I am feeling a bit discouraged. I LOVE the D5 but am struggling to implement it fully with student choice. We have a mandated reading and AR, writing, fluency, spelling, grammar skills, math, science, and SS curriculum. I have 2-3 times a day that is “D5” time but one round is to do our reading lesson and then independently read and the other round is for our writing lesson followed by independent writing. My reading D5 time is longer than my writing D5 time and I feel like if I let them choose, they won’t be getting the required reading in during the day and my conferencing will be all over the place with kiddos working on different things at different times. On days that I am able to have a third round (2 times a week), it is only 25 minutes long so I let them choose to read or write for about 12 minutes then switch. I have 15 minutes right after recess that the students work on a page of their spelling book, we fit in a grammar skills lesson 2 times a week and we have to do fluency (6 minute solution) everyday whole class. I also have kiddos who get pulled for reading intervention, math intervention, and special education throughout the day and I am not to be teaching “core” curriculum. Is anyone in a similar situation and have any ideas? I forgot to mention, I am also teaching a 3rd/4th grade split!
The trials we go through, right? I must applaud you for working to do what you know is right along with what you are required to do. I think you’re making great efforts!
I might suggest that on the days when you have a 3rd round, rather than splitting the time between reading and writing, let the kids choose one day for reading and the other day for writing–for 3rd/4th graders, having that extended time would work on building that stamina.
I think you are being very thoughtful about how you use your students’ time as well as your own.
Down the road, perhaps you can look at integrating your SS and Sci concepts to be taught in with your language arts (D5/CAFE time). This is one way many of the teachers at my school are working to meet the district requirements within more D5/CAFE perimeters. Many of the CAFE Comprehension and Vocabulary strategies can also apply to learnings in those areas.
Keep the faith, as some say–keep your ideals strong and don’t get discouraged. Others will start to notice what you’re doing, and you’ll build a group that can help to make it better for all. Keep us posted on your successes and post your questions.
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