Friday, June 15, 2012
Having a Scheduling Crisis!!!
Help! I fear that I am unsure of which road to take with my students next year. This year I was one of the inclusion teachers for third grade. The ESE students had been ability grouped and the students that were placed in my classroom were those with the highest need. I was told before leaving for summer that I would once again be one of the inclusion teachers for third grade but they didn't know which of the groups I would have because we have so many staffed students in third grade next year and they are still putting the students into groups. Since my students were reading on a mid-year first grade reading levels at the beginning of third grade it was determined that the best course of action would be to pull out for reading but push in for math. As a new inclusion teacher I saw no objection with this. We worked out our schedule so that my ESE students were pulled out during the work time of Reader's Workshop, the thought being that their reading stamina would not support extended periods of independent reading and it would be better for them to work on actually building their reading skills and not just participate in a quiet contest. This was the plan for this year. The students left for 30-45 minutes a day and received reading instruction on their level. The students progressed on their level. Then we took the third grade test (FCAT) and not surprisingly the students did not score as proficient in third grade reading, remember how I just mentioned that they read on a first grade level and they have already been identified with a learning disability, hence the label-whole other rant/post. So at the end of the year when I hear the news that I will once again be one of the inclusion teachers I started thinking about scheduling. Was it really best for the students to not get practice with grade level texts or the opportunity to build their independent reading stamina (they participated in Reading Mastery when they were pulled to work with the VE support teacher)? I was not able to pull them for guided reading very often because they were not in the room during the work period. This lead me to think that I would like to try something different in the upcoming school year. I would like to try having them pulled during Writer's Workshop work time. I know how closely reading and writing tie together and as much as I love writing I think that especially my ESE students' writing will improve (word choice, voice, conventions, etc...) after their reading improves and once again they will be approximately two grade levels behind. Then I woke up to do my morning reading on my porch and I came across something that made me question my decision. I am currently reading Pathways to the Common Core and they suggest that in the transition the first priority is to increase writing instruction. So now I am having a crisis and I would REALLY appreciate any advise, insight, opinions, etc... that anyone would be willing to provide. You don't have to teach third grade or inclusion I just want to make sure that I make the best decision for my students and now I am just not sure what that is. Thanks for hanging in there this was an excruciatingly long post!