Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapter 1

I am following the Daily 5 Book Study that is hosted by Mel at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations, this week.  I plan to implement Daily 5 in my first grade class this year.

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?
 While I meet with a small Guided Reading group, other students are "engaged" in Literacy Stations.  There's a Word Work Station, Sight-Word Station, Writing Station, Reading/Listening Station, Grammar Station, Pocket Chart Station, and Miscellaneous Station. These stations have activities that the students need to practice or activities that are related to the current unit or focus skills. 

I wish I could say that it's more like the second scenario, but the students are not as independent and accountable as I would like for them to be. During a major observation, I had to stop working with my Guided Reading Group to help a couple of students who insisted the CD player was broken.  They actually didn't plug in the jack completely.  My student helper must have been nervous, because she couldn't find the problem either.  To the observer, I'm sure it looked like, the students had never used the Listening Station before.

By helping students build STAMINA in the beginning, they will become more independent.  Setting aside time for "Check-in", the students will be accountable for their learning. 
Listening Center

 2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers? 

Although the activities in the stations are meaningful, the students were not provided with enough modeling of appropriate behavior.  Stamina was not built, to create quality readers.  My students grew in reading, but they were not the quality readers that I hoped to create.  Every year, my goal is to create better writers.  I am anxious to begin using Daily 5 to reach my goal.  

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?

The Daily 5 structure seems to be more manageable.  By modeling appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and providing visuals, students will know the expectations.

Before school starts for the 2012-13 school year, our district will have an Educator Conference.  I have signed up for the Daily 5 session, in hopes of gaining more insight.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

School's Out for Summer

In Front of Charleston City Market
The students' last day was May 25th.  Teachers' last day was Friday, June 1st.  My sister and I took off to spend the night with my sister in Charlotte, and then the three of us drove to Charleston, SC. I loved our last minute getaway.  We stayed in Kings Courtyard Inn, in historic downtown, Charleston.  We were able to walk everywhere that we wanted to go. We ate at Mercato's, an Italian restaurant, and listened to jazz. Then we went dancing at Henry's/NV.
My Own Room    

The next day, we took a carriage tour, and learned some interesting facts about the history of Charleston and about the buildings and homes.  I must go again and tour the beautiful homes.  I loved the ironwork, shutters, columns, and porches (piazzas as they're called in Charleston).  Notice the red dots on some of  the businesses if you're ever in Charleston.  There were some architectural details that had to be covered, because of their suggestive nature. It is interesting how the houses of ill-repute were in close proximity of the worship houses. Our guide left me wanting to do research about the colors of the houses on Rainbow Row and about Robert Smalls. 

"Magic" leads us through town toward Phillips Episcopal Church

Calhoun Mansion
After our tour, we shopped at Charleston City Market.  I had to buy a small sweet grass basket, when I found out about the history.  One day I'll be able to afford a bigger basket.  The vendors make the baskets themselves.  A few of the vendors were practicing the art while shoppers watched.
Sweet Grass Basket made the vendor's dad

We also rode across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.  I have a fear of bridges, so this picture was challenging for me, especially since we were in a convertible. The bridge has a pedestrian/bike lane.  That's really awesome, but you will not find me in that lane.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Since there are no workshops this summer, I hope to take more "last minute" getaways and read.  I am going to be following the Daily Five Book Study.  I just got my hands on that series that everyone is talking about.  You know the one, Fifty Shades of Grey?  I'm also going to begin a new venture to make extra money.  I'll tell you more about that when I get started. Right now I'm fighting a hateful sinus infection. That makes it hard to imagine a great summer, but I'm determined to have a great summer break.