More activities after testing

5 days of testing down and only 1 more to go!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoopee!! Today was Language and Science. Tomorrow will be the OLSAT and Social Studies. AND-can you believe 2 IEP meetings in the afternoons this week? Ugghh! ๐Ÿ™‚ This is what we did today after testing:

1. I read aloud 2 chapters from Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Before each chapter we made predictions about what the chapter would be about based on the chapter before (and of course the whole story that we have read so far). I had them think about their prediction and WHY they are predicting it. Then they had to turn to a partner and share their predictions and why. This strategy is called THINK-PAIR-SHARE. I used to just do pair-share, but I realized I wasn’t giving them enough time to think to themselves before they shared and they were having a hard time sharing. The “real” strategy has to have the think part to it-you can probably google it and find lots about it. I LOVE GOOGLE!!! Anyway- in their reading notebook they drew 3 columns. This is what it looked like:

What I think will happenย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  Why I think that will happenย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  What really happened

We filled out the 1st 2 columns before I read the chapter and the last column after reading. I found the explanation of this strategy on the internet at this link:

2. We practiced our readers theater for Flying Solo. The script is only 2 pages long-it is from the 1st chapter of the book. It was amazing to hear them read it after they had already read it a couple of times!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also read it aloud to them to model how each character should read/speak. While they practiced reading I walked around to listen to each group (3 groups of 6). We are going to actually perform it for each other this Friday-I can’t wait. I just hope I can work my IPOD correctly and try to video it. If I can do this I will upload it.

Activities after testing

We have now tested for a total of 4 days and have 2 more to go!! Whew!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We finished our “practicing” this past Friday, and this week has been sort of crazy because of the loooong testing days-BUT, this is what we have done so far in the afternoons.

1. Silent independent reading-“most” of my kids enjoy this-I said “most”

2. Chunking text- I took a Scott Foresman fresh read passage and made a copy for each student. They partner read it side by side, but I added a twist to it that I came upon on the internet. We used the “say something” strategy as we partner read. One partner would read a chunk (maybe a paragraph), stop, and the other partner had to say something about what was read. I encouraged them to try and use higher level thinking-“I wonder”, “What if”, etc. Then the partners swapped roles. They did this until they finished the passage. I asked them if this helped them with being able to understand the text and get into it, and they said it did!! ๐Ÿ™‚

3. QAR-Question Answer Relationship- These are 4 types of questions that they need to understand. We haven’t really gotten in depth with this yet because of time constraints. I only had them brainstorm what QAR stood for and then we shared and then I told them. Of course, they got the Q and the A. However, they made some GOOD guesses for the R like-restate, reread, etc. A few even said “relate”, but nobody got Relationship. ๐Ÿ™‚ We will go more in depth with this over the next few days. For some good links to QAR information click on this link to go to my other blog. This blog is where I’m posting links to strategies/concepts for literacy that I am coming upon and want to research more.

4. Reading aloud-I am currently in the middle of reading Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. My 6th graders LOVE for me to read aloud to them. We stop periodically and discuss what has been read.

5. Readers Theater- We have not done this in my class this year (another change I want to make for next year). Today we started one-Flying Solo. This is also a novel by Ralph Fletcher that lots of my girls have read after I gave a booktalk on it. It is a great book-check it out if you have time! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here is the link to the script.

I’ll post more later! ๐Ÿ™‚

Confusion on the homefront

Can we say total confusion this past week with testing???? ๐Ÿ™‚ On one of the things that I got off of the AL state dept website it had a breakdown of questions for the ARMT reading-how many multiple choice, how many open ended, and then it also broke down how many questions fell under each standard. These matched. What didn’t match was this information to the actual test. There were waaaaay less questions on the ARMT reading than what there should have been. So I started questioning-I asked/discussed this with my principal, coworkers, counselor, etc. None of us could figure it out! Finally, my best friend who teaches 4th grade said that she read somewhere that the SAT 10 scores are figured in with the ARMT. We went back through our testing binder and sure enough-it was there in black and white!!! I would have thought that would have been an important thing discussed in our testing training. ARMT has always been “THE” test in our system that gets flashed up on the big screen during our inservice days right before school starts. We have always been told ARMT-ARMT-ARMT!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that anyone would give up after the ARMT and not worry about the SAT-10!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, just another time in my life as an educator where it takes the herd 3 days to figure something out-that has probably already been figured out a long time ago by others! ๐Ÿ™‚ All I know is that the SAT practice stuff that I have been using is A LOT easier than the ARMT practice stuff-so in closing, THANK GOODNESS THE SAT 10 GETS FIGURED IN WITH THE ARMT FOR THE TOTAL SCORE!!! :):)

ARMT Reading is OVER!!!

