I can't believe that it has been over a month since I posted anything. Oh well, you know how it goes. We get busy and work hard to keep it together, but some things fall to the way side.
I don't like having to post anything that is not wonderfully positive, especially since I have been away for so long, but the purpose of this blog is to document my life as a teacher and I have to be real. While I have been away from my blog world I have been working. However, I have become a little too obsessed, I'm afraid, with curriculum pages and progress monitoring data. The creative teacher that is somewhere inside of me has run for the hills. Well, I am done with that way of thinking. School should be fun and although it is my job to produce proficient readers it is also my job to promote love of life long learning. Isn't it great to be able to step back and evaluate yourself?
After the second FAIR my obsession with reading fluency and comprehension has become outrageous. I have bombarded my kids with almost nothing but this stuff. Whole group learning is still fantastic but there have been no fancy smanshy centers for my group. Poor kiddos.
Well, I have concluded, after my month of insanity, that my kids need to experience fluency, comprehension, text complexity and all that other good first grade stuff in the form of games, crafts, activities, and cooperative learning situations. The awful thing about this conclusion is that I have come to it so many times. I have no idea why I veer away from the things I passionately believe about how education should be. I guess the progress monitoring (which is a good thing, although intimidating) and the looming end of year data freaks me out and I get panicky. The pressure is on. It is so easy to focus on myself and what I am doing, and how I am doing as a teacher, and what I am producing in my students, and how creative my centers are and bla, bla, bla. When that happens the focus shifts from the students and what they need to myself and what I need. Not a good thing. As an educator I need to be focused on each student and his or her specific needs. Back to reality Ms. King!
I said all of that because I wanted to document for myself this experience and my conclusions. My first graders did not enlist in the army so I need to stop being a "Drill Sargent" and go back to being their first grade guide. New centers are being created even now. Tomorrow I have a stack of things to be laminated - all themed for Valentines day (don't even get me started about that) and next week the kids will be so busy having a good time they won't even know they are learning. I just know that it will be more meaningful and will produce more results than what we have been doing for the last month. We have been working hard for sure but now we are going to work smart and play hard. Ain't life grand!
BT DUBS - I shared my experience in Whole Brain Teaching with a fellow teacher before the Christmas break.Yesterday she told me that she has started to use some of the methods and her "behavior" problems are gone. It was music to my ears. I love Whole Brain Teaching and truly believe that it is the reason I have not left teaching. This is an incredibly difficult career. The things I have learned through Chris Biffle and the Whole Brain team are amazing. I was so glad to hear that my experiences have inspired another teacher to learn about WBT as well. The really neat thing is that now there is a spark in my school. As she shares her experience with others they are becoming interested as well. Other teachers are asking my about the Whole Brain thing. Today I went to teach and demonstrate some of the basics for another teacher and her students. It was beautiful. They were engaged and excited and caught on so quickly and I only showed some of the management tricks like class/yes, hands and eyes, and using hand signals to practice the rules. I even showed them a way to line up without chaos. The score board is in place in that classroom now (the teacher ripped off her stop light management system) and is going full force on the Whole Brain Train. I'm Lovin it! All aboard WBT woot woot!