I have officially completed two full weeks as the Reading Specialist at my new middle school and now it is time for spring break.
It has been an interesting and informative two weeks for me. Three days a week the students work on this program called Achieve 3000. The school is testing a 90 day trial and thought it would be best to roll the new program out on my first day so it would be new for everyone. The students took a pretest to determine their current lexile levels. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday going forward they will read an article that I push out to them at the beginning of the day. The article is automatically adjusted to their lexile level, which is really cool. So, all of my students, regardless of grade level or lexile level, can read the same article because it automatically adjusts to their individual reading and comprehension level. How’s that for awesome? The students then answer ten multiple choice questions and one short answer question to assess their understanding. The other two days of the week, Tuesday and Thursday, we do novel studies. Those two days work more like a book club. We take turns reading aloud from a book each class selected and discuss the book whole group. Across my six classes we are currently reading five different books: Stand Tall, Something Upstairs, The Lightning Thief, The Wave, and The Tale of Despereaux. For the record, Tuesday and Thursday are my favorite days.
Throughout the day I have small groups of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I struggle every day with one of my 8th grade groups and I have an especially unfocused group of 7th graders. But, I just love my 6th graders, even though one group is a little chatty. And I like my morning 8th grade group as well. So, as of right now, this would-be elementary teacher is still on the fence about middle school. But, it’s only been two weeks, so I still have to give it a little more time.
And now we are on spring break for a week. When we come back, they will have two weeks of PARCC testing. With all that, it’s going to be about three weeks before we get back into our routine. Either this will really throw everything off kilter or it will help develop a better rapport with the students. I’m honestly not sure how this will turn out.
This past week the other Reading Specialist and I created these bulletin boards for their reading called “Reading Worth Tweeting”. The students are supposed to “tweet” interesting facts or things they have learned during our readings. I’m excited to see what they all come up with to tweet. I had a few kids that really liked the idea and wanted to do a few tweets before break. I’m hoping once break and PARCC is over we will be able to fill the board!