Endings lead to new beginnings

That's a pretty deep title!  Really, it just means that we are done with the first trimester and moving on to the second trimester tomorrow.  I don't feel ready, but my report cards are DONE and ready to be printed.  I am done with testing for now and can get back to some actual teaching tomorrow!  I'm excited for that. 

I made the big change last week with our schedule and I think I like it.  It feels weird to do math in the morning, but we have the whole rest of the day for language arts.  By the time we get to the afternoon, the kids are pretty squirrely, but I hope they are still with it enough to do reading groups.  I have spent the last 2 weeks assessing during my group time, so it will be so nice to get back to doing reading groups.  And we were actually able to do some fun little social studies things in the afternoon.  Let's hope that continues! 

So, I'm not digging common core.  Am I alone in this feeling?  My kids came in so low this year and we are working hard, but I feel like I keep being force fed common core stuff that my kids can't do independently.  I had a conversation with our TOSA (who has less teaching experience than I do) about Common Core and how my kids aren't doing well without a lot of direct instruction (because as he puts it, they don't need as much DI as they do working it out for themselves) and he said that it's a shift in philosophy.  Um, my philosophy is to teach kids, not let them flounder.  I think my new approach will be to close my door and teach my kids.  They need to learn!  If they don't have good background knowledge, then how are they going to figure it out for themselves?  Someone please help me here!  Am I way off base?  I know I don't totally understand Common Core and in fact, I signed up for a class to help me figure it out.  Either I'm missing something, or Common Core is missing something! 

Speaking of class, I should probably go and look at it again and try to figure some things out.  I have 8 days left in November to teach.  And we have a lot to do in a short time.  Let's say freak out and panic, shall we?!  Happy Monday all!


  1. Honestly, Kristen, I don't know if it's Common Core, or how people are responding to CCLS! Things are a bit crazy here in NY where engageNY (NY education department's website) is beginning to dictate the curriculum. Most days I'm not quite sure which end is up. I refuse to make children cry or hate school in first grade. So I adapt and do what I think needs to be done to help all students in my class succeed. I keep referring to the standards... but no matter what, we have to start with where our students begin. Then we can move forward. I wish all of us luck in this time of transition.
    PS - I truly enjoy your blog!! :)

  2. I know a lot of my teacher friends, also in So. Cal, who are about 10 years younger than me are also having a hard time with the philosophy change. They have done most or all of their teaching during the Direct Instruction years. If that is the way you have been trained and have been running a class for the last 10 years, I can see how difficult the transition can be. Before DI, we were trained to teach thematically, use cooperative learning groups, rotate through centers, use hands on math and science, you get the picture. So, for me it's refreshing to get back to some interactive, engaging teaching. It IS A LOT more work to plan, prepare, and manage the classroom behaviors, but it is so totally worth it in the end. Try to give it a shot. Take baby steps. You can do it!