Ahhhhh....that's my sigh of relief today after having spent most of last week being out of my classroom in order to STAAR test individual students. I don't mind doing it. It's what our campus does in order to help our kids succeed. However, it also means that I can't do guided reading for a week because I can't leave guided reading with a substitute. It's just too complicated to try to explain in a sub note.

There are only 3 more weeks until my sweet 3rd graders take their STAAR tests, and I'm a little nervous. I know that there are several things that I need to do in order to prepare them, but don't want to give up my guided reading time. Two things that I feel we need continued work on are poetry and drama. I just don't feel like I've done a very good job teaching these two things. I also have several skills such as main idea, summary, and cause and effect that need to be reviewed.

In order to accomplish reviewing these things without giving up guided reading time, I've gotten a little creative. To review poetry, I'll be doing a short mini-lesson (about 10 minutes) over a poem each day. The poems are about 10 lines each so we can really analyze it easily in the short amount of time. On the first day, we read the poem, number the lines, and identify the rhyming scheme (if there is one). On the second day, we will identify the type of poem, and the author's message. With this schedule, I will be able to discuss 2 poems per week.

During guided reading time, my students and I are reading plays. I wasn't sure if I would like doing it this way, but thought I'd give it a try. I had to review it sometime, and this allows me to do guided reading and still discuss drama. Teaching drama during guided reading actually worked quite well. The small groups enabled me to assign EVERY child a character to play. Had I tuaght this as a whole group, I would have had 14 students without a part to read. I also didn't have to write 10 sets of lesson plans as I normally do when I teach a different book to each guided reading group. That was definitely a nice change and huge time saver! In addition, I was pleasantly surprised with the sudden use of expression my many of my students. It was as if they knew that everything they said was part of a conversation and people don't usually talk in a monotone voice, or maybe it my telling them so during my introduction. Either way, they did a really nice job with expression. I think that in the future, I'll definitely incorporate dramas into my guided reading groups more often.

I still have specific skills that I'd like to review such as main idea, summary, and cause and effect, but I can review these skills during my main reading lesson time with each group.

Overall, I'm really pleased with our use of time this week. I think we (my grade level reading partner and I) implemented a great plan that will allow us to really focus on concepts and skills that our students still need work on in the amount of time that we have left before the BIG STAAR test, and still allow us to do guided reading each day. As you can tell, I LOVE guided reading and don't like weeks when I'm not able to teach using this method.
Dr Maushak
4/5/2012

Do you individually test just certain at risk students? Interesting. What do you think of the new test?
I like how you think about how your class is organized and match what you are doing with number of students etc. SOunds interesting that you are doing poems and plays!
I wonder if there is a way to integrate technology into the guide reading. Any thoughts?

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    Meet Marti

    Marti is 3rd grade ELA, Reading, and Social Studies teacher at Willow Bend Elementary. She has been in education for the past 15 years. In addition to teaching 3rd grade, Marti has also taught 4th grade and has been the instructional technology specialist at her campus. This is her first year to use the guided reading method in her classroom.

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