This past week went pretty well despite the fact that most of my students probably spent their entire vacation with NO STIMULATION at all. As usual, the kids were very out of it and had to be re-introduced to classroom structures. I spent almost 10 minutes one day trying to get my guided reading group to sit in a circle on the rug. They couldn't figure it out on their own (despite the fact that we have been following this SAME structure for 2 MONTHS!) They were back-to-back, in a line, just really awkward with their bodies. Even after I drew a circle on the floor with my finger and showed them, one of them went back to his reading spot (I wanted to scream and pull out all of my hair), but instead, I calmly asked another child to go retrieve him and then I stood them out and pointed to where each one should sit. Okay. Deep breath. I did the guided reading lesson and it went okay.
Administrators don't realize all that we have to do to get our students to read. This year, I have been focusing on reading so much more than in years past because of the needs of my students. With Promotion In Doubt parent-teacher conferences coming up in February, I decided to start the DYO assessments for all 19 out of 26 kids that were PID in October. So far, I have been able to assess 3 kids during extended day. All I can say is that I AM SO DEPRESSED about it. I have worked with these kids in guided reading and strategy groups consistently for 2 months. I have worked with them doing a phonics intervention program during extended day (which takes a LOT of planning), and I have been doing shared reading at least 4 times a day. So far, NONE of the kids have gone up. Two kids stayed at LEVEL B!!!! and one kid (I have to fight back the tears for this one) who reached level C in October, went back down to B. He couldn't recognize the word "In." He kepts saying "A-y-n, A-y-n" and rambled off sounds that made no sense when he was reading. "Are you kidding me?" is all I could think. We have been doing so many comprehension strategies and so little decoding that I can't believe a child in my class would think this kind of "reading" would be okay. We have also been highlighting, writing, and wearing our sight words for months. What is going on with this kid? I just can't fathom how this has happened.
After talking about it with a colleague, I decided to ask the literacy coach to come in during my reading workshop to observe what the kids are doing, and to observe my guided reading lesson. I really want to know what else I can do. I'm hoping that having her come in will also expose the upper levels of school administration to the real issues that are happening in our classrooms. Administration comes to my room and they see me teach and are satisfied. I get complimented for my structures and teaching, but it's not enough. My students need real intervention. Just because a teacher is competent doesn't mean that the children don't need more.