It is time to take a break from analyzing recent reading assessments. I sat down on the couch with my stack of Benchmark Assessments and a steaming mug of java around 8:00. Okay a couple little breaks - a trip to the kitchen to refill my cup and a stop in the bathroom, a quick phone call with my daughter, and a few glimpses at the TV. When my husband turned in for the night I switched to Pandora radio and some DMB.
Tomorrow afternoon, our 4th grade team and support staff will meet collaboratively to discuss the results of our assessments. I am looking forward to the conversations and support from colleagues in terms of literacy growth. As teachers I feel like we tend to spend a great deal of time flying solo. Sure we discuss upcoming units, share materials, and map out general plans, but how often do we have the opportunity to delve deeply into our craft. I am looking forward to the opportunity to look at best practices and how to apply this knowledge to meet the needs of our students.
My group is pretty typical in that students’ instructional levels, strengths, and needs are quite varied. Naturally, I have a handful of students that are reading below grade level that I need to meet with four to five times a week to strengthen decoding and fluency while also working on comprehension strategies. On the other hand, I have students that can decode pretty much anything they pick up with solid comprehension within the text. What are the next steps to help them dive in to deeper meaning?
For my fellow elementary teachers, surely this all sounds familiar to you. The buzz words in education, the common challenges we face with the unique needs of our learners, the nights on the couch covered in a blanket of papers…and so on. I noticed that today’s mail included the latest issue of American Teacher with the cover article titled “Better Together.” The Iroquois figured this out over 200 years ago when they formed the League of Nations. Ben Franklin and other wise colonists urged the colonies to come together to build a land of liberty. This theme is important in my classroom this year more than ever before as I have switched from individual desks to tables with teams of six students working together. Dave Matthews sings about it in “You and Me” a wonderful song from the Big Whiskey CD. Well I had best post before the clock chimes…One last thought…isn’t this another example of the power of working together here at Two Writing Teachers sharing our stories.