I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July-Busier Than Expected

July has been busier than usual. Last year in July we went to Prince Edward Island by way of Bar Harbor and other points of interest. This year we spent a few days at the beach because I didn't have much time off between summer school and a new bridge into kindergarten program.

So far in July I started a new quilt and almost finished a lap quilt, worked on an ELL handbook for JPS, wrote the Title III grant rough draft, went to the pool every day possible, put together a proposal for IRA, and ordered and organized materials for the bridging program. Oh, I don't want to forget handling things for mom and dad, as well as listening to mom's complaining song. I enjoyed a visit from my cousin who has recently retired and become a grandmother. I played for three church services for my friend Sylvia. I think I actually got better at it-practice helps! Almost forgot, we helped with painting at Emily and Ben's and went to Memphis to see Joey and Jessie's work in progress.

This is kind of obnoxious to read over but I don't want to forget why I don't feel rested this year. I think I will be glad to get back to school. Tomorrow I have to get a treasurer's report and budget together for the MRA retreat, print out my check stub, balance our checkbook, and get clothes ready for the weekend. I would like to go to the Canton library to get some books by Caroline Graham but may not have time. I am looking forward to relaxing at Smoak Salon next Tuesday.

Friends are retiring or planning to retire soon. Some look so rested; I am envious. But I can't let go of my to-do lists.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Research

At Emily's suggestion we gave a pre-test and post-test to the students who came to summer school. I have analyzed the scores of the older group's tests and found encouraging results. Of the students who took both the pre- and post-tests, 66% improved a half year in reading comprehension; 27% improved one year or more in reading comprehension. 27% had no change and 6% regressed a half year. The students had completed grades 2-5 and attended 16 or more days of summer school. The method used to improve reading comprehension was sustained silent reading of 30 minutes per day and shared read aloud of 60+ minutes per day. One group also wrote about what they had read each day in their journals and had informal discussions as books were being read aloud. Students were encouraged to follow along silently with the recording of the book. Grades 3-5 completed at least 3 shared chapter books in the four week summer session. They also read 5 more books independently.
One thing I will change next year is how the first and low second graders are tested. The reading comprehension test was too difficult for them and did not accurately show what they learned in summer school. It may be better to take a running record or administer the SORT for this group.
I have not figured out how to analyze the kindergarten group's pre- and post-tests. My first impression is that they improved in alphabet knowledge and number sense. I hope after six weeks at home they will remember what they learned. I observed improved language usage and improved behavior with the kindergarten group.
We will definitely have to share what we did in summer school. Now I feel more confident that silent reading and read aloud do make a difference in reading comprehension.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wrapped up summer school

This year it seemed that ESL summer school went by in a flash. The older group got along well, enjoyed playing some new games like 'Spot It', and read lots of books. Two Chinese girls, four Hispanic girls, one Chinese boy, and three Hispanic boys laughed and teased and had fun together. They were so funny taking photos of each other with their cell phones before they left today.
The other four teachers did a great job engaging their groups with interesting, enriching activities. They were much more patient with the younger students than I am. I loved talking about the kindergarten group with my daughter. She's a natural teacher, observing and adjusting instruction to fit the students. I'm grateful to friends like Karen and Vicki who gave up their summer to help a group of kids that needed their expert teaching.
Sandra, the other ESL teacher, and I sent a survey about the length of summer school home with some of the students. We were thinking about shortening summer school to two or three weeks instead of four. Surprise! The students and their families chose four weeks of summer school. A couple of parents even asked if we could go for six weeks.