I got this question:
I will have 48 8th graders this year that I did some CI instruction with last year but with whom I also used the textbook (I caved!). How would you suggest I approach this returning group as opposed to my fresh batch of 60 7th graders?
They liked the stories at first, but I went way too fast and did not establish the meaning of the structures well enough. I also had too many structures, was too concerned about being entertaining, and jumped in too quickly with the stories (I used the prepared stories in the Blaine Ray book, as I had just done in his 3 day workshop with Katya Paukova).
Of course they got tired of the predictable model. By the end of the year I was just doing the readings and some students would groan when I brought those out too. In summary, I had buy-in for about 3 months and then I ran out of steam and ideas; I then wove back in the text book to give them a sense of completion and structure. I still did a bit of circling and PQA with food and weekend activities, and we continued to do Friday timed writings.
I will have two 8th and two 7th grade classes this fall.
This is a good one for the group. What to do with those eighth graders? It’s not an easy question and we need the group’s combined thoughts on it, especially from middle school teachers who may have been in this situation. How do we repair classes?