Yea!!!! The reading portion of the ARMT is over for us at Wadley!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Whew!! Now we can breathe a little and get ready for the SAT-10! Tomorrow we will do 5 packets to study/review for SAT=10-Thursday we will take math portion of ARMT-Friday we will do 6 packets of study/review for SAT-10. Then next week we will take the SAT-10 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. OMG!! I’m sooooo ready for testing to be finished! I have lots of goodies planned for after testing until the end of the year!! Well, I’m going to try anyway! Here are some want-to-dos! Who know which ones I will actually have time for and be able to do with my 6th graders????/

1. Whole class novel study

2. Art

3. Some type of drama

4. Bill of Rights amendment project to include a persuasion paper

5. A career project to include an essay on career of choice after some research

6. Maybe a book club?

7. Some poetry reading

8. I want to try out some word work-nifty thrifty fifty words and high frequency words. I want to try this out with my kids because I am thinking about doing this in lieu of our “spelling list” words next year.

Nonfiction strategy

Here are some posters that help with nonfiction reading- this is a link to MITEACHINGBLOG-this is not “my” teaching blog. This is another teacher and I can’t seem to find her name on her blog, but she has some good ideas and these posters are wonderful for teaching students “how” to read nonfiction text.

Last day of ARMT practice

Mr. Brady and I came up with a plan for our last days of ARMT practice-I teach reading and he teaches math. Tomorrow, Monday 3/21, is the last day before the ARMT reading. We are not going to swap classes-I am going to keep about 15 students all day and work with them on reading practice-he will take the rest of the students. Obviously, I will be keeping all of the students who scored a 1 or 2 on the ARMT last year, but I will also keep the ones who scored a 3 but it was a low 3.

Then on Wednesday we will flip flop it-he will take the students he needs to work with on Math and I will keep the others all day. Maybe this will make a difference-we don’t know, we are just willing to try anything! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stories I have chosen for next year

My last post (under Journey Thoughts) was about cutting out some of the stories in the Scott Foresman series so that I could stretch it out to 1 story every 2 weeks. I have chosen 11 nonfiction stories to use because we all know that nonfiction is HARD to read and comprehend for our students. It also makes up a large portion of the state testing (I think). Another reason for choosing nonfiction to work with is because when our students CHOOSE what to read (novels) they usually tend to go with realistic fiction or fiction in general. Here are the 11 stories I have chosen to work with next year:

Saving the Rainforests/When Crowbar Came/Dinosaur Ghosts/A Week in the 1800s/Egypt/The Chimpanzees I Love/Black Frontiers/Gold/Ancient Greece/The Aztec News/Where Opportunity Waits

During the 2 week time period of teaching/applying comprehension strategies with these stories I will supplement my curriculum with poetry, read alouds, magazine articles, newspapers, etc. I will also use the fresh reads that come with Scott Foresman because I feel that 1. they are short enough to read for fluency practice 2. they can provide somewhat of an idea if a student is able to use the comprehension strategies independently

We will see how it goes!! I would love to hear any comments that you might have on this! ๐Ÿ™‚

Out on a limb

I am going to go out on a limb here when I say this, but- I might REALLY change up the way I teach next year!! There.. I said it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have felt stressed, strung out, frustrated, overwhelmed, incompetent, and near a nervous breakdown trying to teach thru the Scott Foresman Reading Street series on a WEEKLY BASIS!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I might try something a little different next year-stretching it out to 2 weeks. Here are my reasons for this:

1. I want my kids to read more everyday-CHOICE read

2. I want to teach my kids the “process” of reading (comprehension strategies that they can apply to MANY texts) and not just teach them the “story”

3. I want to incorporate a “read aloud” time into our schedule daily

4. I want to teach my kids “how” to spell-not the spelling words

5. I want to teach my kids how to write and I just have not found the time in our schedule to accomplish this

6. I want to allow time for discussions-about books they are reading, life situations, poetry, articles, etc.

Having said all of this is sort of overwhelming within itself!! I have a lot to think about and plan for!!

I am still going to create lots of stuff for EACH story and upload-powerpoints, trifold discussion questions, etc. I am also going to work on my new plans/schedule and upload some of that, too. Boy, I have my work cut out for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

Will we get through this?

Will we ever be finished with ARMT practice??? ๐Ÿ™‚ I know that if I am tired of practicing for the ARMT so are my kids!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait until we are finished with testing because we are going to rock and roll with fun for the rest of the year and STILL LEARN!! I am planning on doing a reader’s theater with them and hopefully reading 2 novels with them (definitely 1)! I can’t wait!!!

Our brains are almost mush from practicing open ended responses-we have really been intense with this! I am really going to change up my teaching next year to REALLY incorporate these higher level questions throughout our year on a weekly basis so that I am not panicking at this time of the year!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Finished ARMT Practice

I just finished uploading the entire 3 weeks worth of ARMT practice sheets. I use these for the kids to do when they first come into class. They do them on their own, and then we go over them. There are 15 days of practice sheets on the ARMT practice page. Maybe you can use them! ๐Ÿ™‚