Search This Blog

Monday, December 5, 2011

K-Prep Released Items/Thinkfinity

Kentucky Department of Education recently released sample assessment items for the 2011-2012 Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) test. The new assessment for grades 3-8 is a blended model built with norm-referenced test (NRT) and criterion-referenced test (CRT) items which consist of multiple-choice, extended response and short answer items.

I have included a link to the sample items that have been develped for each part of the assessment (CRT and NRT). As more items become availiable, I will send you updates! Be sure to look at the K-PREP blueprint and items and times.

While gathering this information, I came across a site that I have seen used in many classroom but wanted to remind everyone what a wonderful resource that you have for free! If you click on the "in my classroom" tab, you will be directed to many standards based lessons and ideas!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Formative Assessment Idea

In the links that Ms. Kelli sent for data analysis, there was a brochure on how to use the weekly selection test in our reading series as a teaching tool and formative assessment. Last year we discussed how to count the selection test into the overall grade since we were giving common summative assessments at the end of each unit. We are only giving grades for summative assessments so the selection tests can still be a great tool to use when monitoring student progress of the learning targets. Instead of looking at it as comprehension of the story, you can look at the skill the students must apply to answer the question and determine if they are mastering that skill. If you give a selection test weekly, you would have the data along the way to see what you needed to go back and re-teach as a whole group or with a smaller group of students before they apply those skills on the summative assessment.

I placed this brochure in your mailbox and it includes: how to use the weekly selection test, which students take the test, how to use the data to inform instruction, and a description of constructed response questions.

Follow-up on Data Analysis

Last week at our staff meeting, you received an example of how to analyze individual and whole group summative test results on one sheet. This is very helpful because it provides a visual of what learning targets you need to go back and work on with individual students and it allows you to see what types of questions the majority of your class is missing. Ms. Kelli mentioned how she documented results for her students with reading. I have included the links she sent me and a brief description of each.
This site provides unit benchmark analysis that correlates with Reading Street. You can select your grade level on the left turquoise column and you will find the analysis and other instructional resources for that reading unit.
This page contains detailed information about the Reading Street curriculum by grade level. You can access how they format their ELA block, what small group and guided reading looks like with this reading series, how each week is organized, pacing guides, etc...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Upcoming Resources/Formative Assessment Lessons

Ms. Becky and Ms. Kelli are representing our school in the state Leadership Network this year. Each month they receive information and teaching strategies for English Language Arts and Math. The topics for this month included The Literacy Design Collaborative(LDC) and the Math Design Collaborative (MDC) which brings the standards into the classroom through the use of Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs). Several districts in the state are taking part in this pilot program which is supported by a Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Here is a link from Kentucky Teacher that explains the process of each.

We will be discussing this in more detail at future staff meetings. The ideas that they bring back each month from the network, will be communicated to everyone via staff meetings or this blog. Below, I have included how Kenton County schools have structured a Formative Assessment Lesson which is part of the Math Design Collaborative.

The structure of a Formative Assessment Lesson:
  • Students complete a pre-assessment which is given a day or two before the lesson and is used to gather data on students' current level of understanding and misconceptions. The teacher provides descriptive feedback to students to aid in moving the learner forward.
  • Students participate in a collaborative activity to exchange constructive feedback with thier peers and resolve misconceptions through discussion.
  • Students then have the opportunity to share thier findings and learn from other groups in a whole-class discussion whcih is student led, but carefully engineered by the teacher.
  • Finally, students have the opportunity to return to the pre-assessment and revise their individual work to proficiency.
FALs switch around the usual classroom hierarchy. Students who figure out an answer first find themselves as "not the only ones with the right answers." As a result, everyone is engaged and challenged, even if each student's final destination is not identical. Students enjoy breaking out of the repetitiveness of formal lessons, and appear to value "the chance to approach a math probelm without the front loading of ideas and skills." It stops being math, and instead becomes an interesting question!

