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Parcc Modules vent
Old 09-05-2015, 01:48 PM
 
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So we are using PARCC modules as a guide to creating our curriculum in our school. Problem is, admin isn't letting us have a real reading workshop where kids read books that they choose on their levels in order to practice and apply skills taught in a mini lesson. All students will be reading the same novel and be taught the same way for ten weeks each module. So now I have to give up my Harvey and Goudvais/Book Whisperer/ Fountes and Pinnell philosophy. I really am dreading this and feeling downright sad. I used to love using mentor texts to teach reading strats and skills..now we all have to use the same extended text. They are saying that we need to CLOSE READ. Which is great. Problem is we are close reading EVERYTHING! We are close reading entire extended texts. Isn't close reading meant for short parts of text and for specific purposes?

We are also being told that we should not be using leveled texts to teach the varying reading levels and that we need to have all students reading the same book. They are saying we have to "get these low kids up to speed and on level by reading and accessing grade level or above text." While I agree lower students/IEP students need to be accessing this type of text, I also think it can't be the only text they see all day. They need to practice skills and this would be done at their instructional level, which we are being discouraged from doing.

I am wondering us anyone else in a boat like this? Do you think there is a way that I can fit in self selected reading and read aloud? Has anyone snuck in things into the day that you know are good for kids and just plain good practice?



Last edited by *Fairydust*; 09-05-2015 at 02:05 PM..
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Old 09-05-2015, 02:08 PM
 
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That's just such a bad idea and so against all the best practice out there. Kids only read at their level 10% of the day anyway and they're taking that away. Talk about sucking the love of learning and reading out of school.

I have no advice just (((hugs))) for you and your students.

I don't know when we in education are going to learn that we can stay in the middle of the spectrum rather than go to extremes and still be successful and still see growth.
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Old 09-05-2015, 02:49 PM
 
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Greyhound Girl, thanks for hearing my vent. I agree that going to extremes is not working.
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I'd cry!
Old 09-05-2015, 02:54 PM
 
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Sounds like a very very wrong interpretation of implementing the Common Core. Common Core does not mean all kids learn in a "common" way. I wouldn't be able to hold my tongue and would be asking a lot of questions such as : what research are you using to show that ...... is effective in instructing to all student need? Where in the standards does it say that we must .....?

One year I was so disgusted with how I was told to teach that I made it very clear that when this fails to not blame me because I was just following bad orders . Then I cried a lot as kids were not making gains as I knew they could have.
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:06 PM
 
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Admin says that letting children select their own texts at level isn't preparing them for PARCC and other state mandated testing. It's allowing them to stay at their level and not rise. I disagree of course. I think they are practicing skills that will help them tackle tough text. They also say that the workshop model done by F&P and Book Whisperer and etc…have not worked in raising test scores and we are a level 3 school. No one seems to care about teaching kids to love reading and learning. Instead it's all test prep and close reading now. I hate it. I don't know what to do. There has to be something I can do. I just don't know what it is. I really want to talk to our curriculum director, but I;m scared bc our new evaluation system makes it easier for veteran teachers like me to be put on an improvement plan or even let go.


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Old 09-05-2015, 06:48 PM
 
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That's awful! When are administrators going to learn that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. A balanced approach is the best approach. Just because students are choosing their own books on their level doesn't mean they are not getting exposure to grade level texts. So sorry! I would have a very hard time continuing to work for a district I philosophically disagreed with. I'm worried I'm going to be in the same boat in a few years. I'm starting to see the writing on the wall!
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:39 AM
 
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..I think I saw the writing on the wall a few years ago. This appears to have gradually happened and now we are full force COmmon Core mode. No self selection, no read aloud, no extras (plays and simulations), no time for morning meeting (time on learning) and no time to let them read a whole novel (excerpts for close reading only!). They are discouraging us from letting them write personal narratives and creative imaginative stories…response- to- text writing only-as this is what is on the PARCC tests.

I can't leave the district as I have tenure and I would never get hired with the pay that I need in a different district. I feel trapped and miserable.
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It is sad when the love of reading is zapped
Old 09-06-2015, 12:46 PM
 
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out of the school. To answer your Q, I teach my kids to follow the "mandated" programs when someone is in the room. I guess it depends on how often you get company.
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Fear of test
Old 09-06-2015, 01:19 PM
 
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This is what I call "fear based decision making". The fear of flunking the test....the fear of state takeover etc. all cause some admin to make very bad decisions. That is not Common Core teaching....that is test prep. Many of us now teach Common Core with a workshop approach etc.
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sad times
Old 09-06-2015, 01:43 PM
 
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My district also seems to be scrambling and now we are being asked to have all kids reading two grade levels above their actual grade. I have 6th graders and the expectation is they should be reading 8th grade material. We do not have texts on this level but are told to search and find. Book clubs and literature circles are a no no now and even whole book studies are discouraged. We have been told to do short reads, excerpts, and parts of books. How dull for our children. The joy truly is being sucked out of the reading classroom. I wish that we did not have to teach to a test. The time I would have spent designing great lessons is now spent assessing, grading the assessments, teaching to the assessment, and then doing it all over again.

