confused?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by pwhatley, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,276
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 2, 2015

    Hello all!

    I am teaching in an extremely low income, urban (but not failing!) school that has been placed in with a group of habitually failing schools. As part of the group, we have to follow all of the mandates that the admins over the group come up with. The latest thing is the concrete-representational-abstract progression in instruction, usually used for math. Now, we have been given a (hard to follow) mandated lesson plan that we must use for ALL subjects, and all plans/lessons MUST follow that progression. I can easily use it in math and science, but I'm having problems relating it to reading, writing, and Social Studies. We aren't supposed to actively teach grammar and spelling (they are supposed to "get it" from the literature), so multisensory grammar methods are out (although I'm still trying to fit them in). How can I make reading and writing (whole group) concrete, when the only time we are working on foundational skills is with my lowest kids and during intervention? I don't even have a set of letters! Any and all help is appreciated - please excuse the rant!:dizzy:
     
  2.  
  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,000

    Aug 2, 2015

    This is my personal opinion, and I don't recommend you follow it if you want to keep your job, but if I was mandated to teach a curriculum that didn't teach the kids skills I thought were necessary, I simply would throw it out and teach what I wanted. If I lost my job because of it, then it's preferable to me than failing all of my students by not teaching them essential skills.

    I'm glad I'm not in that situation, and I'm sorry you are. It can't be easy.
     
  4. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,276
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 2, 2015

    It's not the curriculum, it's the method. The C-R-A method works well for math. I just can't figure out how to use it for reading and writing, especially for my students who are on or above grade level.:confused:
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,552
    Likes Received:
    1,060

    Aug 3, 2015

    The concrete-representational-abstract progression looks like a fine way to teach math, and it might have potential as a way to teach science. For language arts, however... On one level, of course, one problem is that words are inherently representations of things, not the concrete things themselves (though one could make a fairly kinky case for grammatical categories as a way to make language structure concrete).

    Judging from http://www.projectlearnet.org/tutorials/concrete_vs_abstract_thinking.html - and assuming that it is a faithful, um, representation of CRA - it could be that your handlers mean you to find concrete ways for kids to manipulate words and sentences. Word strips and sentence strips might serve, assuming vocabulary at a suitable level of sophistication. Then templates for writing could be considered representations, and student-generated sentences and paragraphs could be abstract. Color-coding sentences as to their role within a paragraph or essay could be argued as concrete. I'm sorry that De Lange & Henderson's method for marking up essays is no longer on the Internet, but Steps Up To Writing does something of the same thing.

    Graphic organizers, used both for reading and for writing, could be argued as a way to make relatively abstract text structure concrete.

    (I devoutly hope the point isn't to lead children from using more concrete vocabulary in their writing to more abstract. Among the harder things to teach less-skilled adult writers is using more concrete sensory language.)
     
  6. raynepoe

    raynepoe Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2015

    We had to do it for all subjects at my old school. For inferences we did a crime scene (hands on), then pictorial inferences (representational), then text (abstract).
    We did main idea by doing bags with grouped items, pictures, and text....

    It was engaging for the kids but I struggled with how little time my kids got working with texts.

    Good luck.
     
  7. showmelady

    showmelady Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2011
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    25

    Aug 8, 2015

    This is my personal opinion only. You say that they don't want you to "actually TEACH grammar and spelling"?

    And you are in a low income school?

    Sorry, but that entire concept if frightening to me. How will the students ever be able to function in the real world if they are not TAUGHT the skills they need to get ahead? I think it is sad that any administration would advocate not teaching something!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MissCeliaB,
  2. ms.irene,
  3. vickilyn
Total: 685 (members: 5, guests: 653, robots: 27)
test