Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Lucy Calkins Newbie

Happy Fall Break to me! Anyone else out there get a fall break this time of the year? It has been a life saver for me this year, I feel like I've never needed a Fall Break as much as I've needed this one. One of the many reasons why I've been looking forward to fall break this year is so I can devote some time to Lucy Calkins. My district adopted Lucy Calkins for reading AND writing this year and its been a pretty rough transition for some of us (cough, cough, me). 

In past years I have taught reading and writing in the workshop model, just not specifically with Lucy lessons. I've found it to be overwhelming trying to implement both. I've read blog posts from other teachers and talked to a few teachers on Instagram and had many discussions with my school curriculum coach  so I wanted to share some tips for Lucy Calkins Newbies like myself. 

There are so many resources out there on the internet when it comes to how to use Lucy. I began by watching some of the videos provided by Heinemann. You can check out these videos by clicking here, or just by searching around the Heinemann website. To watch these videos you don't have to have any special code, just add in some information about yourself. 

One of the things I  was struggling with as a 5th grade teacher was that my students didn't have the schema that Lucy was referring to in her books from previous grade level lessons. By watching the videos I discovered that Lucy actually suggested going back to 3rd grade resources before teaching specific reading and writing lessons for those 5th grade students who hadn't had those lessons before. I learned so much just by watching these videos. 

Planning can be time consuming. I don't just teach reading and writing. I also teach math, science and social studies to 27 kiddos AND I'm the only 5th grade teacher at my school. This means that I can't spend hours planning each day just for reading or writing. To become knowledgeable in Lucy for my students I had to come up with a better way to plan. After talking this over with several people I cam up with some planning tools. 

These tools are super quick and easy to use. I simply jot down a few notes to keep myself on track for my mini-lesson. I've found that this helps keep me focused while teaching, since Lucy has a lot of detail in her lessons and it gives me a place to keep conferring notes to go back to each day. 

These planning tools really made a difference in the amount of time I was planning each day and kept me more organized. I wasn't meeting with the same kid two days in a row, unless I needed to, and I always have something to go back to if I forgot what I said to a student while conferring. 
If you think these planning tools will help you as well, they are FREE in my store! I have two different planning tools for both reading and writing. I've been printing off several at a time and keeping them in a 3 ring binder for storage and easy access. 

We all know time is very important and nobody has enough of it. Lucy has an insane amount of anchor charts to keep up with. I've found that I've had to pick and choose which ones I was going to actually use because I didn't have the time nor the space to keep these charts. 
I knew that this wasn't beneficial for my students, and we were always flipping through anchor charts in my room trying to find the right one that we needed so over Fall Break I've been working on a project. I've been recreating the Lucy anchor charts for writing where from year to year they are easily printable. This saves me time AND space in my classroom. My plan is for students to glue these anchor charts into their writing notebooks so they can easily flip back to the ones they are looking for. 

Hopefully this will save time and space for me in the future. I'm even thinking about printing them full page to hang in the classroom while we are in each writing unit. If you are interested in these printable anchor charts you can find them here. You can purchase each individual unit or save $2 and purchase the whole bundle, click the picture below for details! 

I'm planning on doing the same thing for the reading units as well. So check back soon for details on that! 

Last but not least, you know your students the best. What I've found in the Lucy reading units is that some of my content isn't being covered and I'm having to supplement with my own lessons. From other people that I've talked to that seems to be what they are doing as well. Just remember its our job to TEACH students, not just go through lessons in a book. I hope that somewhere along the line I've relieved some stress of a Lucy Newbie and if you have any questions let me know. 

If YOU have any tips for a Lucy Newbie comment below, I would love to hear them!

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