Monday, July 27, 2015

Success on The NWEA MAP Test: Part 1: The Intro Post

(Insert your grade level and students age as necessary)

I hope you giggled a little at those. I know that even thinking about testing "season" can stress me out and I need all the laughs I can get. Today I am here to start my very first blog series (pretty excited about that!) to share with you the things I do to help my students reach their NWEA MAP goal. And while I know that this series will be pretty specific to the MAP test, I hope there is something here that can help you. Plus I will be including some freebies as we go along too.

Why Should You Listen to Anything I Have To Say? 

Now, with as high stakes as testing can be you might be wondering why you should do anything I am about to tell you. 

Good Question.

These are my "credentials" if you will. 

1st:  I have been MAP testing my kiddo's for 9 years now, so I have been doing this for awhile. 

2nd: In those 9 years that I have been MAP testing we as a school went from a laisez faire attitude, to having it be part of our teacher evaluations. So I have been on all ends of the spectrum when it comes to testing. 

3rd:  I have had training when it comes to reading and interpreting all of the MAP data that you get after the fall test. We have had whole school professional development on it and I have done a few independent PD's on it as well. 

4th: In the past 3 years, which have been some of our most highly focused, I have had over 90% of my class meet their growth goals. At my school 90% is what it takes to be highly effective in the data category. So basically I am good at interpreting this crazy data output and figuring out how to help my students succeed.

5th: Finally, and the most important in my opinion, I am a *real* teacher and I am in a *real* classroom. We've all had PD from people who truly have no idea how things work in a classroom. Or had higher ups who try to tell us to do things that we *know* won't work. And while my classroom dynamics will be different than yours, the things I am going to share are all things I have actually done in my room. 

The Series

So! Here is my plan. 

The Intro Post
I've MAP Tested. Now What? 
Planning for Small Groups ( This may be a 2 part post as there is a LOT of info for this one.) 
Monitoring Student Progress
The Final Countdown
Answering Your Questions

I'm excited to share this with you. However, I am taking a page from my pal Angela over at Hippo Hooray for 2nd grade. She did not schedule a specific time or date when her interactive notebook series posts would go live. And I am not either. But I am hoping to have this series finished by the end of summer so that you have all of the information before starting back to school and testing. 

If you have any questions about MAP testing or info that you would like me to make sure to include leave a comment here or on my Facebook page

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Planning Your Morning Work

First off, its been a hot minute since I blogged that's for sure!

Kelli at Surviving the Little People posted recently about trying to get back into blogging and some of her goals. It inspired me to get back into blogging and, while I am not ready to commit to anything more that trying to at least do a couple of Currently's or Five for Friday linkys, I am ready to blog again. 

I still have almost a month and half ( don't hate!) before school starts again ,but you all know that we teacher's spend our summer planning for success for the coming school year! So with that in mind I have been thinking about morning work and how to best handle that time. 

Typically I spend Thursday or Friday after school planning, printing, and prepping for the next week of school. I am always looking for areas to improve on and one area I felt could use some streamlining/ improvement was morning work. Typically what I do for morning work for the week is to look at things like Super Teacher Worksheets or Teachers Pay Teachers until I found 5 skills that I felt would be good independent practice for my kiddo's. This could be a time consuming process! So I decided that for this coming school year I was going to focus my morning work and make each day a specific area of focus. 

This is my plan:

Monday's are going to be devoted to a math concept from the previous week that my kiddo's need practice with. We use Bridges Math at my school and I really love the number sense that my kiddo's have developed over the past two years. However, it is sometimes tough to find pre-made practice pages that align with it. In the past I have created some of my own ,but it can get overwhelming with all of the other things I have to do. However, only having to create one piece a week seems much more doable to me. 

In Michigan we take a "lovely" standardized test called the MStep. I am sure you all, unfortunately,  have something similar where you are. This was our first year with it so we weren't exactly sure how to prep our kiddo's ahead of time. One of the things that the 3rd grade teachers have asked 2nd grade to do next year is to do more writing prompts so that they are used to writing to a specific topic.Our writing curriculum is all about genre writing and writing workshop, which does not include a lot of time for prompt writing. Our reading curriculum ( we use Wonders) has writing prompts built into the writing portion of the curriculum which I will be using. But you could use prompts from Super Teachers or type writing prompts into TPT and see what you can get!

Each week with Wonders we have a different weekly grammar concept. Our kiddo's are assessed on this concept on Fridays. Wonder's has some really good practice pages for grammar. Last year I put them at my writing station as a have- to. But not all my kiddo's were at that station throughout the week and I wouldn't usually check that page until after the week was up. By giving it as morning work I have 2 days to clear up any misconceptions before they are assessed on Friday. 

We also do a weekly spelling test on Friday. Every week as part of our weekly homework packet I send home the spelling words for the week ,as well as the previous week's test. We also review the words throughout the week during our Wonders time. But about March of this past school year I started having my kiddo's practice their spelling words for morning work and they did SO much better on their weekly spelling tests. Last year I typically did this on Friday morning, but with all that we usually have going on on Friday's I thought moving it to Thursday would allow for more guaranteed time. 

 Finally for Friday we will be practicing our math facts. At my school one of the awards that students can get during our monthly awards assembly is for fact fluency. Last year I had students work on this skill but not as consistently as I would like. Having a designated day for this will help it to be more consistent and hopefully have kiddo's that are stronger in their math fact knowledge. 

So that is my plan for morning work for the coming year. How do you handle morning work in your classroom?