Saturday, May 18, 2019

The #1 tool coaches need: the Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack.

Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!Imagine this: you're sitting at your desk. Your teacher documentation is organized, you have every form you need at your fingertips, and you know exactly how you're going to spend your time today.

When you visit classrooms, you know what you're looking for and you have an easy, positive way to share feedback with teachers.

Every resource you use is in its place, labeled, and ready to go. You've been using the Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack, and you're ready to coach with confidence.

Who doesn't want to feel like they're ready for their day with all of the tools they need? 

As a new coach, I was re-inventing the wheel every day, spending my precious time creating documents that already existed and digging through binder after binder and book after book to find exactly the right form.
Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!
I'd visit classrooms and not know where to start, scramble to pull together RtI forms at the last minute, and race to data review meetings, planning in my head as I walked. Basically, I was underwater.

This is a pretty common experience for coaches. There's just not that much support out there. If you feel like this, you are not alone. There are thousands of coaches across the country who feel just like you: unsupported. Coaches often have to forge their own way, sometimes even creating their job descriptions as they go.

But there's an easier way to do this work. And it starts with getting the resources you need. 
Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!

I created the Instructional Coaching MegaPack to help coaches just like you and me, who were starting from scratch every single day. It's full of every form and organizational tool you need as coach, whether you're coaching literacy, math, science, or any instructional method or approach. The best part? Forms are printable AND editable pdfs, so you can print and go OR fill them in on your computer!

Seriously, it's a lifesaver. Save yourself from reinventing the wheel on a daily basis with this comprehensive coaching resource.

Here's what coaches have said about the Instructional Coaching MegaPack.
 It's made just for instructional coaches.

It's got everything you need.


Fillable forms make life easy!

It's a lifesaver!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instructional-Coach-Binder-MegaPack-of-Printable-FillableEditable-Forms-More-2065048


Want to know exactly what you'll get in this gigantic resource? Check out the details!

Coach in Style
To get you organized quickly, but help you match your style, too, there are fifteen different styles of calendars, binder covers and spine labels, and cute notes to leave when you visit classrooms, too! The best part? The calendars & binder covers are editable, making it easy for you to use them year after year.
Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!

Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!

Styles Included:
  • Black and white
  • Bright chevron
  • Confetti pattern party
  • Watercolor flowers
  • Black, white, and pink dahlias
  • Gold & white
  • Blue and yellow flowers
  • Bright pencils
  • Bees
  • Blush flowers
  • Coffee
  • Rainbow
  • School supplies
  • Crosshatched desktop
  • Salsa: citrus and lime chevron

Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!


Binder Covers Included in each style
  • Grade Level Binder Covers: Prekindergarten through eighth grade binder cover and spine label for a 3" binder
  • Subject Binder Covers: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Math, Science
  • Data Binder Cover
  • Teacher Documentation Binder Cover
  • Coaching Logs Binder Cover
  • PLC Binder Cover
  • Response to Intervention Binder Cover


Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!


Calendars Included in each style
  • 5-day calendar for planning
  • Full monthly calendar
  • Editable Full monthly calendar - use Keynote or PowerPoint to edit
  • Editable binder covers and spines - use Adobe to edit
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instructional-Coach-Binder-MegaPack-of-Printable-FillableEditable-Forms-More-2065048

Visit Classrooms
Coaching is about making change happen on your campus and supporting your teachers in their professional learning. Some of the most important tools in the MegaPack are the instructional coaching and observation tools!  These tools help you focus your classroom visits, leave feedback, and document your coaching cycle work with teachers.


Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • School Initiatives Plan
  • Instructional Support Log
  • Coaching Cycle and Conference (2 pgs.)
  • Book Study Meeting Plan
  • Classroom Observation Log
  • General Classroom Observation Form
  • Focused Classroom Observation: Student Participation (2 pgs.)
  • Focused Classroom Observation: Lesson Alignment (2 pgs.)
  • Focused Classroom Observation: Compliance vs. Engagement (2 pgs.)
  • Focused Classroom Observation: Time Management (2 pgs.)
  • Teacher Instructional Goal Setting (with accountability piece)
  • Teacher Instructional Goal Setting
  • Grade Level Goal Setting (with accountability piece)
  • Grade Level Goal Setting
  • Praise Notes (3 pages) - 15 different style versions available in the printable binder materials file!
  • Classroom Observation Notes

Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!
Review Data
Facilitating data conversations and helping teachers plan next steps is a big role. Data can be overwhelming, but these simple data review guides can help you make responding to data easy.

In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • Reflecting on Data Bookmarks
  • Data Review (2 versions)
  • Standard Review

Plan Professional Development
Stay organized while you're figuring out what PD opportunities your teachers want and need and plan training that helps them grow!

In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • Professional Development Sign-In (3 versions)
  • Ideas for Professional Development
  • Professional Development Calendar (printable only; not fillable)
  • Planning Professional Development Organizer (2 versions)
  • Professional Development Agenda (2 versions)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instructional-Coach-Binder-MegaPack-of-Printable-FillableEditable-Forms-More-2065048?aref=qx0prp2e


Plan Collaboratively
Managing a collaborative planning session with a grade level or group of teachers can result in chaos, but these planning guides help you stay focused and get it done well!

In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • Focusing on the Standards
  • Integrating Data Review
  • Considering Misconceptions
  • Planning Day-to-Day (2 versions)
  • Weekly Planning Guide

Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!Manage Your Time
Without a plan for your day or week, your time will slip right through your fingers. Figure out what you need to accomplish, schedule your days, and have a document that shows exactly where your time went.

In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • Printable Only Color Monthly Calendar - 15 different style versions! (not editable)
  • Printable Only Black and White Monthly Calendar (not editable)
  • Week at a Glance: Planning Your Week
  • Daily Plan with Time Frames
  • Daily Plan (3 versions)
  • Daily Log (Record of Activities)
  • Student Intervention Log
  • Event Planning To-Do



Collect Documentation & Keep Records
Coaches have to keep track of so much. These forms help you document the important stuff and get the information from teachers that you need.

Save yourself from the daily struggle of trying to reinvent the wheel as an instructional coach. The Instructional Coaching Binder MegaPack is the comprehensive resource to help you get organized and document your time. This product includes editable and printable calendars in fifteen different styles, daily and weekly schedules, forms for classroom visits, data logs, documents for providing feedback to teachers, & SO MUCH MORE!In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • Teacher Documentation Form (3 times a year)
  • Teacher Documentation Form (BOY, MOY, EOY)
  • Teacher Documentation Form (monthly record)
  • Teacher Documentation Form (9 times)
  • Tutoring Log (Student Attendance)
  • At-Risk List by Teacher
  • At-Risk List with Teacher and Grade
  • At-Risk List with Teacher, Grade, and Qualifying Criteria
  • Teacher Documentation Received with Date
  • Teacher Documentation Received with 8 slots
  • Teacher Documentation Received by Grade Level
  • Grade Level Meeting Notes (2 versions)
  • To-Do List
  • Teacher Materials Issued Log
  • Resource Checkout Sheet
  • Purchasing Log

Response to Intervention Forms
RtI is a whole world of forms on its own. Keep it simple and consistent with these RtI forms for you and for your teachers.

In the MegaPack, you'll get...
  • RtI Master List (2 versions)
  • RtI Referral Form (2 pgs.)
  • Progress Monitoring Form
  • Response to Intervention Log
  • Response to Intervention Meeting Log

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Instructional-Coach-Binder-MegaPack-of-Printable-FillableEditable-Forms-More-2065048?aref=qx0prp2e

Make today the day things change and coach with confidence!

Need to try it out first? You can get a free sample of the some of the materials included in this resource below!

