Hand Art

I did not post last night- tired would be a good descriptive word to use. πŸ™‚

So here’s a quick one to get caught back up, and later tonight if the tired bug doesn’t hit me again, you can look forward to some math small group information!!!! πŸ™‚

So for this quickie- look at what 2 of my girls made last week while I was at a conference. VERY cool!


Struggling Readers in Intermediate Grades

WARNING-Long post. Possible depressing post. πŸ™‚

Eye opener today. I mean an EYE OPENER. But first let me give you some background information.

This was my first year teaching history. 4 classes. 5/6 grades. 1 hour each.

I have attempted to implement strategic teaching for the first time:

TWIRL- talking, writing, investigating, reading, listening
Daily outcomes
Chunking the text
Explicit instruction
Formative assessments

It’s been a roller coaster. Some weeks I’ve done good with it. Some weeks not so much. πŸ™‚

AND I’ve tried to reflect on what has worked and what has not.

BUT, I’ve missed the boat with one student. OR have I missed it with more???

Today we were studying the California Gold Rush. Easy and simple topic. 2 short pages of text. Maybe 6 paragraphs. Short paragraphs.

Even when we cover 2 pages like this I chunk the test. I usually give them the purpose for reading a certain paragraph as well.

In this instance I told them to read and find out what Boomtowns were. Then turn and talk about it with their partner.

I was mingling with students. Asked this one student to tell me what Boomtowns were. He couldn’t. Told him to reread and tell me. He still couldn’t. I asked him if he understood what he had read. He said no. At least he was honest.

So I proceeded to “show” him how I read informational text. Reread sometimes. Talk to myself while reading. Read in small chunks. He got tears in his eyes.

He can’t comprehend. Even 7 SHORT lines of information. In an easy history textbook. How is he in the 5th grade? How has he not received intervention? Oh, that’s right. We don’t provide intervention in upper grades for comprehension. Sigh.

I don’t teach him reading, but how have I missed this ALL year?

Have I been so caught up in “implementing” strategic teaching that I have been blind to my students?

So I end this post with this. Today was an eye opener that I have let down two people. Myself and this student. OR how many other students have I let down? And where do we go from here?

How do we keep students from falling through the cracks?

Yes, this student is failing the 5th grade this year. Because of math and reading.

Will he make progress next year as a reader with reading the story each week and taking a test on Friday? I think not. Otherwise he would have made progress THIS year.

Read and Write 180-Day 52

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy day. Good day.

English- Well, I wish I could tell you that I taught subject and object pronouns today during our English time since that was on my lesson plans, but I didn’t! I guess it was a typical Monday where I had left my brain at home so we labeled a sentence (and no, I didn’t even put a pronoun in it!!!!!). I’ll get on track tomorrow! Maybe! πŸ™‚

Word study- Spelling-I’m teaching the use of apostrophes for possessives-yes, that is a 3rd grade skill that we are still having a hard time with. What’s funny is that they were actually asking questions about it during the teaching!! Which means they were thinking! πŸ™‚ I used the following 3 words to teach this: crows, crow’s, crows’ – I told the kids that they would not be tested on these 3 words this Friday, they will be tested on the rule and have to apply it to other words.

I read several more “scary” stories to them today-the last one really got them because I had to yell at the end! We were all laughing because it sounded like I only had girls in the class with all the screaming that occurred! πŸ™‚

We went over our “Old Yeller” reading test today-I wanted to use it as a teaching tool so they would know the correct answers and WHY they were the correct answers. Hopefully, this helped them as much as studying before the test!

Gave out graded papers. YES, you should be proud of me! πŸ™‚

Read to self and Work on Writing time went well. I was going to “shush” two of my boys for talking until I realized that one was helping the other one write his reading response letter! πŸ™‚ Gotta love that kind of teaching!

We had a faculty meeting after school about student engagement and the new ARMT+ state test. The student engagement was good-reminded me to do those exit slips that I have only used 1 time this year! The ARMT+ just scared me since the questions are now more higher level thinking questions than they have been in the past. This higher level thinking is what is just plain hard for some of my kids!

This afternoon I went to a soccer game as requested by a couple of our 6th graders-THEY ARE GOOD PLAYERS!!!! πŸ™‚ Go Tyler, Tanner, and Clay!!!

Hope the rest of this week is as good as today was!


Response to intervention

I recently attended a mini-workshop on RTI (response to intervention) in Anniston, Alabama. It was a good one. I began the workshop thinking that RTI was just another name for BBSST (don’t even ask me to break that one down for you-I always forget!). To my understanding BBSST mainly dealt with accommodations/modifications to ensure a child’s success in GRADING-not really progress-which seems to be the way of the world with special education right now! BBSST made sure that if a child was in danger of failing that maybe:

1. decrease the amount of work Β  2. move them to a better spot in the classroom Β  3. give them some type of help/aid during an assessment

Things like this. Some accommodations/modifications are GREAT! But, others stink! I totally agree that if a child is having trouble staying focused/seeing the board/hearing who’s talking (whether they have been put into BBSST or NOT)-yes, they need to be moved to a more ideal spot in the room. BUT-the changes that we are usually asked to do require just getting the student to PASS, not really LEARN-and this, my friends, is what I have a problem with! πŸ™‚

OK-now that I have rambled and lost my own train of thought (not to mention yours) let me get back to the point of this post. What I gained from this workshop is that RTI is not just a new name for BBSST-it is a new way of doing things. It’s really what we should have been doing all along (why does it take us so long to figure these things out???). RTI is essentially noticing a child that is near failing (or having problems/issues), identifying that child with other members of the RTI team, coming up with a plan to HELP (TEACH) that child, setting some goals and laying out a plan, trying to meet those goals by following that plan, meeting back after a specified amount of time to see what kind of progress has been made.

That’s it! Isn’t that what we should be doing anyway-even with our kids that aren’t close to failing but need our help?? It was really an eye-opening workshop! I’m glad I went. Here is a link to an RTI website that will help:Β http://www.rti4success.org/. The image below is a model of what RTI should look like at your school (I grabbed this off of the above website).





The presenter also did a fun thing that I have done (once) in my classroom and plan to do more. She had us work with a group and fill out an ABC Brainstorming sheet-get yours here:

ABC Brainstormin1

We generated words that we already had linked in our minds concerning RTI. Then as the workshop continued we wrote down more words that we heard the presenter discuss or that came to mind. This is a handy tool to use with students (all students) as a “before” , “during”, and “after” reading activity. It drums up their prior knowledge, keeps them focused on the reading/lesson, and culminates or summarizes what they read! πŸ™‚ AWESOME!

SO-when you hear RTI-Response to Intervention-just think: How can I respond to this child and this child and this child to ensure that they succeed? That’s what it’s all about!


Book Challenge-Book#10

I’m not sure if most students would like this book, but I think most students would probably feel the same way that the kids in the book feel about the situation. This book, “Firegirl”, by Tony Abbott, hits on a tough issue that might make your students think-What if?

Tom, the main character, is an insecure 7th grade boy that tends to not speak up too much-Jessica changes that for him in the long run. Jessica is a new girl at Tom’s school-and she is a burn victim with an enormous amount of damage to her body. The kids don’t know what to make of it so they essentially just leave her alone-ignore her. Tom ends up befriending her.

A heartbreaking story-one that would be good to talk to your kids about before they read it and definitely after they read it. It is a short book-but is deep-not for the lighthearted.

As I was looking for the book cover image to insert I found a website http://suzyred.com/2007firegirl.html that has a unit on this novel. Just listen to the music that plays-it’s so sad. I think I would like to do a reader’s theater on this book next year.