Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let's Just Forget About April . . .

I think I can safely say April was a wipeout. I spent the first third of the month in Japan with my husband (wonderful trip!) and the next two thirds trying to play catch up with the ever mounting pile of stuff being thrown on us at school.

Reader's Workshop wise, the month's been a bit of a bust. A lot of the time I feel like I'm just going through the motions, dragging the students along with me as we face NAPLAN - national testing - (or in my case, maybe not), the looming threat of auditors and the revamping of our report cards to a point where I feel like I'm assessing more than I teach.

Even Reader's Workshop has taken on a slightly desperate air as we try to fit in reading around assemblies, assessment and other interuptions. Book talks have disappeared (just when they were getting good), mini lessons are all about test preparation (and even then they are rushed), and some of the passion is beginning to drip away.

But, there are some silver linings to this black, thunder filled cloud. Read alouds have been wonderful. I just finished reading Anything But Typical to the students, which made them think, predict, ponder and understand better than any book I've ever read out loud. We've discovered a new book series, which has a waiting list a mile long (and the students can tell you exactly who's next on the list). We have some extra students in the class on Fridays, during sport time, and they've also discovered the bookshelves. And one way or another, NAPLAN will be over in less than 2 weeks time, and we can settle in for some really fun reading for the rest of the year.

May is going to be the turning point, and I will endevour to post here more often. Of course, I might need a nudge every now and then to get moving, so I'm going to ask you to assist there - what would you like to know about Reader's Workshop, reading, my classroom etc? Leave me a comment!


Nancy Hniedziejko (Nancy Ehrlich) said...

I can empathize completely! We are doing the Terra Nova Standardize test this week and I am dreading it. Today was practice day. Our school year ends next month (first week in June) and I feel as if the entire focus is on this week of testing rather than quality and authentic learning. The kids miss their reading time in Reading Workshop. It is a sad time. Hang in there. Nancy

Elizabeth Collins said...

I can't say enough good things about Rebecca Stead's WHEN YOU REACH ME. Fabulous novel, esp for that hard-to-sway middle grade reader. Obviously teach it/read it in conjunction with (or after) Madeleine L'Engle's classic, A WRINKLE IN TIME.

Getting kids excited about reading...what could be more important?

A Reader's Community

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Queensland, Australia
A Reader's Community is a place to find ideas, information, resources and recommendations about Reader's Workshop.

This Blog has five main types of posts.

About Reader's Workshop - information about Reader's Workshop in my classroom and how it works

Reader's Workshop Tools - resources you can access and use to help you with reader's workshop

Book talks - Book recommendations of two or three books centred around a particular theme

Book letters - in-depth reviews of one particular book

Reader's Workshop Links - Short links lists to help you find more information
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