Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Look at My Classroom

Now that school is out for the summer, I have some think to think back over the past year and evaluate my program.  I have begun to make plans for next fall.  So I thought I would give you a look at my students and tell you about what I did this year.

Reading Essentials Class is a reading intervention in our middle schools, grades 6-8.  The three classes each meet daily for 40 minutes.  Each session lasts for six weeks.  Because I am a part-time employee, we offer three sessions each school year.  The class has been set up this way because of funding.  There are enough students in our school of 350 students who would benefit from reading interventions to offer more sessions, but the school has not allocated money for that many days of staffing.

Each student usually attends one of the three sessions, although occasionally a student may repeat for a second time.  I had one student this year who attended all three sessions.  He has a several reading disability and his parents requested that he be included in each session.

Our classroom is less than ideal.  I have to use the computer lab because it is the only classroom available during my class time.  So my vision of a room with reading spots that allow students to get comfortable with pillows, lamps and overstuffed chairs had to be replaced with reality.

But my students are allowed to find a spot that is comfortable for them.  Here are some pictures of a typical class day.

Sue, shown below, has taken Reading Essentials as a 7th grader and again as an 8th grader.  When she began, she did not enjoy reading but has developed into quite a reader.  Her choice of Charlotte's Web seemed too easy for her.  However, she really enjoyed it and seemed happy every day to get in her spot.  

Sue is an 8th grader

 Each student meets for a conference 1 -2 times a week.  Here Jay meets with Chris who is my helper.  Actually she is very organized and I depend on her so much.  We don't use the computers in our conferences but simply push them back to give us desk space.  We use the CAFE menu to pick strategies to work on with the students.

Ann had some difficulties in school and liked to be out of sight when she was reading.  Actually she is sitting very close to Chris but the open door seems to give her a feeling of isolation.

Some students like to sit in the chairs.  You can see Lee's tub sitting on the table.  I follow many of the organize methods from the Daily Five book.

This student doesn't look comfortable to me but it is her choice.

Students are allowed to choose their own reading material.  I have a small classroom library.  They also use our school library.  Each Language Arts teachers has many books for the students too.  I have read The Book Whisper by Donalyn Miller and I've used this philosophy in my class too.  If you look closely, you can see this student is reading about basketball which was his passion.

Find a spot and get reading quickly is our classroom rule.  I use an I-Chart as detailed in Daily Five.

One of the most coveted spot is shown here below the teacher table.  We require the students to spread out throughout the room to minimize distractions.

(The names I used are not actual student names.)

I've heard from many of you this year.  I had mentioned publishing a newsletter for the use of Daily Five and CAFE Menu with middle school students.  However, I am beginning to think that a blog is a much better way to communicate with teachers.  It will allow interaction between us through comments.  I would love to hear about your experience with Daily Five.  I will share what I hear in furture posts.

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