 
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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Bridging guided reading to test prep: One easy tip

Looking for tips on how to get your kids to apply test-taking strategies? Even better, struggling to fit in guided reading when you're barely getting through your day? Here's my #1 tip on bridging guided reading to test prep in upper elementary. This post explains how to use a purpose question to have students apply their reading comprehension strategy that you're teaching them in guided reading! Don't give up on guided reading in test prep season before you read this post! Ah, spring. the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the kids are bubbling answers.

Ugh.
We've all been there. 

During this push, push, push for test scores that happens every spring, sometimes guided reading can get the boot. It can feel like we "just don't have the time". And I get it. 

The test is scary and we want our kids to be prepared, because if they're not, there can be consequences. 

Sure, there are consequences for us, but there are definitely consequences for them.

So guided reading sometimes gets lost in the desperate race to get kids where the state wants them to be, even though we know guided reading is the real deal and the test is not.

If you're struggling with this, this post is for you.



Here's how you can do guided reading while embedding some test-taking strategies, too!
Step 1. Plan your guided reading lesson like normal. Use your test data to figure out what strategy to focus on that will help them as readers and reading test takers. Use an instructional-leveled text. Identify the vocabulary you want to plant, and the background knowledge you want to access. 

Our main strategy for this lesson in the picture below was finding the main idea. Students used post-its to mark the main idea of each paragraph as they read, applying the strategy I'd taught them about finding the three-four most important words or ideas in each paragraph.

Looking for tips on how to get your kids to apply test-taking strategies? Even better, struggling to fit in guided reading when you're barely getting through your day? Here's my #1 tip on bridging guided reading to test prep in upper elementary. This post explains how to use a purpose question to have students apply their reading comprehension strategy that you're teaching them in guided reading! Don't give up on guided reading in test prep season before you read this post!

Step 2. As you're planning, when you get ready to write your purpose question: write it in test format. I'm talking test question stems and A, B, C, D. Type it up and print it out so each student has a question strip.

It should require students to practice the strategy you're working on. For our main idea work, I asked the question, "The information on page 5 helps explain how -" This was a test question stem from our state test. Students had to use their main ideas to check every answer choice and see if it matched their evidence. 

Looking for tips on how to get your kids to apply test-taking strategies? Even better, struggling to fit in guided reading when you're barely getting through your day? Here's my #1 tip on bridging guided reading to test prep in upper elementary. This post explains how to use a purpose question to have students apply their reading comprehension strategy that you're teaching them in guided reading! Don't give up on guided reading in test prep season before you read this post!


Once students get to the page that will help them answer their question, they apply their strategy like normal, and then they answer the question. Here's the important part: They have to USE THE STRATEGIES YOU'VE TAUGHT THEM!

If my students answered a question without marking their evidence with a post-it, analyzing the question, and analyzing each answer choice, I'd take their strip away and give them a blank one so they could actually do the thinking they needed to do to be successful.

Step 3. You have students finish their reading, applying strategies, and then bring them together (as usual) for a discussion about the purpose question. Here, they verbalize their thinking and explain how they arrived at the answer.


http://buzzingwithmsb.blogspot.com/2017/10/planning-for-guided-reading.html
It's an easy peasy connection and it'll give you the time and proximity to see what students are thinking as they approach these questions, while building reading strategies, too. 

Would you do this all year? Not really. You want open-ended questions for guided reading, most of the time. But bridging to the test is something that our kids need support in, and this is one way to do it without drill and kill!

Want to learn more about planning guided reading lessons? Check out my post: Planning for Guided Reading! It'll break it down a step at a time!



P.S.
If you try it, shout it out on FB or IG! 
Tag me @buzzingwithmsb!



Need more support in guided reading, and want some free resources to get you started? Enter your address below!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Seven Fun Ways to Review for a Test Using Multiple Choice Questions

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.It's sort of become a necessary evil. In order for kids to be successful in the awkward format that
standardized tests have, we have to give them some exposure to navigate the format of multiple choice questions.
But it's soooooo boring. 

Here are six ideas you can use to make multiple choice fun and destroy the test prep blues. They'll help you give the kids the practice they need while keeping them engaged!

