For the last two weeks I have been having classes and have gotten into a routine.
In the mornings I see 28 kids, ages kinder to second grade. I have 5 classes with six kids in each class. (Well one class only has four kids but I need to find two more kids to pull in. The class was full but then two kids checked out of our school.)
I see each group for 30 minutes and I have five minutes between each group to walk around and find my next group of students.
All of those classes take place from 8:15 - 11:00.
At 11:00 I pull in fourth grade students for testing. I am doing IRI's on them. An IRI is an Individual Reading Inventory. It is a test that can be used to find a student's strengths and weaknesses as a reader. It also finds the reader's various reading levels. Once I finish testing them I will start working with a group of them on their weaknesses.
I have lunch around 12:00.
At 12:35 I go into a third grade classroom to work with kids who are struggling with various aspects of reading. The third graders are getting ready to take the Reading TAKS test on March 3rd. If a child does not pass this test they will not be promoted to fourth grade.
They are given two more opportunities to pass the test, but once a child has failed the test, self esteem issues and test anxiety usually set in and make it even worse for a child who probably already struggles in reading. This is why the TAKS test is referred to as a High Stakes test.
At 1:30 I pick up a group of students for my dyslexia group. I use a program called Language! with these students that so far, I really like.
At 2:30 I have my conference period. This is when I gather all of my materials for the next day, make copies, return e-mails, have meetings, you name it and it gets crammed into this 45 minutes of the day!
At 3:15 the bell rings. Since I no longer have a class of my own I do not tutor regularly. I do step in and tutor for other teachers when they are absent or have to leave early. If I do not tutor, I continue to prepare for the next day, week, etc.
I also coach DI, which stands for Destination Imagination, at least one day a week after school. Our big competition is coming up in March so we will also be meeting on Saturdays to get prepared for that. The kids are having a good time and have really learned a lot. Regardless of how they do at competition, we have had a great year in DI!
I created my own lesson plan format to keep track of all of my groups and what we are going in each group. I also have to document skills the children are succeeding at and skills that the children are still struggling with. If students are struggling with a skill, I then have to find an alternate activity and reteach that skill. The results of that activity also have to be documented.
All of this is due to R.T.I. which is short for Response to Intervention. R.T.I. is difficult to explain. Basically, every child who struggles needs to be identified. A plan needs to be created for each child and that child's progress is monitored as they work through that plan. (See what I mean about being difficult to explain??)
Wow, this turned into a really long entry. Sorry about that!