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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gone are the days by the pool, And here we are back to school!

I swear, I didn't mean to rhyme :) I'm linking up a little late with Doodle Bugs Teaching with my Five for Friday (on Saturday).

1. I work with some of the most talented and creative people. I was gone for three days at the Minnesota Reading Corps Summer Institute (more on that below) and when I came back on Friday, this is what I saw:

We were thrilled to meet the kiddos and their families at our school's open house earlier this week. The children were excited and and seemed eager to return to school. I have a feeling this school year will be one of the best!

2. While we have been putting 12+ hours each day decorating and organizing our classrooms, we have also been spending a lot of time digging into our new reading curriculum, National Geographic Reach, which so far seems to be the best curriculum out there for targeting the high percentage of our ELL students. There is also the standard version too for schools with a lower percentage of ELL students, National Geographic Reach for Reading

I really like what I see so far. The curriculum is completely aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The carefully aligned standards are taught through content with a huge emphasis in science and social studies. The textbook is filled with all of those exciting and beautiful pictures we have seen all of our lives in the National Geographic magazines. Also, we have access to several exclusive National Geographic videos that are tied to the content we are teaching in the classroom.

And here's my favorite part: this curriculum encourages teachers to, well, shut up! Admit it! We teachers talk way too much! The teaching guides give the teachers specific academic language frames during each activity to increase peer-to-peer interaction. Language proficiency will only happen if we give our students ample opportunities to interact with each other. Less teacher talk = more student interaction = increased language proficiency!

What experience have you had with the National Geographic Reach curriculum? Please share with me!

3. At the end of the last school year, I gave the first grade and second grade classroom teachers a summer packet that I created to give to their students on the last day of school. The classroom teachers gave the students an incentive to complete and return the packets during the first week of school. Several of the students came to our open house rushing to their previous teachers to return the completed packets. We were stunned and might I add, proud! The parents and families of our students were very appreciative of the modest amount of work we gave them. I hope the summer review has helped them retain what they learned last year. I guess we'll see!

Anyway, after seeing the summer packets I created, a few of the teachers asked if I had plans to make morning work following the same format. My original answer was no because it's so much work, but over the last couple of weeks, I was able to put together 1st grade morning work for September. I'm committed to the project now, so stay tuned for the rest of the months... 

4. I am now the internal coach for our school's Reading Corps Tutor. We are so lucky to have recruited a full-time tutor that will be working with Tier 2 children, 1:1, on a daily basis.

While I'm thrilled we are receiving the extra support at our school, I was a little bummed that I had to miss three days of professional development to attend the training for internal coaches. I was happy to be back at school on Friday. Being gone for three days felt like being gone for three months!

I don't know too much about Reading Corps and its potential impact on students and the school as a whole, so I will share what I learn along the way!

What experience have you had with Reading Corps?

5. I love my new home! Each morning I step onto my deck and this is the view I have of downtown Minneapolis.

Click the image below to join the Five for Friday linky! Thanks Doodle Bugs Teaching

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and happy new school year!


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