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You've Given the Reading Test...Now What?


So, have you given your DRA test yet or some other type of reading test for middle of the year scores?  Now what do you do?  Do you use these scores to drive your reading instruction?  

The results from the reading assessments can be very valuable to you and should help you plan for your next steps with the students.


As I give my DRAs, I like to make notes on how the student did, what they need to work on next.  This girl struggles daily with her fluency and decoding. When she did the DRA, her lack of progress in these 2 areas showed up in the assessment too.  So I just made a notation of that up in the corner of her test.  


It's a bit difficult to see this, but the student appeared to be attending to initial sounds in words, but not looking fully through the word and checking to see if the word she is reading matches up with the printed word.  She also added or changed endings.  

Activities to deal with this student's struggles could involve Guess the Covered Word to help her match the sounds in the word she guesses to what is printed.  Also pulling a card across the word as her eye travels across it can help too.  To address her lack of fluency, I would use repeated readings of familiar books and modeled and repeated readings as described by Timothy Rasinski.  


This student does not struggle with decoding or fluency, but really had difficulty with comprehension after reading the story.  We usually know in our heads who struggles with what.  But by coding it at the top, you can then put those tests together into a group to help you come up with a strategy to help that particular group of students.



This is where that student struggled.  There was a lack of details in his retell and two of the events were out of order.  After having given the tests, I saw a pattern with several of the first graders- they were struggling with retelling the story, the comprehension of the story.  So that lets me know, we have work to do.

We will work on retelling and comprehension in several ways.  The Somebody... Wanted...But...So...Then.... activity would be a great way to start with this.  B...M...E (beginning, middle, end) is another activity we could use.

So after giving your reading assessments, take it another step...Note what the students were lacking, group them together, then come up with a plan to address the skills.  

Don't forget our Educents Organization, Class Management, and Classroom Decor bundle is on sale RIGHT NOW!  And only for a limited time...76% off!
Click the picture to see what it's all about!




Classroom Organization, Management & Decor

Our Christmas break has been wonderful!  Lots of family, food, and fun.  But now that Christmas is over, I am looking forward to the New Year and what needs to be focused on in my classroom and with my students.  

So some friends and I got together to offer you this amazing bundle for you to help you start off the new year organized, with new ways to manage your classes and with some great decor!  



I am so excited about this bundle because it includes new management techniques, behavior interventions, decor, forms, and all sorts of other organizational must haves!  It's only $10.99 and includes over 600 pages of items that can be quickly and easily implemented when you return to your classroom!


My Guided Reading Anecdotal Records Notebook has been chosen to be included.  But it isn't the only item.

There are 15 amazing products in this bundle!  It can help you get off to a great start in the New Year!  Here's a quick peek, but you can click any picture to head over the Educents post to read about each one!








It's only for a limited time so you won't want to miss out!  



Comment below one thing you want to change in your classroom and be entered to win one additional product from the listed participating stores!  {Oh you can pin something too for an extra entry!}


Being organized and having a fresh start helps me feel energized and enthusiastic about getting back to school once our break is over.  Which by the way, I think the break is going oh so quickly!!  Don't they always?  No matter how many days off I have, I always think "I really could have used just ONE more day"!!!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your holiday!  







RtI: Using Data Graphs


Using data in RtI

We just finished our first cycle of RtI this past week.  It actually should have ended the week before, but the week off for snow changed our date.  When we miss school or students are absent, we make those days up in RtI also.

When teachers have completed their data graphs for each student in tiers II and III, they turn in their graphs to me.  We use the graphs at our RtI committee meeting and decide if progress was made and to what extent.  

plotting and interpreting data

At my school, we choose 2 appropriate areas of intervention per student for tiers II & III.  One intervention is plotted per graph.  But if the skill is mastered, then a new intervention is started and kept on that same graph to cut down on papers in the file.  

At the beginning of the cycle, each student is given 3 assessments in their area of intervention.  For the student above, they were working on pre-primer sight words.  After being given the assessment 3 times, the scores are averaged together and that average is plotted on the graph (the red circle).  Baseline scores are written at the top of the graph (in black).  Then, we plot where we want the student to be at the end of 10 (tier II) or 12 (tier III) weeks (in orange).  

Using data graphs in rti

Once your baselines are plotted and the goal is plotted, a line is drawn to connect the two.  This is now your goal line.  This goal line helps you to gauge how your student is doing as you instruct them.  Each week we teach the student in their area of intervention and then assess them at the end of the week to check their progress.  What you want to see are the data points close to the goal line or above it and progressing up each week.  If the data points are below or progress is not being made, then you need to do some reflection on the intervention.  You need to reflect on whether a change in the way you are instructing or the intervention itself needs to be changed.  

In the photo above, the student started on short vowel words.  He made good, though slow, progress each week.  Once he mastered this skill, the next skill he was low in and needed intervention for was consonant blends.  I gave him the 3 baseline assessments and plotted a new goal line.  He did not have long to work on this new skill, but the two weeks after the baselines were above what he was scoring on his baseline tests.

plotting and interpreting data graphs

This student made good progress and I changed interventions each time one was mastered.  But unless you know all the information on the graph, looks can be deceiving.  It looks like at first glance that this student is doing really well.  And he did do well in the areas given to him.  But the whole picture is that this is a third grade student and he is working on first grade skills in tier III.  So although, he was experiencing success, which is exactly what we want, we also have to take into consideration his grade and what grade level skills he is working on.

Once teachers get all their graphs turned into me, I go over them to check them and then create charts using the data from the graphs.  These data charts will then be used to help the RtI committee to make decisions on each individual student, like whether they will continue continue in that tier for the next RtI cycle, move up a tier or down a tier, or be recommended to the special education team for consideration for testing.  

We have our RtI set up as very regulated and systematic and it works well for us.  Please remember that each school is different and what works for one school may or not work for another.  You have to research and find what will be successful for your individual school.  

Happy Christmas break everyone!



Santa Apps, RtI Intervention Plans & A Freebie


We have been out of school for 6 1/2 days now!  If we get to got back on Monday, I will have some plans ready!  Our RtI first cycle was supposed to wrap up this past Friday.  But that didn't happen with student absences and snow days.  I hope we get to go back this week before Christmas break begins.  The students have missed out on a lot of seasonal fun activities by being out for so long.  

My RtI students are making progress and moving through skills.  One is still struggling to hold on to the short vowel sounds, but has progressed with sight words.  We will continue to work on their skills and trying to move forward.  If you click on the visual lesson plans above, you can click on the pictures that are hyperlinked to see the items.  


This is what it looks like at my house right now!  We got another snow storm that dumped more snow on top of the snow and ice that we already had.  It's not even winter yet!  This week is to warm up, so hopefully we will get this stuff melted before our next storm hits which is forecasted for this very next weekend!  Crazy, I know!  I posted this picture on Instagram-#conversationsinliteracy.  If you are there, follow me and I would love to follow you!

Sing Along Christmas Carols-Free

Since this is the last week for most of us before Christmas break, I thought you might enjoy these fun Christmas apps that I found.  And they are all free!!  Can't hardly beat free!  This first one is Sing Along Christmas Carols Free.  It has several popular Christmas songs.  When you choose one, it plays the song, but also runs the lyrics across the screen.  I love those kind because getting words in front of kids any time you can is a good thing!!


This Santa's Naughty or Nice Scan-O-Matic is soooo fun!  You can set it for students to push the button to scan if they have been naughty or nice.  OR you can set it to where they place their finger on a box and it scans their fingerprint (or so they will think)!  Very cool!  You can place their finger in certain places on the button if you want to control whether their scan comes out as naughty or nice.  Plus, a built in feature is a count down to Christmas counter.  It shows the days, hours, or minutes until Christmas Day.  

I know Christmas parties are coming up for most of us this week, so here is a fun I Have Who Has...Christmas freebie game if you would like it!


Just click here or click on the picture to be taken to my store so you can pick this freebie up!


Have a blessed Sunday and I hope we all get to school this week!




