Sunday, May 25, 2014

Amazing Reading & Writing Achievement!!!

I've just finished compiling my quantitative standardized data from the last 4 years of teaching third grade.  (In other words, I made charts of my kids' achievements from the last four years.)  I use this information to analyze my suggested strengths and weaknesses as a teacher to direct my professional development  and "focus skill" for the upcoming year.  

My raw quantitative data shows that the average growth in reading was 2.2 grade levels, and writing was 1.98 grade levels.  I've never shown this kind of growth before! (During this year I also trained a student teacher just before I took an 11 week maternity leave...)

My classroom demographics:
I teach a block of Reading/ELA twice a day.  Total I teach 35 students (32 are depicted in the data because they were enrolled from October 1 through the posttest, and that is how our data is calculated.)  In my classroom of 35, there are 11 boys and 24 girls; 4 black, 19 white, and 2 Hispanic; 4 students have IEPs, 3 receive 504 accommodations, and 1 is gifted; 23 students receive Title I funding.  My school is a rural school in Northwest Louisiana.

Here are the charts:

 1. A look at my standardized test result patterns:  As you can see in 2011 and 2013 I had 0 Advanced students and several in the Unsatisfactory range.  In 2012 I had a couple of Advanced students but still had several in the Unsatisfactory range.  In 2014 I had a LOT more Advanced students and none in the Unsatisfactory range.  Yes, this includes my most special friends!!!!

2. Another look at the same information.

 3. Same information as above, but specifically for 2011.

  4. Same information as above, but specifically for 2012.

  5. Same information as above, but specifically for 2013.

 6. Same information as above, but specifically for 2014.

7. My class' average writing scores on the state standardized test (iLEAP).  In 2011 the average score was 50%.  In 2012, 56%.  In 2013, 49%.  In 2014, 70%!! I will admit that I was a little disappointed with an average score of 70% after all the work my kids and I did this year.  HOWEVER, it is MUCH better than 50% so I am happy with the increase.  I hope that next year with even more consistency and the new Brainy challenge set-up Coach has going my scores will soar even higher!

How did I achieve these phenomenal results???!!?!?!!??!!


I’m including pics from an example PowerPoint I made to use with my kids.  I made them as easy to follow as possible and trained the kids to lead them so that they continued even while I was on leave and a substitute ran my room.  This example is from early in the year while they were still learning the routine, around week 8 of school. 

Every day my classroom routine begins with the following WBT Strategies:
1.      Genius Ladder—we started these very slowly at first, and as the students progressed we began to choose topics from their science, social studies and math content classes.  Also, the kids began keeping a notebook of these some mornings once we moved from oral to written expression.  The days the kids wrote them down, I simply inserted a pencil clip art on the Genius Ladder slide and the kids knew to get out their notebooks.

2.      Writing Game—each day included a puzzle and a complexor.  Every so often I would announce that the Writing Game would be a QT and the kids would record answers on index cards and turn them in.  These were great because I could really see them making progress.  I only did QTs occasionally and only after I returned from leave.

3.      Prove It!—we used the same text each day, but asked a different question.  Each day the question dug a little deeper than the day before.  (I can’t wait to insert some of the new Brainies lessons here!)  At first I started with a book of comprehension stories like the one you see in the PowerPoint.  But, I realized after a few weeks that these texts were not meeting the rigor necessary for my students to show the growth needed this year.  I began to choose text from science and social studies, or from the district mandated “Fresh Read” tests the week before.  After they had taken their weekly test, it would become the next week’s Prove It! text.

4.      Power Pix—I used Power Pix when teaching new skills.  I didn’t have them up in my room this year, but I did use them on my electronic presentations.  Next year I hope to have them displayed all year on a bulletin board, as well as to make a glossary of them for my students to keep in their binders.

5.      Writing frames—I used the color coded writing frames to help my students have a structure for answering questions.  In this presentation, the students answer the question orally with a partner after reading the text.  Then we go through several text-dependent questions.  I didn’t design those slides.  I bought the question slides on Teachers Pay Teachers.

6.      10 Minute Writing—“every” (as often as I didn’t get interrupted) day my kids had a single question to answer and 10 minutes to write their answer in a journal.  Some days it was a question we had already discussed in class, like the one you see in the presentation.  On other days the questions would be “What did you learn?” “What questions do you have?” or a direct content comprehension question like, “Explain the three types of matter.”

7.      Mixed in with all of these my students ALWAYS answer in a complete sentence, even if I ask something as simple as, “Do you need a pencil?”  Requiring complete sentences, and the gestures that go with each part of that sentence, has made my students much more aware of their academic language (and honestly their manners too!) We use gestures for everything we can.  I like to NOT tell guests about the gestures and just see the looks on their faces when they start speaking and my kids start the capital letter and punctuation gestures to mirror the guest’s speech!  I’m excited about adding in new Brainies next year!

I hope that gives you a picture of what my day looks like!  

I believe 100% in WBT.  I started using WBT when I was struggling my first year teaching in an all minority school.  I relied heavily on the management strategies during my second year at a different all minority school, but still ended up being “let-go” (fired).  The official reason is that my certificate was still temporary because I was in the alternative certification process, but my certificate was completed just not mailed out by the state yet.  The truth was, I absolutely could not “handle” the students… of course I received no help even though I asked for it.  But, I landed in the perfect school and now in my sixth year of teaching I’m not just surviving day to day, but actually thriving!  I appreciate all the work you and the other founders and leaders put into this “program,” “system,” MINDSET of teaching!  My kids get very upset when I have a substitute because quote “They just don’t get our way of learning,” and that makes me smile!