How do I balance what I truly believe is right for children with the ever-increasing expectations (and standards and mandates, etc...)?
One example: this class. They love books. Love them. Now, it's not odd for children to love books. In fact, it's quite rare when they don't. But often, even during a read aloud, many children zone out, fidget, and etc...
But not this class. Nope. They are many things: young, loud, varied, talkative, curious, challenging -- but if ever I want to regroup them, to calm them down, to amaze them... I read a book. It's amazing to watch. Really. They are always mesmerized. PIcture books, nonfiction, chapter books -- anything. We have two read aloud times per day but I've been trying to find time for at least one or two more.
But, oh... the guilt...
In order to carve in 1-2 more read alouds, I would have to take time away from another subject area. This worries me because there is just so much packed into the curriculum that they have to know (to be tested on in grade 3) and if we don't do it, they might not get it at any other time.
And yet I keep thinking: what is more powerful than delving into literature? What is more powerful than talking, discussing, wondering, counting, thinking, feeling? Should I really have to justify reading aloud more often when my students get so much out of it?
In my heart... I just don't think so.