Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bravely Teaching In Workshops

Does anyone out there teach 4th grade using a workshop format for all the main stuff--reading, writing, math?  How do you do it?  How do you keep it organized?  How do you work smarter, not harder?

When I started teaching {14 years ago}, I started in first grade.  I did mini lessons and then workshops. Students practiced skills at center activities while I taught and retaught  and assessed small groups and individuals.  I love this style of a classroom.  This took tons of prep work!

I can find many resources for teachers who still teach this way in 3rd grade and below.  Why not 4th grade?

I did a workshop format in Math this past year.  I had many struggling mathematicians.  I was able to spend more time practicing with them.  Kids loved this format.  I did not have to drive myself crazy planning, but it was more work than whole group instruction.  I felt like we got loads more done--even though my students' state test scores do not prove that.  In my heart I know this is good.

I'm wanting to do more of it with Reading/Language Arts.  I think this would be a good time to do this, since we are beginning to implement Common Core Standards.  It seems to be a more flexible year.  I want to take what I used to do in first grade and apply it to the developmental level of 4th graders and the curriculum.  I do NOT want to make center activities "cute busy work or worksheets."  I want kids to really learn and practice with authentic tasks whenever possible.

I'm open to feedback!  Any suggestions?  Resources?

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