Behavior RTI Plan

Tier 1
All Students
Classroom consequences, detention, parent/student conferences
Tier 1 refers to the explicit teaching of school-wide behavior expectations
in the classroom and in non–structured areas as outlined in the Student Handbook (p. 8
School-Wide Discipline Code)

Panther Partners
Tier 2
Panther Partners is a mentoring program at Cumberland County Elementary School. This program pairs staff members with students who show one or more factors for not succeeding or completing their education. Our purpose is to help these students develop a relationship with a staff member in the building. These students will not be made aware of their identification into this program.

How students are identified: Students who have one or more of the following characteristics:
o   several in-school and/or afterschool detentions;
o   poor attendance;
o   poor achievement in school;
o     poor attitude towards peers and/or faculty and staff.

Commitment from staff: Staff members commit to:

o   brief daily conversations with their assigned student;
o   be a positive influence in their life;
o     ensure student has eaten and is adequately prepared for his/her day, including   classroom supplies.

Tier 2 consists of strategically pairing students with teachers to have a positive interaction with each morning before the 1st bell (morning assembly, lunchroom, hallway, etc.).

Panther Partners Plus
Tier 3
Panther Partners Plus is beyond a simple mentoring program. Students who are enrolled in Panther Partners Plus will be assigned a staff member (this may or may not be their partner from the Tier 2 program) to meet with on a regular basis and develop a deep meaningful relationship. Students will be made aware of their enrollment into this program and it is our hope that we can have an initial meeting including the parents and student.

How students are identified: Students who have one or more of the following characteristics:
o   several in-school and /or afterschool detentions;
o   poor attendance;
o   poor achievement in school;
o   poor attitude towards peers and/or faculty and staff;
o   demonstrates behaviors that are serious in nature and could result in suspension.

Commitment from staff: Staff members commit to:

o   brief daily conversations with their assigned student;
o   be a positive influence in their life; “connect” with the students each week for at least 5-10 minutes;
o   email student’s teacher each week to get update on behavior and academic progress;
o   contact parents every two-three weeks;
o   give praise and /or small rewards for student successes;
o   attend extracurricular activities or outside school events that student is involved in; when possible.

Tier 3 meetings will occur monthly and consist of a variation of the following members: Principal, Instructional Specialist, teacher, student, parent/guardian, Guidance Counselor, FRYSC, DPP, etc.  This committee will ensure basic needs are met for the family and offer every available resource to the student and his/her family to change problem behavior.

Monthly TweetFest for Teachers

The Kentucky Department of Education will begin hosting a monthly TweetFEST to invite teachers and administrators to share resources they’re using to teach the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS) in the 2011-12 school year. The first TweetFEST was Oct. 25, and each subsequent TweetFEST will be on the fourth Tuesday of each month during the 2011-12 school year (except in December). KDE encourages teachers and administrators who use Twitter to tweet links to resources they are using to implement the KCAS in the classroom and add the #teachkcas hashtag to each tweet.

I created a Twitter account last night and became a follower of: KyDeptofEd and prichardcom
Both of these are great resources and it is an easy way to share and get ideas from Kentucky teachers!

Please check out the following site:
This site lets you in on conversations dealing with Kentucky education issues. They share fresh news, ideas, and data daily! On the left side of the site, you will see a list of topics to narrow down your search. This is worth the time to keep up with!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Response To Intervention: Overview/Ideas/Parent Involvement

I want to start by saying that this post looks a bit overwhelming (and it is)
but all the things shared will help in a better understanding of the RTI model and how it can look in our school. I have viewed many resources and I have only included the ones that I feel are important in understanding this model. There are also a few ideas of how to organize and track the data you have for your students in your classroom.

The following videos give an overview of how the RTI model works and how certain aspects of it can be flexible to adjust to individual schools.

Video #1

Video #2- Watch the video on Boulevard Elementary School

Here is an article going a little more in-depth than the videos about RTI. This would be something good to read or discuss during PLC meetings with your grade level!

