Monday, November 11, 2013

A Blessing and a Curse

My poor students.

I have been trying to be a super-hero teacher.

My thought for the past four years has been: Let's do Daily Five and Literacy Workstations and expect miracles to happen.

You see, at the charter school I work at, I have the freedom to structure my day however I would like.

They give me choice and free will to do whatever my student's need in order to succeed.

I am required to teach the TEKS and Standards, but HOW I teach the standards is up to me.

Some of you may be thinking, Woah! What a blessing to be able to decide for yourself.

And yes, it is an amazing blessing to be able to decide how I want to teach my students.

But with the power of choice comes great responsibility.

It is a blessing and a curse.

That is a lot of responsibility.

Up to this point, I have been too scared (or wise...I'll leave that up to you to determine) to dump the resources in my classroom (Imagine It! Teaching Resource aka Basal Readers) and do what's best for my students.

For four years, I have taught with Imagine It! as my guide, and for four years I have KNOWN there is a better way to teach reading.

One story, whole group, reading at the same pace.

Did someone say Boring?!

Did someone just start picking their nose?
Un-Tying their shoes just to tie them again?
Seriously, you are asking to go to the bathroom when we just had a bathroom break?
Please stop talking to your neighbor.
Do not put your shoe lace up your nose.....

You see, when I teach whole group (Someone told me this my first year of teaching and I believe it with my whole heart) I am only teaching to 1/3 of the class- if that!

1/3 of the students are bored because the material is too easy.
1/3 of the the students have checked out because it is too hard.
1/3 of the class (on a GOOD day!) are with me.

I would love to STOP reading from the basals.....

But I'm too scared.

So instead of doing what is best for my students, I have continued to teach from Imagine It!, all the while combining Debbie Diller's Literacy Workstations, Reader's and Writer's Workshop, Conferring, Guided Reading, AND the Daily Five/CAFE.

Talk about a headache for planning.

Most teachers do not have enough time in their day, but I TRULY do not have enough time.

A good friend recently told me: All of those things were not meant to go together.

And then I had an Aha moment:  My students need CONSISTENCY!  They need their teacher to pick ONE way to teach reading and stick with it!

And that is where I am left today.

Which one do I pick?

Daily Five and Conferring?
Reader's and Writer's Workshop?
Literacy Workstations and Guided Reading?

Yikes.....Wouldn't it be so much easier if someone said, "This is what you are doing.  Here's the research behind it.  Make it work for your students."

A blessing and a curse.

On another...more up beat note:

I'm linking up with Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade to tell you about my current celebrity crush.

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  1. I'm in the same boat that you're in. I teach with the basal because it is there but I don't have to. I just don't know what to do if I don't use it and how to assess. I'd love to know what you decide to do. I might have to follow your lead and change what I'm doing too.

    The Busy Busy Hive

  2. I think you quoted me TWICE in here! Hmmmm.... I am going to write back to your email! Love you girl!

  3. I am a reading specialist and I have also been a classroom teacher. I have taught from a basal (because a school made me) and I have also done guided reading groups. I have to say, in my humble opinion I think a whole group reading strategy lesson and then two guided reading groups works best from me. Twice a week I would meet with my high readers and "check in" with them in a guided reading group. I'd meet with my 2 lower groups everyday. While I was doing this the rest of the kidos did a "Daily 3" because I also rotated kidos though a reading program. It took me a LONG time to get this right! Plus, sometimes the group of kids you have in a year results in adjusting what you do. Good luck in your decision!