In our district, we use the Teachers College Units of Study as our core curriculum. We have a pacing guide that is usually quite tight. We often find ourselves having to modify units here and there to make sure we get to all of our units by the end of the year. But this year is different (I know. That is quite the understatement!). This year when we created our pacing calendar, we were still in a hybrid setting and not sure what would happen next. Would we shut down in a few weeks? Would we be fully remote? Would things work out and we would return to a full schedule? Who knew? So we created a pacing calendar that had more time for each unit (since we were only in school for half the day and that meant a bit less time for everything we needed to do).
Fast forward a few months: We have been back in school full time for about a month now. That means there is some room in our pacing calendar. So, our second grade team decided to add a unit on poetry. We have a writing unit, but we needed to create a reading unit. One of my second grade teachers (and fellow Slicer) asked if we could find some time to map out this unit together.
I got out my professional books (Calkins, Heard, Routman, Fletcher) and looked through them for some ideas. I found some of the poems I have saved in folders. I remembered a series of Shared Reading lessons with poetry we had done last year. We met. We talked and shared ideas in my office (This hasn’t happened much this year!). Elena shared her vision for a virtual poetry cafe so that families would be able to visit their children and celebrate their learning. (She’s a teacher who is finding ways to make things work this year.) We talked about how we might get there. We brainstormed some lessons; a bit of inquiry, some comprehension strategies, and, of course, some fluency work.
We shared. We created. We planned. It felt so good!