02-21-2009, 08:08 PM
I cannot believe you are expected to start Storytown in the middle of the year with no training...yikes!
This is our second year...hoping I can help you sort it out a little. I am pretty sure I am not using it perfectly, but maybe I can give you some insight.
First, I do believe you have to start with Theme 1, but is there a Storytown rep you can ask? Each theme has 5 lessons. The first 2 will focus on the same strategy and skills (for example-Character Traits and Motivations) and the next 2 will focus on another (like Plot: Conflict and Resolution) The fifth lesson is always Readers' Theater and reviews everything taught in the first 4 lessons. It seems to me that as the themes progress, the reading levels of the main selections and Leveled Readers increases. And, the skills and strategies of previous Themes come up again, but not formally, so if you skip, say Theme 1, they may not get to learn those concepts again.
As far as the scheduling goes, you are absolutely right - there is no way to fit everything listed there in! You definitely have to pick and choose. I focus on the things marked "Tested" and do the rest as time allows. I tend to spend the first 2 days of a lesson doing whole group (we are interrupted a lot, so it's not that long) and I meet with small groups a minimum of 3 days per lesson (Oh - I have NEVER finished a Lesson in 5 days!) usually meeting with Below-Level (Red) every day and Advanced (Green) once or twice - they work more independently. This year, I have a full time Inclusion teacher, so she has her group in the Strategic Intervention component.
My students do Independent Reading during Small group time. I have kind of slacked off on "centers" and give lots of "activities " and projects for them to do during what I now call "Independent Work" time while I meet with groups. One thing is Independent Reading.
I will admit that this year has been easier to manage as I only have 14 students with my Inclusion Teacher! However, last year I had 24 students alone (Well, the Basic Skills teacher took the Strategic and Below-level groups) but I moved much faster than this year - it was a brighter crowd! I am actually a month behind where I was last year!
As far as training...we did not receive training until August right before school started...BUT, it was ongoing. The consultant came in every other month or so and met with us by grade level, observed us, answered questions, etc. Having that support made the first year much easier.
Well, I hope I shed a smidgen of light on your situation - PM me if you have any questions based on what I wrote - hopefully others willhave insight for you, too!