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Old 04-24-2010, 09:44 AM
 
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I am a senior member and post often. I needed to sign out because this is not known at school and I suspect that my PT id has been figured out by a colleague.

I have been asked to move from fourth grade to fifth grade. I would be teaching language arts/reading exclusively. I have visions of mounds of essays to wade through regularly. We do the six traits. I have been reading Daily 5 and have the CAFE book. I also have the Jan Richardson book on guided reading. I like the idea of reading and writing workshop and view those as ideal. We do have a basal but have been given the go ahead to do my own thing as long as I cover the standards. I don't know where to start putting it all together and I just can't wrap my head around the all of the grading of student writing. I struggle with that as it is. Confusion abounds! Help! Someone! Anyone! I need a mentor but I AM a mentor!


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jeanmarie jeanmarie is offline
 
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Can you alternate?
Old 04-24-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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Somebody suggested to me that I split my workshop into long-term blocks. For example, spend 2 weeks ( or whatever) really teaching reading skills/strategies. Grade these, but any writing is independent or in response to independent reading. That way, you just need to check and keep them honest. Then, spend 2 weeks developing writing skills and grade these. Students can then just read and log pages/time/quick summary etc., just to make sure they are reading (can you tell mine cheat?) That would cut down on grading. I also broke my writing down and 3 days a week we work on writing (details, structure, etc) and 2 days on grammar lessons. Those we can check together. You get away from all the assessment of the writing. Also, during writing workshop, I use student and then peer conferences to edit and revise. By second semester, when they feel it's done, it gets turned in and graded. (You'll quickly know who your less capable writers are and can zone in on them daily) During reading workshop - I color code response notebooks/day and only look at 1 set each night. I tried that in writing, but it seemed like my less capable writers got so bogged down that they bunched up too much. My better and best writers have gotten so they help each other edit and proof and I introduce/model a writing skill/genre and give them a due date with a mid-term date to check in with me. If they have problems, they schedule a teacher-conference (they put names on board) It seems to work and also makes them more self-directed. I also make use of an SRA kit and those Take Them to Your Seat folders for language skills that students use in a center. They also work on spelling every day and that is also a management issue. You don't need to grade everything, and truthfully, my best readers and writers just want time to do both without interruptions for re-grouping, skill lessons they probably don't need, and all the other things we seem as if we have to work in. If you can establish a routine, and stick to it, then the kids will adapt to it quickly and life will get better. Have some consequences or alternatives for those who not only waste their time, but disrupt others. Good luck - have fun!
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You're Right to Worry!
Old 04-24-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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I'm not going to lie to you...

If you teach well and demand accordingly, you will indeed find yourself with piles of work to assess. There are certainly ways that students can self-check, self-assess, peer check, and even group check, but ultimately you will end up with lots of written work which demands your attention.

I think one way around it is deciding what work you'll assess for what purpose. Often I'll assess creative work on content alone, and leave the GUM (grammar usage, mechanics) checking out.

If you thoroughly check every assignment for every aspect of correctness, you'll be working as many hours at home each evening as you do during the day.
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I teach reading, writing, and LA
Old 04-24-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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exclusively in 5th grade to a total of 54 students. I often spend my weekends grading their writing -as pp said, to do it right and really give the students the feedback they need to improve, it takes time to go through every paper and mark them accordingly. I find my reading is easy - I set up some literacy centers and while I work with one small group, the others have a rotation schedule for the week. The writing is what kills me, but I like knowing that my attention to detail is helping them improve.

If you want details on the reading centers, let me know!
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I would love to know more about your centers. I'm going to try to get some started after state testing.


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Sure thing, here you go...
Old 04-25-2010, 03:48 AM
 
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I bought 3 file crates from Walmart. Crate one is the "Literacy Crate" and I found a book of non fiction reading w/questions that is grade specific, but has different levels. I'm copying the story and laminating it to leave in a folder, and then I'll copy the question sheets off for them to use. Crate two is the "Vocabulary Crate" and I've placed vocabulary and some grammar things (like homophones) in there. Crate three is the "Take it To Your Seat Crate" where I bought the TTS book for my grade levels and laminated all the materials.

What I've done is divided my 54 kids into 3 groups per homeroom (I only teach Reading, Writing, and LA). They are divided by novel choice, which I guided a bit and ensured that the high readers were together. I have a 40 minute reading class Mon-Thurs so I've got them assigned to a color group. The Green Geckos are reading one class novel, and they'll meet with me on Monday for 30 minutes. While I'm with them, the Purple Penguins will do the Literacy Crate activity and the Yellow Jackets will do the Vocab Crate. I'll continue to rotate them for those 4 days so I meet with each group for 30 minutes, and they complete all the activities for the week. I color coded the level activities in each crate so that the Green Geckos are doing the activities in the green folders (the higher level group). This way, they can go to the appropriate crate and pick out the right color folder. I've also numbered them, and I'm giving them a log to keep track of in a special reading folder. They'll put all their work for the week in that folder, and then they'll turn in the folder on Friday.

It's worked out well - the kids like the change of activities and are working at their own level on nonfiction reading and vocabulary. My lower kids definitely need the vocabulary work!
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Great!
Old 04-25-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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This sounds like what I am looking for. Could you tell me the name of the book with the reading and questions? Thanks
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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I'd love to see a picture or more detailed examples of what you do! I tried doing something similar in my classroom this year with color coded things and rotations but I'd LOVE to see your system- could you email me at Jvada31 @ yahoo.com
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