Adventures of 6th - ProTeacher Community

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Reading, writing and history are my core subjects. I want to record a year of my activities for self reflection and to gather information to improve my teaching.
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

PLC meetings

Posted 01-15-2011 at 07:20 AM by imalith

PLC or professional learning communities simply means collaboratation. When I was initially introduced to the idea it all seemed so simple. I was told that the previous name for PLC was "outcome based education" but that had been brushed aside as things often are in the education world. The question however always weighed on me. Why did outcome based education fail?

Our school has been working in PLCs for about 6 years and I have witnessed the full spectrum. Fortunately, my PLC is amazing. I work closely with 3 other sixth grade LA/reading and history teachers. While we are at different levels of our teaching experience, everyone is willing to contribute and work towards improving instruction. Currently, we are working at a high level of productivity and improving student learning.

On the other hand, I'm witnessing several of my colleagues suffer through PLC meetings that are stagnating and a waste of time. Just one unwilling participant can...

summary rubric

Posted 01-01-2011 at 12:38 PM by imalith

I've included my latest rubric. I'll use this point totals even though I will assess some parts seperately. If kids are not writing a complete summary, I will have them cross off the portion of the rubric they will not be assessed. That way they always know how they are being assessed.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Rubric for summary revised for MSP.doc (21.0 KB, 327 views)

Summary revisited, yet again

Posted 01-01-2011 at 12:12 PM by imalith

Sheesh, summary has me baffled. Our new state test the MSP has two ways to assess summary.

First is by a diagram. This requires topic summary sentence and three details.

Second is written response, no summary sentence, just 3 main events.

Obviously this is inconsistent. Having students write a crappy summary without a topic sentence seems silly to me. Yet, if I teach them to write the topic sentence they will run out of room in the block required for the 3 events.

I've been tweaking my rubric to fit the requirements, yet I feel I need to work on it a bit more.
Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.

Marzano, PTL, learning goals

Posted 12-11-2010 at 08:30 AM by imalith

Last week I finished up my last PTL, Professional Teaching and Learning class. I also had an opportunity to see Bob Marzano speak at a 2-day conference.

I've been reflecting on this and drew a few conclusions. PTL is about observing other teachers' classroom and reflecting on indicators or criteria that relate to good teaching. There are only a few major indicators, so it is easy to focus on them. The problem is that teachers have to leave their classrooms for the observations and many times you will look for evidence and have a "not today" moment. The spontaneous "pop-in" is not conducive to finding good teaching, hence we waste time. perhaps a teacher is working on a routine activity again, not productive to our conversation.

Marzano's idea is more complicated. There are 18 indicators. Teachers can analzyze their own teaching skills based on his rubrics. After this analysis you make a choice of which to focus on for improvement....

national board certification

Posted 11-25-2010 at 03:52 PM by imalith

On a personal note, I am now a national board certified teacher.

Back to my assessment work. I'm now working on my next unit of stories. I'm definately noticing that most of my stories are fiction, so I'm using my history text book to teach reading strategies for non-fiction. The "Taking a Stand" unit is a review of inferencing, drawing conclusions and cause and effect.

Wednesday I was grading my last "Drawing Conclusions" test for the Jesse Owens story. I was thrilled to see that the majority of my students were able to find details from the story to support their answers. This has been a long fought battle!

Coming up in the next couple of weeks is my unit on literary elements. Students already checked out action adventure books. This is one of my favorite projects. It is a student created PowerPoint of all the elements.

progress on assessments

Posted 11-05-2010 at 07:26 PM by imalith

Okay, I'm a terrible blogger, never posting.

I've been working with renewed vigor in my goal to rework my reading program. I've been choosing one target learning goal and creating assessments to fit that goal. I use the open court book like an anthology and focus on the reading skill that is also the focus of the program. So far I have worked on these:

Firebuilder: author's purpose
Amaroq: cause and effect and inferencing (that was a total mistake to do two! Inferencing is more than enough)
On Top of the World (the book has cause and effect, I switched to compare and contrast).
St. George and the Dragon, compare and contast.

Author's purpose was a relatively easy skill.
Inferencing was a challenge. Student were able to think of an inference, but they were not supporting their answers with quotes from the story. They would write either reasons without quotes or quotes without reasons. Since I'm working my students...

Same standards, new test

Posted 08-15-2010 at 11:57 AM by imalith

Our statewide assessment changed this year, but our standards have remained the same. My concern about this is that students never seem to transfer what they learn. We've all seen this, haven't we? Teach them strategies, but when the format looks different they have no idea what to do.

My plan is to continue to teach to the standards, but to change my assessments, so my students aren't "freaked out" when the statewide assessment arrives. This is going to be a ton of work. But, I found that my old assessments were off track anyway. While I had rewritten several of my assessments, I often relied on the test created by the program: Open Court. Most of these questions are strictly comprehension questions that required students to skim read, find and answer and respond. While a story would have a focus on a reading strategy, the assessment only asked one m/c question relating to that strategy.

I am rewriting my tests to focus mainly on the strategy...

In the Middle

Posted 08-02-2010 at 06:09 AM by imalith

Atwell's book is an oldie, but a goodie. I still feel like that practicing that style of teaching has too many gaps. It seems that we have more challenges today.

I really think that it is great that kids read their own books at their level, but by the time they reach 6th grade they need to figure out how to use reading strategies to move above their level. Also, the writing mini lessons are great, but if writers are all on a different page, how do they practice the lesson. If they don't practice the skill will they really remember it?

One month until school

Posted 07-24-2010 at 08:17 AM by imalith

I'm already getting ready. Yesterday I met with my teaching partner to create a "Welcome" letter. We basically just sent the school supplies list since everything is currently on sale.

Also, our statewide test is changing, so I started to analyze some of the sample tests. Since I work as a language arts coordinator for our school, I started to download state testing score ranges and performance indicators. I still need to spend more time and formulate a plan to introduce the information to staff.

For my classroom, I'm currently working on rewriting some of my formative assessments and reworking some of my reading strategies instruction. I'm starting with author's purpose and will move on from there.

National Board Certification

Posted 05-09-2010 at 01:09 PM by imalith

I finished my test at the end of April. I went in confident and I left quite happy. Later I started to second guess my responses, but frankly, I really can't remember my specific responses to judge it anymore. I have just about 180 days to wait for the results. Torture is part of the process.

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