It has been over a week since the students in my class left me for the summer. I have already seen several of them at a local soccer camp, that my son, who will be a freshman next year, helped with. It was good to see their friendly, smiling faces. It also was wonderful that they were participating in physical activity. So, as the summer break moves along, I want to reflect about last year. I teach two groups of students. One group was very successful in learning everything they needed to learn in third grade. They were well behaved and kind to each other. I could count on them to do their job when working independently. We had a very good year together. When I think about the other group, I think, what could I have done, to better guide this group, to be more successful? It was a challenging group of students. There were several behavior issues and many of the children were at risk and part of the RTI process. In talking with their homeroom teacher, we both feel that the higher level children did not give their best effort. As a school, we use Daily Five as our reading management program. The children make choices to work independently in, reading to self, read to someone, listen to reading, word work, and writing. While they work, I can work with small groups of children or individual children. With this second group of children, I wasn't confident that they were truly working independently. Many times someone would blurt out and argue with another student. How can I make them more accountable for their work? How can I carve out more time, to conference with them, about what they did, during their independent work? Another area that needs work is our writing program. The children worked on writing during Daily Five. They shared their writing on Friday's during Daily Five share. We had several writing projects throughout the year that we published and made art work to go with the writing. Unfortunately, when we were short of time, it seemed like it was writing that was cut from the lesson plan. So, I look forward to working on these issues. I want to build on the successes we had and improve on the issues.
I had an exciting work day with my reading colleague about a month ago. We outlined our curriculum for next year. Everything will be based on Common Core Standards. We will put away the basal for most of the year and use authentic literature that goes with the themes that we have planned. We will continue to use Daily Five and Cafe strategies. We will work on accountability. We will use the LLI program for our small group work. Our principal is purchasing 5 e-readers that I can see all kinds of possibilities to use these with all levels of readers. We will make time for writing. We will use the Six Traits Writing Program and model, model, model. We will use mentor texts to teach the six traits and the Cafe Strategies. My plan is to start working on August and September curriculum during the summer break and I look forward to this work! I look forward to finding solutions for difficult situations that find there way into the classroom! Reflection is a good thing!