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Reading/Writing Block Help Please
Old 03-01-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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I'm new to teaching language arts and am very frustrated fitting in all that I need to do. I have 1 1/2 hours/four days a week per class to teach reading, writing, spelling/vocabulary and grammar. One day each week I have 45 minutes per class. I have been attempting a workshop approach for reading and writing. Book shopping for the classes must be done during the 1 1/2 hours so there goes more time!

I feel like all I do is rush, and rush the kids, too!

Anyone have ideas that might help me to structure the time I have?



Last edited by trasie; 03-02-2011 at 09:28 AM..
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clarification first
Old 03-03-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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You said that you have 45 minutes per class; does that mean 45 minutes for Reading and 45 minutes for Writing? And you only have them 4 days a week?
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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I have each class 4 days a week (M, T, W, F) for a total of 90 minutes a day and 1 one day (Th) for 45. During that time I teach reading, writing, spelling/vocabulary and grammar.

I hope that I clarified well enough. I'm tired of the frustration and I think the kids are frustrated as well. Any ideas welcome!
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no great ideas, but . . .
Old 03-03-2011, 05:20 PM
 
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I don't really have any ideas for you, since I have a similar situation & I haven't solved it in a way I like.

The best that I've been able to come up with is to alternate days for actual lessons. In other words, I'll teach a reading mini-lesson on Monday, then a writing mini-lesson on Tuesday, & then back to reading on Wednesday, etc. That subject is the focus, although they still have work time to do their independent reading time or writing while I pull groups, etc.

Although I wish I had more time, I've found that this allows all of us to focus on the day's subject better, without feeling rushed. I do try to alternate focus each week, so if I do more reading this week, next week I'll focus more on writing, which seems to make things even out in the end. I also try to connect the 2 subjects as much as I can -- for example, I launched my unit on my persuasive writing by talking about author's purpose in reading and doing several activities that included the purpose of persuading.
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I was thinking......
Old 03-04-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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What if you did a reading passage that would connect to the writing. So you can give them something to read and than have them write about it. The next day you can do writing workshops that would work on spelling, vocab and grammar. You could also have them critique their partners writing which would than work on reading.

I often teach everything together or I work in centers and than spend a couple of periods discussing what they learned from each center.

I was also that you can pick days as reading/writing/vocab Days and than work on strategies for that.


Hope that is what you were looking for.


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Old 03-06-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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I see where reading and writing complement each other and want to take more advantage of that. I do think that you are correct that I will need to make reading/vocabulary the focus on a couple of days each week and writing/grammar on alternate days. I think I'll try to work my schedule in that direction now and see how it goes.

JoSo-How do you work your centers?
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Centers
Old 03-07-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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It depends on what I feel I want to focus on but normally I have a reading center, a writing center and a grammar and vocab center. They normally focus on a social justice theme so that we can have a good discussion after wards. I spend 30-40 minutes on each center and than they rotate. I try to have them working in ability partners and than that way they aren't relying on someone to do their work for them. When all is done we have a discussion about the different levels and how to improve their work. I would follow this up with a good assessment on a reading or writing piece and than do the process all over again. Hope that helps.
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Cafe
Old 03-10-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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Have you heard of CAFE and the Daily Five? It can be modified to fit a schedule like yours (which is very similar to mine, too!). Someone else mentioned this, but you can focus on two days of Reading CAFE and two days of Writing CAFE. Here is the CAFE book: http://www.amazon.com/CAFE-Book-Enga...9771739&sr=8-5

You could also look at the 4 Blocks model, which separates the day into four sections: Working with Words (spelling), Guided Reading, Self-Selected Reading, and Writing. I've found that I can't do 4 Blocks the way that it is designed, simply because of time, but I try to do at least two "blocks" each day.

Centers are great too I have ten centers, based on genres of literature, and the kids have a task that they have to complete. I add picture books of that genre to each center, and it gives me time to work with groups in Guided Reading. Here is my center list:
Attached Files
File Type: doc Literacy Centers.doc (33.0 KB, 103 views)
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Language arts help for you
Old 03-13-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I agree with others who posted to integrate where possible. I teach two language arts blocks (roughly 2 hours each session) and it's too little time for everything!
I recommend simplifying: choose a reading focus & writing focus and try to work other lessons into these areas of focus. For example, you may choose author's purpose as the reading focus and personal narrative writing as the writing focus. The spelling/vocabulary can come from the stories, read aloud, and seasonal topics. Grammar skills come from your students' identified needs. If sentence structure is poor, then analyze sentences during reading and writing time. If you're working on quotes, then look at this while reading and writing.
If you try to separate the class subjects too much, then you create too much paperwork for yourself and never feel that you get very far (at least this has been my experience).
I highly recommend Regie Routman & Ralph Fletcher for Writing Workshop assistance. Regie Routman & Aimee Buckner are great resources for Reading Workshop ideas. Someone else recommended the CAFE book which is also quite good.
Hope this helps.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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I am in the same boat! M, T, TH, F are all 90 minute blocks and W is a shorter day. The only difference is that I also teach Social Studies, so I integrate that into reading and Language Arts as much as possible. I start off the class with either Daily Grammar or Word of the Day (Vocabulary), another of our teachers used Mountain Language as a class opener. She did 4 words a day. I also pick mini-lessons and focus on those for the week, def focusing more on reading and incorporating language arts into those lessons. When we are doing a literature circle or read aloud, I have the students write to me in their Reading Response Journals or Blogs. This works great for different types of writing: friendly letter writing, persuasive, narrative, expository, the six traits, etc.


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