A Teacher Out of the Box....
Something that I have always prided myself on is the ability to take risks when it comes to the benefit of my students, and I have had the ultimate privilege to find a group of women who feel the same way. Real teaching happens when a teacher is frustrated with the current situation and instead of complaining, decides to reevaluate the situation and learn how to adapt to it. We teach our students about the reading strategy of Cause and Effect. This is how our 4th grade team has revamped our instruction over the years; the causes and effects.
Causes and Effects of our instruction
1. As a 4th grade team we were told to accommodate and provide and interventions to students that needed them. We became frustrated because we weren't able to provide truly meaningful instruction to the students that needed it.
2. A huge focus of instruction has shifted from different subject areas to reading and math. We feel reading and math are important, but noticed that a majority of our students were not fulfilling the requirements of our science and social studies standards.
3. Students were writing during reading time, but were unable to use the writing process to complete a full written piece. We had a difficult time teaching the students how to write for different audiences and purposes when we tied writing with reading.
4. A large component of the 4th grade standards is research and presentations. Some teachers told us that they determine this grade based on how often a student answers a question in class. As a team we felt this wasn't presenting information. Answering questions is different than sharing.
1. In order to accommodate all the student levels, we decided to level our students across the grade level. This way we were able to create meaningful and comprehensive interventions that could be provided to the whole class, instead of trying to create 4-5 different types of interventions for one class that weren't making many gains.
2. We decided to each teach a subject area. Instead of attempting to cover science and social studies standards during reading, which didn't seem to be working, we would teach science and social studies content, but incorporate reading strategies and skills in that area instead.
3. We created another class that was taught which is writing. We taught students that in 4th grade you are required to write in response to stories, and then you are required to write for different reasons such as persuasive, expository or narrative etc.
4. We created a study skills classroom that incorporated research and presentations with reading, writing, science and social studies. Students are able to see how the knowledge they have built throughout the year comes together in a cohesive way.