Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sick, Sick and Tired, and Sick OF

Today, I'm all of the above. I have something fluish/coldish going on, and frankly, I feel like total shit. Yesterday I called a sub, but today, that was not an option.

You see, I've been working tirelessly (ok, I've been tired sometimes ) for 5 years now to find a way to help my kids be better readers. According to some assessments I've done, at least half are below grade level, and at least half of those are 4 or more grades below grade level. Sheesh. In my teacher ed classes, I was never taught to teach reading. Sure I got the literary criticism stuff, and I can teach the hell out of a novel, short story, poem, essay, what have you, but never anything on what to do with the kid who simply can't READ the novel, short story, poem, essay, etc. I spent a ton of time studying up on comprehension and vocabulary strategies, and for a fraction of my kids, that helped, but only for the ones who were doing ok to start with.

So this year I've been attending a series of classes to get my reading endorsement. Usually it's me, a fellow teacher, and about 100 3rd grade teachers. I've learned a TON, the most important being that if the kid can't decode the word, no amount of comprehension study in the world is going to help him/her comprehend the text. Period.

Long story short, I'm now teaching phonics, decoding, affixes, and multisyllabic fluency. Sounds fun, huh? For fluency (speed+emotion=meaning) to increase, kids have to read the same passage at least 6 times. Then fluency goes up both for that passage and future passages. Enter: (da du du da!!) readers' theater! We've been practicing 4 holiday themed readers' theater(s?) for the last few weeks, and let me tell you, I've seen more improvement with this one activity than any number of expensive, time consuming programs combined. Today they are performing the pieces (The Christmas Orange, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Christmas Orange and The Christmas Truce) for the school AND I (much to the horror of the kids) sent invitations to the parents.

So--I'm here, Theraflu in hand, bag of cheep Christmas cookies under my desk, classroom rearranged into as theater-like a place as I can, hoping that at least a few parents show and that the kids won't cut class.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
When I'm sick, Soph always brings me little things to help me feel better. Yesterday it was a potato chip, a dolly, and a Christmas ornament.

Today's worst t thing about being a mom:
Because of the floor debacle, and me being sick, we were all out of stuff to make her lunch today.


Nicole (ELS) said...

I honestly don't think I can be any more impressed with you. You are in short amazing. Thank the Gods for teachers like you.

Angie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~A~ said...

Feel better soon. And congrats on the class. More teachers should have that course.

Sorry about the delete above, I signed in to the wrong account.

Lonna said...

Now that I am teaching at a 2-year school, I am amazed at the poor education our students are getting. More than half of our students test at below college level. They all have high school educations and they test into very basic reading, writing, and math classes. They may have to take (and pass) two years of developmental course work before they can start their college classes. These kids are not much further along than our ESL students. Truly sad. And it's not just the poor city kids, either. I have great respect for people who know how to teach reading and math to people who "should already know it". Good for you. I certainly hope that their parents show and that you feel better soon.

the beige one said...

Here's hoping the performance goes off splendidly. Sounds like a wonderful idea.