"Don't try to reinvent the wheel."
This is what I have heard so many times since I began this teaching journey. In many ways I have to agree. If something is working for others, why change it? On the other hand, is what we are doing working? Should we keep doing something because it has been done that way for a long time? Should we keep doing something because someone else thinks we should?
That being said, I usually do not try to "reinvent" anything. My approach is to Google search whatever I'm trying to find out until something I find matches what I want to do. Seriously. Ask the wonderful teachers I work with. Every time someone tells me, "What a great idea! How creative!" My response is always the same.
Well, this "Google" approach doesn't always work. Besides the fact that I would have probably been the world's most boring teacher before about the year 1998. Yes, for those who are wondering, I did just Google the year Google was started. It was also originally called "Back Rub," which is just plain weird.
Okay, back on task. My next project is figuring out reading centers/reader's workshop for my classroom. This is definitely easier said than done. I now realize why most of my teachers passed out the textbooks, had you answer questions, made you do a few worksheets, and then gave the test. While this approach is boring and leads to kids hating school, it sure is easier on the teacher. My goal is to use research-based practices in a workshop/centers format so that students can choose their activities to get the help and practice they need for the week.
First of all, I need to create a system that incorporates the Scott Foresman Reading Street program that we're required to use. I'm going to keep my personal opinion of this program to myself, even though you can guess by that disclaimer that I'm not the biggest fan. However, this is part of it. Part of the fun. Part of the challenge. If I were handed what I considered to be the perfect reading program that addressed all of my student's needs and fit with my philosophy of teaching, that would be just plain boring. Right?
I have some ideas for how to do this, and luckily I work with wonderful people who want to collaborate and figure out what is best for our kiddos. For now, I'm going to leave you with another cool little app I stumbled upon.
Storybird lets you choose artwork that artists have posted on their website to create your own little book! I think this may be a little young for fifth graders, but I would be all over this in the younger grades. This would also be a fun little project for bored kids at home over the summer. I attached an example that I thought was really well done. Enjoy!
I feel Small on Storybird