This idea that I am testing right now might only work in 85 minute block classes:
In the spirit of just getting myself safely to the end of class, instead of rocking the room with CI from bell to bell, I am experimenting with starting each class for two or three days with SSR (then R and D of what they read), then doing stories for two or three days with ROA, going back and forth every 6-8 days like that between reading novels and doing stories. Then when the students get squirrelly during either of these two proven core CI activities, if that even happens, I would then automatically shift over to any one of the various support activities below to get me easily to the end of class:
Word Chunk Team Game
One Word Image
Circling with Balls (since I now start the year with stories not CWB)
Translation of a random sentence into their composition books – the students love this and I do too, but don’t tell anyone.
Give them one irregular verb per day to put in their composition books. Hey, why not? It quiets people down.
The idea here is quite different from my former focus over the 15 previous years of doing CI, which was constant intense CI at the expense of my own sense of balance and mental health. I just can’t do that anymore.
We need to learn to pace ourselves or we will burn out. So the idea here is that I’m trying to figure out a lesson plan that puts my mental health first and if that means doing stuff even if it is not CI, to make the class go by in the least intense way possible, then that is fine.
Why should we beat ourselves up doing CI , esp. when many kids don’t even know how to play and with all the opposition we get? The idea of starting class with either SSR or a story as the two main things I do in my teaching, and then waiting for that point in class (if it happens) when they need to do something else and playing one of the above support cards above, appeals to me.
Students want a teacher who is calm and centered, relaxed and clearly knows what to do next as the class goes along. In this way, I make the lesson plan fit the experience with the class instead of the class having to fit into the lesson plan.