It's all about the Teamwork

We just saw the end of year scores from last year. They look great. We are now in reflection mode. What did we do that was with and how did it affect our scores so we can do it again. We will also look at what we think did not work last year and change those so we can make it better. We have some work to do.

Changing our language program will be an interesting part of this reflection. Our greatest jump on the testing was in language, so what we were doing worked well for us and the students. The program is similar toss what we did last year, so we should do as well or better an we did.

The Kagen strategies we used this last year were a big part of our success. When we moved students around in our flexible groupings, we used the Kagen strategy of pairing students with another student with a different level to help both of them improve in their lessons. Having three classes, we split the students into six groups and put two groups in each classroom. With group six being the highest, we paired group six with group three, five with two, and four with one. This gave each class a group of students that first off did not know why they were in that class(highest, lowest) and that made for less chance of teasing or segregation of students. This also helped with the lower students having a partner to help them, if needed. The higher student gets the opportunity to help, learn from the other student, and gets to teach a little. This helps the higher student cement what they have learned by explaining the concept to another student. Both students get to work with another student that is not two levels higher than themselves, but close to the same level as they are. This helps the confidence of both students when they feel successful and one student is not always doing all the work.

Another piece that we felt helped our classes was the partnering up of the students to help each other. In math, we have the students paired up by mixed ability. While doing our opening review problems, the students have "one book, one pencil". One of the students works on the problem while talking through the process they are using. The partner listens and uses the "tip, tip, tell" method of helping. If partner A does not know how to work the problem, partner B gives a tip to help. They can give two tips before they tell partner A how to do the problem. They cannot do it fro partner A but they tell them the process to get it done. Then they switch and partner B becomes partner A and so on until all the problems are completed. This process has been a wonderful way for students to explain what they are doing and help them help each other understand the algorithms and processes of math.

When looking back at what we did the best throughout the whole year to get the best scores from our students, I would have to say that it s all about the teamwork. Our fifth-grade team worked together on every problem, we worked with each child, and we let them know we were united in our teacher, lessons, disciple, expectations, and a friends. While showing the students this, we let them know we expected the same form them. All for one, and one for all.

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Anyone have a Groove I can borrow?

We have been working on the language for a few weeks and we like it. We have had some hard times adjusting to the amoUnt of planning we need to do. With a new program the planning always increases until it becomes more of the plan. Right now we are getting the plans down with all the different parts of the program. They are similar plans to what we have used in the past so it has not been difficult, but it has been time consuming. We have not found our groove yet, and we definitely need a groove.

We have planned our spelling just like we did last year with the words and word sorts. We feel that was a big success. In fact, our scores for last years End of level tests were great. The students were amazing and worked their best and showed us what they knew. We are getting this group ready to do the same. But I digress. So spelling is not too hard. Vocabulary is a little different. We have née lessons and ways to work with vocabulary. We work on Word Squares each week. I love this part of vocabulary. The kids love the Word Squares. The one thing I miss is the cloze stories we used with the previous vocabulary program. The stories were great and they used context clues to put the words into the stories.there are some great hinge about thetas. Program, but I miss that piece from the last program.

Reading is good. We use a basal that has a lot of lessons in it and with the allotted time we have for it, it is hard to fit it together. But the stories are good and the lessons work with the writing to create great opportunities for students to learn. We are working on writing a story and we are talking abut problem and solution in writing while we are discussing problem and solution in the reading we are working on. Writing and reading go hand in hand and fit in with the lessons that are taught in the Readabout program we use on the computers. Readabout discusses problem and solution also and the whole lesson fits together.

We just need to get into a groove so we can feel better about what we are doing. It took a us a few years to figure out the math program we are using, but we are using it well now and the student scores are on the rise. It may take this year, but we will get it. There are many parts to this program that we will fit in throughout the year to see how they fit in and how they will work. We are just out of the comfort zone and it has taken a little longer than we had hoped to get comfortable.

The newest part we will be working on is the computer testing part. This will help us because the Unit tests are very long and involved. We will have to do them in parts during the assessment week. It will be interesting to see what the tests tell us compared to what we teach. That is always the most interesting part of a new program is the testing to see what it tells us. Life goes on and so will the teaching.


Just Teachin' with the iPad

I got an iPad this week and after a week of using it for class, I have to say... It is a good tool for me as a teacher. I love how light it is and how versatile it is. My class uses the internet each day to work on and complete assignments on our class wiki. Using the iPad I can check how the students are doing on their assignments and comment on their discussions. It has made it easier to move around the classroom and not have to head back to the desk everything I want to do something on the Internet. I take roll from the back of the room, use the air mouse to move around information on the smart board, and even control the music on iTunes as the students are working. I use Pages to type up information and letters to parents. I use keynote to finish or start presentations for the students. I use numbers to input student information and keep tack of their progress. All of these activities I did on my Macbook Pro, but with the iPad, it is less cumbersome and more portable.

The bad is that it does not print (yet), and there are a few hints I want on pages (columns, tables), but I also understand that it is an iPad, not a laptop or net book. I still feel I am in the honeymoon phase with this device, but what I am using it for right now, is what I will be using for each day. I am sure I will find things that I will not like, but for now I am loving it.

I have been watching iPad Weekly on Twit to get a few ideas on how to use it. Leo Laporte is enjoyable and informative about apps, tips, and tricks. I suggest it for all that have an iPad and want to learn a Little more about it

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad