Saturday, October 18, 2008
Counting on It
Isn't there so much you want to do in your classroom? I want to have students working on the computer, creating projects, managing and manipulating information. I want my students to read every day--in print or online. I want students to write--to create podcast scrips, to detail their lives in narratives that we can then turn into essays comparing and contrasting the past to the now. There is so much that I want to do with my students this year. It can be overwhelming, can't it?
Scheduling sets us up for success. With a routine and systems in place, we can do more. I'm teaching ninth graders and routine is everything in order to get them to develop habits of mind and to become academically engaged. Students need the stability of the schedule--they need to be able to count on it 100% of the time, so that their minds can think about something other than "what are we doing!"
We begin each day with reading: 10 or 15 minutes of reading workshop time. We're building a reading habit. We work together and in small groups on Monday and Wednesday (me teaching and students practicing), students work with each other in tutorial groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays are "fun" Fridays in the AVID program guest speakers and team builders mostly. We're making progress.
Students are starting to predict what we do in class, "we're reading today, Miss?"
I smile, saying a simple yes.
“Every day we read, Miss?”
“Yes, we do,” I reply. Students settle in to books or notes or textbooks.
It's time well spent building background knowledge, building vocabulary, and building reading habits. Time that students have started to count on.