Thursday, September 29, 2011


I must give my apologies out for being so behind on my posts!  We have had the second week of stations completed today.  I keep trying to remember to take pictures of both week's stations...but I have to remember my digital camera.  The camera on my phone is esentially painting the town pink...and while it is pretty, it definitely doesn't really work.  Tomorrow I will try my best to remember my camera and I'll post Week 1 and Week 2 stations!  Happy Thursday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Plan.

So as I was developing "The Plan" for Superlative Six, I got thinking of my college professor, Dr. Ellen Adams.  She is a fantastic literacy guru, by the way.  Aside from that, she also used to say (pretty much every time I saw her), "A great teacher is a great modifier." After this whole literacy planning phase, I'm pretty sure she predicted my future.  You will see in the following weekly posts that I pretty much changed everything I could find to fit what I thought was appropriate, and necessary, for 6th grade.  Anyway, on to the scheduling plan:

10? minute minilesson/skill introduction (that fits into one or more centers specifically)
10 minute centers explaination
20 minutes of center rotation #1

20 minutes of center rotation #2
20 minutes of center rotation #3

10? minute minilesson refresher
20 minutes of center rotation #4

20 minutes of center rotation #5
20 minutes of center rotation #6

40 minutes which include independent reading, free choice journal entry, and one-on-one teacher conferencing on weekly goals/tasks completed

I suppose it would also help to know the 6 stations:

Read-To-Self: Students will go to the library for silent, independent reading.  Students will have a task to complete relating to a goal.

Read-To-Someone: In partnerships, students will read aloud for fluency.  This includes alternate page readings, scripts/puppets, and eventually possibly having students record their words per minute (wpm) and/or a modified Running Record?

Teacher Group: Some kind of skill-based/goal-based/? work.  I am not sure how this will play out.  For a bit of time I will probably be administering the BRI to them as a personal benchmark.

Writing: Prompted writing in some way, shape, and form

Word Work: Some kind of vocabulary, making words, grammar, parts of speech, etc. kind of activity station

Listening: Again, a work in progress.  A goal for this becoming students listening to podcasts, books on tape, short stories, poems, etc. and answering questions.  Since this is a part of the NYS ELA, this is important to practice.  My hope is that students can practice rewinding the tape and/or hearing and looking at the text at the same time to build their auditory skills. 

So that's what I have so far in a nutshell.  Stay tuned for next week's first stations!  I admit that I am starting of slow so that I can get everyone used to the process.  We have been practicing each all week in an attempt of getting used to them.  Making Words was probably the biggest success by far!  Writing would have to be in dead last.  A majority of my students seem to dread the horrible "W" word.  Give me 'till June to change that! :-)

Change Was A Necessity: Welcome to the Superlative 6

    This summer, after I was hired as an ELA/Science teacher for 6th grade, I began a quest for new ideas of what may work in the ELA classroom.  I have a full 90 minute block, which has pros and cons.  On the plus side (and there are many more pluses), we have a solid span of time, students are focused, we are after lunch so students have been fed, and I only have 22 students.  On the con side, it's after lunch and it's for 90 minutes.  My goals evolved into these questions, "How do I break up 90 minutes?" and "How do I differentiate and measure progress?" 
   Enter the CAFE books by "The Sisters."  I loved the idea of having a Daily 5/Centers.  The issue became that I really felt this was meant for younger grades with shorter attention spans and different needs.  I needed a longer chunk of time per center (I settled on 20).  I needed to only do 1-2 centers per day (so that I could leave time for other ELA instruction).  I couldn't do 5 per day.  I needed a change.  It was necessary.
    So while I am planning on implementing this on Monday for the very first time (eeeeek!)  I *think* I have changed and modified my schedule to fit my needs.  I will post it shortly.  Oh, and why "Superlative 6" you ask?  Well, "superlative" and "buoyancy" were my two favorite words I picked up in late elementary school and have never let go of.  Come on...who doesn't love "SUPERLATIVE!?"