Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Knock On Wood, Throw Salt Over Your Shoulder, Don't Step On Any Cracks...

The last six instructional days have represented a pinnacle, the zenith of educational and instructional proficiency and efficiency. We are rocking, the boat is being painted, and the hay is flying into the lofts. We're going to show em what kind of logs make wide shingles. Slow and steady go far in a day, but blazing competence goes even farther.

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.

5 Comments:

Blogger KauaiMark said...

Don't forget to avoid black cats.

See ya tonight at PhC's meet in SJ!

..Mark

11:04 AM  
Blogger leyla said...

was the discussion of idioms in lecture-style with student input or something like that? and if so, do you think the RSP kids "got" it?
do you sense that your rsp kids have any oral processing issues? i teach rsp some of my kids do, clearly do, so i'm wondering about your perceptions of your kids..

and what's the Rewards program>

thanks!

6:31 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

With idioms, we use illustrations to differentiate the literal meaning of the words from the actual meaning of the phrase. If I am leading the discussion, I'll ask for someone to describe the literal meaning and attempt to describe it, then with student input and leading questions and a nod toward the context, we examine what the actual meaning is, and then illustrate that. Later, they will work in partners to do the same. For that class, all but one of the RSP kids was doing extremely well with those tasks.

As for oral processing, that's like the common cold of the RSP world -- all but one of my 12 has it. ELLs of course also demonstrate difficulties processing orally, so everything I do is an attempt to accommodate those issues.

REWARDS is still, I think, my new favorite thing. It is a scripted phonics program. Boring, boring, blah, blah -- but it works. 10-20 minutes daily, spice it up a little, and man, it works. I have resources to spare if you ever want to arrange a hand-off.

6:42 AM  
Blogger leyla said...

the resources would be great. i can come by next week.

i was trying to research it online and i couldn't find much except an email for anita archer - i guess she is one of the co-creators. she sent me a link to a site to buy, but it's too expensive for my own pockets. if the stuff is good, then i can hit up the SPED department..

3:10 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Leyla,

Anytime you want to stop by is fine. In terms of funding, talk to administration about using money from the ELL budget -- there are all kinds of constraints put on that money, so there's bound to be a lot of it laying around. Also, before I got the program funded, I essentially made copies of the workbook, which you could do if the copy situation at your school permits.

5:41 PM  

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