Monthly Archives: May 2011

Here We Go Again?

Star Test, 2011.  Two weeks of fun.  Fourth grade has four days all together.  That’s light, compared to the rest of the grades.  So we tested  Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week (with a short practice test on Monday), and Tuesday and Wednesday of the second week.

The test are untimed, meaning the kids can take as long as they want to finish.  It’s nice, because they don’t need to feel rushed.  The age-old question is what to let the kids do when they finish.  If you give them something fun to do, then they might rush to finish, especially the lower kids.  But if you don’t give them something to do, then those kids who work hard and finish earlier than others have nothing to do once they are done.  And I’ve seen kids who do well on the test who finish almost an hour before the last student.  I usually just let my kids read when they are done.  Nothing too fun, but at least it gives them something to do.

Logistically speaking, the nice thing about testing is we get a longer recess every day, even on days where we’re not actually testing.  And recess is a bit later in the day, meaning the time between recess and lunch is shorter (which is nice).  And there’s less planning to do.  Not to mention, you want to reward the kids for their hard work and concentration during the test, so you tend to make the afternoons more fun.  Plus, we have no Oral Language (what we usually do first thing every day), and we have no intervention.  That means less to plan.

Another age-old question.  How much credit/blame do we give the teachers for the test results.  I’m not sure the kids understand why they have to take the test every year.  And I’m really not sure they care.  And they don’t get the results until after the next school year starts.  And they probably don’t know if they did better or worse then they did the year before that test.  So how much could they care?  And their results really don’t effect them.  The results don’t go on their report card, or effect it.  So again, how much can they care?

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Okay, here are the books we’ve read.  We started out with “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”  After that it was “Holes.”  Then we read “Beezus and Ramona.”  Now we’re reading “By the Great Horn Spoon.”

And here’s another thing.  Why do I need name tags?  Besides the beginning of the year, when I’m learning their names, is there any other reason to have name tags?

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Tesing – Day 2

Testing continues.   It’s day 2.  Language arts both days.  Tomorrow and Friday we won’t be testing.  We’ll start back up next week on Tuesday for math, and again test Tuesday and Wednesday.

It’s not too bad, actually.  Only four days of testing.  But the testing mornings seem long, I’m sure especially for the kids.  Lots of reading.  And with the math their will be lots of writing, as they’ll have to do a lot of computations.

Testing can be a little tricky.  First of all, you’ve spent your entire year getting ready for these 2 weeks.  So the stress level is a bit high, especially for those students who are with it enough to know the test is important.

And what to do during the test is a challenge for me.  My principals have always encouraged us to walk around the class.  Make sure the students are putting theier answers in thr right place, things like that.  I can see that.  Room wandering also keeps those students who tend to let their mind wonder and distract the rest of the class from doing so.

But honestly, I’m not going to wander around the room the entire 2 hours and 15 minutes.  So I wander, and then sit for a bit.  Or I wander and read material I have printed up.  Or I wander and check homework.  Or I wander and write.  Wander.  Sit. Wander/read.  Wander.  Sit.  Wander/write.  You get the point.  What ever I’m doing, I continue to watch the kids.  I’ve got a few that love to goof around.  Especially after they are done for the day and getting board.

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This site looked like it might be helpful.

Guided Reading in the Upper Grade Classroom: Getting Started

So does this one.

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Testing – 2011

Testing starts tomorrow.  We took the practice test today.  It’s not nearly as long, but it gives them a taste for what to expect.  And it gives me material to review with them, to discuss the test with them.  It’s been a year for them, and for me.

Maybe I should ask them about last year’s test, and what they remember about it.

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The I.E.P.

We had Jenny’s big IEP on Friday.  I counted 8 people there for our “side,” not including our principal, who had to be in and out of the meeting.  By the way, most IEP’s have the teacher, the RSP teacher, and maybe one more person.  The extra people at our meeting were the lawyer, the district program specialists, the psychologist, and others.

The meeting was scheduled to go from 9 till 12:30, so I needed a full day sub.  It started with going over the year and seeing if she met all her goals, which she did.  Her families lawyer asked me a few questions about Jenny’s abilities, but nothing too difficult.  I don’t think there were any questions about her being difficult in a regular education classroom.

So after going over last year’s goals and Jenny’s accomplishments, we took a break and then went over her new goals for next year.

The meeting went pretty smoothly.  No big arguments or differences of opinion.  They agreed to reduce her time for math in RSP.  The lawyer and mom even signed off on the new IEP, which they have never done without reviewing it and signing it at a later date.

Overall, the psychologist (who ran the meeting) and the principal were very pleased with the way the meeting went.  They both said I handled myself well, but honestly, I only said a couple of things.  We were all glad to get the meeting over.

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Jenny’s Biggy

Jenny’s annual IEP is coming up, and it’s a biggy.  All the lawyers will be there, on both sides.  People are already losing sleep.

It’s crazy.

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It’s really sad, and I’m probably a terrible teacher for letting this happen, but sometimes a student walks in the door, and I feel like the whole day just goes out the door.  And conversely, when that student is absent, I feel like it will be a good day.

I know, I’m bad.

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Peter got a discipline notice last Friday (after I had left for the afternoon).  Apparently he was at the fence yelling at people passing by, calling them “gay” and other not so kind words.

Didn’t he just get in trouble a few days ago?

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