Moving away from the basal....

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by pwhatley, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 29, 2013

    I'm considering moving away from our basal system - Storytown. I don't have anything against it, but with Common Core, I'm not sure I'm giving my kiddos everything they need. This is my first year teaching 3rd grade, so I'm a little overwhelmed anyway. I want to take my time, research, and obtain materials. Of course, my district won't supply anything.

    I guess I'm looking for advice, suggestions, you name it!
     
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Aug 29, 2013

    Yeah!! Good for you. Never could find the perfect resource in 3rd grade so I used several. Some of the books that are great for 3rd grade are:

    1. Stone Fox by John Gardiner (a lot they can learn from this.)
    2. Martin Luther King Jr. by Margaret Davidson
    3. Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson
    4. Charlotte's Web
    5. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

    Teacher Created Materials Inc. has some good Literature Unit Study Guides that are helpful.

    Good luck to you. Literature is a lot more fun, and with the internet, TPT, and other sources. There is a lot out there to help you move away from the basal. Good luck to you.
     
  4. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Aug 29, 2013

    That was my story last year. We had stacks of Storytown books, but my team and I used novels and non-fiction sources to teach reading. Our scores were amazing.

    We used techniques similar to this:
    http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/2012/04/teacher-tech4-steps-to-boosting-reading.html

    The skills we taught were writing skills imitating our authors.

    Some of the books we used were:
    Amber Brown is Not a Crayon
    This author uses every puctuation mark on the keyboard as well as some very short sentences and fragments.

    Key to the Treasure (Perish)
    This author uses only very basic puctuation and very simple sentence structures.

    Henry and Beezus
    This was a year end book with wonderful vocabulary and plot elements.
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Aug 30, 2013

    Woo hoo! I always start the year with a Basal to give us structure, but as the kids skills begin to shine through I move to more individualized instruction. Have you considered a Reading Workshop or Daily 5 approach? Guided reading?
     
  6. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Aug 30, 2013

    I would look into close reading. You can print articles for free from Nat. Geo for kids, Scholastic or Time For Kids. Close reading will really teach your students the skills they need for the common core and standardized tests. Reciprocal reading is similar and also helps students learn to navigate non-fictions texts.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 31, 2013

    Good ideas, y'all.

    1) I already do guided reading (in the Reading First/LETRS style)
    2) I do a modified Daily 5 for my group rotations (added computer rotation, and no free choice - they would all be fighting over the computers, lol)
    3) I'm introducing a sort of magazine center this year (with my thirdies, lol) - I already have subscriptions to Nat. Geo for Kids, Scholastic News, and Super Science, and will be ordering a subscription to Time for Kids next week (I only order 5 copies of each, and use them in small groups). I think it will really help with the CCSS RI standards, as well as extending our science & social studies lessons.
    4)I have a fair classroom library (around 300 titles), but not enough copies of individual titles for small groups (our school library is in the same situation - not enough for small group studies).
    5) This year, I will continue with the basal for the structure, and to become familiar with the 3rd grade standards and literature. As the year progresses, I hope to begin acquiring more copies of texts for the kiddos for next year. Right now, I'm spending tons of $$ creating/making or purchasing things for my classroom to help my students achieve the CCSS. My district doesn't seem to think we need a math text - I was told "there's so much online!" - but we're not given more paper or copies, lol.

    Anyway, I'm gonna take it slow for this year - my load is pretty heavy as it is, lol. It will definitely be a goal for next year!
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Sep 2, 2013

    I moved away from the basal in a way that is similar to your plan. I didn't have jettisoning the basal as a goal, I just discovered I didn't need the basal to teach reading.

    What happened was we had a short week so I didn't run my reading groups. Instead we did "literature" where we all used the same book. It was so much fun that I started looking for more excuses to do "literature". By the end of that year, we did literature for the last quarter of the year. I didn't see any difference in my reading scores, but I did notice that I had inspired many more of my students to become readers.

    That was 20 years ago. Now I use novels, magazines (whole class sets), poetry, plays and so forth to teach literacy. The kids and I love it.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Sep 2, 2013

    Yeah!!!, another teacher turns away from the dark side. Novel studies are the way to go.
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I would probably already be doing it except for the money issue. My kids' parents don't pay the $10 "enrichment" fee assessed by the school. We are a Title I school, so we can't "insist." We do not have the budget for class (or even small group) sets of texts. Our library, while wonderful, also doesn't have that many copies either. My kids don't buy from the Scholastic catalogs. I'm out of points for Donors Choose (long story involving the death of my mom and a fumbling sub). I really hope that, by next year, I'll have enough materials brought together. Sounds like a horrible sob story, lol! Honestly, I love my kids/admin/school - we just have no $$$.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Sep 2, 2013

    No one is going to criticize you for not having the money.

    I really suggest you stick to your plan and acquire the books slowly over time. Novels, imo, are definitely the way to go. Yes it takes a ton more time planning, but it is far more effective. You end up planning for where the students are, and where you want them to go in a much more strategic manner.

    Stay the course.
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 2, 2013

    I love your addition of the magazines!
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 2, 2013

    How is it going in third, by the way?
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sep 2, 2013

    Not too bad, TamiJ - I love the kids - just wish the (district) admin would decide what they want and when they want it! LOL!
     

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