As a result of our work during the summer, Ms. Heying and I have been focusing on "close reading" in social studies and reading classes. Close reading is an approach to a text that requires the student to read the material three times: first, for key ideas and details; second, for craft and structure; and third, for integration of knowledge and ideas. As a result of our examination of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core standards, I have been adding nonfiction pieces to our study of literature during reading class. For example, after the students read the fictional story "The Dog of Pompeii," we also read a nonfiction article that described the ancient city of Pompeii and included a diagram to aid students' understanding of its layout. The ELA standards recommend that students read more informational texts throughout middle school and high school so that they are fully prepared for the demands of college reading.
During second trimester, I plan to meet with each student to confer about ITBS scores and help them to set goals for the rest of sixth grade. There will be individual and group plans to increase comprehension and critical thinking skills. Students will pair up with a reading partner when they choose a book for independent reading. They will participate in rotating strategy groups to focus on particular skills. We will have several formative assessments to track progress. Our long-term objective is to increase ITBS scores in the fall of 2014.
I hope that students find our study of Greek mythology to be interesting!