Freebie Fridays


Christmas Traditions: Christmas Questionnaire


I am a traditional girl at heart and I love all the traditions that go with the holiday season!   Christmas is one of my FAVORITE times of the year!  I also really enjoy hearing about other people's traditions! So I knew I wanted to join in with Michelle over at Fabulous in First and her Christmas Questionnaire.

Hot Chocolate or EggNog?
Hmmm,  I enjoy both, but I don't drink either one very often.  I think eggnog probably wins this one for me.  We always get a little every holiday season and I like to have an eggnog shake too!  But my favorite drink right now is my Dunkin Donuts Mocha Mint with whipped cream on top!


Does Santa Wrap Presents or Set Them Under the Tree?  
Wrapped when my boys were little.  Now they are 21 and 18, so sadly, Santa doesn't visit us anymore!  When Santa did visit, there would be a few gifts from him under the tree and in the stockings for the boys.  Then gifts from their dad and me.

Colored Lights or White?
I like to use white lights.  White lights all over the Christmas tree!  I add color with the other decorations.

When Do You Decorate?
I do not decorate until about the first or second week of December.  I've tried decorating the day after Thanksgiving, but then it is up too long for me by the time Christmas comes and goes.


Real or Fake Tree?
We have gone through cycles of trees!  When we were first married, it was ALWAYS a real tree just like when I lived at home.  I liked the tradition of going out together and finding just the right tree.  But that became too much to get done some years when both of us were busy.  So now I have a pre-lit tree and I love how easy that is!  But I do miss the real tree!



What Tops Your Tree?
Sad to say, but there is nothing on the top of my tree right now!  I used to have a beautiful angel and it got damaged.  I haven't replaced my angel yet so the top is bare for now.

Favorite Christmas Memories or Traditions:
I have several actually!  When I was a kid we would go to one set of grandparents to visit on Christmas Eve.  On the way home, we would grab a bite to eat and then open all our presents that evening! On Christmas Day, we would visit my other grandparents for a day of fun, presents and food with them and my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  My boys, especially my youngest, always helped me decorate and I miss that now that they are older.  We always had the tradition of the boys getting up all excited and ready to open presents Christmas morning.  We still get up for gifts then have a big Christmas breakfast with everyone's favorite item on the menu. One thing I have learned over the years, traditions change!

Favorite Gift as a Child:
Hands down, my favorite gift as a child was my first big girl bike!!  It was blue, my favorite color, and had a white seat.  I loved that thing and rode it all over the place.  I had no idea that my parents were getting it for me, so it was a huge surprise!

Do You Prefer Giving or Receiving?
I love to give gifts!  I find joy in trying to give someone something that I think they will enjoy.  Doesn't have to be a big gift, I just like to try to make people happy.

Favorite Christmas Song?
I like different songs, old songs and newer ones.  The past few years I really like Toby Mac's Christmas This Year.

Candy Canes:  Yuck or Yum?
I am not really into candy canes.  They aren't really something that we eat much of at my house.  I do like having a few around for decorations!

Favorite Christmas Movie:
My favorite Christmas movie would probably be Christmas Vacation because I don't watch too many Christmas movies.  My boys think it is just hilarious!

Shop Online or in Stores?
I do both!  This year I have done almost all of mine online.  So, so easy!  

Photo Cards, Letter, or Store Bought Card?
Please don't call me a Grinch, but none!  I used to do cards, but those got out of control and I just don't send them out anymore.  I would love to do a photo card, but getting 3 guys to half way match with clothes and all home at the same time willing to pose for a picture is just hard, people!  

Now it is your turn to let us get to know YOU a bit better!  Link up!




Let It Snow, Let It Snow! & freebies!


My school is on day 4 of snow days!  Who knows when we will get to go back!  It is a winter wonderland around here!  It looks beautiful and students will be so excited to do snowmen themed activities.  


Who doesn't love the Snowmen books??  My kids really enjoy this series and I have to confess that I love them too.  It is just kind of fun to think about your snowman coming to life and doing all kinds of fun things!


How fun would this be to make sparkling snow play dough?  Students then could make their own snowmen in class!  EHow shared their recipe for this fun activity.  Click the picture to be taken to their site to see how to do it.  It looks super easy and I know the kids would have a blast with it!


