At the beginning of the school year, I typically have trouble deciding which interesting road to take with my students.

I’m trying to stay calm and teach SLOWLY.

One of my goals is to use the same story, embedded reading, video, and anything else for every level. That’s been an ongoing discussion topic on Ben Slavic’s blog.

I have already diverted, because in one mixed, upper-level class we have a Russian-speaking exchange student, and in the other a student came back from a UW-Madison Russian program. In the first class, we had a speaker the first day for 15 minutes about the Great Baikal Trail, and in the other, she spoke the entire hour.

And in the class with the exchange student, a girl was absent, so we had to figure out where she really was. (She had freed a dolphin from a pet store and was riding it in the ocean.) Our exchange student perked up for the story. He’s been looking a little bored.

Meanwhile, the beginning class is learning “This is.”

But still. I am planning to merge again. The mixed classes will continue/create a parallel story about stealing, because I happened on a news item about a fox who stole a Norwegian boy’s telephone and then sent him a text. I created enough levels of Embedded Readings that even my level 1 kids are going to be able to do the first one. I will start at about the third version for one of the mixed classes and the fourth one for the other. In both classes, I will give the most advanced readers the final version for home reading and challenge.

I hope that when we have drawings of these stories displayed, kids will recognize the similarities from class to class. Maybe we’ll share the drawings or use drawings of one group’s parallel story as the oral prompt for retells in another class.


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