Five weeks into the game and I’m already overwhelmed, excited, optimistic, etc., but this year it is definitely causing me to feel a different kind of anxiety in comparison to previous years. I mentioned in earlier posts that I have moved to ELA after 4 years in science… How did this happen? Admin’s request… Don’t ask questions, just appreciated the fact that I still have a j-o-b.
Despite the fact that I concentrated in ELA during undergraduate years, I feel like I have spent the last couple weeks in ELA boot camp while establishing classroom norms and expectations, developing our balanced literacy routine, and learning a new curriculum. I’ve always infused science non-fiction and writing into my instruction so I feel confident in my ability to teach literacy (all teachers are literacy teachers), but this year just makes everything feel brand new, like I’m starting over. My administration has done an excellent job in tapping into outside resources such Dr. Policastro from Roosevelt University. This is an awesome read that I totally recommend and I plan on sharing how I use it in my instruction later this month.
I guess the part I’m struggling with is how large the range of ability levels are in each of my middle school classes. I mean a HUGE difference to the point where even some of my small groups have had to to be divided into ability level pairs and one-on-one because the reading level gap is enormous. I have a BR with zero foundational skills for crying out loud! Rather than complain about who is at fault, I am determined to transform my classroom into a space where diverse learners are successful. WTF, right? It sounds fine and dandy, but I’m dedicating my year to intentional planning, collecting and analyzing formative assessment data, differentiating instruction, utilizing paraprofessionals to the max (that their contract allows, hehe!), and tapping into community resources to help my kids become successful.
Blogging about all the awesomeness that goes on in our classrooms is cool, but blogging about the journey to the awesomeness is even more valuable for us teachers and our teacher readers. Be ready for the good, the bad, OMG moments from teaching literacy during the 2014-2015 school year. Thank goodness for Pinterest because definitely needed found a first grade anchor chart for sentence writing to use with a small group. It is going to be a long year…
I definitely recreated the first anchor chart on Life in First Grade’s blog. Find the original here: http://lifeinfirstgrade1.blogspot.com/2012/08/my-week-in-review.html
May the force be with you all,