New Test ARMT +

I’m thinking we might just need a new way of teaching and thinking about our teaching. Here is a link to a powerpoint created by the Alabama State Department of Education for the new ARMT + state test that will be given in the spring in place of the old ARMT test.

One of our teachers was sent to a training on this new ARMT + test this past week and will be giving us an overview of it in the near future. These are the key things that I just notice after looking at this powerpoint:

1. Critical thinking skills

2. Write, write, write, write, write

3. Vocabulary

4. Students setting goals for themselves

5. Individualized plans/guides for each child

There are other things I noticed, but these 5 just sort of jumped out at me while I was going through the powerpoint. So, here is where I stand as a teacher of these things so far this year after 7 weeks of school.

1. Check (trying to do this through comprehension reading strategies, reading response letters, working with partners and groups, etc.)

2. A small check-I need to allow MORE time each day for this

3. Check-10 words each week with formal instruction. BUT, I know that I need to be doing more with this-informally, too!

4. Will be able to check this next week-I am beginning small group instruction and individual conferences this next week so each student will be setting a reading goal (with my guidance)-this goal will change as each one is mastered

5. Same as #4-will be able to check this next week

I’m feeling pretty good about what I have been doing so far, but I know the areas that I need to work on. Can’t wait to begin true small group/individual instruction this next week. We did a trial run for small groups this past week and it went well. 🙂

Well, gotta go! Auburn is playing on TV, and I have plans to make for school next week!

Are we spending too much time testing?

Yesterday (Friday) felt like such a loooooooong day! I only gave my 6th graders 2 tests, but they took sooooooo long! Am I doing an “overkill” on testing for report card grades? Our district says that we have to have a minimum of 1 grade per week per subject. But am I taking it too far with the actual length of the tests? Here is what I have done:

1. Reading-Our Scott Foresman Reading Street series provides a weekly selection test for the weekly story. I used it for the majority of the year, but I didn’t like the assessment. So-I created my own test for the weekly story and made it an open book test. I did this for a couple of reasons.  One is that I want my students to be able to think on a deeper level, while at the same time I don’t want to try and trick them! I also want them to be able to write open ended answers that promote that deep thinking. AND-of course I want them to do well on standardized tests! 🙂

2. English-Poetry- I have started having them read a weekly poem on a daily basis for fluency. I gave them a test yesterday and assessed; vocabulary, mood of poem, conflict, figurative language, etc. They said the test was so hard. 🙂

I do like the type of tests that I have created, because they ask the students to “think”, but they take up so much class time. Maybe I should shorten the reading test to a one page test since right now it is a two page test. And maybe I should do not do a weekly poetry test-make it monthly!

I’m just thinking out loud! 🙂 We’ll see!