This is the scene in my living room on Sunday afternoon. I’ve got both my work and personal computer out, plus my iPad (which is not pictured). In the old days, the work computer would be the Teacher’s Guide for the reading anthology, but that is now available online so I don’t have to lug the whole thing home. Honestly, it’d be easier to just have the anthology with me, but I’m always afraid that I’ll get sick or something and then the sub won’t have the anthology the next day. So, I use the computer instead.
Last year, I went through all 30 lessons in the reading anthology and made vocabulary lessons for the words in each lesson. I did it based on the ELLA training I received years ago and can therefore no longer remember what the acronym stands for. It took about 15 minutes for each lesson, maybe more, which doesn’t seem a lot, but times 30 lessons adds up. Plus, it took longer in the beginning when I didn’t have my groove yet. But I kept telling myself that it was okay because next year, the work would be over and I could relax.
And then this year hit. And I realized that I had to change up the way I did high frequency word phonics, and grammar. So, now, on Sunday, I make Power Points. I make a slide for all 10 HFW words and add a picture for each word as a guideline. Then I duplicate those slides a couple time and mix them up for more practice. For phonics, I make slides for blending words. This way, instead of having to sit in front of the class, write the word, and hope the kids are blending them, I can walk around while clicking through the slides and listen to them. Last, I make my grammar slides. This is where having the anthology would help, because it’s two or three days of lessons and it takes so long to get there on the computerized book.
I think the Power Points are helping. I’m seeing some improvement in test scores and they can definitely answer my questions better than they were before. The problem with the tests is they are not straightforward. Take last week. We learned proper nouns. You’d think the test would give them a sentence and ask them to identify the proper noun. Instead, the students are given a sentence like:
My sister ate otter pops on Friday.
They are then asked, “what do you need to do to correct that sentence?
a. change sister to Sister
b. change otter pops to Otter Pops
c. change Friday to friday
So, not only do they have to identify the proper noun, they have to realize sister isn’t a proper noun and doesn’t need to be capitalized and that Friday is a proper noun and does need to be capitalized. Plus, they need to figure out that Otter Pops is the name of a product, and therefore needs to be capitalized. It’s all very complicated.
This week we are doing action verbs, which can be fun. To get the idea that an action is something you do, I sing the song, “I Like to Move It, Move It” with various verbs substituted for “Move it” and the kids act out the verbs. It’s a lot of fun for me and the kids.
Hope you have a great week!