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Breathing Down My Neck . . .

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J.Elaine
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Breathing Down My Neck . . .
Old 03-19-2010, 05:00 PM
  #1

Here it is Spring Break, and here I am stuck at home sick as a dog. I keep reminding myself that being sick as a dog over Spring Break is better than trying to write lesson plans for a sub while being sick as a dog.

So now I find myself at the end of my week off, still sniffling and needing to write lesson plans for next week. It's an important week. It's the week before we start our big State TESTING!

I can feel it breathing down my neck.
--one week before we TEST Comm.Arts
--two weeks before we TEST Math
--three weeks before we TEST Science.

Since I'm addicted to ProTeacher and can't seem to get off the computer, I'm going to use this blog forum to plan how I'm going to make the best use of the time I have left before TESTING.


Here's my plan for this week -- communication arts saturation without stress or cramming.

Resource for planning - The Comprehension Toolkit by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

Monday, March 22
Toolkit component, Determine Importance (Spotlight New Thinking pp. 2-13)
--Use National Geographic or Kids article, "At Home in the Arctic" to teach students how to use a Facts/Questions/Responses Chart.
--After teacher models, student pairs use "jigsawing" strategy by choosing a section of the article to read and take notes on their FQR charts.
--Student pairs share one Fact, Question, and Response from their charts at the end of the session.

Tuesday, March 23 Toolkit component, Determine Importance (Distinguish Your Thinking pp. 44-55)
--Use selected text from Time for Kids Magazine
-----1. "Can Kids Stop Kids from Smoking?"
-----2. "Western Roundup"
-----3. "Turn it Off"
-----4. "One Bad Bug"
to teach students that what the reader thinks is most important is not always the same as what the writer is trying convey.
--Teacher models by reading through a portion of the first article and sharing what she thinks is important.
--After lots of modeling, students choose between the other three articles for independent practice.

Wednesday, March 24 Visiting Author
If author doesn't show do Toolkit component, Determine Importance (Record Important Ideas - FQR Chart with historical fiction pp. 14-23) Use historical fiction trade book, From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester.

Thursday, March 25 - Practice Assessment Day.
Use textbook assessment to practice test taking strategies.


Friday, March 26 Toolkit component, Determine Importance (Construct Main Ideas from Supporting Details pp. 56-67)
--Use National Geographic for Kids article "Big Talkers" to teach how to use a Topic/Detail/Response chart.
--Teacher models using inferential or standard subheads to show that paragraphs that follow the subheads contain supporting details related to the topic.
--Student teams practice, by jigsawing the article using their TDR Charts.
--Students share out at the end of the session.

Okay, that covers just the hour/day I have for reading instruction. The lessons are long, but I think they can be engaging because the articles and trade books are high interest and plenty of opportunities are built in to allow students to interact, share, write, collaborate, etc.

Here are some comm.arts related things I am going to incorporate throughout the day:
-----poetry (read aloud)
-----writing (from another's perspective, literature response letter, persuasive paragraph, etc.)
-----review grammar/conventions using the SmartBoard and CD provided by publisher
-----review the twelve words (which relates to other content areas as well)
-----revisit figurative language

Now all I have to do is plan when to plug in these additional activities! Here's one thing I know for sure. I have to over-plan for this week because I'll be stressed if I don't. If I'm stressed, it will trickle down to my students no matter how hard I try to control it.

TODAY'S FINAL THOUGHTS AND WORDS:
Does anyone else feel the way I feel. Every year at this time, I think of all kinds of things I could have/should have done. But on the other hand, I know I've done my best. I've studied new strategies and put them into practice. I've spent endless hours on PT getting ideas to make my classroom more engaging, my teaching more exciting, my organizational skills more efficient, etc., etc.

But . . . isn't it a shame that the BIG TESTS can make me feel all insecure, second guessing all my decisions, frightened that TEST results will be the deciding factor in judging my teaching ability?

I know some of you feel more sure of yourself than I, but I also know there are many of you who are finding yourself right out there with me in the same boat, hoping for the best!

Later . . .




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CageyBee
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:53 AM
  #2

Well, at least I am in good company feeling like I didn't do everything I wanted to do, and 100% better than I did, in preparation for our state torture tests! I can identify with the insecurity you expressed all too well. And yet, I KNOW I was diligent...but my kids could give a hoot......I doubt they're picking up my "worried vibes!"
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:02 AM
  #3

CageyBee,
Here's why I think kids feel teachers' stress. My grandchildren (1st, 5th, 9th) tell me they know their teachers are stressed. But then they follow that statement with this shocking sentiment. When teachers start talking about what they need to know on the TESTS (over and over and over again), they say they just tune them out. Now isn't that just terrible?

I decided I'd phrase it differently this year. Instead of saying what I think they might see on the TESTS, I tell them it's a Grade Level Expectation (GLE). Then I explain that means they are expected to know this concept by 5th grade.
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:59 PM
  #4

Out of the mouths of babes! You know, you may be onto something...my class must be tuning me out because I do refer to "THE" test. I'll try your GLE...sounds way more permanent. Thanks!
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:12 PM
  #5

Sometimes I tell my students who still do not capitalize (in 5th grade!) proper nouns that I found that GLE at the 1st and 2nd grade levels!!!!!

I just bet you think that did the trick, and they magically started capitalizing everything that needed capitalizing--right? Wrong!
Sometimes, nothing seems to work!
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