Sunday, September 13, 2009

Multiage, DTR and Advance Reader Copy

I cannot believe what a whirlwind the beginning of this school year has been. I am teaching a 3/4 multiage in a district where only literacy aligns. Yes, trying to teach Everyday Math to third and fourth graders is like spinning plates on the Gong Show! (I, also, have three second graders join us for math!) I haven’t been gonged yet, but I'm still spinning! I have been able to briefly keep up on what my blogger friends are doing. A Year of Reading has a great entry on the importance of supporting new teachers and future teachers.

Franki and Mary Lee write about the importance of mentoring our future peers. I am fortunate this year to be part of a new teaching program that was developed between Denver Public Schools and The University of Denver. It is called Denver Teacher Residency, and is modeled after programs in Boston and Chicago. In a nutshell 26 “students” are getting their Masters in Education and certification at the same time. We have six in our school. My DTR spends four days a week in out classroom, one day a week in seminar, and one Saturday a month in classes. There is a slow release model, so they do not become overwhelmed. It is exciting to have some in the classroom, but daunting as well.

Daily a student will do something that reminds us why we teach. It can be a smile, a well written sentence, a look of joy on their face when they finished the book of their dreams, or making a new friend. However, sometimes they say or do something that makes us laugh so hard that we wished everyone could experience the joys of teaching. I looped with 8 kids from last year, so there is some strong background knowledge which can come in handy! The other day we were making a chart of Non-Negotiable in writing. We all know the drill “I’m done with my writing”, and their “finish” piece is lacking in the basics. Capital letters are not scary. Ending punctuation is not expensive. So, anyhow, we are making the list and N, a student, I taught last year raised his hand and said “Mr. Kimmal, can’t we just write Advance Reader Copy on the top so you know there are mistakes?”

Really, you can’t make this stuff up!


Mary Lee said...

Go DU! (My alma mater!!!)

I'm with you on the plate spinning. The details differ in my case, but the spinning is the same.

Here's to a GONG-free week for both of us!!!

Patrick A. Allen said...

I've taught 3/4 and 2/3 with EDM... I figured out a system that worked for me... I taught one group's "lesson" at the end of math workshop one day and while I was teaching the other group the following day right off the bat, the first group would work independently. Using the workshop model as the structure (crafting, composing, reflecting), it became a way to simultaneously teach two "levels" (although we all know every child is at his/her own anyway). The reflecting happened in the middle of the math block... I had to draw it out visually at first, but once up and running, it ran very smoothly and I still had time to confer. The key was making sure they had "ongoing" work to do (authentic enrichment, math games, math boxes, etc) and drawing a visual for the kids about how math workshop functioned. Sounds complicated, but it worked out once we got into the routine... hope that helps.

I think the EDM website give hints about multiage too.

The great thing about spinning plates is that you can take them off the sticks and use them for dessert!