Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas - Data-Based Goal Setting

Woot Woot! It's another Bright Ideas Linky!!

No products promoted...JUST ideas!

My post is specific to teaching writing - using assessment data to set goals.

The specifics of my goal-setting that you'll read about are for writing conventions...however, before I get to that I feel that it's important to first share our...

My class knows our Ultimate Goals...we've been working on them ALL. YEAR. LONG. And...they'll continue to work on those goals in their future beyond me, I hope!

'Cuz, with writing, as skills improve, there are then other ways to improve. And more growth leads to more things to work on. And so on and so forth.

Both of the above goals are the heart and soul of everything we do in Writing Workshop. And what we do in Reading Workshop pays dividends, too.

Conventions such as punctuation, spacing, correct spelling, etc...they all fit in goal numero uno.

When we're studying authors' craft moves so that we can try it on our own...that fits goal number two. Same with when we're noticing Precise Words and edit to substitute a more precise word for a simple word.

I literally just sat and tried to think of something we do during Writing Workshop that does not fit either of the above goals and I couldn't come up with anything.

They're the umbrella...that we open up time and time again.

Today, I'm going to address how I use Dictated Sentences to Spot Check students' progress on conventions.

Then...I use that data along with other writing data to determine goals...which are ultimately displayed on an easy-to-see anchor chart like the one below.

To make the above anchor chart, I used the students' numbers, bright 8.5 x 11 paper, re-positionable glue stick and 3x3 sticky notes cut in half.

You'll notice that many students have their number in two goal areas...for example, student one is working to "Use .!? with 2 or more sentences," (red) as well as "Use a capital to begin each sentence," (orange). These were decided on a student-by-student basis.

The above clipboard contains the student data on one of the spot-checks I used...

Here are some close ups...

Do I love things I want to adjust? Absolutely. Always. :) Right...we're teachers...that's what we do.

After administering the Dictated Sentence Assessment, I went through and scored each child's piece, based on the conventions we're looking for....once they were recorded in the grid, I went through to highlight/star goals.

The extra box on the grid on each line is for the second spot check...I generally do them every 6-8 weeks. I did give an additional spot check and am in the midst of scoring them...and I gotta say I'm THRILLED with the students' progress!!!!

The highlighting and stars are for the goals...I decided on a kid-by-kid basis, based on all that I know about that student and his/her writing work, work ethic, sensitivity, time of year, etc.

Once I had the goal in mind, the anchor chart was made. Since it's made with sticky notes and repositionable glue it's easy to modify as our goals change!

For some students, I gave very specific written feedback...

These forms do go home along with the student's writing sample. I keep a copy of each at school.

I hope this post is helpful to you!! Let me know if you have any questions!! It's been an uber-hectic week and I was not able to dedicate as much time as I wanted to this post. :)

If you did enjoy this post, please consider following me on Facebook, Teachers pay Teachers, and/or Pinterest!

There are LOTS of other Bright Ideas for you to read about from 150 bloggers...make sure to check them out below!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hippity Hop Blog Hop #2 - FREEBIES!

I'm so excited to have been asked again to participate in...

Hosted by these two wonderful bloggy friends...
Learning With Mrs. Leeby  

Hop Graphics credited to: and and

So super cute!!!!

Lots of wonderful freebies on this hop!!!

You might be here from the amazing Lori over at...

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!!

Here's my freebie...Hope you enjoy it!

A little bit of math for can click the pic or right {HERE} to download. 

If you'd like to download my Hippity Hop Freebie from last year, click {HERE}.

On this hop, there are 13 fabulicious stops! AND...a rafflecopter with a $25 Amazon giftcard and winner's choice from our stores.

In order to make the 'copter easy-peasy, make sure you follow each blog along the way. 

I don't know about you, but I'll be going through the whole hop! :)

Guess where you get to...

My sweet friend Nikki over at...
Lovvvvve her!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Common Core Crunch - April

My class and I always look forward to the new month...for lots of reasons!!!

The newwww Common Core Crunch being one of them! :-)

And, this month, we're excited that spring is on the horizon...yes, the calendar says that spring began a week or so ago. But...I live in Wisconsin and you NEVER know what weather a day will bring! Especially in spring.

