Puppets, Early English Settlements, and Two Girls

Becky Suthers is a TCI Trainer and fifth-grade teacher in Texas where she has one of the smallest classes we’ve encountered.

One thing I know for sure about teaching, it doesn’t really matter how many students I have in a class, it takes just as much time to prepare.  I am finding that the amount of time I spend prepping for my “small” class is equivalent to the amount of time I used to spend for my larger classes of 27.  Actually, sometimes it’s longer because I am tweaking most of my social studies lessons to fit only two students.  Of course, I have fewer papers to grade, but this is really tapping my creative side.  Gone are the days of doing the America’s Past lessons almost exactly as written.  It just doesn’t work that way when you only have two girls. 

Did you catch that?  I said TWO.  Yes, my class has shrunk by a third.  A few weeks ago one of my girls moved, so I am back down to the original two girls, Bo and Cierra.  I have to say though, I took the advice of those that commented on my previous post about Visual Discovery with only three students, and it turned out great!  We were doing Chapter 6 from America’s Past, Early English Settlements, and decided to turn it into a puppet show.  We read about and filled out the sensory figure for Roanoke but when it came to Jamestown and Plymouth, we created puppet shows.  My third student had already moved by then so I assigned two roles each to my remaining students.  That way, instead of only two characters in each Act-It-Out, we had four!  The second grade class, a rather large class of eight, came in and served as our audience.  Everyone had a great time and now the girls want an audience for everything they do! 

We have just finished Chapter 7, Comparing the Colonies.  I decided that Problem Solving Groupwork was just not going to happen this year, so each girl was assigned three colonies and they made the cutest Triaramas and gave oral presentations to each other, the Superintendent, School Secretary, and Business Manager. 

We are having a blast but I truly appreciate and need feedback from all of you.  I want this year to continue to be a success and would like some additional ideas.  Our next chapter in America’s Past is Facing Slavery, a Response Group.  What suggestions do you have for this chapter?  Remember, it’s just the three of us.  Thanks!!

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