Teaching is always a job of changes. Changes in classes, responsibilities, and even your team. This past week my paraprofessional was switched with an "academic specialist" from the 6th grade. I was already friends with my new team mate so I'm fine with the switch although it was sudden. It's been two days and already we're shaking things up!
Miss. A and her lead teacher from the 6th grades had started workshopping with their students a week or two before I attempted it so they'd come up with a few solutions that I hadn't stumbled upon first. So here are our expectations for workshop time- at least for now while the students get used to the routine.
1. We are invisible while workshopping with our groups. That means that any students not being pulled may not ask us any questions.
2. If a student has a question they are to write it on a post it note on the corner of their desk. In between groups we walk up and down the rows answering specific questions while our next group gets ready.
3. Those not in workshop are expected to remain at a "zero" voice level, i.e. no talking, no whispering.
4. Students may only get up to sharpen a pencil (manually) or grab a tissue.
5. Students must complete their "must dos"- assignments that they must do, (clever name eh?) before they can do any "may dos" which are review or fun activities that are content driven. So far we've only introduced silent reading of their Accelerated Reader books- but I plan on having games and folder activities for them.
We are getting there. It was a bit crazy these past two days because we literally had approximately 15 minutes before classes started Thursday to get on the same page, and as I have classes Thursday nights and a staff meeting Friday morning no time Friday to talk either. But we will be more in-sync this week.
For those of you wondering how I leveled my groups I gave all of my students an assessment from the McDougal-Little Bridges to Literature books. I then placed them according to scores in Bridges 1, 2, 3 or the Language of Literature grade 7 text book. For those of you unaware the Bridges to Literature series is meant for students who are reading below level. The Language of Literature is a true 7th grade text. Because all the books are by the same publisher I have been able to find stories that all teach the same concept i.e. plot, cause and effect, characterization etc at each level.
Because of this my weeks will generally focus on one comprehension/literature topic but each level of student will use texts appropriate for their reading level to learn the concept.
I hope to have more info for you soon. Stay tuned for my first attempt at anchor charts!