We are welcoming our students back today from Spring Break!
We are also starting our new Power Hour (Guided Reading) groups...the last grouping we will have until the end of the school year. There are BIG changes for my group and, I have to admit, I'm both excited and nervous. I will now be working with 22 first graders who are performing below grade-level. Some of these students have IEP goals/objectives specific to literacy and I have been working with them since the beginning of the year. They have moved an average of 3 reading levels since September and I REALLY want to push 1-2 more in the next six weeks. The other students are also reading below-grade level and behavior may play a key role in their lack of growth.
The excellent news is that there will be TWO teachers for these students! I'll be working with the Interventionist and we will both be pulling Guided Reading groups. There will be a third group that will be rotating through an independent station - sight words, independent reading, and writing. That's actually the group I'm most nervous about - we have some "big" personalities that may need reminders on how to use materials appropriately and really getting the most out of the station time :)
I'll be using Reading A-Z (this week's book - freebie here!)
and the Interventionist will be using Scholastic books.
I also use DeeDee Wills's Poetry/Shared Reading:
Our students will be reading from three books per week just from Power Hour alone. I'll keep you posted on their progress!
My other exciting news has nothing to do with teaching!
Spring Break provided time to reflect on how everything is going and I'm not going to lie...this has been one of my toughest years! Common Core and Engage NY Math has literally added hours to my already full teaching week. I'm not complaining at all...I feel we are truly preparing our children to be college-ready and thinking more deeply...doing the "heavy-lifting." Yet, all the extra hours took a toll and last week I really looked at my schedule, my priorities, and how I was going to be able to sustain this lifestyle!
I've already made positive changes to my nutrition (Whole 30) and exercise continues to be my lifesaver. I'm also utilizing The Together Teacher and tightening up my weekly schedule to maximize time. Now it's time to focus on a little more self-care...
I signed up for Stitch Fix (first shipment May 12th!!!) and I also treated myself to this! Please do yourself a HUGE favor and
I'm following Alison on Instagram and signed up for the Spring 2014 Challenge. She's been SO sweet to work with and she totally gets the "tired, teacher" gig! It still feels a little indulgent to be concentrating on myself during this busy time of the school year, but Alison makes it super simple (shopping in your own closet!) and everyone benefits when I'm feeling better about myself, right? ;)
One last note...I'm trying hard to motivate myself to actually wear outfits that don't involve a school t-shirt and UGG boots. I picked up a mirror from Target (only $5.99) and snapped a few pics of my outfits. I'm so excited I figured out a way to take a selfie without showing my face! I really, really don't like being in front of the camera!!! Here's one I took over the weekend... check out the colors (not just black!) and my feet (no UGGs!):
I'm going to try really, really hard to continue actually putting together some outfits, with Alison's help. I'll be snapping a few more pictures and popping them up on Instagram. Please let me know what you think! For extra motivation, I'm also going to start a new feature here...everyone can share and we can inspire each other!