Sixth Grade Transition Academy

Let me just say it right now – I LOVE my principal!  He is kind, supportive, intelligent, and always wants to do wants to do what’s best for children.  My principal is a super hero!  He protects his staff from dangers that we don’t even see.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my principal!  Now what does that have to do with my post?  I’ll tell you.

I have spent 14 out of my 15 years of education in middle school.  I love it!  In both districts that I’ve worked with, 6th grade is a part of the middle school concept.  I recognize the challenges that come with moving from elementary to middle school:  lockers *gasp*, changing classes *gasp*, and keeping up with all the materials that their six teachers give them *scream*!   Last year we had a bad as all get out slightly challenging group.  They were very imature and couldn’t keep up with a single, solitary thing!  Hence the idea of a transition camp.  What better idea could we have then to bring them in for a few days, let them meet their teachers, practice their schedule, and work with their locker?.  It would give us some time to talk about organization as well as introduce them to school and classroom expectations before the “upperclassmen” got there.

My principal was on board from the very  beginning.  We told him we would volunteer our time, make do with whatever we had, to get to show on the road.  He told us he would make it happen – and boy did he ever.  Our students will receive a great bulk of the materials they will need for their core classes (binders, pocket folders, tab dividers, and paper), lunch and a snack, a T-shirt, and he is providing transportation!

Transition Academy School Supplies

We are so freaking excited!  One of my team teachers and I went shoppping today for some of the materials that we could cheaper by going directly to the store and the others were over the internet.  It is our hope that the camp will alleviate some of the anxiety felt by students and parents over their big jump to middle school.  Stay tuned to hear how everything goes…

I would love to hear of anyone else who has done something similiar.  Drop a few pearls of wisdom my way…. 🙂

To Daily 5 or not to Daily 5? That Is The Question….

Last summer I began to see tweets using the Daily5 hastag (#Daily5) and hear about teachers discussing the implementation of the CAFE model.  I had been looking for a program that would help me improve my student’s reading skills, so I immediately purchased both books……and then thought nothing else of it.  About mid way in the school year, I began to work with small groups in a way that seemed beneficial.  Most of the work assigned to students working independently was on the computer – and I was fine semi-ok with that, but I felt like there were other more activities that the students could be completing that would also be beneficial.  Besides, it takes some time before the students (well actually I) became comfortable with using the netbooks independently and I wanted activities that I could begin right away while I was conferencing with students and/or groups.

I was also disatisfied with my independent reading program.  Many of my students were not reading, they were just going through the motions and by the end of the year I just wanted the fakers to be quiet so that the one’s who wanted to read – actually could without their disruptions.  But, I knew that the fakers were the ones who really needed to be reading – I just couldn’t reach them.

Insert the Daily Five.  This summer, I opened my Kindle app on my iPad and actually began reading The Daily Five.  Voila!   Here was a program thaat I could implement on Day One that was composed of all the components that are essential to students being successful as proficient readers.

I truly feel that the concept of the Daily 5 is what I need, although there are a few obstacles I need to overcome.  One:  I only have a 60 minute block to teach reading and writing skills.  Two:  I will have aproximately 100 students total this year.  I have found resources that support a 60 minute block and have begun pulling resources to support what will probably look like the Daily 2 or 3.

Students will rotate between Read to Self (Daily), Word Work, Work on Writing, and possibly Listen to Reading.  I have purchased Composition Notebooks, which will be where they will complete their Daily 2 or 3 assignments, I think…..

Daily 5 Notebooks

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on each section of the Daily 5 2 or 3 implementation….