Tuesday, March 31, 2015

 Charting and Graphing Success

My school was having a school wide AR Challenge. The students were trying to meet their individual point goal (based on STAR Testing) while keeping their test average at 85% or above and reading on their assigned grade (based on STAR Testing). As the students met all three goals their name went on a wall under their teacher's name. The class that had the highest average of students meeting their goal would get the privilege of claiming a giant trophy that will travel around to the different winners. 

My class decided that they wanted that trophy. They were reading books like crazy. They would come in from math and take tests before going to activity. Some of the kids thought that if they got more and more points it would help us win. One got himself in trouble, because he kept taking tests and ended up off the board because his average went below 85%...OOPS! Fortunately, he was able to get back on the board!

Here is a Venn Diagram I made to chart their progress, it's a little sloppy, I kept thinking I would make a nicer one, but that never happened. I cut the sticky part off of small post-it notes to put the kids names on so I could move them to show their progress. Once I explained the chart to them, they knew exactly where they needed to be. I also had a small chart that I would write their names down so they could see what our percentage.

All I can say is we totally beat the competition. Sixteen out of twenty-four that got their name on the board...67% of the class!!! It was cool to see some of my lowest readers hit their goals and feel so proud of themselves. Plus all of them were cheering each other, which hasn't happened much in my class this year. :( I also gave them the incentive of a pizza party for all that met their goal. ;) They were so excited and proud they could hardly contain themselves.

I don't know if it has made much of difference in other classes, but it sure has in mine! the new challenge started on Feb. 27. Even with some snow days and Spring Break, we have thirteen that have already met their goals and several more really close! The principal overheard one of my stinkers, who doesn't really put forth his best effort, tell one the fifth graders that they would not beat us in the next competition! LOL I have a little boy who is a really low reader and he missed about three months of school because he was kidnapped by his mother. Fortunately, he and his brother are back safe and sound. During the first challenge, he wouldn't take any tests, I offered to read with him or assist him with the tests, but he just wouldn't do it. Some happened last week, all of the sudden he decided to try and meet his goal...he made it!!! I feel like that is a victory in of itself!

So my friend liked my Venn diagram and asked if I minded if she copied it, I of course said no. I wish I had a picture of hers, she took her time and it is absolutely beautiful. After seeing hers, I just couldn't stand looking at mine ( LOL) so I decided to make something different. So I thought I would make a mountain and draw some vertical lines to divided the mountain into three sections. the middle are the kids reading on grade level and testing at 85% or above. the left side are kids reading on grade level but their average is low and the right side are the kids testing at 85% or above, but not on grade level. Anyway, again I rushed through making it late one night and I didn't think it really looked like a mountain. That was confirmed when a 4th grader saw it and said, "I like your volcano." So now it is a volcano. LOL I also made a chart keeping track of how many 100s are made each day and another one keeping track of chapter books being tested on and passed. A lot of kids in my class read chapter books but some are way above their reading level and they have trouble passing the tests, so I have been encouraging them to read ones on their level. Here are my charts.
One of the kids asked me what the green meant, I told him it was grass and the students that were in the grass haven't taken any tests...the girl that was in the grass took three tests that day! HA!

We are doing so well this time, the class now wants 100% to meet the goal. We may just make it.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

 More Word Art and Camouflage Chameleons

Today I will catch on some science and BAV activities.

In science we talked about camouflage so I pulled out my favorite activity the camouflage chameleon. If you are interested in the chameleon, you can find the free copy here. The kids did a great job!

I have shown some word art on here before, but I wanted to show a few more that I thought were just terrific!

I loved this one because the little boy remembered we had learned that the Plains Indians would cause the buffalo to stampede off the side of a cliff to kill them before they had horses.

These two girls were doing the word extinct and they made the T look "ghostly" to make it look like it no longer existed.

I thought boy did a terrific job with the word reptile.

I showed it to Taleah, here is what she came up with...all I can say is WOW!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

 Playing Catch-up!

I'm not even going to offer any excuses for my lack of posting...I have none. I do have some things that my classes have been doing that I would like to share. So I was getting ready to share a ridiculous amount of stuff and then I got smart..I'm breaking it up into three short, sweet posts. Hey, it's better for the reader and I now have two more posts waiting in the wings. Win-Win. ;)

In Oklahoma History, I found the workbook that goes with the textbook, but a lot of the pages just don't seem 3rd grade friendly. I find the textbook extremely interesting, but again most of my students are struggling with the concepts like the Trail of Tears, getting the Plains Indians mixed up with the Five Tribes and so on. I am trying to sort of follow the textbook, but find other things for the kids to do. Some of them the kids just loved. 
One came from this pin:State Stamps with Mrs. Brown
I loved this idea, it was for 4th graders and they were each doing a different state. I had my students pick out at least three things about Oklahoma to put on their stamps, then they had to write the significance of their design to the state of Oklahoma on the back of the stamps. They loved this activity!

After discussing the Trail of Tears there was a page in the workbook that put the kids in a modern day Trail of Tears type of scenario. The kids were told that soldiers came in and told their family they were being forced from their homes. Some of the answers the kids gave to the different stages of the scenario were so funny. The very first question said they had to pick out what they would grab to take with them. One little girl said her Olaf pillow pet, one boy said the toilet, I about cracked up because this boy more than any other student I have asks to go to the bathroom all the time! Hahaha. I was a little shocked by how many, mostly boys said guns! I wasn't sure what the kids would think about this assignment since it did have quite a bit of writing, but as soon as we were finished they said, "That was fun, can we do another one?" Yes!!! They had fun doing it and I had fun grading it! :)

When we studied about the cattle drives I had them design their own brand. We looked at a lot of different types of brands and learned to name them. I told them they needed to use at least one of their initials in the design. that way when they were hanging in the hallway they could try to figure out who made the designs. I decided to have them put the brand on a piece of paper sack. When they finished making the design and labeling it, I wanted to change the texture of the sack a little so I told them to wad the paper up 20 times...they look at me like I was crazy, but then enjoyed doing it. They also had to write on the back why they chose their design. 

Here are a few of the designs.

I had told the kids that it would be fun to try and figure out who had made the designs. I have a little sweetie whose initials were LD, she came up to me and told me that she only used the D because we have lots of kids with first or last names that start with D so they couldn't figure out it was hers. Good idea right??? One problem, she had put the D in a heart! I told her she might want to change it to a different shape because I didn't think any of the kids would think Darren or Donald had made that one. ;P Here's what she did instead. :)

Have a great Friday!!!

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