Literacy Block timing...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by peachacid, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    Oct 25, 2009

    How do you have time for read alouds, shared reading, guided reading and centers, and writing workshop, all in one literacy block?

    Our schedule is as follows:
    8:00 to 8:20 DEAR (school-wide)
    8:25 to 10:35 Literacy
    10:40 to 11:15 Specials
    11:20 to 11:50 Social Studies
    11:50 to 12:20 Lunch & Recess
    12:25 to 12:55 Social Studies
    1:00 to 2:00 Math
    2:05 to 2:55 Science

    We have two hours, but how would you break it up? These are third graders who are all below level (thanks, administration!). Not only are they all below level, but 18 of the 22 are being CSAP'd (the process by which students are considered for adapted instruction...on the way to special ed) for academic AND behavioral issues. I am working in the classroom as the reading specialist to provide extra support, and have been assisting during whole group and then pulling groups for guided reading. I know that writing almost never happens. I feel like it is a time management thing but I am not sure how to change that, nor how to talk to the classroom teacher about the necessity of writing. The school is very much into giving the kids worksheets, which I am not too keen on...
     
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  3. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2009

    Worksheets are frowned on at my school too. If I'm in a time crunch, I'll skip Social Studies or Science.
     
  4. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 25, 2009

    Please don't skip social studies or science! At my school, my kids get these subjects for two periods a WEEK each. They are treated like specials and not important. The kids are sick of math and language arts work, and I think there are important skills we miss out on by skipping SS and science. :(
     
  5. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2009

    Well it is hard to fit in SS/Science everyday with all of the other things going on. I have one day where I have a health lesson, and Science/History are twice a week. But that is on a good week; sometimes Science/History only happen once a week. I have 6 other subjects I have to teach daily. At this rate, kids, especially in public schools, are lucky they are still teaching Social Studies and Science.
     
  6. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 25, 2009

    I know. I am coming to the realization that this just might be The Way Things Are. But I think it's so sad. A curriculum lacking Science and Social Studies does not produce well-rounded students. It wasn't that long ago that I was in third grade and we had all four subjects every day. Our specials were PE, computers, health, art, and music. But of course this was Catholic school...

    Sorry to hijack your thread, OP! I hope you find a good solution to your scheduling woes.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 25, 2009

    I fit in social studies every single day but I admit I really could use that time for language arts at least a few of the days. I can't though because I have a student that is included during that time. Otherwise I would treat social studies as more of a language arts period at times (with social studies related books, etc.) In other words I would do more cross-curricular things.
     
  8. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    Oct 25, 2009

    My block goes something like this:
    7:45-8:00 Journal Time
    8:00 - 8:40 Whole Group Instruction
    8:40-9:15 Work Stations / Small Group Instruction
    9:15 - 10:00 Writing

    I teach in 2nd grade at a very low income school in the inner city and last year we taught writing very directly and explicitly. By the end of the year, my 2nd graders (who came as complete non readers and writers) were all writing 1-2 page stories, single spaced using a thesaurus. Their stories were better than a lot of the 4th graders at our school.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 26, 2009

    I struggle with having enough literacy time..period. I have 90 minutes.
     
  10. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    Oct 26, 2009

    Can you tell me more specific details about how you taught writing? With these kids I am beginning to think they just need to be left alone to TRY to write...without even a prompt...but it would be great to hear other people's strategies.
     
  11. l8ybugmom

    l8ybugmom Groupie

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    Oct 27, 2009

    This is how we break up the 2 hours and never seem to manage to get everything in.

    Read Aloud--10-15 mins
    Mini lesson 10 minutes
    IDR 30 minutes (Guided Reading takes place during this time)
    Writing mini lesson 10-15 minutes
    Writer's Wrokshop40-50 minutes writing

    Oh and somwhere in there we do Words Their Way (word study)
     
  12. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    Oct 27, 2009

    Well, first off, I teach 2nd grade in a very very low income school where most of my students do not speak English as their first language. Because of this, we choose to do very direct and explicit writing instruction. Most of our kids come to us barely able to write. This is how I did it last year and by the end of the year, I had kids writing 1-2 page stories with 5 paragraphs and using a thesaurus. It worked really well. At the beginning of the year we just focused on how to write a sentence (making sure we had a subject and predicate, capital letter at the beginning and a period). Then we learned the 4 types of sentences. They practiced making those on sentence strips and just writing those sentences over and over again. We didn't worry about putting them in stories...they write stories in their morning journal anyway. Then we moved onto nouns and spent a long time working with plural nouns, proper nouns and pronouns. We taught them the finer points of the rules. Even though most of my students came to me very low this year, they can already do a lot of things in writing. Even my lowest kids know that to make baby plural they have to write it as babies and to make a word like leaf plural you drop the f and add ves. Now we are doing verbs and will be working a lot with subject/verb agreement and tense issues. This is usually what messes our kids up the most. Anyway, we mostly focus on grammar issues in the beginning. By January, we focus more on writing actual stories. This is when we introduce the thesaurus, we start working with sequencing circles and other graphic organizers that help them organize their thoughts on paper. I know a lot of schools just do little mini lessons and then the students do more free writing but we found much greater success with going through the full lesson cycle in writing everyday.

    My writing time breakdown pretty much looks like this:
    5 minutes on DOLS (Daily Oral Language Spiral) - Basically I write a really bad sentence on the board like "he putted his fout on da floor" and as a class we use CUPS (Capitalize Understand Punctuation Spelling) to correct it. In the beginning of the year, we do simple sentences with easy mistakes. By the end of the year I can give them the most bizarre sentences and they can correct them. We always review things we have already learned in the sentence to keep up their skills.

    After DOLS I introduce the topic we are focusing on. For example, when we were doing plural nouns we would talk about what plural and singular means, then make a class poster to be hung on the wall for them to refer to. Write on the poster rules for making words plural.

    Then we do some group practice at the carpet.
    Then I send my kids to their table groups and they do guided practice working with plural nouns. When they finish group work, we move to some kind of indepedent activity (I usually do not do worksheets). THen we go over the activity, close the lesson and review what they have learned so far.

    Then we do spelling on whiteboards. Our spelling lists are always following a phonics rule so I teach them the rules using the whiteboards. We practice sounding and spelling out all the words. Then I am done with my writing time. It seems like a lot, but I can usually squeeze it all in!

    I have a lot of really detailed writing lessons if you are interested in seeing them! Sorry for the really long reply.
     

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