system to make the most of them!

Today at school, we learned about a really neat (really expensive, I'm sure!) resource called LLI. I can't even remember what that stands for! Leveled Something-that-starts-with-an-L Intervention. (I just remembered! Leveled Literacy Intervention) It's basically guided reading lessons for below grade reading groups. It's really cool and comprehensive and teacher friendly. I have seven kids in my class of thirty reading below grade level. I am supposed to be reading with them every single day. Sounds perfect, right? It would be, if I had the time to use it!

I basically have an hour and a half block of time for Reading/Language Arts. I spoke to our reading specialist and asked her how we could fit this into our day. She said, ideally, you'd have a two and a half hour block for Reading/Language Arts. I'm missing an hour.

So I have a choice. I can do guided reading groups and get/keep my kids reading on grade level, or I can teach them the learning goals they will be tested on throughout the year on benchmarks and in April on our state test. 

The best compromise I can see is teaching them the tested curriculum and try to fit in reading with my kids one on one, hopefully once a week.

That's my current plan. Keep your fingers crossed, imaginary readers. Those LLI boxes will be sitting in a corner of my room collecting dust. Every once in a while, I shall glance longingly in their direction...