The best part? You've probably got all this stuff already. You don't have to go to Target or the Dollar Store...unless you want to. Let's face it. Who doesn't want to go to Target? Nobody.

1. Dry Erase Response Boards

Low tech, low prep

To prepare for this strategy:
This is such an easy strategy! Give each student a dry erase board and a marker. These are sold at Target at the beginning of the year in the Dollar Spot, at the Dollar Store, or (even cheaper) you can make your own! Just laminate a piece of white or light-colored cardstock!

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.


To use it:
1. Place a multiple choice question on the projector, or have each student look at their copy of the question on their desks.
2.  Give them a set amount of time to work on the question.
3. When the timer goes off, ask them to record their answer (A,B,C,or D for multiple choice) on the dry erase board.
4. Use a signal word, such as "GO!" or "Show me!" for students to hold their boards up, all at the same time, facing towards you. 
5. Ask a student or two to justify their thinking, or to explain their thinking to their partner. 

You can easily scan across the room and see who's got it and who doesn't!

Alternate method: 
First, ask students to choose the answer that's clearly wrong and display that. Then ask them to choose one more wrong choice. This will help them integrate their multiple choice strategies into their thought process!

2. Answer Choice Cards

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.Low tech, medium prep (just the first time)

To prepare for this strategy, you have a couple of options...
1. Print out A, B, C, D options on different colors of paper. Laminate them. Hole punch them in the corner. Put them on a binder ring.

OR

2. Use different-colored index cards. Write a different answer choice on each one: A, B, C, D. Laminate them. Hole punch them in the corner. Put them on a binder ring.

How to use it:
Similar to the dry erase response board, you're going to...
1. Place a multiple choice question on the projector, or have each student look at their copy of the question on their desks.
2.  Give them a set amount of time to work on the question.
3. When the timer goes off, ask them to choose their answer (A,B,C,or D for multiple choice) and place that card on top.
4. Use a signal word, such as "GO!" or "Show me!" for students to hold their cards up, all at the same time, facing towards you. 
5. Ask a student or two to justify their thinking, or to explain their thinking to their partner.

Because you've used different colors for each answer choice, you can easily see who's got it. If most of your kids are holding up pink but two are holding up green, you can immediately tell who might need some intervention. (Hopefully, in this scenario, pink is the right answer.)

Alternate method: 
First, ask students to choose the answer that's clearly wrong. Then ask them to choose one more wrong choice. This will help them integrate their multiple choice strategies into their thought process!

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.

3. Four Corners

Low tech, low prep

To prepare for this strategy...
This one's easy peasy. Designate each corner in your classroom as a different answer choice (A, B, C, D). You can stick a post-it or a sign up there if you like, to help kids remember.
 How to use it:

1. Place a multiple choice question on the projector, or have each student look at their copy of the question on their desks.
2.  Give them a set amount of time to work on the question.
3. When the timer goes off, ask the kids to decide on their choice. Then, use a signal word such as "Move!" or "Choose!" to signal that students are to move to the corner that represents their choice. They must move in as direct a path as possible, without changing directions. It's also important to teach them not to run. That's why I don't recommend making "Go!" your signal word, as that is pretty much going to start them off at the races! 
4. Once students have moved to their spots, you can ask them to justify their reasoning.

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.

4. Toss It

Low tech, low prep

To prepare for this strategy:
1. Gather four containers and label them A, B, C, D.
2. Collect enough mini erasers, counters, counting bears, talking chips, or any small manipulative for each student in your class to have one.
You can do this in teams or groups by using smaller containers (cups and min erasers work really well), or you can do this whole group by using larger containers (bins, trash cans, and counting bears or balled-up pieces of paper).

How to use it:
1. Place a multiple choice question on the projector, or have each student look at their copy of the question on their desks.
2.  Give them a set amount of time to work on the question.
3. When the timer goes off, ask the kids to decide on their choice. Then, use a signal word such as "Move!" or "Choose!" (again, I do not recommend "Go!") to have students move to the container that represents their choice and drop their answer in.
4. Have a few students justify their thinking.

