I did feel a little better after a few of my team mates were talking about their papers and how they were not happy with their results either so I had a little glimmer of hope that maybe it wasn't all me LOL - grasping at straws there because I am the type of person who believes it is all me. Anyway I really started to reflect on the way I taught last year. I know that we have a new math series and I had the ESE cluster so I did take a minute to celebrate the small victories that were showing up on that page, hidden between all the defeats.
So, me being the type of person I am, I have spent almost all day long reflecting on this information and trying to figure out what I can do better this year. This is what I came up with:
In Reading: Last year I used our basal series for whole group instruction (which was awful - all we did was read the story basically) and I used Daily 5 and CAFE for small group time. I did not pull small groups as often as I should have because I was trying so hard to conference with students individually and I couldn't get to them all and there was just not enough time. So this year I am going to do Daily 5 ONLY not CAFE, I am going to do Daily 5 as my "centers" and I will pull reading groups to my table daily. The only thing I'm not 100% sure about is exactly what I will do with them once I get them to my table. In Kindergarten we played ABC games and phonics games and ready phonetic books, I don't think that will cut the mustard in 4th grade though LOL. So I was thinking that in whole group we will be doing shared reading of a class novel and doing activities that go along with that, like flow maps, character analysis etc so in small groups I will focus on one benchmark strand at a time and find and pull activities to use to work on that strand in small groups. I have been looking on The Florida Center for Reading Research website (great website for lots and lots of reading of activities) and I have found a lot of great activities to use in both my whole group and my small group time. My only problem is, in a 90 minute reading block I have 30 minutes for whole group and 60 minutes for small group which means only 15 minutes per group. Now I have been really looking at my schedule and first thing in the morning we have a 30 minute intervention block, then followed by an 80 minute instructional block before lunch time which is where I was doing my writing and my science/social studies (because it wasn't enough time for my reading block). Well, the students that are being pulled out of my classroom for intervention are my lowest students so I was thinking about taking that 30 minute block and 80 minute block and combining them to make myself a 110 minute reading block. I would start with small group instruction and start with my highest kids, the ones not being pulled for intervention, and go from highest group to lowest group and then end with my whole group shared reading time. I mean who says whole group has to come before small group? So I was thinking about changing my schedule to look like this
8:55 – 9:15 Blue Group (while red group and some of yellow group are out of the room in intervention)
9:15 – 9:35 Green Group
9:35 – 9:55 Yellow Group
9:55 – 10:15 Red Group
10:15 – 10:45 Whole Group Shared reading
then I go to lunch at 10:50 (or as I like to call it BREAKFAST!!)
I'm thinking that it just might work out. Instead of doing two 30 minute rounds of Daily 5 my kids could do 3 20 minute rounds, and one "round' at the my table. Then I would just switch the Writing and Science/Social Studies to after lunch.
Ok after hashing it all out in my little bloggy world I am feeling a little more confident. I just need to set up a few management tools in my room and I know just how I'm going to set them up too. I'm feeling better already! Now, I just need some more ideas on what to do in my small groups so if you know of any great websites please let me know!!