Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog! I haven’t forgotten about it… I’ve just been crazy busy and kind of overwhelmed by the new school year.
The good news is that my class is great! I have 25 kids and they’re really sweet.
Our first writing assignment was supposed to be a book review, which somehow transformed itself into a movie review. I’ll post about that later with some pictures. They’re looking really cute!
For reading, 6 of my kids go to GT so I only have 19 kids in reading class. It’s wonderful! Daily 5 implementation is supposed to take a long time, but my kids have been total rock stars! Here’s how it went down:
Read to Self
We started with read to self. The kids rocked it. They could read for a good chunk of time with ZERO distractions right from the get-go. It wasn’t difficult to implement at all.
Read to Someone
This one took a little more work. We talked about sitting EEKK (Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee), and how to sit when there are 3 kids in a group. They did I Read You Read, where they read a picture book and one kid reads one page and then the other kid reads that same page, then move on to the next page. It’s supposed to help kids who are working on fluency. I don’t think we’ll do that one very often. They also took turns where they read the same book and took turns reading each page.
We spent a lot of time on coaching, where students read a page from their own book while their partner silently reads along. When they get to a word they don’t know, the coach asks, “Help or time?” The student either chooses to get help with the word or more time to sound it out. If the student chooses help, the coach has a variety of strategies to use to help (recommend that the student chunk the word or look at picture cues or go back and re-read etc). It worked pretty well! One group got to a word that neither of them could figure out so I helped them out, but it only happened once. We’ll probably do that one most of the time.
The cutest thing was when two boys decided to read the same book (the sequel to Fablehaven, which I’ve been reading to the class). The book was above both of their reading levels, but they did such a great job working together! They were laughing at the funny parts and they really helped each other with comprehension and vocabulary.
I kind of cheated on this one. I have some folder games that have word work activities (like matching prefixes with root words and stuff like that). I let them work with a partner and they liked that. Now that we’ve started spelling, there will be activities relating to their spelling words (such as rainbow words, stamping their words, and typing their words) and once in a while I’ll put out the folder games to do instead.
Work on Writing
We haven’t done this one yet. I’m going to make it a little more guided than just letting kids write in journals, and I’m going to have mini lessons to go with activities when necessary. I have some writing folder activities and will also make my own (such as writing letters that we will actually mail out, writing emails etc). I’ll post about this once I get it going.
Listen to Reading
Honestly, we aren’t going to do this very often. I did find a few websites that are free that have stories that will probably be good for 4th graders, but most of what I found is for younger kids. Our access to computers is also a little spotty. We’ll do Listen to Reading occasionally.
I’ve also been tweaking how Daily 5 is organized in our classroom. Here’s what our Daily 5 board looks like:
Each of the clips has numbers 1-5 on them in different orders. The idea was that students would know what order to do Daily 5 by looking at their clip, and would put their clip on the station they are at, then switch it to the next station when it was time to switch. There is also an area for “Other” (anything else I want the kids to work on that day, like finishing work etc), and Teacher’s Table for kids who are meeting with me for a reading conference or reading group.
I quickly realized we had a problem: we have 1 hour for reading every day, and that isn’t enough time to do all 5 activities each day. I also didn’t want to deal with doing 3 activities one day and 2 the next. So I changed it to Daily 3.
I flipped the clips over, added kids’ names to clips, put the kids in 3 groups, and the numbers on the clips now say “1 2 3” “2 3 1” or “3 1 2”. That’s the order that they do the activities in, and I only have 3 activities per week. Last week, we did Read to Self, Word Work, and Read to Someone. I like the idea of mixing it up so they’re doing different things each week.
So far, it’s working pretty well! 20 minutes at each activity seems to be a good amount of time, or we can do 15 minutes with mini lessons spread throughout the hour.
We aren’t doing Daily 5 this week because of a genre project, but I’ll write another update when we start Work on Writing.
I’m still really nervous about implementing CAFE. The thought of starting Cafe next week makes my heart palpitate. I’ll let you know how it goes.
If you read all that, you’re amazing. 😀 I’ll post again SOON!