Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer School for Me?

Kate created our double S logo which made an infinity sign, which we both have tattoos of.  So cool!  Oh summer school.  Or Summer Reading Academy as it is called.  Getting up early.  And oh the kids.  I still have a few weeks left of summer!  As bad as I dreaded going, I always learn new things.  The best teachers learn from other teachers.  Summer school allows me to work with other teachers from other schools and I have learned more in the past few weeks than any staff development workshop could possibly offer.  I emailed my principal to see if we could use one of our mandated workdays to have a sharing session with the same grade levels from other schools.  She said that was a great idea!   Best. Way. To. Learn. Ever.

Teaching 4th grade, phonics and word study get pushed aside for comprehension strategies.  I use Words Their Way for spelling, but definitely not to fidelity. Enter: Summer Reading Academy with upcoming third graders.   I have seen these kids grow in two weeks just based on 20 minutes of isolated word study, using a variation of  Making Words.  It's quick.  It's meaningful.  It's fun.  It's effective.  It's no longer scary for my 4th grade comprehension and fluency freak self.  And it will be a part of my literacy instruction this year.  Maybe summer school isn't so bad after all.

We have a crazy intense schedule - we do three different groups, poem of the day, read aloud, library visit, breakfast and lunch in less than four hours. We stay busy! And it goes by fast....

 An example of a making words lesson...easy for those who are phonics disabled (Katie!) Kids get a copy of the letter tiles needed for the mystery word and a paper with the columns to sort already labelled. 
We sort on the big board. (And wrote all over it for our reader's theater groups!)

One last thing.  Such negativity in our state about the legislature passing a bill that basically says teachers are worth nothing.  Here is a positive story.  The air in our building for summer school has been out since last week.  11 teachers and 49 kids teaching and learning in July in NC with no air equals sweat and attitude.  Our new superintendent visited today and walked through all of our rooms smiling and greeting us with his presence, and probably sweating.  Within an hour and a half, every room had a brand new mobile air conditioning unit installed.  Boo-yah!  Feels nice to be appreciated for the first time in a long time.

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