Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Party!

No we aren't celebrating St. Patrick's Day in my second period classroom today, we are celebrating a huge accomplishment! In order to understand why we are celebrating you need to understand where we started at the beginning of the school year.

One of the first things we do in August is take the first benchmark assessment. The test is called an IE or Instructional Effectiveness Assessment and it has two purposes. The first is to show us where the kiddos are currently at, with the grade level standards, and the second is the pre-test to assess my effectiveness as a teacher. I told the kids where we started and then we decided as a class where we wanted to be by the next IE. Most students created the goal of increasing by 10% individually by the next test and our class goal was to increase by 10 % so we hoped to be at a 44% by December.  In order to accomplish this I knew we needed to work our behinds off but that if we really worked hard every student would meet their goal.

Here was our starting point : 34%

 Over the summer I asked if I could teach this class a using a core replacement program. The program is called Language! and I am highly impressed with it! We started the year in Book C - the third book of the series. Most of the kids had already started Book B but were ready to advance to the next level.
Each day we worked on a spiral review of everything from reading comprehension skills to spelling to phonemic awareness to grammar skills. Even though the program asks the kids to do some lower level activities like sounding out words or breaking words in to syllables my kiddos did it with a smile on their faces, knowing that with each skill we learned they were getting closer to their goal. Yes, we hit bumps along the way. Some students struggled with behavior or staying the course but over all the kids who started the year with me were starting to really show improvement.

We took the Post IE in December and the kids new that this was one of the BIG tests we would take this year to show the state what we were doing in our small classroom this year. And ...

We actually increased by 17%!! 
As the kids were entering their scores and I sat in the back watching the percentages go up I began to cry. I couldn't help it, knowing how hard they all worked and seeing it pay off was overwhelming. It was one of the best moments of my teaching career so far. For most of these kiddos school is a place where they dread to come, it is hard and exhausting. They are constantly being reminded of how behind they are just by working on grade level assignments.So to see them feel accomplished and to be proud of their work was a Proud Teacher  Moment!

So fast forward to today ....Before spring break we finished Book C and are moving into Book D (The GREEN book) No one at our school site has ever gotten to "The Green Book" as it is a bit more challenging textbook than Book C. The kids have been working so hard and we wanted to celebrate moving into the next book so we are having a GREEN Party today! And it just happened to fall on St. Patrick's Day!

Thanks to our AMAZING intervention specialist for making the cupcakes-- they even were green in the middle!! They were fantastic!!

We have 3 weeks until our state testing begins and I know that ALL my amazing, inspiring, fantastic kiddos will ROCK the TEST!

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