This one works well when you're not concerned about figuring out who got it right or wrong, but you do want kids to do the thinking and justify their reasoning.

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.

5. Stick-It Chart

Low tech, low prep

To prepare for this strategy:
1. Divide a piece of cardstock or construction paper into four quadrants and label them A, B, C, D. Make one of these charts for each team or group.
2. Give each student a post-it and have them write their name on it.

How to use it:
1. Place a multiple choice question on the projector, or have each student look at their copy of the question on their desks.
2.  Give them a set amount of time to work on the question.
3. When the timer goes off, ask the kids to decide on their choice. Then, use a signal word such as "Stick it!" or "Smack it!" Students use that cue to stick or smack their post-it into the quadrant that represents their choice.
4. Have students take turns justifying their thinking. Each student should justify their response.

Test prep can be fun and motivating with these ideas for answering multiple choice questions! Each strategy can be used for math, reading, or writing questions to practice for any standardized test. Grab a freebie to get you and your students started.

6. Dot Stickers

Zero tech, low prep

To prepare for this strategy:
1. Divide a piece of construction paper or cardstock into the number of questions you want kids to work through and number them. You can use the back, too. Each group needs one sheet.
2. Provide each student with a sheet of dot stickers. If you want, they can label the stickers A (red), B (blue), C (yellow), D (green, or whatever colors you've got).


How to use it:
1. Place a multiple choice question on the projector, or have each student look at their copy of the question on their desks.
2.  Give them a set amount of time to work on the question.
3. When the timer goes off, ask the kids to decide on their choice. Then, use a signal word such as "Stick it!" or "Smack it!" Students use that cue to stick or smack the dot that represents their answer choice into the square for the number they worked on.
4. Ask students to justify their thinking and come to a consensus on their answer choice.
*This can also be done whole-group if you use chart paper.

7. Plickers

Some tech, more prep (only you need a smart device)

Ok, this is the one that requires stuff you might not have, just because you have to print out the plickers - the first time. 
To prepare for this strategy:
Plickers is a fun online tool that you can use for free!
To prepare for this strategy...
1. Visit the Plickers website and set up an account.
2. Follow the directions for creating your cards and questions.

How to use it:
1. This works in a similar way to the dry erase response boards. Students will hold their plicker (paper clicker) up in the fashion that represents their answer choice.
2. Scan a smart device across the room and your students' names and answer choices selections will pop up on your device!


Want all of this information on one handy, dandy FREE page? You can get it by adding your email address below!


 
 
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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Four things to remember about data

Analyzing data as a teacher can be tedious and frustrating, especially when you don't remember these four things. Your students are more than numbers on a page, or colored dots. Read this post and think about the four things you need to remember about data before you stare at one more spreadsheet. Data doesn't always tell us what we think it does. Check out the post and think about what next steps you should take when your scores are low. ​It's mid-April. And that means that, by now, you've spent a solid 9,347 hours looking at data.

I've looked at data until my eyes crossed. I've wanted to crumple it all up in a big pile and toss in a match.
I know that sounds like I'm exaggerating, but you're teachers and instructional coaches. You get it.

You want to light it up, too.

So I wanted to help you think about data a little differently, so you don't get so bogged down in all the percentages and color-coding, and end up with zero plans for the future and a little raincloud over your head.

Here are four things you need to know about data.

1. Data can tell us things, but it doesn't always give us the whole picture.

Sometimes administration looks at data from a particular class and says, "Wow! This class is really kicking everybody's tail! Let's find out what they're doing!" And that's great. I mean, sharing and collaboration should be our go-to, and when we have teachers doing awesome things, we want them to share with everybody, right?

But sometimes you have to look beyond the numbers. What is the make-up of that class? Does that class have any students who have historically struggled? Show me the teacher who's closing the gaps for the kids who haven't been successful in the past, and that's the teacher I want to hear from. The teacher who's staying consistent is doing a good job, but the teacher who's moving mountains: that's the gold.

