Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Where do I get my graphics?!

GASP! I have no graphics to speak of.

After looking around I have fallen in love. Like I need a new addiction! Check this site out...I am already shopping!

Dreamlike Magic Designs

Math Benchmark Tracking

***This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links , I will receive a small commission on your purchase.***

Stopping by from Pinterest? This is my most popular pin. I would like to invite you to look around at my other posts and at the blogs I follow. You can also check out my followers. Most of them are also education bloggers and have Ah-Ma-Zing ideas and ADORBS projects on their blogs. Do it! You won't regret it:)

Hello Teacher Friends,
I have been obsessed with tracking data with my students. This is just one of many posts about our charts and graphs. Today my class took the student report generated by Achievement Series and converted it to a scatterplot. Achievement Series is the web-based computer program our district uses to administer benchmark tests. The data was from each student's math benchmark test for the beginning of the year.

I don't have my Marzano information handy, but I am pretty sure that students charting their own data can really improve student achievement. I should look up the actual percent that he sites. Here is a link to his book, The Art and Science of Teaching (affiliate). This was the first Marzano book I ever liked. It is easy to understand and a great basic explanation of the concepts in his framework.

Here is what our charts look like:
Look at 5.1! Converting measurements is always a standard we do extra work on.

I was surprised at our data for using a formula for perimeter and area. I know we did lots of work on this last year. (FYI: I looped with most of this class from 4th to 5th this year)

Yay! We rocked integers, polygons, and division!
I listed the 19 standards on the test. The sections are divided into percentages. 0-59% is red, but we used pink post-it's since I didn't have red. 60-79% is yellow. 80-100% is green. We cut regular small post-its into three smaller strips so we would be able to fit all post-its in each section. If I were going to do this again, I would use Super Sticky Post It Notes (affiliate). The regular Post It Notes seemed to fall off of the chart paper A LOT. 

Things we talked about as we prepared to plot our data:
  • knowing what we did good at and not so good at will help Mrs. Caldwell plan lessons and know what to teach us
  • knowing what we did good at and not so good will help us know when we learned something after we plot our mid-year test.
  • We are not plotting to make anyone feel bad. We are only plotting to help us know how we did
  • Sometimes people got a better score because they are better at guessing and eliminating answers. We can also practice this
  • Some of the questions on the test were about math we haven't learned yet
  • We will take the exact same test in the middle of the year and at the end as we did at the beginning
  • If you got a 30% on the assessment at the beginning of the year, it means you already knew 30% of the math we are supposed to learn in 5th grade..BEFORE we even had most of our lessons
How we got the graph done without making me pull my hair out:
Each kid was in charge of using their own report. Each report was structured from highest to lowest percentage on each standard. They looked at each standard and used the percentage of questions correct for that standard to decide what color post-it to use. They then placed the post-it on the correct color for that standard. They did this for all 19 standards.

Something I really wanted to be able to do was use this data to drive instruction. I wanted to be able to use it  to design whole group, small group, and individual lessons. What I didn't want was for the students to be able to look at the post-its and know whose data they were looking at. These charts will remain posted in the classroom.

What I ended up doing was asking all the kids to assign themselves a random four digit number. They wrote that number on each post-it they used. They also wrote their names and their 4-digit number on a post-it that I placed in a manila folder to use as a reference. If you look closely, you can see their numbers on the scatterplots. This way, I can pull individual kids if I need to!

I haven't had much time to analyze this data. I think that since we had such success tracking the data as a class, we should analyze it together too! What do you think?

What do you do to track data and drive instruction?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fluency Tracking Chart

Our school is working on implementing RTI for the first time this year. I am really bought-in to the idea, but boy, can it be a challenge to overhaul the way things have been done in previous years! We are tackling reading fluency as a screener this year. I feel like it has been a great way to get started tracking student progress in oral reading. I have attempted to do this before, but it has never really stuck.

The kiddos have been graphing their multiplication timed test scores and their WCPM (Words correct per minute) on individual graphs, so it seemed logical to add up the scores and graph our class WCPM.

