Sunday’s Reflection: “Be Prepared”
As I took my Walk, I thought about the benefits of being prepared.
Last Sunday, I drove to Barnes and Noble to plan the instructional week. It’s a shift in focus for me this year. Normally, I’m typing my lesson plans around that time. So, instead of typing, I was reviewing and planning each subject, which isn’t easy. I teach five of them, to go along with Word Study and Guided Reading.
Monday, I immediately saw the dividends. In Reading, I introduced a new concept: Author’s Point of View. It’s a tricky skill…no matter the age-level.
To start the lesson, I played What’s the P.O.V. from Flocabulary(Got to tap into the auditory learning style). Then I reviewed the anchor chart. After reviewing it, I guided the kids through a story…asking them for the point of view and what clues let them know what it was. The kids correctly identified the point of view as 3rd person. The preparation helped.
My preparation couldn’t help with multi-step problems, though. It was crickets during Math. Back to the drawing board.
Tuesday morning, I gave the kids one multi-step problem, instead of the usual Daily Number, with boxes to organize their work. It started to click a little more. (I’ll come back to that.)
For Reading, I wanted to see if the kids could not only determine the point of view but how different characters were feeling throughout the story. To help them structure their thoughts, I stopped after each paragraph for annotation(jot notes). Of course, they aced the comprehension questions.
After recess, I formally re-taught multi-step problems….going slower…wayyyy slower. It worked. My kids grasping the concept supports one lesson I’ve learned: It’s cool being high-energy but the chill approach works, too.
Wednesday, my kids were up and down. The day started beautifully with a video-aloud: “Take Flight.” My kids were able to determine each character’s feeling and why they changed at different points in the story. I loved it.
I didn’t love my kid’s unproductive behavior in the evening, though. They were off task, popcorning out, and not performing to expectation. I told them everyone deserves a bad day, but they better come to school with a better spirit tomorrow.
One student showed the right spirit that night…uploading a video of her reading-aloud a book.
The next morning, I played it for her classmates before circle-up.
Following the circle-up, my kids participated in “Conver” Stations. In the exercise, the kids had four different rotations to discuss and write how the words and picture relate to each other. They did wonderfully–collaborating well and staying on-task.
One child even made a connection. While his group was at Station 3, I asked them how the words go together.
He said: “They’re a type of movement.” (Patterns of movement is the current Science concept.)
Me: “I like that connection.”
The “Conver” Stations technique is one that I learned at a training the previous Saturday from a former District Teacher of the Year.
(Fun fact: Only two people were in attendance for the breakout session: Myself and the person who won Teacher of the Year the year before the presenter. The Superintendent popped up, too. No big deal. Nothing like being in the presence of Greatness.)
In addition to rocking their Word Study, they blazed analyzing Author’s Point of View.
Check this out. After having them break down the passage—“My Missing Bear–I asked them if the character would agree or disagree with this statement: “Eight-Year Old’s shouldn’t have stuffed animals.”
Most of them correctly stated that he wouldn’t. I couldn’t believe it. They’re thinking at a level that most fifth graders can’t(Some middle schoolers for that matter). These kids amaze me every week.
Friday morning, my kids listened to another read-aloud from a classmate. It was entertaining, too. She used voices and everything. (Wonder where she gets that from)
I closed out the week with Word Study and Point of View assessments. 89 percent passed the Word Study. 100 percent passed the Point of View…Phenomenal. (They still need to synthesize the Point of View, though.)
To end the day and week, I did what is always have kids do: Chant Phenomenal!!!
Saturday, as I was PLANNING the weekend, another student sent in a Read-Aloud. (I might have something on my hands.)
Reflecting, my kids acquired new language, learned a new concept and displayed a love for Reading.
Later today, I’m returning to Barnes and Noble to plan my instructional week. I have no choice.
I got to Be Prepared. My kids need me to be.
I leave you with two things.
1. Is your level of preparation adequate for what you do?
2. If not, how would the performance of those you serve change if you were?
Jeremiah Short , Educator