Low math data might tell you that your students are struggling to read on grade level. Or that they aren't identifying the correct operation in a problem. Or that they have difficulty with algorithms. Or that they were really tired and just circled some answers.

You have to look back at students' actual work to figure out what they were doing and where things went off the rails. Without really trying to understand how the student is thinking, data is just a bunch of numbers that stress us out.

Analyzing data as a teacher can be tedious and frustrating, especially when you don't remember these four things. Your students are more than numbers on a page, or colored dots. Read this post and think about the four things you need to remember about data before you stare at one more spreadsheet. Data doesn't always tell us what we think it does. Check out the post and think about what next steps you should take when your scores are low.


2. Low scores doesn't mean "do more".

Sometimes we'd look at data, and people would say, "What more can we do? How about we pull kids in from PE and fine arts, and Saturday School, and after-school tutoring?"

All of these are things people to do spend ​more ​time with kids. But doing more of the same doesn't mean you'll get different results. You'll probably just be more tired, and the kids will be more frustrated and disconnected, and then they'll do the same thing on their test. 
More does not equal better. So to really respond to the data, make sure that you're considering the why. Why are you seeing these patterns? Why are kids responding in this way? That'll help you figure out what to do differently to reach kids.



3. Data is for helping you figure out next steps

This is where the wheels usually fall off the wagon. Instead of using data to figure out how to respond to student learning, we say things like, "We gotta get after it," or "Let's do Saturday School." Ok. So you "get after it" and "do Saturday School".

But what does that mean?

When you look at data, make sure that you're actually planning for the ways to revisit content in a different way, reteach what needs to be retaught, and reinforce the strategies and skills that students need.
Analyzing data as a teacher can be tedious and frustrating, especially when you don't remember these four things. Your students are more than numbers on a page, or colored dots. Read this post and think about the four things you need to remember about data before you stare at one more spreadsheet. Data doesn't always tell us what we think it does. Check out the post and think about what next steps you should take when your scores are low.
One way to do this is to analyze the assessment you gave by question. Really dig in and see which students chose which choice.

Group together the students who need to work on the same skills and pull them in for a small group.

To look across the whole test, talk to your colleagues. Have a conversation about what patterns you notice and what those patterns can tell you about your (and their) teaching practice.

What possible ways can you respond to the challenges students are having? What have your colleagues done that has helped students be successful in this way? How can you build a bridge from the learning students have done to the format of the test?

Make your conversations purposeful instead of fear- and frustration-driven, and you'll walk away with some great ideas. Need help facilitating this kind of a meeting? Check out my post on data PLCs!

4. Test scores aren't the measure of your success.

This one might be unpopular in some (many) circles, but who cares? It's the truth. You are more than the scores your kids earn on a test. If you are using authentic teaching practices, growing relationships with kids, and becoming an efficacious educator, then guess what: you're doing a great job.
We can really get stuck in looking at the data and thinking, "Why am I failing? What else can I do?" And I totally get that. I did it, every year. My kids should've been making more progress; we should've been outscoring the classrooms who weren't using the great practices we were.

And yeah, that would've been awesome. Of course, I want kids to do well on the test because it can limit their opportunities if they don't.

But that percentage of passing on a piece of paper didn't tell me what kind of a job I was doing.

Walking down the halls, and hearing students implement things they'd learned from me, or choosing great books to read, or being engaged in learning something new showed me the impact I was making on my class.

Do we want good scores? Well, yeah! But is that the only indicator that you're doing a good job? (Or even necessarily a good indicator that you're doing a good job?) No way.
And remember, you're more than your scores.

Want to learn about some fun, hands-on ways to get kids excited about multiple choice questions (without having to buy anything?) Check out my post on 7 Ways to Make Multiple Choice Fun!

