For this year's students, YES! I have adopted a new approach that generates a great deal more excitement, BUT... I feel like I could have done this earlier and benefited so much more.
It was over the summer when I thought about the things I despised the very most in my classroom, things that generated inward groans that I could see written all over my students' faces. It did not take me long to think about how much I despised assigning comprehension questions 1-5 at the end of the story every Tuesday. Some of the questions were repetitive, tedious, and exhausting for my students, especially when all presented in one sitting. So I thought of how I could make comprehension more tangible and make it seem less like work, though they would be working quite a bit harder because we would be focusing on higher-order questions.
Today, I presented a very interesting question to my class. Before they approached the meeting area, I told them to get six Post-It notes, their reading response journal, and their reading textbook. We opened to Dear Mr. Winston in our Macmillan Treasures textbook and reviewed a few of the skills near the end of the story (about base words, affixes, inferences, and plot development). In the midst of that, I showed the class this:
- The Blame Game!
- Sarcastic Illustrations!
- Talking About What Mr. Winston Does NOT Like!
- Rude Humor!
- My students found details that supported a claim.
- My students turned back to specific points in the story, marking page numbers on their Post-Its.
- They looked back throughout the entire story to locate their details, not just part of the story.
- My students were most certainly not bored.
I am grateful to be a stronger teacher than ever (I believe, anyway) who is ECSTATIC to teach reading for the 2011-2012 school year.