I’m in need of advice, like I so often am.
My school (and district) implements The Sisters’ Daily 5 for both reading, and now math. The first 20 days are essentially written for us in order to help successfully launch this classroom management tool. It’s great, because it does set up the system for the entire year. There are anchor charts to refer to when students need reminding of what is expected. We practice and hone our stamina to prepare ourselves for the lengthy periods of time when we’re working in small groups. It really does work.
Today was our third day of school. My students are still trying to get used to me and acquainted with the higher expectations in 2nd grade, etc, etc. We’re supposed to benchmark our students in order to obtain reading levels and also give a K-2 assessment that is based on the Fountas & Pinnell assessments. This takes A LOT of time. We’re talking at least 20-25 min. for each kid to read and discuss the book afterward. Not to mention an additional 45-60 min. for the K-2 assessments that involve high frequency word lists, pairing antonyms and synonyms, etc. I wanted to get started on all of this right away so that I could start teaching and actually doing things rather than testing for the first 3-4 weeks. So, I planned to begin Tuesday afternoon.
First thing Monday morning, I was informed that my para had her baby and commenced her maternity leave on the first day of school. I quickly started brainstorming other ways to complete the testing without her assistance. We have two wonderful teachers in our Literacy Lab who are not working with kids yet this week, so they agreed to come in and cover for me with various activities while I pulled kids in the hall. I need to take advantage of their offer to cover while they are available. However, I am left feeling like everyone else is settling in and establishing routines and procedures, while my kids run amuck. Herein lies my problem. I would so much rather work on the procedures and the correct way of doing things for the complete first 20 days before I even touched content or testing. But how would I then be able to assess without anyone to help out?
I know this might seem somewhat trivial. I should go with the testing option because I have to do it and I have people who are willing to help me out in order to do it. But will my classroom’s productivity in the sense of its ability to function like I want it to, and like it to, suffer because of my desire to get testing done? I’m just not sure. If you were in my situation, what would you do? Please give me some ideas or feedback!