This is genius!!  Students can make their own snow measuring stick!!!  Marylea from Pink and Green Mama shared this fun craft (click the picture to go to her site).  I can see how excited students would be to use their snow measuring stick each time it snows.  What a great way to get in some math!


Mrs. Karen (click the picture to go to her site) shared this super cute snowman craft!  Easy to do and would make a great display of snowmen on your wall.  


Kids really like the can...are...have activities.  You can download this freebie from me by clicking on the picture above!

snowmen at night activities

This is a Snowmen at Night sequencing that we did.  The snowmen were cut out of scrapbooking paper.  The kids loved doing this activity.  They thought the spray on snow was just pretty cool!

snowmen at night activities

Snowman soup makes a great take home treat or party treat for your students!  Goes so well with the Snowmen books.


My Snowmen Literacy Unit can be used if you are looking for a whole unit on Snowmen at Night.  Lots of activities!  Click here or on the picture to see it.

snowmen at night activities

My sons used to help me make these bon bons every year.  Now that they are older, they just eat them!  Click the picture to grab your free recipe!


Join Tiffani  over at Time 4 Kindergarten and add your favorite cookie recipe! Perhaps you'll find some new favorites too!


I hope if you are having snow days too that you are enjoying them!  If you are still at school, you are at least not having to make them up later.  




RtI: A Pyramid of Support

What is RtI?

When teachers email me asking about RtI, they generally want to know how to get RtI started in their school.  I have found that teachers are in the same position I was in when I started RtI in my school- you are told the school is implementing it, but no one really knows what you need.  

I did a LOT and I do mean a LOT of research trying to understand the RtI process.  It is not a quick thing to learn and implement.  But good news!  There is a lot of information out there...good information and a lot more of it than just a few years ago.  

The best way to begin is to be sure you and your team (if you have one) has a good understanding of what Response to Intervention is and can be.  You need to understand the tiers and decide what they will look like at your school.  Please understand that RtI can look different for each school.  These tiers are just a general overview and may not be exactly what your school does.

Tier I:  Everyone is in tier I until moved into a higher level tier because of increased need of support.  This tier's needs are generally met within the classroom with core instruction.  Most students, even those who are slightly below level can be instructed with scaffolding and differentiated teaching to meet their needs in the class.  About 80% of students will be in Tier I.

Tier II:  Students that are below your school's designated benchmarks, may need to be placed into Tier II.  Students placed here will be instructed in a targeted small group setting.  In my state, we choose 2 areas of intervention at a time to give targeted instruction.  When those are met, students are then instructed in a new area.  About 15% of students may be in Tier II.

Tier III:  Students not making adequate progress in Tier II and who are significantly below grade level are placed into Tier III.  Students receive intensive, individual intervention at this tier.  In my school, the instruction is more intensive and the interventions are for a longer period of time.


What is RtI?

Anytime I am asked about RtI, I tell teachers that if they have a chance to hear Mike Mattos speak they need to go hear him!  I was sent to one of his conferences and he was great!!  He was able to clear up several confusions we had at our school and help up streamline our program.  It was a huge help!

What is RtI?

Another good source of information for an overview of RtI is the RtI Action Network.  This site will give you lots of information and ideas for what RtI is and how to put the information together.


What is RtI?

I really like this site, RtI 4 Success.  You can look up a lot of different information, like what is universal screenings or progress monitorings and then see a chart with examples of each.  

Remember, RtI looks different in each school and if you are looking to implement it, strengthen your existing program or just looking to increase your own knowledge there are a lot of places to get information.  If your state has guidelines that is your first place to start.  I try to follow our state's guidelines very closely.  Also, find out what your administration is expecting from RtI.  Then read and research all that you can!  

RtI works and can be a huge benefit to students.  It doesn't have to be a mountain of paperwork or just another hoop to jump through.  


Have you heard?  My Firstie Friends are having a Facebook Freebie Hop today!!  You can click on the picture above to be taken to my Facebook page so you can begin collecting all your fabulous freebies!!  You do NOT want to miss out on this!  It begins at 2:00, so wait until then and then let all the fun begin!


Have a blessed Sunday!
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