Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Worked...A Look Back

The end of the school year is a time that we tend to look back and think about what seemed to work for us and what to do differently next year. Here are a few of the things I want to remember for next year:

What Worked:
Daily Facts Practice: I know, I know, I should've been doing it all along, but let's get real--school days are PACKED full of curriculum. In previous years, I've skipped fact practice during math occasionally because of time restraints. Not this year. I made it a point to spend 5-10 minutes every single day reviewing facts (usually multiplication), and boy did I see a difference! No matter what math program we use, I will definitely continue to do that short, daily practice. 

Separate Time for Read to Self: Every year I try to some how fit in Read to Self as one of the students' choices while I meet with groups, but I always go back to scheduling it all by itself. It just works better for my students and me. There are no distractions because everyone is reading to themselves at the same time. It also gives me a set time to do reading conferences, which quite honestly get pushed to the side if I don't set this time aside. 

Science and Alabama History First Thing in the Morning: Please don't get me wrong. I know we've been told that reading should be first thing, but...in my class we have one hour between arrival and PE. Having the content subjects first ensured that I would actually teach them each day. We've all done it, right? Skipped one of them because of any one of numerous reasons time constraints? This is probably the first year since ARI (Alabama Reading Initiative) implementation that I feel like a did an awesome job in science in social studies.

Went Back to a Four Blocks Literacy Format: I've struggled for four years with trying to implement the Scott Foresman reading series as it is written (and still have students pass the tests). I've used the Daily 5 Framework to structure my LA block, but I worried that my students weren't getting enough practice with specific skills and strategies. After Christmas I started gradually re-implementing the Four Blocks framework, and it really worked for us (more about that in an up-coming post). 

Well, that's all for now. Within the next few days I'll dig in to the scary part--the stuff that didn't work! How about you? What will you plan to do again next year?

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