Knock On Wood, Throw Salt Over Your Shoulder, Don't Step On Any Cracks...
Seriously, these kids have returned from break more focused than when they left, a complete inversion of the traditional pattern. The amount we are accomplishing and the way we are getting it done is, for the first time, meeting my expectations. I have no reservations these last six days, only hope and good feelings. And as always, that creeping pressure that clutches and grabs, that voice that says, You better not blow this; you better not waste this.
Yesterday, in High Point B (30 ELLs 3 years behind, about 15% special ed, averaging about CELDT 3) we did this:
1) Reviewed O/P and List Topic Sentences
2) Practiced phonics and fluency with the REWARDS program
3) Reviewed last night's spelling and vocabulary homework
4) Read three chapters of The House on Mango Street, dissecting idioms and discussing above and below the surface meanings and illustrating same
4) Subject-Verb agreement lesson
5) Previewed Persuasive Essays, highlighting grabbers, if-then reasoning, and rhetorical questioning strategies.
6) Slide-show on extinct animals, brainstorming possible causes for extension, leading to...
7) ...My adaptation of SQ3R with an article on efforts to save the endangered Peregrine Falcon
8) Independent reading in connection with the Accelerated Reader program
9) Report from student council representative on upcoming events
We did that and we did it well. If we can stay strong for the next five weeks until break, if the Saturday Academies go well, if next time they come back from break with this same fire, or maybe even something more, if I can keep them in this mindset, then all those signs in my room that say 3 in 1, that level of progress and achievement gap closing is well within our grasp.