I do enjoy our PLC time because we have a chance to dig into our data, see what we are doing well and what needs to be focused on. This last Wednesday we did just that, dug into our last session of MAP testing that was taken before our winter break.
A little background on my class: we are a small class, we are a class that does pretty well with math, but have been consistently low in reading for years. Last year, I struggled with this group finding activities, keeping them focused on skills, and while we did make progress, it wasn’t seen on the fall MAP score. This year, we did something different with that group of my students (I looped with them) are being triple dipped: they go to Second Chance Reading (SCR – http://goo.gl/vaKjOe), they have our classroom instruction, and for the first time in many years, they had Title instruction as well. The thought behind this is that by giving them this kind of intensive literacy help that it would impact their achievement scores. Guess what, it did! Our winter MAP scores in this subgroup went up (not as much as I’d hoped, but a celebration is a celebration).
The day after I’d looked and felt happy about what we were doing, I was told they’d no longer be getting those Title services. In the words of my favorite clown fish, Marlin, from Finding Nemo, “Good feelings, gone!” It just seems like the rug had been pulled out from under me and these students. Finally, finally something had been tried that had showed results and now we are going to change it with a semester left before they go to middle school! Yes, I was frustrated and angry all at the same time, and really had no one but my wife to vent to, so I did! 🙂
However, after a good night’s sleep, perspective arrived. True, they aren’t going to get this instruction anymore, yet, they at least had the chance to get it. We can still keep doing good things in the classroom, and our SSR time can be used some for different strategy work. I’ve not really used a journal before during my SSR time, but I think this would be good for them to do some writing after each reading session, writing questions, vocabulary, or just details about the book they are reading. We create some book shares during this time and allow students to share out what they are reading for our class or even share to low classrooms, giving these students the chance to create and present.
No, I’m still not happy. I think the timing of this change stinks in the face of data that says we are doing something that seems to be having a positive impact! However, that dang perspective also tells me that yes, this change will make good things happen too for my classroom. Maybe not today, next week, or even next year, but moving the Title services to where they are needed most can help prevent a class where so many students are reading at such low levels.
Perspective: it doesn’t always take the sting out, but it does help to let us see beyond the noses on our face.