Thursday, June 4, 2015

End of School Year Reflection

Today was the last day of school. Emily (curriculum coach) and I (1st grade teacher) took a moment to reflect on this past year. My end of year DIBELS scores were awesome. We were really proud of them and know that our guided reading plan is working. This was a definite success. Then we turned the conversation over to what some of our failures were...my biggest failure was implementing close reading in my classroom. As I talked to Emily about it, we came to the conclusion that there just isn't enough money or time to do close reading the way it was meant to be done.

How do teachers have the money to purchase leveled text for their classrooms? 
How do teachers  make sure the teacher text is complex enough for text dependent questions that meet the standards?
How do teachers find time to write really good text dependent questions?
How do teachers get students to write about the text?

These were some of our big questions. I decided it would be fun to hatch chickens in my classroom last month. I really wanted to find some meaningful lesson plans to go along with hatching the chickens. Our school didn't have any money for us to purchased leveled text about the chicken life cycle so Emily and I decided to make our own. We created a The Life Cycle of a Chicken unit together last month. We made a one page text for a teacher read aloud and a one page text for the students to use independently. The results were amazing. It was just what I had been needing in my classroom and it didn't cost the school a bunch of money. 

As we continued to discuss the the struggle of knowing exactly how to meet core standards with close reading, but not having the resources to do it, we made a plan to create close reading packets that are affordable for teachers. This is a new adventure for us as we enter the world of teacher blogging, social media, and teachers pay teachers. We are super excited about it! We really want to help teachers be able to do close reads in their classrooms. 

You can read more about The Life Cycle of a Chicken close reading unit from our previous post. 

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