Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Oughta Know About Student Data Folders

I am linking up with Mrs. McClain's "You Oughta Know" blog hop again this month to tell you about student data folders.

Every year my school has a 'motto'.  This year our motto is to 'set our goals and aim high'.  To help the students set and track their goals, we are all using goal folders (student data folders) and I wanted to talk to you about how I implemented these in my room.

Since this is something that is brand new to my students I wanted to start off by talking with them about the importance of setting goals.  Then, we talked about how we can have different types of goals (school goals and other goals).  We worked together to brainstorm some goals that we have for school and then the students wrote them down.  Then, I posted them in the hallway - the kids love seeing their goals out there!

Aren't these precious??

 Next, I revealed our 'goal folders' and made a big show about how amazing they were.  The students couldn't wait to see them!  The first page is just the cover page for each student.  It was so cute how excited the kids were to write their names on this page!  They couldn't wait to start setting goals and tracking their progress.
We have both reading and math tracking sheets in this folder.
In reading the students will track three things: their reading level, their sight word knowledge and their oral reading fluency.

For their reading levels we use the benchmark assessments from Reading A-Z.  As the students progress through the reading levels they color the corresponding book in their goal folder:
There is also a place at the bottom of the page for the students to write the level that they start on and their goal level (we had to have a lot of discussions about obtainable goals!).  There is even a place for me to write their level at the end of each nine weeks. 

The next reading sheet tracks their sight word knowledge:

There are 30 sight word lists and each list contains a mixture of our sight words from the reading series and the Dolch words.  I have bags made up for each list and I send them home with the students.
Once the students know all of the words in that list, they can color the box.  They love this part, too!  I progress monitor the students in the morning, but I only have time for two or three students a day.  I have a little schedule set up and they come in every morning asking if it is their day to read with me.  It makes me so happy to see all of my students so excited about their reading - and it is over something as simple as coloring in the boxes and getting one step closer to their goal!

The final reading page tracks their oral reading fluency.  We will not start this until January, but wanted to put it in the folders so that we would not have to add any pages in later.
The students color how many words they read in a minute for each story (we will test their oral reading fluency once a week).

Phew - the reading part is enough to keep me busy.  But there is more!  The math section has two parts: number bond fluency and addition/subtraction fluency.

We start our fluency practice off with number bonds instead of actual equations.  I created number bond quizzes that are timed and once the student passes the quiz, they can color the corresponding number bond in their goal folder:
The next page is a tracking sheet for students to track their addition and subtraction fluency - and for some reason I did not take a picture of this page!

So those are our goal folders!  What do you think?  It seems overwhelming and time consuming, but once you get into a routine, everything runs smoothly.  I really love these and truly see the benefit of having the students set goals and track their progress!

Need a way to get started?  Here is the sight word tracking page that we use - just click on the picture to download it.

Do you use data folders in your classroom?  I would love to hear about them!

Now that you have read my blog post, hop over to any one of these other great bloggers!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Phonics, Lesson Plans and Cleaning

It has been a busy few weeks of school and we are moving right along.  I thought I would catch you up on a few new things going on!

 One of my favorite things to teach in first grade is phonics.  I love teaching students new phonics skills and watching them apply those skills to their reading.  Right now we are working on CVC words and the students are doing such a great job!  I created a PowerPoint for each short vowel and have posted them to my TpT store here.  The students love these and the activities change so it is easy to stay engaged. 

For each PowerPoint the students are asked to do three things:

For the first few slides, they are given a word and they have to pick the picture that matches the word:
 I have the students write the letter of the matching picture on their whiteboards and we check our answer - on the PowerPoint, the letters change to red as we sound out the word together.

The next few slides give the students a picture and they have to pick a matching word:
  I have the students write the letter of the matching word on their whiteboards and we check our answer - on the PowerPoint, the letters change to red as we sound out each of the words together.

On the last few slides, the students are shown a picture and they have to pick the matching word family:
 I have the students write the letter of the matching word family on their whiteboards and we check together.

At this point I have been using the short vowel worksheets here as the corresponding sheet, but I am going to work on making one that corresponds with the PowerPoint!

You can click on the Preview below to take you to the link.

Lesson Plans:
Since I have started teaching I have always struggled with a lesson plan format that fits my needs.  I have changed my format every year since I started and I have not found anything that fits my needs until this year!!  I was "Pinteresting" lesson plan formats and I ran across the format that Ladybug's Teacher Files uses.  I loved them!  I had to make a few adjustments to make them fit my needs and here is what I came up with:

I love the layout and how easy it is to glance at exactly what I am doing for the day!  I think that I have finally found a lesson plan template that works for me.

I always forget how hard it is to get back into a routine once school starts again!  I am always so exhausted from working that cleaning my house gets put on the back burner.  Then, when I finally can't take it anymore, I lose my entire weekend to cleaning.  So this year I decided to get more organized!  I created a cleaning schedule that my husband laminated for me (:  Each day there are two or three simple chores that need to be done.  Then, on the far left is a list of chores that only need to be done once a month - we do these when we have a few free minutes (haha!). 
The second page is a list of chores that needs to be done each month (these are chores that only need to be done once or twice a year). 
I absolutely love it!  I think one of my favorite things about it is that my husband knows exactly what needs to be done each day - that way the cleaning never gets left up to one person.

Here is what they look like:
The first page of chores for every month

The second page of chores that only need to be done in specific months.

Hopefully all of these things will help my school year run smoothly!