Teacher Life

Teacher Life

Teacher Confession: 

I have walked into my classroom on a Monday morning (honestly, it could be any morning), fully unprepared for my day ahead. Maybe I had a plan and as I walked in that morning, but it didn't feel like a great plan anymore. Maybe I didn't have a plan at all! I try not to do it too often, but it happens. 

We've all been there, right? 

Rummaging through all of our materials first thing in the morning hoping for some major epiphany that sends us in the right direction, or that aha feeling when we land on the materials, books, or ideas we need to get that day started.  In those moments I've taken to scouring my Google Drive, Teachers Pay Teachers and even planners from previous years to see what I was doing on that day last year. 

Please tell me it's not just me.

I feel like, for me, the most stressful part is going through books, skimming and scanning and thinking about what I'd even talk about with the kids. Wondering as I go, how can I align this book to what I skill or concept I need them to be focusing on? I think that takes the most time from me in those "scrambling for ideas" moments. Most of my picture books I've had for years. I have my staples that I use every year no matter what, and then there are the ones I rotate in when I'm looking for a change or my class might enjoy it more than another. Regardless though, I think we can all agree no two classes are the same from one year to the next and sometimes what a book was used for last year, may not be the same that it's used for this year.  

It's the rush to remember, to think of stopping points, the stress of is this really the story I want to use today, that makes me sweat.  

So, my fellow teachers, I crafted these discussion guides for us. Even if you're not someone who finds themselves in those last minute planning moments, these guides can be a useful tool. They are pretty open ended and general - they do not particularly focus on any one standard, skill or teaching point.  

When I sat down to go through Gerald the Shaggy Unicorn and craft the guides, I did it as if I were reading it to my own class and so the questions, stopping points, discussion ideas and activities are something I'd do with my own students.

There is one guide for grades K through 3, and grades 4 - 6. These guides are just a suggestion and weren't made as the be all - end all to talking about the story with students. For example, the Grades 4 - 6 Guide was created with a 5th grade group in mind. Therefore, you may decided to level up the questions/discussion points up to meet your students where they are, or level down to meet your students where they are. 

I wanted it to sound and feel as natural as possible and not like it was curated directly from Common Core (though I did make sure it was aligned with the standards) so that you, teacher, could adjust it to sound and feel natural for you too, without having to completely revise it to be more kid friendly language that you're more likely to use when talking to your students. 

I hope you'll find the guides helpful in some way, as well as any supplemental worksheets that I've crafted that you may elect to try. I really hope you'll let me know how it goes if you use any of these materials and nothing would give me greater joy than hearing about how Gerald the Shaggy Unicorn went as a read aloud in your classroom. I welcome all feedback, ideas, and suggestions. This could and should be a space to share, reflect and collaborate because that is something that we teachers do best. 

So please, please, please, feel free to leave comments, ask questions, all the things in the comment section, or you can email me and that's great too! 

Happy Reading!

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