Ha! I totally lied in my last post.
My biggest change really was in my elementary classes which are now totally different. The changes are a result of feeling convinced from NTPRS that I need to get everyone reading more.
I got a “no” on getting new books for my 1st and 2nd graders, so I modified a bunch of the first stories from Blaine Ray’s old first year Look I Can Talk (the yellow one) using the pictures from the first 2 chapters (mostly 1st grade in Chapter 1 and 2nd grade in Chapter 2). Of course, 1st and 2nd graders gasp and ooh and ahh when I tell them that just a few years ago, that was the high school material. It’s pretty adorable. Using some of the basic TPR words that I used to use with my little ones, I rewrote the stories to go along with the pictures with a more limited vocabulary for their level.
My plan is to go through all the TPR words (probably 3-4 a week = 3-4 a class, since I see them once a week) and do mini-stories along the way.
The most recent stuff was like:
The class sleeps. The class is happy. The class smiles and sleeps. Josh snores. Kelly wakes up and is mad. Kelly stands up. Kelly yells, “NO!” to Josh. Josh snores more. Kelly is very mad. Kelly jumps and screams “No, no, no!” Josh wakes up. Kelly yells more. Josh is sad and cries.
It really is quite similar to what I did last year with them, but I have the whole thing mapped out in advance because I wrote all those stories… all in one night on the third day of school. Yeah…
So, despite my random story-writing rush for my 1st/2nd grade, I actually think it will be their best year. Plus my 1st graders were a strong Pre-K class and strong kindergarten class, so that’s a perk too.
Also, third through fifth grade got a huge addition. Like I said, I was extremely convinced that EVERYONE SHOULD BE READING /caps. I used to do the Version 1’s from the Cuéntame reader at the end of my 5 week (5 day) lesson for each episode. Now, I made the great/horrible decision to write my own tiny stories each week and send it home for them to read a tiny story per night (5 paragraphs a week). The hole I dig for myself is writing 20 stories for each of the 18 episodes we do in 3rd through 5th. If I can actually write those 360 stories by May and not go crazy, I will be extremely proud. It might be a resource other people can use too, so that’s a plus. And I’ve had quite a positive response from parents, especially from my principal who is Cuban and who has children in 3rd and 5th grade. His kids do their “reading homework” with his mother and she’s impressed at their reading. Hoorah! Other parents have written nice little comments in the margins or draw pictures of what their kids tell them the story is about. I even have a third grader who wants to rewrite out every story in English so her parents understand it all, which is way more work that she needs to be doing, but if she’s getting a kick out of it, more power to her!
Overall, I think doing even just that tiny reading (less than 5 minutes) each day is going to pay off huge for my younger ones. My problem is I always take on more than I can handle so I hope I have days where I sit down and pound out 50 mini-story paragraphs and get ahead of myself so I’m not writing stories that week, or worse, that day, to hand out.
I won’t even talk about the changes with 6th grade going from a once a week class to a half-year daily class. To be honest, since I don’t see them until January, I’m not going to think about it for a while until I get into a better routine with all my other new stuff.
With everything else I put on my plate, my attention is also extremely splintered between coaching both the high school cheerleading squad and the middle school cheerleading squad. I’m trying to juggle, but it’s new for me to have both teams and the longer hours and no-free-Thursday-night’s is something I’m adjusting to slowly.
This post was inspired by coffee, which I should never ever drink and I know this. Yet it is 1am and I did, in fact, drink coffee around 7pm. I just don’t learn.