Now we are getting into the swing of a regular schedule.  Our 2nd graders were put into 4 different groups with 4 different rotations for 25 minutes each.  After the 4 rotations we come back together as a large group and share with each other something interesting or important we learned from our sessions during the day.

IMG_7790 One of the rotations is work work and word skills with our Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Earle.  When students are with her she works on group and individual word work skills students need.  This individualized support helps students with unknown words parts, hearing the sounds of word parts, building words and word parts, putting the parts into sentences, and that’s just the beginning.  Mrs. Earle uses a variety of strategies to make working with unknown word parts lots of fun!  Mrs. Earle provides additional instruction on the parts Ms. Alfrey and I notice the students need extra help with to be more successful when they come to our rotations.  Students see Mrs. Earle for 25 minutes every day.

Another rotation is Guided Reading Plus Reading Group with our 5th grade Special Needs Strategist Ms. Alfrey.   When students are with her IMG_7791they receive reading instruction with a book at their current reading level.  Ms. Alfrey has individualized reading and writing conferences with each student.  She takes running records to check for oral accuracy and to check for skills students are and aren’t using for each book.  This helps her know what she can continue to instruct on and when students are ready to move on to a higher reading level.  Students also write in response to the books they read with Ms. Alfrey.  She is able to have a writing conference with each student on their writing as well.  She helps make a reading and writing connection between the books they are reading.  She helps to make sure students are applying the skills students are learning with Mrs. Earle and myself.  Students see Ms. Alfrey for 25 minutes every day.

Another rotation is writing and an intervention called Interactive Writing with me, Ms. Acuff.  In this rotation I focus on IMG_7796writing and grammar skills students need to help themselves become more proficient writers.  Here, students are able to apply skills they are using with Mrs. Earle.  Students work on making graphic organizers and plans for mapping out a story.   Students have individualized story plans with me and get a personal writing conference with me every day.  Students are encouraged to use a practice page to help themselves with unknown words.  If they are still unsure if the word they wrote is spelled correctly then they are to circle the word so I can help them with it during our writing conference.   During our conferences we are able to talk about how to make a sentence make sense, using proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization along with correct grammar.  Students are able to process with me on how to make the story more interesting with additional details and how to write more complex sentences.  From there, students are able to write finalized copies of their stories.

We also work on an intervention called Interactive Writing where we are able to read silly poems and write a shared story together.  This is an opportunity to have fun together and apply writing skills as a group.  This breaks up the routine of writing an individual story.  Students meet with me for 25 minutes every day.

IMG_7789The final rotation is an independent time where students are to practice reading their group book or another selected book.  Sometimes students read with another student in their group or they read individually.  After students have read their selected book then students are to do a reading response in their reading response journal, which is to include the title of the book, a favorite part, and an explanation of why it was your favorite part.  This is a fun time where students are able to share their enthusiasm for reading.  Here students are encourage to apply the decoding skills they have been learning and working on while with Ms. Alfrey and Mrs. Earle.  This is time away from teachers where they are able to “put it all together”.   Students participate in this rotation for 25 minutes every day.

Finally students are able to come back together at the very end of the 4 IMG_7797rotations to meet as a large group.   This is our sharing time.  Students are encouraged to reflect on all the learning they have done for the past 2 hours and think about meaningful parts they want to share with the group.  Sometimes they are able to share anything from the day and sometimes they are asked to share something specific.  In the picture on the left students were asked to share from their reading response journals over the book they read during independent time.  This also holds students accountable for the work they are asked to do while they are away from teachers.  This also allows students to have a voice and take ownership of their learning.  Sharing time is for 15 minutes every day.

In between the 4 rotations we take a 10 minute break for drinks, bathroom, and fresh air.  At the very end of the 4 rotations and sharing time students have a snack, socialize, and then load onto the bus.

I’m encouraged by the positive attitudes students come with each and every day.  Students are enthusiastic about learning.  Mrs. Earle, Ms. Alfrey, and myself were discussing how engaged students were and how everyone was extremely focused.  We know this is going to be a great kick start to the upcoming 2013-2014 year.  Check back soon for another update.