Snow...rain...wind...sun...warm breezes...even 80 degrees on occasion! 

{RANDOM ASIDE} - My Alma Mater is in THE FINAL FOUR!!! Goooooooo Badgers!!!!!!

The ELA & Math Packs for April are available as a bundle at a savings.

By the way...the color of the background on the bundle is soooooooo off on TpT. I have NO idea what happened and am not sure how to fix it! I like a pretty cover and am hoping to get it resolved sooner rather than later!

You can also purchase each pack separately. When you download the Preview on TpT it includes 3 Try-It-Before-You-Buy-It FREEBIES. :-)

These monthly Common Core Crunch packs have just come in so handy in my first grade world! I use them in lots of ways...

Daily Warm Up

Skill Checks


Independent & Small Group Practice


Sub Tub

We are huge fans in my classroom! We love to "get crunchy!"

This month, here's what is included...

In Math:

And in the ELA pack...

Hope you have fun "getting your Crunch on!

Here's an Earth Day Freebie for you! Just click the pic to download it directly. :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Building a Fluency Continuum

All year long we have worked very hard to build fluency in our first grade class!

We’ve worked on it by, through and during...


shared reading 

repeated reading



independent level books read during Private Reading

See, our school district switched over to the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project for our Reading (and Writing) Workshop this year and we’ve been deep in the throes of learning and implementing all kinds of strategies.

I'm still learning and tweaking and refining but can overall say that I am enjoying the change.

One reason is the increased amount of time we've been able to spend on building fluency.

Recently, I decided we should "put it all together" and take what we've learned about how fluent readers sound and build a continuum.

If you have any posts on fluency that you'd like to link up, please feel free to do so! See more info at the end of the post.

Here's how we built our continuum...

Over the course of the year we have had all kinds of lessons and practice on elements of fluent reading.

On our continuum, each element has its own color (selected randomly).

Phrasing - Red

Expression - Orange

Pace - Yellow

Punctuation - Green

Self-Monitoring - Blue

I tried to break each element down into a range of 4 levels...AND make it kid-friendly & succinct enough to fit on the 10 x 2.75 pieces of Astrobright paper I had pre-cut. (And I really didn't want to have to go to the paper cutter a few rooms down to re-cut.)

Do I think my wording is perfect? No.

Do my students know what it means? Absolutely.

So I'm stickin' with it.


So, the wording was already written when I started the lesson.

Sidebar: Could I have spent time with my class generating the qualities of each level instead of writing them out ahead of the lesson? Yep. But I was limited on time and I chose to do it this way, this year.

Since there were five categories, I put the kids randomly into five groups and sent them to their work areas, delivered the cards and the kids got to work, putting the cards from their category in order from 1 to 4 (least to most fluent).

Once the groups had laid them out in order, we traveled around as a whole group to agree and tweak each group's findings.

And there you have it - our fluency continuum.

Instructionally speaking, we have LOTS of fun building our fluency!

What do I use for instruction?


Here are some products I really love! (Stick with me,'ll be thrilled to see what's coming up...)

Katie Knight is passionate about building fluency and she has an amazing new pack that is FUN and so helpful! You don't want to miss it!

The image below is from Katie's blog post about her {here} or on the pic to get to the post.
Jennifer Jones has a new pack that I am swooning to use with my top firsties...

Jen is sooooo on-spot with current best practices AND keeps things motivating! She has a great balance of playful, yet rigorous! Love her!

Here's a peek at the components...I can't wait to start using it!

Jodi Southard has a wonnnnderful Comprehension Notebook that has passages we use for Shared Reading every day...(we also do the comprehension task for each day.)

We read each passage each morning during Shared Reading and I have a variety of teaching points that I use for each passage, choosing one main teaching point per day. You can see two examples of teaching points above. We read it chorally and then the kids also read it at their table spots with their partner or on their own twice before doing the comprehension task of the day. To read Jodi's blog post about this product, click {here}.

Now for some SUPER exciting news!!!

These bloggy friends are so generous and kind that they're offering to give their packs away to a lucky winner! Woot Woot!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you'd like to link up a new or old post, please do the following two easy-peasy things...
1.) Add this image to your post:
2.) Make sure the post content is specific to teaching fluency.