Parent involvement/communication in the RTI model is crucial. With meetings starting up, the following clip gives an overview of how parents are involved and why this is an important part of the model.

Here is a basic description of the three tiers from one of the above articles:

All children receive Tier 1 instruction, but those children in need of supplemental intervention receive additional instruction at Tier 2 or Tier 3. Tier 2 consists of children who fall below the expected levels of accomplishment (called benchmarks) and are at some risk for academic failure but who are still above levels considered to indicate a high risk for failure. The needs of these students are identified through the assessment process, and instructional programs are delivered that focus on their specific needs. Instruction is provided in smaller groups than Tier 1 is (which would be all children in a teacher's classroom).

Typically, depending on the model of RTI being used, small groups consist of anywhere from about 5 to 8 children. Tier 3 consists of children who are considered to be at high risk for failure and, if not responsive, are considered to be candidates for identification as having special education needs. The groups of students at Tier 3 are of much smaller sizes, ranging from 3 to 5 children, with some models using one-to-one instruction. Here are some links to websites with lesson ideas to use in your classroom when working in small groups:

Acedemic Interventions

Behavior Interventions are some examples in our building of how teachers are keeping up with what they do each day/week with students during PIT stop time. If you need help setting up a system or want me to email the clipboard sheet just let me know!
Ms. Patti has written her students names on an index card and she documents the date and what type of instruction that child received. You want to document what you do with your students that are struggling in Tier I. This is a great way to do that! If you work with a student in a small group, you would briefly write the date and SG. You can see her code at the bottom! Your formative assessments in your classroom is a great tool to use when determining who you pull for small group instruction, one on one, etc... during PIT stop time.

Here is another version of the exact same thing! If you can't see the bottom of this clipboard sheet, the codes include: SM- small group, Man-manipulatives, ET- extended time, EN- enrichment, CG-cooperative grouping, BW- buddy work, M-modeling, Ref- reflection, Pro-Projects, Pre-presentations, HOT- higher order thinking activities

I will be adding more ideas each week! If you have a question please e-mail me or post a comment and we can answer these together! Thanks for your patience with our first round of screening....we have such a great group here at C.C.E.S!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 10/24/7+Review

Last year I followed a blog of a teacher who was a consultant for Scholastic. He had some really great ideas and one thing he really focused on was brain research. I have included a clip of his classroom for you to view that shows some of these ideas in action.

The brain stores two kinds of memories, in two different ways. One is spatial/experiential memory. This kind of memory is very easy and automatic. For example, you do not have to memorize the location of each desk in your classroom by doing flashcards. Your brain sees them and makes a mental note of the arrangement of the desks in space. Likewise you don't have to memorize how you felt the time you thought you lost a child on a field trip. You automatically remember the feeling.
The second type of memory is rote memory. This is the type of stuff you must rehearse and memorize to get it to stick. Multiplication tables and state capitals fall into this category. Try to have students experience and visualize vocabulary words to make them more memorable.
This post contains a video demonstration of the word wall review game. Brain image courtesy of