Here is an example of a student's progress chart for reading fluency

Another student chart. Look at that jump!

Here is our class chart. We only have one of the fluency assessments added up for the whole class. Our  first number is wayyyyyy at the bottom in red. 

I have recently been to a workshop on L to J, by Lee Jenkins. He makes a lot of really good points about a class being a team and everyone graphing data in multiple ways. He says to use L to J charts, scatterplots, class run charts, student run charts, and item analysis graphs, to name a few.

I knew I wanted to get started charting, so this fluency chart was my interpretation of a class run chart. I am pretty sure Dr. Jenkins would view this as a very loose interpretation, but I had to take action quickly, before  I lost my momentum!

How do you track student learning?

Information on L to J:
If you are interested in reading his book, go here: Permission to Forget
This is his website: ltojconsulting.com 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Craft of Teaching is having an "Amazing 100 Follower Giveaway"

I am officially getting serious about this blog. As I have been doing research about how to do this right, I have learned that following blogs and linking up is a really great way to gain followers. Followers=support and man, do I need some support in the big ol' world of blogging.

I have come across tons of excellent and talented bloggers in the last couple of days. In an attempt to link up, I am blogging about a pretty cool giveaway over at "The Craft of Teaching." Nichole has reached 100 followers. Way to go! I hope to be there someday too.

Head on over to her super blog and win all kinds of cool swag. You could get items from all kinds of TeachersPayTeachers stores, a gift card, or free posters from your classroom. The best thing is that you can browse through all of the blogs of her fellow bloggers and follow them too. Do it!

Here is the complete list of goodies:
  • $25 Giftcard of Your Choice
  • Kelly's Fall Behavior Management Pack
  • Any Item from Caitlyn's TPT Store
  • Any Item from Holly's TPT Store
  • Any TWO Items from Sara's TPT Store
  • Denise's Election I Have Who Has
  • Debbie's Bubble Gum Themed Word Family Pack
  • Tina's Picture Writing Prompts Packet
  • Any item from Tara's TPT Store
  • Any item from Megan's TPT store
  • Mercedes' Purple Polka Dot Frames and Christmas Owls
  • Angie's Superhero Reading Promotion Signs and Bookmarks
  • One Photo Print from Terra Trekking Photography

I have my eye on that photo print!

Happy browsing!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Common Core Writing with Treasures Reading Series

Do any of you ever devote your time to mentoring a student teacher? I guess the fancy way to refer to them is "intern", but 'round these parts they don't get paid, and for some reason I have the connotation of a paycheck attached to that word, so student teacher it is!

Our lovely Ms. J started her two weeks of solo teaching today. WAH! I am kicked-out of the room!

I always see the time I am away from my kiddos as a chance to catch up on some curriculum design, and as you know from my previous post, I have had plenty of opportunities to re-think the way I do things this year. At my school we have talked about Interactive Writing, Achieve 3000, RTI implementation, Oklahoma's new Common Core Standard Adoption, and have revamped how we use our professional time by adding PLCs (Professional Learning Communities). My problem has been not being able to get much done in the classroom since I have been allowing Ms. J to take the lead in most instruction in preparation of being fully in-charge.

We had another thing added to our plates at our PLC meetings on Friday. Although my plate is already as full as my Chinet on Thanksgiving, I was happy about the prospect of actually being able to tackle this one. The Director of Literacy in our district came to talk with us. Much of what we ended up discussing had to do with writing, rubrics, and how our fifth graders will be expected to perform on the State Writing test this year.
This plate is empty compared to mine! No really, my Thanksgiving plate is shamefully fuller. 

In the past, prompts have been given that the students would have to write to. What is your favorite movie?-type prompts have been common in the past. Not that I ever looked! No, no, no. I would never do that!

Now, the kiddos will be reading two or possibly three texts and then responding to them. They could be asked to write in any of the three modes: persuasive, informative, or narrative. They will also be asked to use evidence from the texts to support their writing.

The problem we run into is time. Isn't it always!?

