Class Test Data Analysis

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Call me silly, but I enjoy statistics.  I use it often in my classroom. I find that it is a powerful teaching tool, and it helps me get a better idea of what my class understands.

After every test, I analyze data to determine if I need to reteach, teach certain academic vocabulary, and/or teach test taking skills. I also use it to identify which students need extra support or intervention.

First, I make a list of the problems by number and I tally the number of incorrect answers. Problems that a lot of students missed get a closer look. Was it a fair question? Did they miss it because they didn’t read the directions? Did they miss it because they didn’t understand vocabulary? Did they make silly mistakes or are they not able to apply the skill being tested?

Here’s an example of our first Math test on place value. There were four standards being assessed: reading and writing whole numbers to the billions, reading and writing decimals to the thousandths, ordering and comparing whole numbers, and ordering and comparing decimals.

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Next, I make a note of students that need extra support on each standard, and I create a line plot for each standard. This gives the class and I a nice visual of how they did. When I share the data with my class, we determine the range, median, mode, and mean together. Then we discuss what the data means when applied to our learning.

My students also write reflections on their test performance and graph their results. They keep their reflections and graphs in a data binder.

Buddies are the Best

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This week my fifth graders met their second grade buddies! They spent time interviewing each other and getting to know each other.

I enjoy buddy classes. I feel they are great for character education. Buddies work on the character traits of compassion, responsibility, respect, and integrity.

Our buddy classes are going to work on building reading fluency using Scholastic’s Partner Poems for Building Fluency.  In the spring, buddies will be citing a poem in a performance. We’re looking forward to an academic, fun, and rewarding experience.

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Building Character Through Animal Care

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Meet Tiger. Our class adopted him from Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). He’s a one year old neutered male tiger tabby cat. Students will be taking turns caring for Tiger in the classroom and tracking his experiences in a journal.

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ARF visited my class for their All-Stars Program this week. This two day program focused on the character traits of responsibility, respect, and compassion while teaching about animal care. The class also got to meet a therapy dog named Lucy.

We will be visiting ARF in a couple of weeks to tour their facility, meet new animals, and learn more about animal care.

Terrific Third Day

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Despite functioning on four hours of sleep, thanks to my three year old, we had a terrific third day.

Our big focus for the day was marshmallows. We started our day be using our senses to observe a marshmallow. Then we used our imagination to pretend that we woke up a marshmallow. Finally, we started prewriting and drafting narratives. I can’t wait to read them!

We also had a Marshmallow Tower Challenge. Teams had to design a tower, purchase materials using a budget, build the tower, compare towers, and reflect on the experience. They had a blast.

Here is the winning tower:

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I wonder if I’m going to dream about marshmallows tonight, or if I will wake up a marshmallow.

Spectacular Second Day

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We had another spectacular day today! In addition to practicing procedures and routines, we organized our binders, and we started learning to name and identify the states which make up the U.S.A.

I started by reading The Little Man in the Map: With Clues to Remember All 50 States. Then I passed out a blank map and had students find and identify the man in the map. They colored and labeled him. Then they placed the map in their binders to study. We will slowly add states using clues to help us remember them. We will have weekly map quizzes until we have mastered identifying the states on a map. Once we accomplish that goal, we will learn the capitals of each state.

Over the summer I came across maps of the 50 states at the dollar store, and I bought one for each team. After passing them out, I directed teams to work together to build the puzzle. Their goal was to beat the clock (12 minutes) and every team did. Our fastest team finished in a little under six minutes.

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I had heard of the song  “Nifty Fifty United States”, but I was having a hard time locating the music to it. I finally located it at Classroom Classics. I am very excited to include this in our geography unit!

First Day Fun

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Welcome back! What a great day! It was wonderful to see so many excited and friendly faces.

We started our day together by sharing about our vacation in our table groups.

Throughout the day students took turns introducing themselves to the class and asking a question about classroom procedures using Really Good Stuff’s Classroom Orientation Cards. This was fun and engaging.

During our Language Arts block we started writing an “I Am A Fifth Grader” poem. We will also be making an adjective art project to go along with the poem. I hope to post pictures once our completed projects are up on the wall.

During our Math block I introduced Calendar Math. It’s a wonderful way of practicing key standards on a regular basis.

In addition to teaching procedures, we spent some time as a class planting our classroom plants which now adorn our classroom library.

I’m looking forward to another great day tomorrow.

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Mission Possible: Organization

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This week was all about organization. Organizing for the classroom, my home files, and Sam’s school projects.

The projects I worked on for the classroom were Day of the Week Drawers, group project material buckets, and my Teacher’s Binder. Once again, I found some ideas on Pinterest to help me with this.

I have tried many organization techniques for my daily materials, but I have not been happy with them. They always ended up looking messy to me. So I was excited when I found teacher organization drawers on Pinterest. The organizers were $4 a piece at Target and the letter stickers were $4 at JoAnn’s. I can’t wait to see how they look on my desk.

