Friday, January 28, 2011

One Month Under Our Belt

I meant to post every week. But I have been so engrossed with my class that I haven't taken time to reflect carefully on what we're doing.

I started an intervention class at our middle school for readers who are 'well below average' in their skills. I have 3 classes-6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade with 25 students total.

The Daily 5 format is working very well. Most students enter the classroom quietly and retrieve their book tub and begin reading. They have built their stamina up to 15 minutes although my 8th graders today read for 30 minutes because a school schedule change gave us extra time. They had no problem sustaining their focus for that time and really seemed to enjoy the extra time.

We are one month into the class. I've learned much about the Daily 5 and the Cafe Menu and it really does work at the middle school level.

We have two teachers in the classroom on Monday, Wednesday and Friday which means we conference with each student at least once a week and sometimes twice weekly.

Today, I introduced the Strategic Instruction Model Word Identification Strategy. This strategy is from the University of Kansas-Center for Research on Learning. I had not planned to use it for the entire class but rather in a strategy group. But my preliminary testing with the Qualitative Reading Inventory showed me that all 25 students are below grade level in decoding. So the Word Identification Strategy is meant for them.

Today I shared with each student exactly what their decoding level is. I wasn't sure I should do that. But at this point in their schooling, I wanted to build a sense of urgency in their work in my class. After they saw their decoding level-which ranged from 2nd to 6th grade, each student set a goal for where they wanted to be at the end of our strategy instruction. Most students wanted to be at their appropriate grade level but one student put, "I want to read a good-fit book." So I guess my good-fit book lesson on Wednesday worked.

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