You know when you find something, and it becomes the best thing that ever happened? Then you realize you’d seen it years ago and missed the boat on using it all this time? Yeah, that’s where I’m at.
Enter Classroom Screen
Before spring break, I attended five days of training. I learned SO many things that it took me a bit to process it all. After going over my notes, I realized that I kept seeing some of the same things over and over. Implement silent reading time. Read aloud to the kids. Structure your time.
Now, no one that knows me would ever accuse me of being unstructured. I’m like the queen of structure, organization, and extreme type A behavior. That being said, I needed to examine the current structure and basically turn it on its head. So I started mapping out a plan for using my 90 minutes to the best advantage of the students. I have an A/B schedule, so I’m fortunate to get an extended amount of time with kids every time we meet. That made it easier to figure out how to make everything I wanted to do fit into my schedule.
Here’s how I wanted class to look:
- Come in and have 10 minutes of silent reading to begin the class. I told the students that they would need to have a book to read when they returned from spring break. I let them know they could pick anything they wanted: a novel, a graphic novel, manga, comics, biographies…they get to choose what they read during this time, but it has to be consistent. I don’t want to see them grab a new book from my classroom library every day.
- Then they will do their Do Now (bell ringer) for 5 minutes.
- Next, I give a book talk for 5 minutes. I’ve tried to make sure I hit different genres and reading levels with my recommendations. So far, almost every book I’ve talked about has been checked out!
- Then we have our lesson/activities for 65 minutes.
- Lastly, I finish every class with 5 minutes of read aloud. Right now, I am reading Mortal Engines to them.
To get them used to the new schedule, I set alarms on my phone to ring when we need to transition to the next phase of class. So far, the kids have responded VERY well, and have even told me that they are enjoying having time to read to get class started. They also say that class seems to go faster because they are always moving onto something different.
I’ll still be fine tuning it in the weeks to come, and my kids know they are my guinea pigs. 🙂 Hopefully this will lead me to some great things for next year.