Friday, October 23, 2015

First Quarter Reflection

Twice a year our school has a Barnes & Noble Night.  This past Thursday was our first event.  We had a fabulous turn out.  The parking lot was packed, kids and parents and teachers and cheerleaders, and band members and choir, hand-bells, sign~language, NJHS, we were all there.
It was a high energy, fun night!

The student Reading Goals were due last week.

This is how we set individual reading goals.

At the beginning of the year, or when a new student arrives, students take the Scholastic Reading Inventory.  This sets their reading lexile level. Once we know individual lexile levels, we know more or less the lexile range of the books students would be able to have success reading.  We encourage students to choose books with 100 points above or below their lexile.  I know this method of choosing books is controversial.  I find that this rule of thumb generally works for my ESOL kids.  However, when a book has graphics, such as, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, students may have success with books above their lexile.  At the beginning of the year I allow them to choose any book they want to read. The students themselves sometimes realize they chose a difficult book and then revert back to the rule of thumb.

Next, we set required Reading Counts points to correspond with the individual lexile goals.  

BR - 199      10 points  
200 - 399    15 points
400 - 599    20 points
600 - 799    25 points
800 +          30 points

Each nine weeks the required points increase by 5 points.

I have tons of books in my classroom.  Thirteen years ago when I launched the E.S.O.L. program at our school, our school district sent me an entire library of books.  I received, no kidding, maybe 200 or more books.  When we started Read 180 six years, we got tons of other books.  And, I've also purchased tons of books.  My kids can never say I don't have books for them to read in every lexile! The goal is, read a book a week, take one Reading Counts quiz a week.  In a perfect world they would all meet this goal.  In real time, I would say 40% reach the goal.  The goal, however, remains. By the fourth nine weeks, the percentage of goal-meeters increases.  As students read a book and take their quizzes, they document their quizzes on their own quiz tracking chart.  They include the title, author, book lexile, quiz date, percentage, points, and rating.  Students add points as they take other quizzes so they can know how many points they've earned towards their goal.  Each year I re-do the Sefl-Tracking Chart just to change it up a bit.  This is the tracking chart I'm using this year.

At the end of 8 weeks, students turn in their points earned. This is how I score their goal:

100%  Earned all points 
  80%  Minus 1-5 points
  70%  Minus 6-10 points
  60%  Minus 11+ points 
  60%  Attempted to take quizzes, no points
  NC    No credit for no quizzes attempted

Students are given credit even if they earn 1 point. If a student earns more points than needed, one bonus point is added to their final grade for each additional point.
Our first Reading Gaol Results:  
Twenty percent of my students met their reading goal. About another ten almost met their goal.
A few took quizzes, but didn't earn any points. A few cannot read yet, and didn't try. A few could read, but didn't try.

The first round is always the toughest. However, I make such a big deal over the ones that do reach their goal, I'm sure I'll have more students reach their goal in December.  Hopefully, 50%, we'll see

Thank you for stopping by.  Enjoy your weekend.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October's Pinterest Picks

I found this video post on Pinterest.  It has effective teaching strategies to use for teaching writing to middle schoolers.  As October rolls in, teaching writing will be in full swing.  Watch the video to hear Jenna Smith's wealth of methods and experience.  

35 Cheap and Ingenious Ways to Have the Best Classroom Ever

My favorite:  Book Jacket Banner #25

DIY Pocket Chart

I think this is a brilliant idea by the Organized Classroom.  It's easy to make, and a great way to recycle old transparency sheets.  I can't wait to make one.