As a teacher of a Tier III academic and behavioral intervention classroom, I currently instruct a group of kindergarten and first grade students in a small group setting. My students struggle with assimilating appropriate and positive behavior in school alongside their peers. The display of "negative behavior" is typically the reason for a referral to my intervention classroom. However, after working with several cohorts of students, I have come to recognize the negative behaviors are usually a warning sign that a particular student is either academically behind or simply not challenged enough through daily academic instruction. These are the students who otherwise may quickly fall through the cracks during our everyday instruction solely based on our district grade level curriculum.
As one can imagine, I receive many students who have become reluctant readers and writers as a result of their low academic achievement in school. In addition to displaying inappropriate behaviors, students accepted into the behavior support center intervention usually have developed a strong dislike for school, come from a broken family, and struggle with social interactions among peers. My ambition is to find a way to intrinsically motivate my students to do well and achieve great success in school and in life. I'm sure that most elementary teachers have come across a reluctant reader in their regular classroom. My hope is that this unit will shine some light on these students and help teachers recognize the genuine need of quality instruction and thinking outside the box to help these reluctant readers succeed in school.
The use of poetry in my instruction and literacy center activities has made it possible to spark the interest and motivation of the reluctant students, many of whom have since had great success in the areas of reading and writing. While the district continues to implement research based methods of reading instruction, poetry is certainly a great motivational tool to get students interested in reading. The beauty of my classroom is that I work with multiple grade levels and a wide variety of students. With this in mind, my unit will focus on first grade students, with the idea that each strategy and class activity may be differentiated to meet the needs of all students in the classroom.