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Dig, Measure and Observe

Originally appears in the Winter 2010-2011 issue

Every day, teachers try to tackle the problem of having to fit too much learning into too little time.  After trying many different ways to solve this problem, we always draw the same conclusion.  The truth is that the number of learning objectives has increased over the years, but the available instructional minutes have shrunk.

But wait!  There must be some way to solve this problem.  The secret rests in the age old tradition of integration.  One area in which time seems abundant in the primary classroom is during small group reading instruction, also known as guided reading groups.  During this time, the teacher works with small groups of readers, providing a wonderful opportunity for the rest of the class to independently practice and improve other academic skills.  To help teachers utilize this time fully, Debbie Diller developed the “literacy work station”.  This work station creates a place where students work alone or with one another to explore and practice reading skills.

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Natalie Stern is a second grade teacher who currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia.  She loves finding new ways to work science into her students’ daily learning, including raising crickets, growing plants, and encouraging her students’ daily exploration of the outside world.