Analyzing data as a teacher can be tedious and frustrating, especially when you don't remember these four things. Your students are more than numbers on a page, or colored dots. Read this post and think about the four things you need to remember about data before you stare at one more spreadsheet. Data doesn't always tell us what we think it does. Check out the post and think about what next steps you should take when your scores are low.

Analyzing data as a teacher can be tedious and frustrating, especially when you don't remember these four things. Your students are more than numbers on a page, or colored dots. Read this post and think about the four things you need to remember about data before you stare at one more spreadsheet. Data doesn't always tell us what we think it does. Check out the post and think about what next steps you should take when your scores are low.
Are you reviewing data by yourself, with your grade level, or as an instructional coach?

I've got the  freebie for you. I'm sharing my Data Review bookmarks and a printable data review guide to help you get started.

Just enter your email address below and you'll have the bookmarks & guide sent right to your inbox. Stop stressing about data and start making it work for you!
 
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Saturday, March 16, 2019

How to Create a Fun Test Review Camp

Setting up a test review camp, whether it's for STAAR or any other state test, can be fun and low-stress! Games and camp-themed activities are great motivation for elementary school students. Whether you're planning a reading, writing, science, or math camp, read about ideas for setting up the camp, organizing, decorating, planning hands-on activities, and fun tips for making your test prep camp a hit!Test review camps. They're fun, they're memorable, and they're definitely a better way to spend the last few days before the test than slogging through more passages or 1,000 multiple choice questions.

Looking for fun ways to motivate your elementary school students without breaking the bank?

These ideas will help you plan an engaging test prep camp, meet your standards, and give your kids an experience to remember!

Special thanks to Mary Lou Fierro, @crystaltxteach, Tiffany Brown, Leslie Turner, and @sidetalkingteacher for sharing your camp photos!

How to structure your camp

Depending on how your grade level is functioning as far as team teaching, self-contained, etc. there are a few different ways you can structure your test review camp.

#1 The Team Approach

The team approach means that you and your colleagues will work together to pull of a test review camp. To do this, you'll want to divide up the activities into different rooms. Each teacher is going to be responsible for a different test review activity. Kids will rotate from room to room completing the activities. This means you have to consider a few different things:
  • Activities need to take about the same amount of time to complete
  • Will you group students by their existing class, or into differentiated groups? This could be an opportunity to teach at different levels if students need different levels of support to be prepared. For example, you could have a group of students who is needing to meet the standard at a basic level. You'll provide them with "survival skills". Then you may have a group who's been successful to this point and you want to provide them with extension activities, or lessons to help them move beyond the basics.
  • If kids have been taught to approach the test-taking strategies differently in different classes, you'll have to figure out if you're prepared to align those strategies, or if the kids will have the freedom to approach problems and questions in the way they're already familiar with.
  • What behavior expectations are in place? Are they consistent enough to support your students as they move from room to room?
  • Any specialized support personnel who come into your classroom should be used effectively. Group students so that there will be a support person for those who need it. Will they travel from room to room, or stay in one room in which the kids will need the most support?

#2 All in one Room

If you do your test review camp all by yourself (which I've done MANY times and it's still fun),  you will create the stations in your own room and have students move from activity to activity within your room. You can schedule it to take place all throughout one day, or two days, or you can do it a little at a time, like I explain in #3.


#3 A Little at a Time

For this approach, you'll reserve a chunk of time every day to have students complete either one activity as a class, or to complete one station activity. This can be a challenge if you want to create a camp-y setting, though, because you'll have to have your decoration-type stuff out for a week or two, depending on how long you're running your "camp".



How to plan activities that actually meet your standards

This is the most important thing, right? When you're planning your activities, I REALLY recommend that you think about the following things:
  • How many kids will you want in each group? This might determine how many activities you plan. If you need to, you can create two stations of the same activity to keep the group size small. (I recommend groups of 3-4, tops.)
  • Will you run a station? Plant yourself at a table and support students through a station that will challenge them, or one that you NEED them to learn something new or finally make the connections they need to in order to be prepared.
  • Will you have kids check their work before they finish the activity? You can provide an answer key in a folder if you want kids to check that they've done the work correctly.
  • What standards will students be tested on the most? This is where you should focus your activities.

