Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIBELS... I did not realize!

So those of you who know me in my real life know that I am DATA CRAZY!  I keep specific data on EVERYTHING and I use it to drive my instruction and groupings.  Literally, you will see me teaching with a checklist in hand to make sure I can eyeball kids who need it! 

So this week while looking at my DIBELS data I realized something... check this out...

Do you notice what I notice, that I have never noticed before?  This student met in all three areas that we are told to focus on (FSF, PSF, NWF) but did not Benchmark overall... she came up Yellow Strategic. 

After asking around and getting no real answer, I started really to think about what this means and came up with this  (someone even told me to take it up with DIBELS... LOL). 

Even though a child can be OK in each individual area, they can still be strategic because strategic means "keep an eye on this one." If you look at the LNF she scored a O and the WWR is also O and so they are right.. I need to keep an eye on her.  For once, I realize that the Composite Score is just as important as each individual test (because ultimately I would like to NOT have any red or yellow dots, as when you look at the chart your eye attracts to the colors and not the numbers, making it look as if my kids did not do as good as they actually did!) 

How is knowing this going to change how I teach?  Believe it or not it really is.  Before realizing this I was like "Oh LNF don't really count AND WWR don't either" so I taught but did not really emphasize it through routine practice.  Boy was I holding myself back!  If this student had scored in those two areas, her composite score would have been higher and she would have had a green dot at the end of the row!  Duh!   (Please head over to PreK and K Sharing for what I include in those folder!)

So I quickly added a LNF into the students daily practice folders.  These are folders the kids keep at their tables that have sheet protectors in them and where they can put unfinished work.  When we come in from recess of as a fast finisher they can get a sand timer and practice.  I also created these great NSF pages for each month to have the kids slide in.  When I walk around I make sure the kids are BLENDING them, thus helping that WWR score skyrocket!  We have even done the words together as a class as warm-up before blending our words for our regular reading lesson.  =)    I really feel like it is going to make a difference so here it is for you for free! 

I hope someone else can learn from my little realization!  Please share any AHA's you have had too... (or maybe I am wrong?)  Have a great weekend everyone!

Sorry for the extra click... but I am moving all of my content over to Simply Kinder (since so much of what we do is for the primary grades in general!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Valentine's Box Family Project Freebie

We are all gearing up for Valentine's Day (or a Friendship Celebration) and I have to say this is my FAVORITE Family Project all year! 

Here's some pictures to keep you reading! 

This is my favorite family project because look at the amazing Valentine's Day boxes my families have come up with.  (And let me say, these samples were taken from an extremely low SES neighborhood so I would be excited to see other samples!)  

Included in this FREE project is the letter and a few sample pictures to show your students.  Dates are left open so you can fill in the date you want to celebrate and two letters are provided, one for Valentines Day and one for just celebrating friendships

I would suggest making a simple sample for your students to see.  I don't have a picture of my sample (duh huh) but it is just a shoe box painted green like an alligator.  Then I cut out a heart with construction paper, cut that hear in half vertically with a line that looks like teeth.  Then I glued it to the top and bottom opening of a shoe box so it looks like the heart is the head of an alligator with his mouth opening and closing to put Valentines in.   Very simple.  I will try to add a picture tomorrow. 

I also have to say... I did work at a school for 4 years that Valentine's Parties or Exchanges were not allowedHere is how you get around that:

1.  The boxes are made at home, so it takes no classtime and is a family project which is always loved!

2.  Put the boxes in your writing lab if you have one.  Or make your writing activity for that day to write Valentines (or friendship notes) to each other and deliver them. 

3.  If you desire to do Valentines (which I did) have them labeled only FROM each student, put that in your Valentines letters... in other words, NO CLASS LIST is shared with your class.  This will help hand them out quickly!  Then you can have a parent distribute the cards into each box quickly some time during the day.  One year I had no parent so I just did it during my lunch - a small sacrafice to ensure my students go to experience a tradition that I am not willing to let go!  Then the students take them home and open them.  I have done it this way for years and the kids are still excited beyond belief (even though it's sad I have had to do it that way!) 

So stop by and grab it!  Share it if you love it.  And remember to leave comments and rate if you adore!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

January Countdown Calendar Freebies!

I added some January and February Countdown Calendars to the Freebie File in my TpT Store. 

I have had a lot of fun ways shared with me to use them.   Here are my favorites:

1.  Count how many books you have read as a class.
2.  Give as homework to track how many books you have read.
3.  Use as incentive cards to earn a class prize.
4.  Use with individuals to earn incentives for more desirable behaviors.
5.  Count down to an event.

Please share any other ways if you have come up with them. 

I will continue to add more as we progress through the year!

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!