I never mind answering questions. Ever. I have been "new" in a grade level many times (complete 2-6 spectrum). I'm still learning myself. :)
Here's the answers to your questions. Feel free to ask more:
1. How often would you say your instruction is large-group based?
The workshop model follows this time-frame in our room: 15 minutes for a concentrated whole group lesson, 35-40 minutes for reading, 5 minutes for share time. I then repeat with a writing block and end with 5-10 minutes of share time. The literacy block lasts one hour for reading, one hour for writing. Two hours total. If your school pushes interventions or a balanced literacy approach, an additional 30 minutes can/should be added for guided reading, spelling, vocab. etc. instruction. I conference with 4-5 students a day for individual conferences.
2. How much time in each school day is dedicated to Reading/Writing instruction?
2.5 hours (see above)
3. In my school district, it is very rare to get any kind of parent interaction, especially when it comes to assistance at home with literacy skills being worked on in the classroom. Our families are typically living in very low-income households, and most parents struggle to make ends meet. Furthermore, many of them have not received adequate education themselves! How do you suggest implementing the types of instructional strategies you have found successful in a classroom where parents are not as involved/typically do not have the capacity to provide substantial support outside of the classroom?
Good question, and one that I can slightly relate to by simply being an upper grade teacher now (parent help is harder to solicit). Also, I started off in your type of environment. If you have working parents, you have working parents. You won't be able to change that. However, this might help for those that have time and lack confidence...one year I purchased 8 copies of The Seven Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann (Amazon had them dirt cheap) and used it to help with parent confidence and bribery. I wrote a letter and invited parents to attend an interest meeting for tutoring and passed out the books for keeps. I also promised that if they helped I would treat them well and remember them on holidays (which I did). It made a difference...and the easy to understand book helped the volunteering parent feel more confident when I would say we were addressing making connections, for example.
I hope that helps! If you need more detail, let me know.
Sign up today for free teaching ideas, lesson plans, online activities, tips for your classroom, and much more.
Choose your grade range:
See a sample >