Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Twin Tuesday on a Wednesday!

Well let's all be real for a minute, Twin Tuesday is suppose to post on TUESDAY...but when it is the last week of the first grading period...your days get all mixed up!  So give us a pass on this one:)

This week's topic...DATA!!!!!!!

Certainly, I am not the only teacher out there that thinks the word "data" MIGHT be slightly over-used...especially when dealing with six and seven year olds...right?

Molly and I are tackling the ever so fun topic of DATA this week!!!  Let's see just how "twin" we can be, as we explain how we use data in our classrooms.  Keep in mind, we do teach at the same some of our "twinness" is completely out of our control.

NWEA MAP Testing:  Last year, was the the first year students in 1st grade  took the test.  We only take the Math portion.  At times, I wonder how beneficial the Reading portion would be...did I really just say that I might want my students to take another assessment? However, we don' onward.  MAP Math scores are used to create Math Workshop groups across the grade level.  We look at the different areas tested and find our scores for the area that we are currently teaching and use NWEA reports website to find the RIT score for that individual area.  I should also add, we do take into account our own personal observations and gut feelings, as well. We have 5 groups, with the two lowest groups having  less students, in order to provide more support.  We change any students that are showing HUGE gains or losses, about mid way through a six week span.  After six weeks, we will change our focus and regroup according to the scores from that RIT band.

We also use the screener from NWEA, which I am proud to say that after we had focused solely on Number ID and counting since the beginning of school, only 3 of my 22 students, scored below a 90%.  YEA!!!!

DIBELS:  First Grade does Benchmark testing on LNF (Letter Naming Fluency), PSF (Phoneme Segmentation Fluency), and NWF (Nonsense Word Fluency).  Truthfully, I find value in these tests, however I do not use these three tests to dictate how I group my students.  I have and still feel that many students can and are actual readers even if they can't read nonsense words:)  So I use DIBELS as one indicator, when grouping for Reading Stations.    

SIGHT WORDS:  We (my amazing)  first grade team divide the first 100 sight words into four lists of 25 words.  We roll them out approxmiately every four weeks and have them all introduced by the time we go on Winter Break.   Last year, I found the great resource, Sight Word Star by Jen at  Teacher by the Beach.  This resource has it all from flashcards, to assessment checklists, to practice sheets, and a great note to send home to parents on what to practice.  

DIBELS/Sight Words/Classroom Observations: This is how I create my Reading Station groups!  As I stated earlier, I don't always feel that one test should determine how a student is grouped.

There you have it!  Data at a glance!  Did I miss some?  Oh, I am sure!!!  But these are the ones fresh in my head!  That's the 1st grade head to check out the Kinder take with 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Motivational Monday

Today I am using Motivational Monday to remind myself, as well as anyone who will always count your blessings.

Today was a day off from school, a blessing that I have a job to have a day off from.  A day to spend with the best thing that has happened in my life,  Joey.  A day spent with a good friend, one of many I am lucky and blessed to have.  Blessed to talk to both my parents.  Blessed to have friends and family to chat with and text about the little moments in life, as well as the big.  
You truly can find a blessing in EVERYTHING!  And tonight I ask that you do.

This weekend, a young man (14 years old) was killed in my community.  He was a member of the first grade class, my first year of teaching.  I didn't have the pleasure of him in my class, yet he was a young man who always smiled.  His smile was a blessing, that I can still remember nine years later.  Tonight, I pray for his family and friends, and all of his teachers that they may realize what a blessing he was and pray that they find strength to carry his memory on.

Tonight, I hugged Joey a little tighter and I made a point to be thankful for my blessings.
Tomorrow, I will walk into a classroom of blessings and I will be sure to give them my best.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Twin Tuesday: Daily 5

I have to admit, I was never been a fan of Tuesdays.  Unlike Monday, it isn't a fresh start and unlike Thursday it isn't the eve of the weekend... it's just Tuesday!  Those feelings have changed because now it is Twin Tuesday!  A day very near and dear to my heart!!  My twinnie and I were able to sit down and develop a schedule, which let's be serious helps out our OCD mindsets a great deal.

Today Molly and I are going to share with you a little insight into what Daily 5 looks like in our rooms.  After you check out what it looks like in 1st grade, head over to Miss K's Little Rays to see how Molly and her little Rays rock Daily 5 in their room!

I truly can't remember when my school rolled out Daily 5.  I remember we got the book and we read and hit it full force.  I will admit as with many things, the priority of rolling it in every aspect somewhat fell to the wayside.  This year, I wanted that to change and I wanted it to fit the needs of my classroom. I started by changing that time of the day to Reading Stations.  It made more sense for what I am trying to accomplish.  Don't get me wrong, "The Sisters" are smart I am utilizing some of their techniques, as you will see! 

The first thing I did was really evaluate what my students need and the answers were help with sight words, rhyming, writing, and reading practice (at various levels of course).  So our Reading Stations are  the following:
Sight Words

 I have 22 students, four of the students are taking part in a Fundations group with our Resource teacher, so that brings me to 18.   The remaining 18 are grouped by DIBELS data, classroom observations, and sight word assessments.  To make our groupings, more exciting...students will be grouped as sports.  We will have the football team, the soccer team, the basketball team, the hockey team, and the softball team.  

We have 30 minutes to roll out Reading Stations!  My plan is for each group to meet with me at least once, and do each station at least once.  Timing will be an issue that is regulated frequently.

This year's class is great!  They are well behaved and ready to learn, but they LOVE to talk!  So building our stamina in "Reading" has been difficult, add in the heat schedule we had at the beginning of the year, followed by testing that had to be administered, and the occasional distruption in our day....we have finally made it to 10 minutes!  We have learned how to pick good fit books and our book boxes have been personally decorated.  Tomorrow, we will pick our books! Thursday, we will learn our the new activities for each station, and Tuesday we will be ready to roll!

**Disclaimer, we have been doing different activities to practice the skills of each station, but more as a whole group...Tuesday marks our Independence Day! 

Check back in a week and see how Week One goes!!!  I promise pictures!!!

That's the 1st grade way, now head over to Miss K's Little Ray's for a the Kinder way!!!

Ideas? Suggestions?  Leave me a comment!!