Our district uses the reading series, Treasures, by McGraw Hill/Macmillan. Does anyone else out there use this series? Well, we use it with "fidelity" which means we are already booked-up and need a creative way to incorporate the reading/writing across texts that the kids need to be able to do, into the reading series we use.

My plan is to write prompts that ask the students to write across the two or three weekly selections that we already read each week. Some weeks there is a question included in the "Think and Compare" at the end of main selection, but often the prompt is weak and/or not included at all.

Here is my logic for using our reading series passages:
1. This way they will be using a text that is already familiar to them, which I think would be beneficial, since ideally we will be practicing and using Interactive Writing as we begin our work.
2. I won't need to pull additional articles and stories.
3. The kids already have the textbook in their desks.
4. It will deepen their understanding of the stories we already read and make our discussions richer.
5. We won't have to cram one or two more texts into an already jam-packed week.
6. We can use the students' work as a basis for reviewing the testing rubric.

The thing I really like about the "new" way is that is really asks the kids to think about what they are reading and back it up with evidence. They will be asked to support their reasons with evidence for the rest of their lives! I don't remotely feel as if I am "teaching to the test" on this, since I know the skill they are being tested on will be so valuable to them.

I ramble. I'm sorry. It always seems more simple in my mind. Maybe I need to practice organizing my writing with my kids!

So, as I get the prompts all typed up, I will post a link to them on TeachersPayTeachers.

What do you do to incorporate writing practice that meets Common Core Standards?

*Hug, Handshake, Highfive,

Friday, October 5, 2012

Battleship Update, and a contest

It has begun. My obsession with Teachers Pay Teachers. I have posted two Battleship games for sale and, as if my obsession with Battleship wasn't already unhealthy, it has grown into a monster. Anywho, go on TpT below, and get a complete and FREE version of my Mulitplication 6s-9s Battleship. Yes, I said FREE. Ditch those flash card blues. Your students will thank you.


Here goes for the contest. 
*Confession: I am not really sure how this will work. I have never ever done a contest.

Post a comment that includes your name, your blog (if ya have one), and your idea for a Battleship Game. I have a ginormous list for new games going and it keeps growing, so naturally, I need to add more ideas. Ha!

The winner will receive, via email, a FREE pdf version of your choice of the following Battleship Games:
Analogies (great practice before that pesky CogAT test)
Figurative Language
Any Unit of 4th Grade Treasures Vocabulary.

Bonus entries:
follow this blog
follow me on TpT, one additional entry
Post a linky to this blog on facebook or twitter, receive an additional entry per site.
Just tell me in your comment that you shared us out and how many entries you should get.

I will probably put all of the names in a hat and let my darling baby girl draw the winner. Not the techy-est solution, but hey, it works.

Interactive Writing/RTI/Achieve 3000/New Common Core Writing Test=mental overload

Teacher Friends,
Have you ever had one of those weeks as a professional that makes your brain seem like a mushy ball of that cornstarch stuff that you have seen the Ooey Gooey Lady holding on Pinterest?

I had one of those this week. Don't get me wrong, I love professional development;) Sometimes it takes me a little while to process and digest all of that instructional goodness. I want to do it all! Don't we all? The thing that my learning-packed week taught me was...wait for it...the kids must feel like this everyday!

I reflected on my students who need more time to process, more wait time, more practice time, and more room on their "shelf", and was totally in their shoes. If I don't get all of the InteractiveAcheiveRTI3000 philosophies cemented in my mind, complete with ideas for anchor charts and student created graphs of fluency data created by fall break, it will be okay. In fact, it will be worth the stress if it means I took my kiddos' perspectives into consideration, right?

Sidenote: I would not trade my spot on the learning side of the table with the spot of the presenter who got to talk with or faculty after 3 other major presentations! Just saying. I spoke in front of our faculty Wednesday about RTI for reading fluency, and it was tough.  Isn't it funny how speaking in front of 25 little people everyday is easier than talking for 15 minutes to grown-ups?

Do you ever struggle to put all the pieces together? How do you make it work? Is their an anchor chart you created on Pinterest I can view? lol