This is the second week of reading content coaching. My collaborating teacher and I have been co-planning and co-teaching the literacy block and she has granted me the opportunity to take the lead on planning and some teaching. We plan out a phonics block, a read aloud, shared reading, high-frequency words, writing, and guided reading for each day. I am excited for all of the progress that I have made so far and what I will accomplish in the upcoming weeks. I will be observed on Tuesday for a shared reading lesson that I helped plan and I should be taking the lead on teaching the other days of this lesson as well. Currently, we co-teach for the majority of literacy and I hope to take the lead on literacy in the upcoming months.
I currently have two guided reading groups, the high reading group and the below level reading group. My high group will begin a chapter book next week. I want to begin this type of book because all of these students have started reading chapter books. I want to help them better understand the books so they will be successful and continue to grow as readers. For my low group, we practice sight words as well as the phonics strategies of the week. For example, last week we worked on the “ai” “ay” sounds and my students practiced sounding out and spelling words using magnetic letters. Next week, this group will focus on “ar,” “or” and “-ore” for phonics and both groups will focus on determining the main idea of a text or chapter.
I write about the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) in all of my blog posts because these are the principles that I need to meet as an educator. Last week, I met with my PRT supervisor and my collaborating teacher to determine what areas I have accomplished and what areas I should focus on in order to continually improve my teaching, which allowed me to meet FEAP 1D: “Engages in targeted professional growth opportunities and reflection both independently and in collaboration with colleagues.”
One area that I will work on is my communication with parents and students. I have already worked on meeting this goal by actively participating in all Conference Nights at my school and writing home notes to parents. I will continue to work on this goal for the remainder of the semester. One way that I worked on this professional goal is by writing a note home to parents informing them about the award that our class won for our STEM Fair project. I typed up and sent home the note to invite parents to the event, which was fantastic. We had a few students come and they were able to explain all of their hard work to their parents and show them their STEM Logs that contain all of their work, which was another opportunity for me to work with parents.
I was also happy because one parent wrote back in the agenda to congratulate our class for their work.
I have also been working on communicating with parents about both positive and negative behaviors. I have never called a parent before but I have written in agendas many times in all of my internship classrooms. I attempted to call a parent last week but unfortunately the parent did not respond. One aspect of communication that I want to emphasize is positive notes and phone calls because parents always appreciate hearing about the hard work that a student has done and sometimes they simply hear the “bad news” instead of the great things their child has accomplished. When I interact with parents in person or through notes, I always make sure to focus on the positives and what can be done to help the student improve in the future.
With communication, I have also been focusing on providing immediate and specific feedback to students, which is related to FEAPs 3I and 4A. One way that I have been meeting these FEAPs is by teaching my students test-taking skills and going over test practice that we do as morning work to prepare for the upcoming standardized tests. In the morning, students complete the work by themselves which consists of either multiple choice questions, math word problems, or questions about a text. We then figure out the answers together as a group and use test taking strategies such as referring back to the text, checking all responses, and crossing out incorrect responses. After we finish, the students write “Checked Together” on their papers or we stamp their pages. By taking a small amount of time to do this, the students receive immediate feedback about their work and they are able to learn from their mistakes and see how to prevent them in the future.
I am excited and slightly nervous about my observation next week but I have been working hard and taking the lead in shared reading before so I think I will do well. I am excited to receive feedback from the reading content coach so I can continue to improve my teaching. The following week, March 2nd through 6th is the USF Spring Break so the residents are not required to come to internship. I will be a substitute for two days that week and I would like to come in and work in my classroom. The following week, March 9th through 13th is the Hillsborough County Spring Break and therefore I will be unable to attend my internship. I am always sad to be away from my students, which is why I will make sure to come in and visit them. I will also make sure that I am still able to plan with my collaborating teacher so I understand what will be happening in the classroom when I am not there and what we will be doing after Spring Break. I planned a STEM lesson that is science heavy a few months ago in my Teaching Elementary Science class, which is about the needs of living organisms (butterflies) and how to meet those needs with their habitats and I hope to teach that lesson after Spring Break.