Scribbles By Maurie
The Spring 2020 semester is here and with it comes two new graduate classes for me! Reading and Literacy and Educational Research are both topics I"ll be spending a lot of winter nights reading about.
What's great about the Master's work that I'm doing is the immediate application of strategies that I'm learning that are researched based and evidence proven. I have over seven textbooks (!) and all of them are interesting to me. However, the one entitled "I Am Reading" by Collins and Glover is especially interesting because of how it relates to the book from Donalyn Miller that I read over holiday break. This resource is an easy read and offers ideas on student conferences that I am particularly excited to know more about. Since I've started a reading centers rotation in my classroom this year, the ideas fit well into my lesson plans.
One idea I've concentrated on after reading these resources is how important it is for students to be reading at or above grade level. What I hope to do going forward, is to have that as my highest priority goal and have all my plans and schemes in the classroom supporting that objectives. For the special education classroom, this is the most important support I can offer students.
Student data is a necessary tool for student growth. My classroom this year features an "aquarium" theme and I developed this idea for mapping out my students test. Each student has a "fish" but the score and name are on the back of the fish to avoid anyone being singled out. Besides, I want everyone in the class to move forward at their own pace and this data "stream" (get it? fish, stream...???}) is one that grows as student's grow. Students scores are logged on the backs Fall 2019, then Winter 2020, then finally Spring 2020. Our universal screener (MAP) uses colors which are coordinated here (under 200 scores are in red, etc.). On the left are the benchmarks, 150, 200, 250.
I've had the chance to test students on our district's universal screener. It's also the time of year that it's time to focus on student needs to prepare them for the next school year. Since the first part of my year was invested in student IEP's and getting them better aligned to the student's academic needs, I can really focus on student goals and making sure they are addressed.
Recently, I read a book that was, as they say, a "game-changer" for my thinking in terms of supporting student reading. The book is from Donalyn Miller and its title is "The Book Whisperer". Ms. Miller, a veteran reading teacher, takes the reader through her ideas for increasing student literacy rates with this idea: give students time to read independently. Though it sounds so simple, it isn't really, in light of the myriad of curriculum demands and other day to day obligations a teacher has. After reading the book and doing some soul-searching, I revamped my center work in my classroom to include a listening center, and a growing book library. Moreover, I have doubled-down on my small group rotation with the help of students universal screener scores and their IEP needs. This small shift in thinking has created in me a new energy as I see students excited about reading on their own or listening to great chapter books. Included in this strategy is a reenergized focus on a writing center to support students in their written expression. These pencils (above) are some of my favorite ways to excite students with this center because of their ease of use, fun colors, and great writing!