Thursday, March 8, 2012

All the Little Boxes....and Moving Forward

I have been reflecting for a while about why I had been feeling so overwhelmed.  When I was enduring my BlogDentity Crisis (and my BloggyFriends lifted my spirits until I felt like a fairy princess in a Starbucks megastore), I tried to "take apart my struggles" and analyze the bits and pieces of life that had gotten the best of me.  It has been a challenging year, yet I wasn't sure precisely why I just felt so... depleted. I'm not unhappy. In fact, I think I have been blessed with a wonderful life, but school has just been... difficult!

Now that I am feeling a little better, I can take two steps back and really LOOK. As I prepare to go to school this morning, I have an inkling of why my school day feels like a merry-go-round...

When I sat down to plan my day this morning, my lesson plan looked like this:

Each of those "little boxes"? Those are my attempts to differentiate instruction for the WILD range of abilities in this year's group. It's easy to see why I often feel like I am not doing enough for anyone. I am so thankful that I have TWO reading groups doing the same (or at least similar) things each day. I don't dislike the planning--in fact, it's almost like an out-of-control Sudoku game--I just want so desperately for the kids to LEARN and enjoy sixth grade.

Even with THIS MUCH emphasis on literacy and math, I still have quite a few kids who are below grade level.  Yet I am constantly telling them that "forward" is the goal. Everyone started the year at different places in different subjects.  The key word was FORWARD on the very first day.  And that has become my OLW as well.

I have a few kiddos who have slid backwards, but, for the most part, we ARE moving forward. It hasn't been an easy year, but with middle school looming in just 67 days, we just keep trying with each new day to learn the skills that will make our middle school experience more successful.

So... not a Pity Party, just an explanation. I love when I can make sense of the oatmeal in my brain.  I keep looking for the good... and I keep finding it. Life is good!

With that, I have to gather the rock samples, the integer line-up cards (Thanks, Stephanie!), the shared reading text and questions, and the Book Club materials. 

A new day awaits!


  1. How I wish I had a box in your schedule . . . for us to chat and connect . . . here's to an out-of-the-box day!


  2. I am loving your "little boxes" but I can see why you are a little over whelmed! That sounds like a big task you are taking on but I am sure, from the sounds of things, that your class is moving forward :)

    The Crazy Adventures of a University Graduate

  3. Hi Kim!
    I'm glad you are feeling better! I am in the same boat with trying to accommodate all of my kiddos abilities! We'll make it!

  4. I think it's great that you're doing everything you can to meet the needs of your students! They are so lucky to have you : ) So many teachers do NOT differentiate and it breaks my heart. Keep going! You're doing fantastic, I'm sure of it!


  5. I feel overwhelmed just looking at that template!
    Whew! Are you expected to turn one of those in every day?!?!?! That's crazy! No wonder you feel the way you do!

    You're my hero!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  6. Kim,

    I nominated you for an award! Come check it out at my blog!

    Lessons with Laughter

  7. At least you are attempting to differentiate. So many teachers shy away from it because, like you said, it is overwhelming! You are doing all you can and I KNOW it is making a difference :)

    Teaching in Room 6

  8. Keep doing what you do! I think that many teachers are feeling that way as we fight for each individual student to be successful, while dealing with political education decisions that are shooting down at us. Love that you are so diligent in differentiating instruction.

  9. Hey Kim -

    Just re-read this trying to find your "Words in those boxes" post and . . . if you want your class to SKYPE with John about rocks, we could arrange that. He's got his master's degree in geology and is SO passionate about rocks and landforms, especially anything space related.


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