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thebeach16 thebeach16 is offline
 
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Help! What do you do when you hear your district is looking at basals!
Old 11-29-2010, 05:00 PM
 
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Ok - Scott Foresman may say they are not a basal but we all know it is!
I am a smart and well educated teacher. I am always reading professional texts and articles to better my teaching. I adore my literacy block. I believe in the philosophy of what I am doing and truly enjoy it. Debbie Miller is a huge piece of this. Many teacher's in my district are not as current as I am and the word is to improve scores they are planning to adopt Scott Foresman - WHAT!!!! I may have an opportunity to voice my opinion. I don't even know where to begin. I am so sad. This is backwards.


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I don't know about Scott Foresman
Old 11-29-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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but our school has a basal and I can use it anyway I choose. I use about half the stories, but I don't necessarily use any of the rest of the basal...not the skills, spelling, grammar, etc. I make the stories fit what I think my students need.
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I don't know about Scott Foresman
Old 11-29-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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sorry for the double post

Last edited by parker; 11-29-2010 at 05:19 PM.. Reason: double post
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Basals are not evil!!
Old 11-29-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I've taught for 23 years and yes I stay current. However, most of the time you can use basals as a tool. No one way to teach is better than the other. I have found this out over the years. But, using many ways and materials is the best way. I use a basal, BUT it is not my bible. I use many materials and teach the skills but not necessarily how the basal says to teach. That being said, I don't teach exactly how any of my text say to teach things. I teach it the way that my class learns best. I may teach one way during one year and another way with a different class. I've learned you have to learn how your class learns and go with that. So calm down, it may not be so bad.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:25 PM
 
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A former principal of mine said to me early in my career... "We teach children, not programs." I'll always be grateful for that and have used it on many subsequent administrators. Try to keep that in mind and you will be fine.


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Oh, but things are changing....
Old 11-30-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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I too, was in the same boat two years ago. I was even on the committee looking at "programs" to purchase for teachers to use for our so called "balanced literacy framework". The votes did not go the way I and many of my co-workers, (who have attended many reading recovery conferences, read many professional literature on reading/writing workshops, etc.) had hoped it would. A basal was picked by a slim margin and we are in our 2nd year and the teachers are finding much to criticize about it! Go figure! With our district there is a compliance issue, you must teach using the basal. With many elementaries in the district we can not afford for some teachers to deviate to far off from the basal. There are times we share students who are have become quite transient in their school careers. Also, there's always the standards and the grade card that are now becoming aligned! Some how it doesn't seem fun anymore. :-) *To deviate from the plan and do what you want, that is
My advice; voice your opinion, share the wealth of knowledge you have gleaned from Debbie Miller and other researched based authors on what is best for our kiddos in the teaching and learning of reading!
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Philosophy
Old 12-07-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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http://blogs.proteacher.net/discussi...ad.php?t=51697

It sounds like you need to explain the philosophy of Readers Workshop. Maybe your district has PD money to purchase a mentor text such as Reading with Meaning or Growing Readers so that the entire district can become aligned in philosophy. Check out this link from "Book Muncher"....she's amazing! Good luck!
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Basals are evil
Old 12-09-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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The only good way to use a basal would be as a source; to show all students a grade level piece of literature. All students in one classroom cannot successfully read and do grade level work in a basal. Our school has thrown the basal away, despite what our district preaches. We use a combination of the following: Debbie Miller, The Daily Five, CAFE, and our standards. Suggest The Daily Five and CAFE to your administration - they are wonderfuly and inspire students to read again and enjoy it!
 
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Scott Foresman
Old 12-10-2010, 04:55 AM
 
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We use Reading Street and I really like it. There are good and bad things about everything. Our kids consistently meet or exceed the state standards in reading.
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My biggest issue with
Old 12-10-2010, 08:35 AM
 
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basal programs is that I have never had a class where all students are performing at grade level. I agree with Parker and kmn30. There is some value in the selections found in the basal. I personally felt guilty in previous years for ignoring the basal but have since found a use for it.

I use the reading and writing workshop framework but I also use the basal. I pick and choose the reading selections I want to use from the basal for my shared reading sessions (and in the order I chose). That way all students are supported in the reading; no matter their reading level. This is all in addition to a daily interactive read aloud of my choice. I am new to the Daily 5 and CAFE but I like many of the ideas. I would probably only have enough time to complete 2 or 3 Daily 5 rotations with my schedule but I think that is enough. Here is my shared reading schedule (I only take 20 minutes or less per session):

Our first reading of the week is for introducing the text, making predictions, introduce any vocabulary important to comprehension and modeling fluency.

The second reading is for pointing out any skills or strategies I want to introduce or reinforce. Sometimes I may have students complete differentiated graphic organizers as a during reading activity.

The next few readings each day are in the form of echo or choral readings and to prompt discussion about the reading selection.

Hope you can find something useful in there


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My 2 cents
Old 12-23-2010, 08:04 AM
 
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I do not believe that basals are the end all/ be all to teaching reading, however as a new first grade teacher, it has been super helpful in helping me know where first graders are supposed to be. I have taught 4th grade for three years and going to first was a shock to my system. I was really over estimating their abilities. The basals helped to give me a good frame of reference. We just adopted new reading books this year and they actually are differentiated. It comes with differientiated guided reading books and small group lessons (on, approaching, beyond level). As far as the stories go, we read some and some I let them enjoy during their independent reading time ( something different). I use what I want and leave what I don't. It's another great resource for me.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:57 AM
 
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I know our district is looking into a new basal system. Right now we're allowed to do whatever works. I use the basal as a whole class reading once a week. I feel that it's good for my beginning readers in that it builds upon itself. I noticed it being too easy for some so I won't have them read it anymore and getting too hard for others so I am taking a break from it and will resume when the children are ready.
I am just wondering what basal series the above poster has as I wonder if I could mention it to my reading specialist. I like that it has differentiated readers and would like to check it out and maybe present it to my district if it's worthwhile.
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Here's what I did
Old 01-18-2011, 04:14 AM
 
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About 6 years ago, when we were transitioning to the RW approach, we had a choice of using the basal or not. I used it as my shared reading piece, and the grammar and other pieces were used as a "safety net" to make sure I hit all the necessary skills. And then I did reading workshop at another time in my day, so I was able to fit it all in. With my principal's encouragement. If you can use it as a tool, and not let it replace what you know is best for kids, you can make it work. I agree- teach the child, not the program.
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thebeach16:
Old 05-25-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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whatever happened with this?
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