Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Twin Tuesday: All About that Data!

Coming to ya'll hot and fresh on Wednesday (wait...isn't this Twin Tuesday?!) Let's just say the three day weekend and day of testing and chaos may have fried my brain a bit!! So we are celebrating our weekly post on Wednesday this week :)

My twinnie Nicole and I will be tackling the ever so popular topic of DATA! Because at our school we are all about that data, bout that data, and analysis!!! (all about that bass remix!) Once you see how data is used in my kindergarten, head on over to Nicole's page to see how first grade rocks it!

Map Testing: What other way to kickoff the year with twenty some kindergarteners who are trying to adjust to a full day of school without their parents than standardized testing? And to add even more fun, make it on a computer!! I kid, I kid, kind of. It seems overwhelming, but the data we are able to receive from this test is actually extremely helpful for our planning! We only take the Math portion of the NWEA map tests but I am curious to see what a kindergarten Reading test would look like! Anyway, with the data we get from the tests, we are able to look at specific skills and RIT bands that we use for our grade level math workshop groups. We have five math workshop groups, with about 15 students in each. The data we get from Map testing allows us to target one area of the the skills tested to focus on. We then look at the RIT score of the student in that particular subtest and begin placing. Now, as with everything, we also use our own personal observations and knowledge of the students to counterbalance. For example, if one of us has a student who we know can do higher level mathematics but happened to not be able to manipulate the computer, we trust our own judgement to place him into a different group, regardless of his RIT score. We meet daily for 30 minutes with our workshop group. Students can be moved flexibly depending on growth or need of support. After about 6 weeks, we put our students back into a pool and focus on a different subskill!

DIBELS: Oh how I do love me some DIBELS! I enjoy the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with my little rays and assess them. Not only do they feel confident, but they tend to be excited and driven to succeed! For beginning of the year in Kindergarten, we test for First Sound Fluency (FSF) and Letter Naming Fluency (LNF). I do find these tests helpful in my Daily Five grouping, however, they are not the set and stone way I group! I assess my kiddos throughout the week on different ELA concepts (like Heggerty, aka BLUE book, aka MY TEACHING BIBLE!) and use those along with DIBELS. As I introduce letters, sounds, sight words, and more, I am able to see where my students have individual strengths as well as where I think we could focus a little more.
*One tip for DIBELS testing: always wear a fun hat/headband so that other students know they cannot talk to you/ask questions. Works like a charm (well, 99.9% effective)*

For the beginning of the year, I don't switch my Daily Five groups too often because they are just getting started and I want to make sure our foundational skills are concrete. I do plan to switch groups every 4-5 weeks after second quarter begins so that I am able to see more student growth!

How about that Data????? There are a million other factors we look at as well as other sources of data we use, but here is the basics that we use to build our intervention and small group workshops!! Now that you see how Kindergarten uses data, head on over to Nicole's page (Beginnings With Baer) to see what things are like in 1st!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Twin Tuesday!

Here we are back again for Twin Tuesday!!! If this is your first time reading about twin tuesday, head back to my original twin tuesday post to find out what it is all about!

This weeks topic: DAILY FIVE

Daily Five was a time of day last year that I really wanted to improve on. I had daily five, but the time management of it and the success wasn't as strong as I would have liked. We only had 25 minutes, it was right after prep, and it was my first year so I was testing a whole bunch of things. This year, I knew things had to change! When I began thinking about Daily Five, I knew I wanted to have different areas in the room dedicated to each station and differentiated to meet each students' needs. I wanted my students to be successful, independent, and confident in their work. I also wanted to make sure that I was using differentiation APPROPRIATELY! I mean, you can differentiate anything, but if it isn't targeted for your CURRENT students needs, than it is seemingly pointless!!

Before we started our real stations, we spent two weeks practicing working in a team and rotating. I wanted to make sure that our transitions were smooth and quiet and that my little rays worked on their problem solving skills as a team. They impressed me A WHOLE LOT! I was seriously surprised at how they well they worked together! I definitely knew it was time to introduce real stations.

The stations we have in our room are: Read to Self, Meet With Teacher, Technology, Word Work, and Listening Center.

For read to self, we practiced how to choose a perfect fit book. I introduced fun fingers and pointers to help track and whisper phones. My kiddos were wild about it!! They explore a variety of books and will be ready to take AR tests in a few weeks (hopefully!!!)

Meet with teacher is one that I am excited about (I know, why would I be excited about this one??) This is the station that provides me with an opportunity to sit with a small group and target our objectives. I get to work closely with each group and get to know my little rays even more!! I can narrow what skills we specifically need to work on and assess where they are. I love the small group differentiation because through meeting with me, I am able to challenge students as well aid those who are in need of support.

Our technology center features two different resources. We have two classroom iPads and two classroom computers. The students are able to work on all devices using games and activities that help with fluency, letter identification, syllables, rhyming, and letter sounds! My kids probably would vote this the best station! The ability to add new apps and find resources with technology is so beneficial to learning. I find that my kinders are more engaged when learning through technology so using this station has been a big plus for this year!!

Our word work changes from month to month and is designed specifically for each group. For example, I have one group that has activities focused on letter identification. I have groups that work on letter sounds, CVC words, syllables, rhyming, and sight words. These stations allow me to put materials that are individualized for the group that is working with it. The amount of collaboration, questioning techniques, and problem solving that I get to witness through listening to my little rays at the word work station is quite amazing!!

Our listening center is our final station. We have two classroom iPods that our PTO graciously purchased for us. The iPads have over forty books that are read to the students. They can follow along in a book as well as listen with a partner to retell the story.

I am LOVING daily five this year!! Not only do we have more time, but we practiced the routine so thoroughly that my kids show so much more success than last year!!

How does first grade do daily five?? HEAD ON OVER TO MY TEACHING BESTIE  Beginnings With Baer TO SEE!!!

How do you feel about daily five? Any tips/tricks/advice?! Leave a comment and share!!!