Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Info on RATS

Ask and ye shall receive. Well, sometimes. I asked the teachers of the rooms where some of the guest speakers read last week. And they tossed my door decorations. You will never see the one for Dinos in the Snow, which bums me out because I was quite proud of it! :[ Door decorations go up a few days early and at some point buddies walk around for a preview of the stories they might choose from.

We run the day on our early dismissal schedule so that everyone gets lunch, PE, music, and planning.

Then at 1:05 older buddies meet in the younger buddies rooms. For the umpteenth time, go over expectations like no running in the halls and always stay with your buddy.

1:15 I get on the announcements, welcome everyone, talk about the "theme" (if there is one ... we've done it both ways!) to all of the stories, and then give them the go for a five minute passing period to get to their first story. All of the reading rooms are inside the building, so that no one has to go out to the portables.

1:20 The first story starts.
1:32 First story ends. Passing period to next one begins. This would be a good point to say that when possible readers partner up so that they don't have to read the story four times in a row. Apparently only librarians have that kind of stamina. ;]
1:37 Second story begins.
1:50 Second story ends and passing period begins.
1:55 Third story begins.
2:07 Third story ends and passing period begins.
2:12 Fourth story begins.
2:25 Fourth story ends and buddies meet back in the younger buddy classroom. We try to have some sort of little token to hand out ... be it a pencil, bookmark, etc. Last week we didn't because we had BOOKS to give out the next day.
2:35 Older buddies return to their classrooms and the day's reflections, agenda notes, folders, etc. are readied for dismissal.

You could make it go a little longer by giving each story a couple more minutes. Most of the time they are already done, though. I try to remind everyone to have a little poem (I've given them suggestions) or tongue twister or even jokes or riddles related to their story to fill up any extra time. Sometimes I'll get on the PA when there is like two minutes left and say something to the effect of "if you're not done with your story you've still got a couple of minutes, but if you are buddies turn and talk to each other about _____________________________." Could be about the Seven Habits (we're almost a Lighthouse school), could be about a school subject, or a favorite book, or whatever.

We lucked out last week and only had one parent come to pick up a child in the middle of RATS. That was a first ... usually there are quite a few more and we have to tell them it will take a little longer because of a special activity where the kids are all over the school and we're not exactly sure where they are. Sometimes we interrupt on the PA, sometimes we wait until the next break.

Here is one more that I made (Stella) and one more that two teachers made (The First Day of Winter ... is it not fabulous?). Stella is on a bookcase because as much as I generally love the students, staff, and parents at my school ... it is just about the stupidest space in the world. Our library is a major central hallway which, let me tell you, makes for fun teaching. I do my best but whine sometimes. :/ Who am I kidding. I whine a lot about it but still try my best to make every lesson count. Then go home and lie down in a cool, dark, and quiet place to soothe the headache of yelling all day just to be heard. ;]

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