We are working on building our stamina this week, adding a few minutes each day to our reading time. Our fourth graders need to have the endurance for testing in May: three days of ELA, two days of math, and two days of science. They are used to reading 40-45 minutes at a stretch, but will need 70 minutes of staying power for the TESTS. Therefore, now rather than later we decided to exercise these muscles. The good news is our class read for 55 minutes today. The better news is students are learning more about themselves as readers, recommending books, falling in love with authors, and planning for what they are going to read next. My conferences with individuals and small groups of students are bringing smiles to my face and warming my teaching heart. Our conversations have revealed deeper thinking and wondering. Students are excited about their reading lives and the passion is spreading like good news.
In September and October, we are so diligent about building a classroom community. Then something happens…we jump in the deep end of the pool and paddle around, sometimes barely staying afloat assuming the work we did in the fall will sustain. Sure there will most definitely be moments of angst about the TESTS, but for now we are going to keep stretching and reaching and growing together.