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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Basal toss!

My district has always had a basal in my lifetime as a first grade teacher. This is reading adoption year for the state of Tennessee. I am serving on the adoption committee. We listened to the sales pitches of several companies. They fed hundreds of teachers a buffet light dinner, gave their "my company is the one company that is truly Common Core". The state allows the companies to send out a small sample of certain grade levels--no more letting us see every grade's materials. Throughout the process, I became more and more confused. I became convinced of my choice. It was another basal--but one that I felt had the closest ties to meeting Common Core standards.

Then...the committee met to hear the last sales pitches. Each of the top three companies (these were narrowed down in a previous meeting) were allowed to present their final --you need this--- presentations. We asked a few questions. Then..we talked. We viewed our positives and negatives. And...we went with a non-basal company--Benchmark Literacy. It is a very different type of reading program.

The positive is that we will be not tied to a basal in our district. We will use Reader's and Writer's Workshop. Due to this I feel FREE! Free to go back to using RW and WW. 

I jumped in this week. I took an idea from a blog: I put four questions on poster paper and let the kids travel to all four--answering questions about what we have talked about in our shortened RW meetings.

These questions have become my teaching points this week. I also kicked this change in MY teaching by beginning a chapter read-aloud of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. The first day I told the kids that reading is such a marvelous journey and read the first chapter. They listened. But not much of an eye opening for them.

Day 2--I pulled out their chart of "where do you read"? We have talked about this back in August. They had some good thoughts and a variety of places. Then I read Chapter 2 of Edward Tulane. This time they were "into" it. So much so that they groaned when I finished it. I knew I had made a step into taking this journey. 

I have gotten help and inspiration from this blog: Once Upon a Reader's Workshop on Teachers Pay Teachers. "Bookmuncher" has since retired from teaching. But I refer to her posts when I need a push!

I have about 12 weeks of school left. I am determined that these kids will leave with an idea of how wonderful books can be. After all--MY blog is Booky4first!

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