  • Look at a released test to see what kinds of thinking kids have to do and what the context of the thinking is. 
  • Cute activities are fun, but the activities the kids spend their time on need to hit the exact standard that they'll be tested on. 
    • Writing example: Will they be asked to combine sentences? In what way - using FANBOYS? Complex sentences? Appositives? Whatever the kids are asked to do, your activity needs to require them to do that.
    • Math example: Will students have to problem solve using graphs? What kinds of graphs? Pie charts? Bar graphs? Pictographs? With keys? Whatever the kids are asked to do, your activity needs to require them to do that.
    • Reading example: Students obviously have to answer questions. But in what genres? What strategies are kids being asked to use? What kinds of evidence do they have to find?
  • Provide students with a blank notebook or journal as their "Camp Journal". They can write in their notebooks whenever they finish an activity. 
  • Hands-on materials are especially engaging. Using sentence strips for sorting or revision, puzzle pieces or index cards for matching, dry erase markers and laminated materials, and dice make for a fun day.

How to keep track of the stuff kids do

Why do you need to keep track of what they do? There could be a few reasons: quality control, accountability, and grades. To keep track of what kids do (and motivate them at the same time) you have a few options.

1. Use a punch card or bracelet. Create a punch card with a table on it. Each square in the table represents one station activity. As students finish the activity, they earn a punch on the card.


2. Have technology in your classroom? Use the Seesaw app. Have students take a quick picture of the activity they have completed and turn it in.


3. Create a Camp Memory Book. Each student will have a set of recording sheets that they will complete as they move through their activities.

4. Have students earn a "camp badge" for each station they complete.


How to make it camp-y

Here comes the fun part! Tons of fun ideas for making your camp...like a camp!

#1 Dress up. Wear khaki, a bandana, a whistle, and carry a clipboard. Allow students to dress the part too, by wearing sunglasses and bringing sleeping bags and canteens.

#2 Set up sleeping bags, kayaks or canoes, camp chairs, wading pools, and pop tents for different activities.









#3 Decorate with red checkered tablecloths, small lanterns, stuffed or inflatable "wildlife", and tackleboxes.







#4 Use butcher paper to decorate and create rivers, bushes, and trees for a campy ambience!






 #5 Create a campfire out of paper towel rolls or rolled-up butcher paper, or project a fire video using your laptop and a projector.



#6 Make s'mores or fun camp snacks.


Scooby snacks, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.
Cinnamon toast crunch, marshmallows, and chocolate chips or chunks.


#7 Turn out the lights and have kids read with flashlights!

Setting up a test review camp, whether it's for STAAR or any other state test, can be fun and low-stress! Games and camp-themed activities are great motivation for elementary school students. Whether you're planning a reading, writing, science, or math camp, read about ideas for setting up the camp, organizing, decorating, planning hands-on activities, and fun tips for making your test prep camp a hit!


#8 Sing camp songs or play them on a speaker.


#9 Use camp themed activities. Ideas that are related to camping include...
  • fishing
  • pitching a tent
  • backpacks/gearing up
  • hiking
  • wildlife, such as bears
  • white river rafting
  • building a campfire
  • telling ghost stories around the campfire
  • s'mores & hot dogs
  • observing nature: trees, wildflowers, etc.
  • looking at the constellations
  • national parks
#10: Use camp themed materials. This might include read alouds like A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee or test prep materials specifically designed to help your kids review the skills they need, like Camp Reading Ready or Camp Write-a-Lot!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Texas-State-Writing-Test-Prep-Camp-Camp-Write-a-Lot-2459907

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Camp-Reading-Ready-Texas-State-Reading-Test-Prep-Review-3732363

 
Want to try out a free nonfiction features station from my reading test camp? 

 
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