New to Houghton Mifflin

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Ilovefirst, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2007

    My school is piloting Houghton Mifflin for 1 & 2 this year. I searched for posts about it as I'm trying to sort it out and figure it all out. As far as I know, we will not have any formal training.
    I see a lot of people talked about the focus wall. I'm still unclear as to what that is.
    I'm also trying to figure out the grouping. In the past, we (all 3 first grade teachers) have grouped students at the beginning of the year based on their Observation Survey reading level. We then move them around as we see the need based on running records and observations. Does this sound like something that will still work?
    One more question for now...
    I see the levels - on, above, and below. It seems that that leaves the possibility for quite the range in each of those groups. In the past, I could have a group at a level 6 and a level 8 at 2nd quarter... both are on, but at rather different places. Has this been an issue for anyone?
     
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  3. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Jul 13, 2007

    We have had HM for 2 years in our district and I really like it. I have a focus wall in my classroom. On it I have: the theme, story, author, vocabulary words to go with the story, spelling/high frequency words, strategies used, genre, the daily writing prompt, the daily lanuage and a couple of my own things. All it is is a section of your wall titled "Focus on Reading" (or whatever you want it to say) that shows where you are and what you are working on. The students can then look at it and remember what strategies they are using and what they mean (you should have posters with your curriculum) and other things that can help with reading/writing.

    Yes, you can still do grouping with your students and move them around. In fact, I would say that it's imperative that you move them around to best fit their needs. As far as on, below, and above grade level, that's just a guideline. We use DRA's to determine where students are in reading and those books don't necessarily fit that. We have them leveled, A-Z, and we use them to work with during guided reading groups. The books are not necessarily the ones that the teacher's guide says to use with the particular story you might be reading.

    I am going back to first grade this year (last year taught second) and will loop with this group to second. I have used it in both grades and there are many things I like. Although, there is no way you will get through everything they suggest. (unless you eliminate lunch and recess) Good luck and if you have any more questions, thoughts, or suggestions for me, let me know.
     
  4. Schuyler

    Schuyler Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2007

    I'm a new teacher who will be using HM for the first time (first grade). I'm setting up a classroom library with books sorted by category (author, genre, or topic), as well as some leveled books.

    Will this work with the HM program? Is there any sort of reader's or writer's workshop built in? I don't have my manuals yet, so I'm not sure what the program is really like.

    Also, should I be buying a lot of leveled books or do they some with the program?
     
  5. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2007

    The HM curriculum does come with leveled books but, as I said, it doesn't really matter if you use the books that they suggest at the time that they suggest them. Really, what you want to make sure of is that you have books that will help teach the concepts you are trying to teach at that time. For example, if you are teaching about long a, have books that have words with long a. If you are teaching about character development, have the students read books that have rich characters. The leveled books are just suggestions, not mandatory at that time.

    Even though they have leveled books with the program, if your district buys it like ours did, you only get 6 of each book. Depending on how you do your guided reading groups, you may want more books. It never hurts to have a lot of books.

    Also, depending on what grade you teach, there are different themes. (1st grade...there are 10; 2-6...there are only 6 themes) Within each theme, there are at least 3 stories with activities, strategies, and skills to teach. There is plenty to do. When do you think you will get your manuals? You'll want to look at them before school starts to get familiar with how to teach it. Once you get into a groove, it is really teacher friendly but at first, it is really overwhelming. There is a lot of stuff.
     
  6. Schuyler

    Schuyler Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2007

    Thanks for the feedback! I should have my manuals in the next week or so. I've been reading a lot of professional development materials in the meantime, and wasn't sure if I should be thinking about reading/writing workshops as well, but it sounds like this program covers all of that. Do you still have a full classroom library of your own books?
     
  7. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    Jul 14, 2007

    there is a website by a lady named Nicole Rios that has a TON of activities for the 2nd grade HM. There is also a MSN group that has a section totally devoted to HM activities for 2nd grade. I am sure there are probably sites for 1st grade HM ideas also. I know these sites were a LIFESAVER my first year in 2nd.
     
  8. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2007

    Thanks for the info. I have my teacher manuals (the first 2 themes) at home with me. It is VERY overwhelming! It seems really different than what we have been doing. Does anyone use the workbook stuff? The district ordered them for us. (even though they said they weren't going to!) It looks like there is a lot here, and I think there are parts I like... I really wish they would get some sort of training for us!
    Anyone know any helpful site I could go to in order to read more from another school/teacher/etc for 1st grade?
    I know about the Santa Bonita district and have been looking through what they have on their page.
     
  9. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I would definitely have your own classroom library. I use the leveled readers in their guided reading groups as well as during independent reading but the kids need to have a lot of choice and a rich classroom enviroment to choose from.

    I use the workbook pages but not each page. This is where your teacher judgement comes into play. Use the pages that you think will most benefit your students and what you are trying to teach. If you have another way to teach the same concept, use it. Not every workbook page is essential or necessary...they are just there as a guide.
     
  10. bdteach

    bdteach Companion

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    Jul 14, 2007

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
  11. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Jul 14, 2007

    We have multiple storage closets in the hallway that 1&2 share for guided reading group books in the past. I also have many leveled readers in my room as well as a large classroom library.
    Thanks for your opinion on the workbook pages.
     
  12. mbfenner

    mbfenner Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2007

    We piloted HM as well but did not adopt it. We received a lot of training from the publishers. I actually liked HM for first grade, but my colleagues in the upper grades did not.

    http://www.educationbuffet.com
     
  13. readingrulz

    readingrulz Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2007

    Houghton-Mifflin

    I've been using HM for several years now and have been to several week-long trainings. For focus wall ideas, go to Santa-Maria Bonita UsD website for reading first. It is full of great ideas and resources for every grade, including focus wall posters. Ontario-Montclair USD also has a large selection of focus wall pictures. I teach from mine and it is interactive. At the beginning of the theme, not much is on it. I add things as I teach them and refer to this often. I also like the idea of a realia table that links to the theme and theme concept. If you need more specific ideas and have more questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. The workbook is useful and also the enrichment activities at the back of the TE's are great. It is a good program, very much based in current research. Hope this is helpful.
     

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