I think the computer and all the access to data is what has created this monster. We can now chart and graph data. It is easy to sit at the top and demand high scores. We all know in the trenches that a child is not defined by test scores but by moments. Not every child grows at the same rate, but teachers are seed planters. We have those moments with our children in the classroom like a great read aloud or a fun lesson that can stick with a child for a lifetime and spark a love of reading or learning. Assessments do not create sparks. Good teachers know how to assess without using paper and pencil tests. I don't have the freedom anymore to do that . I must have paper pencil assessments that are turned in and compared to other teachers. This is a very stressful time to be an educator.


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Old 09-06-2015, 04:25 PM
 
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What's really wrong here is that admin, the state, or whoever "the powers that be" are, have taken away your professional judgement of how to help kids achieve and make progress. They make all the decisions, but when evaluation time comes, they aren't responsible for the outcomes. You are. Something's wrong with this picture.

Well ok, that, AND the fact that your kids aren't learning to read better.
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Evaluation
Old 09-06-2015, 05:55 PM
 
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Our state has changed our evaluation also. It's ridiculous. And yes it
does make it easier to put veteran teachers on an improvement plan or
even nonrenwal. And now some districts are saying they can't afford
a veteran teacher. So what do you do then? Our state has sucked
the joy out of teaching and learning. Administrators are going nuts
over test scores and pass the buck to the teachers. Teaching used
to be a thrill, but not anymore. Watch out as a veteran teacher, I
think the goal is to get rid of us completely for budget reasons and
hire new teachers that don't have a clue what works. I was told I
had to be an expert to teach chapter books to elementary kids, that
journal responses and critiques were not acceptable. Evaluation made
no sense. If they didn't see it, then you must not do it at all. It's all
wrong. I loved teaching and enjoyed watching my students learn. Now
the kids hate school, hate testing, and hate reading. We can't even
have the teachable moment anymore or read for enjoyment. Everything
is about testing and documenting and testing. Kids and teachers are
more that a "test score." I've never felt so invaluable in my career.
It makes me sick to think of the years of education I have and years
of teaching that it's all fallen apart because of "stupidity about test
scores." Be careful because you are at risk as a veteran teacher.
I was and now I'm not teaching. What a waste! If I could've retired
that would've been different, but I only have 22 years. So now I'm
trying to get work subbing. Which I'd gladly do just to see how things
are going in other districts. I do not like Common Core, it seems like
a nice idea but is too something, I'm not sure what exactly. I do know
there is way too much stress and pressure on teachers and kids trying
to learn. It's not fun anymore. I teach and learn more when it's fun
and interesting, than when it's push, push, push and constantly being
reminded about "we need to get those test scores up." Since when
does an elementary teacher have to be an expert for chapter books
like "Freckle Juice" that goes against everything I was taught in my
education courses.
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Reading and PARCC
Old 09-07-2015, 11:52 AM
 
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This makes my heart hurt. This makes me want to cry for you and your students!!

Ibstead of teaching reading and the love of reading (which is how to can actually get better test scores) you are being told to do something that is bad practice! wow. This is so so sad.

I wish I could help you but you really are between a rock and hard place. Can you get parents involved so they can complain? Admin hate angry parents....
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Old 09-12-2015, 07:44 AM
 
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I feel your pain. Our district adopted the GA Common Core (I don't live in GA) as our reading curriculum -I'm sure because it was "free. It is ridiculous. We all read the same book (and in 2nd-4th quarter) the book is read to them. First grade reads Wizard of Oz to their kids! In 2nd we are reading Fudge O'Mania which they cannot relate to. Last year we were "advised" that we couldn't use other books during reading time but this year they are all about supplementing so kids "have books on their level." We still must use the GA CC books for each module/quarter but "in our spare time" supplement so "kids have books on their level." It is ridiculous and sad. Our kids learned so much better reading not only the basal but F/NF stories we had for them.

And I agree with Summerwillcome....
sad, sad, sad.....
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