When a student is learning something new, you can follow the 10/24/7+ Rule.  After you teach a concept, you review it ten minutes later, 24 hours later, 7 days later, and periodically after that. It can take years to process a memory, according to John Medina. To hardwire the neurons in the brain, you must review the information on a regular basis. The phrase use it or lose it could not be more true. You can apply the neuroscience research described by John Medina in the link above by playing a vocabulary game with the words on your classroom word wall each Friday. This game encourages maximum engagement, requires teamwork, and can be modified to challenge all levels of learners.
  • I teach the vocabulary words with a short definition and a motion, if possible. 
  • The words are added to the word wall, which is color coded by subject.
  • An index card for each word on the word wall is made.
  • Each day you can spend a few minutes reviewing the word wall words with partners or as a class. Sometimes you could do all science words or you could just do the first few letters of the alphabet. Whatever you can cover in about two to four minutes. Try to cover the entire wall once a week. Variation: Have this as one of your student jobs "The Word Wall Director." This saves a little bit of time for the teacher and allows the class to be more student centered. 
Video of word wall game:
  • Materials: Object to throw (something soft), index cards, stopwatch, and a bell.
  • Students sit in a circle so everyone can see each other.
  • Students each take an index card with a word wall word on it. They place it face down in front of them.
  • Nobody is allowed to talk, but hand gestures are okay. Talking incurs a ten second penalty.
  •  The teacher will flip over a card and show it to the class and read it.  Start the timer.
  • Any students who know the definition will raise their hands. The teacher will toss the object to one of these students, who states the definition of the word just read aloud. The student keeps talking about the word until they hear a bell. 
  • The teacher will sound the bell when the student has given enough information to prove they know what the word is. 
  • Upon hearing the bell, that student flips over his card. He reads the word. Hands go up. The ball is tossed to a student who has not had a turn yet. 
  • Once a student gives a definition, they may not give another one (unless it is the last card).  They may, however, continue to make gestures to help their peers, so all students can be involved all the time.
  • Play continues until every student has his card flipped over. 
  • The timer is stopped when the last card is answered. The last card can be  answered by any student. 
Post Game
  • Talk about what worked and what didn't work for the team.
  • Brainstorm strategies that could shave seconds off our time to set a new record. 
Keep It Fresh
  • Keep it novel by allowing each student to take two or three cards as the year progresses and the word wall gets full.
  • Students that are higher achievers can be challenged by asking them follow up questions. For example: If the word is "legislative," you expect students to say, "the branch of government that makes the laws."  To challenge some students, you will ask follow up questions in a very rapid manner: "What are the two houses in the legislative branch? How many senators are there? How did they arrive at the number 100?" Then I will ding the bell and let them off the hook. 
  • Some students will struggle despite the best gestures from their peers. Never let them pass the football to another teammate, though. Give them leading questions or words to help them.
  • You could have the students leave their cards face up for a few minutes before the game starts, to allow them time to review the words before they flip the cards upside down and start the game.
  • Too many gestures can cause confusion.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Common Core Books

We have purchased flip charts for all grades and we are expecting them to come in soon! Read below to find out what the resource consists of!!

The Common Core: Clarifying Expectations for Teachers & Students is a powerful new tool for facilitating the implementation of the Common Core State Standards at the district, building, and classroom level. Offered in English Language Arts and Math grades K-12, Literacy in Social Studies/History, Science & Technical Subject grades 6-12

Each book:
  • Includes all English Language Arts and Math CCSS standards for the grade level in a convenient 8½ x 5½ inch flip book
  • Clarifies learning expectations for both teachers and students with suggested
  • Enduring Understandings
  • Essential Questions
  • Learning Targets
  • Vocabulary
  • Fosters quality formative and summative assessment, descriptive feedback, and student involvement.
The Common Core - Clarifying Expectations for Teachers and Students English Language Arts

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Math Enrichment

This is a great site to use with students who are your high acheivers and can move on independently to other concepts. Lessons and videos start out as basic as adding and subtracting and progress beyond the elementary curriculum. The library consists of over 2,400 videos and 125 practice exercises! It does require a google account login so students and teachers can track progress.  This is well worth the time to look into!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Resources For Your Classroom

The beginning of the school year is always hectic and it is hard to get back into the routine! I have included a few things that you could send home with parents this week and some resources to use and view as we move into a year of many changes!

The following site has information by grade level to send home to parents in response to the Common Core Standards.

KET and the Kentucky Department of Education, through their joint e-Learning Kentucky grant, have launched Transforming Education in Kentucky: A free, media-rich introduction to Senate Bill 1. Seven informational interactive modules are designed for educators, students and parents who want to understand the educational effects of 2009’s Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) (KRS 158.6453 and others). Each module includes readings, videos and interactive exercises. Very informative! I watched each of these a little at a time and that really helped.