My 2 weeks of winter break were nice and relaxing. I was able to get quite a few books read and of course, I purchased some more! I am currently reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and it is a great book! Break technically isn't over for me until this Friday because my student teaching program does winter break based on the university schedule, not the school district schedule. I, however, decided to come back this past Monday. I just felt like it would be better for me to come back when my students did. Them seeing me here all day, everyday from the start helps them to see me not as "the assistant", but more as a "real teacher". It's funny though because they asked me today if I would be there tomorrow because last semester I was not in the classroom because I had to attend my methods classes.
I have assumed all morning routines and have been planning and implementing lessons for reading. In addition, I have been planning work station activities for the students to complete during Guided Reading. Our theme is Voices of the Revolution, and our anthology selection has been about Paul Revere. One of the work station activities was called "Old Words, New Words", in which students search the selection for 'old' words that the author uses that are not used much today (ex: porringer). Then they were to look up a definition for the word or use context clues to define it. Finally they were to write a 'new word' or a synonym to the old world that we use today (ex: bowl). The second activity was writing a narrative from the perspective of Paul Revere's horse (how he felt during the ride, what his/her personality is like.
I wanted to do the same two activities for the whole class because I felt like it would allow students to work together and get help from each other because there was a strong likelihood they were working on the same activity. Unfortunately, it did not go as planned. It wasn't a total disaster but there were quite a few students who were not very productive during this time. After observing which students were working, I noticed that most of my students who struggle with reading were the ones who were off task/disruptive. I think the task of the "Old Words, New Words" was a bit too challenging. Even with my assistance, it still wasn't clicking. Lesson Learned: I have to work harder to differentiate these activities. It would be great if they all could do the same one, but that is not realistic. I am well aware of differentiation, but for whatever reason, it never occurred to me to differentiate work station activities. Well, those who know better, do better!
I have cut my hours down at the after school program from 3 to 2 days/week. I must say, it felt pretty great to be home before 6:30pm!! I left school at 4 after getting some things ready for tomorrow...hopefully I'll take advantage of this and get to bed a little earlier! We are supposed to get about 4-7 inches of snow, high winds and cold temps...snow day??!!!??!