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Calkins UOS for writing
Old 01-24-2016, 06:50 AM
 
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I teach a rather low group of first graders with about 4 average ones thrown in. I have four who can't write at all without one to one attention. One of these is unable to physically write (Sp Ed but not OT, go figure). My question is, when you are teaching the unit, do you follow the whole scripted deal or even the daily lessons faithfully? My kids just can't do this, but it's what the district expects. The literacy coach at my school just "met" LC at a conference - with the whole "OOOH, I met Lucy" stuff - and LC says for the first couple of years you should follow her script with fidelity. What are your thoughts? experiences?


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Old 01-25-2016, 11:55 AM
 
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How many students do you have? I think that would be one thing that makes a difference. I primarily followed with fidelity except that my district had purchased benchmark writing and I needed to include those expectations in as well. Lucy was my own purchase.

I also did not consider each lesson a 1 day thing. I stretched out as my students needed. I had 24 first graders and 9 of them were ELL students and 9 were below grade level at the beginning of the year.

It seems that with Lucy the biggest thing to modify is your expectations. I expected very different things from my lowest performing students than I did for my above level students. I think UOS allows for that very well. Some students had mostly pictures with very little writing (we did lots of labeling) and other students wrote pages.

Good luck. Hope this helps
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:29 PM
 
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We are supposed to be using Lucy with fidelity as well. After teaching it for two years, I've learned that it's not for me nor does it work for my students. I teach at a Title school. We had 40% of our first graders in the green zone of DIBELS in Sept. Lucy isn't structured enough for these kiddos. I will be using some Lucy elements and language, but will be teaching structure and foundational skills. I found her scripts were way too wordy. I was spending over 20 minutes on a mini-lesson. And we stretched the lessons out as well, the unit took too long to please my district when we did that. So I am rebelling and doing what works for my kids. And I'm ok with that.
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the pendulum swings
Old 01-28-2016, 04:17 PM
 
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Why is it we go from doing what works for our kids (and we are the ones who know them best) to following a canned, scripted program? Hopefully the pendulum will swing back to trusting teachers to do what is best within the basic curriculum.
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I agree!
Old 01-28-2016, 04:49 PM
 
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What the kids' need is what I focus on 1st. My district was fully invested in Lucy but now, after seeing that it's not the magical program they hoped it would be, they've loosened the reigns a bit. I agree that we need to give teachers the power to make the decisions about what their kids are ready for. I also think that making writing fun is SUPER important! When they want to write, they will want to write well. At least that's how I feel.


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writing
Old 02-07-2016, 12:25 PM
 
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i think Lucy herself would say to take a look at the Kindergarten units and see if there are things you can pull from those units to support your struggling kiddos. the "if then" books can also give you ideas if your kids are not quite ready for the unit provided. for example, if "nonfiction chapter books" are too much for your kids, do a "how to" unit first, and leave chapter books for the spring, or look at the "writing like scientists" kindergarten "if then" unit.

you also might want to schedule a week of "immersion" and shared writing to launch your unit. i have done this in years where i have a significant amount of students below standards. basically, for one week, they don't write on their own, but we write a piece as a class, read books from the genre, and practice orally rehearsing. by the end of the week they are chomping at the bit to write their own books and have some background knowledge on the genre.

because your kids struggle with OT issues, you will probably want to add in a lot of interactive writing throughout your writing time as well, where you "share the pen" and practice letter formation, spelling, spacing, etc. i do this with a small group, usually no more than 4 kids, so all the kids can participate.

no one, especially anyone at TC, would recommend teaching blindly without being responsive to the kids in front of you. i think it's important to keep 1st grade benchmarks as your goal and not water down your expectations, but it's also important to add scaffolding for your kids to reach those goals. hope this helped!
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