Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Reflections - Karen

What a busy week! It was hard to know where exactly to start until I read Bill's reflections. It made my #1 reflection much easier!

1) Right now, I'm not very happy at how grateful Bill and Franki are about no class parties and no progress reports, as they hang out in their lovely, quiet libraries, and don't worry about grades. :)

2) I got a student teacher this week. She is a lovely person, and my students love her. Unfortunately, the Ohio Department of Education currently has a license for 4th - 9th grade teachers that forces them to specialize. My student teacher's specialty is math/science, 2 subjects I haven't taught for the last two years because of my curricular support position in language arts. This year, I am in a self-contained classroom and teach all content area subjects. It would not be a stretch for me to make an argument about why math and science teachers need to have a strong literacy base of knowledge. However, rules are rules, and guidelines are guidelines, so my student teacher will be with me for just 4 more weeks, and then will move on to a middle school for her total immersion into teaching. I am trying to impress upon her how important workshop model is, whether it's for literacy or for math and science. Students need to have lessons, and then they need lots of opportunities to do practical applications of what they have learned. The other part of workshop I'm stressing is, during this work time, the teacher needs to be meeting with individuals or small groups to help them with skills that are giving them difficulty. This is good teaching practice, no matter what the subject area.

3) Two of the reading strategy groups I met with this week are students who need to be stretched a little. I taught them how to annotate, and most of them loved it! Since they are naturally strong readers, they sometimes read quickly through texts. They shared with me that annotating forced them to slow down and pay more attention to details they might have missed. It also helped them focus on vocabulary they didn't know; words that they only guessed at before. Now, they've tried to use context clues, and actually make a habit of having a dictionary by their side as they read. Next week, we'll be chatting about theme, author's message, and inferring the motivations of characters. Cool stuff!!!

4) I started a new read aloud with my students and they are loving it -- The Gollywhopper Games (see my review). We're going to have a lot of fun with this one. It's a good contrast from our last read aloud, The City of Ember.

5) My youngest daughter, a senior in high school, had a very difficult cross country season -- she contracted mono, and for all intents and purposes, her season ended after the 2nd race of the season. After being a varsity runner for 3 prior years, this season was incredibly disappointing for her. Then, 2 lovely recognitions came her way this week:
a) Her x-c coach nominated her to be an OCC (Ohio Capital Conference) scholar athlete, and b) She was named a member of the Student Athletic Council for her high school. One senior athlete from each sport is represented.
After such a tough season, these are two very nice recognitions.

6) Finally, I'm wondering why I'm having such difficulty getting to read books and blog about them. I hope I figure it out sometime soon!

That's all for now. Have a great weekend!


  1. #1--I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY!!!

    #2--Lucky student teacher, lucky future students. Keep hammering away so she doesn't forget anything you teach her!

    #6--Keep me posted when you figure that one out! I'm thinking it will take more hours in the day!!

  2. Loved catching up with you through this reflection...I too am trying to figure out #6 as well.

  3. I don't know-- just looking through this blog, it looks like you are hugely busy AND have a lot of new adjustments. If you want really short reviews of new and old books, hop over to my blog (google Ms. Yingling Reads). My daughter is also a 9th grader and also runs cross country in the OCC! Nice to meet you. Take it easy on yourself.