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I had some letters left over from the first project, so I decided to label the table group baskets I had picked up at the dollar store. These are going to be used to organize special project materials for each group. Hopefully they will make it to my classroom. I keep finding them in Rachel’s bedroom.

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Erin Condren lesson planners seem to be all the rage right now. I just couldn’t see spending $59 plus for a lesson planner. It got me thinking about how I am always scrambling for my lesson plan book, grade book, student test data, standards, or meeting notebook. I decided to create an all-in-one-place teacher binder. So I picked up a $4 binder at Target that included dividers, binder pocket, ruler, and binder. Then I hit TPT and started looking at teacher binder inserts for free. I chose:

* Editable Teacher Binder Cover

* Monthly Calendar

* Notes and To Do List

I also have sections for pacing guides, data reports, and standards. Although this project started out as a lesson planner, I have decided to keep everything I need to lesson plan in it, and I will have a stand alone lesson planner.

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I had bags of Sam’s art projects and school work in my closet, next to my bed, and in the garage. Needless to say, this irritated Karl to no end. So I have started going through those bags and organizing them in pockets to be kept on one of my closet shelves.

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Now I just need to finish Sam’s pockets and organize the garage this weekend. I’m off to work on  my classroom next week!

Pinterest – Friend or Foe?

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I was beginning to wonder if Pinterest was my friend or foe. I spent a lot of time pinning Pins, but rarely took the time to use any of them. That changed this past week! I was determined to try a few of the Pins, so all that time spent on Pinterest wasn’t wasted time.

The Craft Projects:

Project #1 Birthday Crazy Straws: I was lucky enough to find crazy straws in stock at the dollar store (6 for $1). I was all set to go home and make balloon labels for each straw when I came across a packet of cute birthday bookmarks at Lakeshore Learning  (30 for $3.40). My students now have a 2-in-1 gift. Score! I love it when I find things that save me time. Besides, I think they turned out pretty cute. Total project was about $9.

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Project #2  Inspirational Frame Quotes. I made five different frames that I plan to place on top of the bookcase in my classroom. I chose to decorate my $1 frames with Trendy Tape ($1.50) and to print the quote on colored card stock ($1 total). My son, Sam, told me after my craft session that he preferred the frames plain. Oh, well. The total project cost me about $8.

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Project #3 Student Number Marble Magnets. I made two sets of students numbers and one set of stars. The student numbers will be used to keep track of where students are and for my homework club. The compliment stars will be used for a class incentive. At our local craft store I bought the marbles for $3 and the magnets for $7. I was able to make make magnets for three different classroom management purposes for $10. At a teacher supply store stores I would have spent two to three times that amount.

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Project #4 was to make glitter clothespins with thumb tacks attached to the back. I plan to use these to hang student art work on bulletin boards. I wanted a color that was subtle but interesting. Sam picked out Champagne Mist. This happens to be very close to the original wood color, as my husband pointed out. I still like it. It draws the eye and won’t take away from the art work. The clothespins and tacks were $2 at the dollar store, and the spray paint was $5. I’m hoping to find other uses for the spray paint.

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I’m excited to get all of these projects into my classroom!

I also tried out some recipes. Frankly, I’m not posting pictures of the food, because the pictures on the links look better than my food. Recipes Tested:

Food #1  Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus: It is delicious! If you are crunched for time, it is just as good cut up into pieces and tossed together as it is wrapped.

Food #2  Pot Roast: two of the four of us really liked this recipe. The two that did not are texture eaters. They thought the fall-off-the-fork meat and vegetables were too moist. Oh well, I had a delicious lunch for the following two days!

Food #3  Salty Cocoa Energy Bites:  I substituted almond butter for the sunflower seed butter, and I was pleased with the results. I plan to keep some handy for emergency snacks. Sam does not care for almond butter, so I am also going to try this with peanut butter.

Food #4  Apricot, Pecan & Chocolate bars:  I was disappointed. The apricots I used seemed to disappear into the bar. The picture showed bright orange apricot chunks. I’m going to try again with a different brand of apricots.

Food #5 Choco Banana Smoothie this is rich and delicious! I would not recommend this for a refreshing smoothie, it’s more of a dessert smoothie. The texture eaters in my family thought it was “banana” thick but tasty.

Is Pinterest your friend or foe? Have you made any Pinterest projects lately?

Wonder is Wonderful for Teaching Character

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Have you ever seen someone that looked “different” and found yourself glancing at that person? Did you wonder what that person’s story was?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a realistic fiction book that you will not want to put down. It tells the story of a boy, August, who was born with facial defects. He was home schooled through fourth grade, and he enters a school environment for the first time in fifth grade. The book is written in sections with each being from a different character’s point of view.

I am planning on starting the school year off reading this book with my class. It’s perfect for teaching about character. We will explore character traits, perspectives, motives, actions and effects on others. I found this great culminating character activity at  Keep ’em Thinking.  I’m looking forward to sharing my students’ finished projects with you when we are done.

Have you read Wonder and/or used it in your classroom?