The idea for using the block lesson plan template seems to be working in the class. The students really appreciated the independence that it afforded them and all were engaged in the activities. I can still see some struggling students who are having a hard time comprehending based on lower level grammatical knowledge. They are not always able to identify the subject or verb in a sentence. I understand that some of these readings they choose were difficult and included a high need of background knowledge to truly understand the text. I may need to continue to curate stories for those students. On the flipside, the student groups did an excellent job of negotiating meaning and sharing understandings. Each person in the group was able to understand what the news article was talking about by the end of the group session. It was very exciting to see. I even took some pictures.
One thing that I would add to these sessions of group work, beyond curating sources for students with limited background knowledge of the topics, would be assigning group roles more thoughtfully. I didn’t ensure that my high fliers would dominate the groups. To account for this, I am making a list of who has and will be doing what in the future. I am already accounting for this mistake. While I did make a spot adjustment by telling the groups that another person would need to share out, not the person who wrote, I should have stated this earlier. I would also like to have given some time for them to practice what to say and even offer other groups time to ask questions. The active listening part is something that we are still working on.
During my prep hour I may have stumbled upon something huge. I was always under the impression that in order for a student to be considered SLIFE, they had to be at least in 6th grade. This is what was told to me while I was at the elementary. However, today when I was looking for a select statute for verification I stumbled upon the statute for identifying students with limited or interrupted education. In the statute it states that only 3 of the 5 criteria need to be met before we identify a student as SLIFE. Only one of those criteria says anything about being a 6th grader. That leaves 4 other criteria options open for students to be identified. If what I am interpreting this to mean is correct, most districts are missing the mark on this piece of legislation. The only reason I know this is because I have been told about the 6th grade part for many years now while working in and with a few districts. I also know that that information was given out during the SLIFE conference 3 years ago. I would love to say that this is a slam dunk find that will get us more funding, but it’s not guaranteed. We have to wait and see what is brought up about the precedent of the law. It may be that this law is interpreted in such a way as to make the 6th grade requirement more important than the other criteria. Only time will tell.
On that note, it’s Friday. It’s been a great week in all my classes. This quarter seems to be rolling smoother than the last. I hope it stays this way.