During our station-rotations, students login to Read 180/System 44 to complete individualized lessons based on their reading and phonics abilities. Last semester, this time was graded by adding up the number of minutes students spent working in the application. However, when I looked at the data, I observed that many students were not progressing through the lessons as expected. Some barely completed one topic in System 44 when they should be completing a topic a day! This is worrisome, because spending time in the student application is one of the best ways for students’ to work on individual skills. I made a change for this semester.
As explained in these directions and rubrics, this semester, students are being graded based on their ability to complete or master certain numbers of topics and segments. As you can see in the chart below, many students struggled to meet the new goals during the past four weeks. We have talked about this in class. Many students admitted to allowing themselves to get off-task when they were expected to work on these lessons. I suggested working at home to help catch back up, which some students did.
In the future, I hope students will put more effort into completing their lessons so their grades and reading abilities improve. If students want to improve their current grade for this assignment, they can complete extra topics and segments in addition to next month’s goals.
We just completed the fourth week of the semester. Now that two weeks have passed since our last Community Circle grade was entered in Infinite Campus, another score was entered. In each class students’ speaking skills were assessed during daily circles and Friday class meetings using this rubric.
Again, most students earned a score of 2.5 or a C, which means that they are almost meeting the standards:
Class meetings scores will be averaged and added to the gradebook again in two weeks.
This week, all three classes held community meetings. The meetings were shorter than normal this week, because our previous lesson took longer than planned. Summaries of our meetings are below.
Second period is glad Jimena brought a stuffed dog to use as our talking piece. Even though we agreed to last week, we have not yet emailed Mrs. Brown about Mr. Webber, our favorite substitute teacher. We agree to take a few minutes from Reading Zone on Tuesday to send the emails. As new business, we discussed bullying which has become problem in our classroom. Mr. DeVicente and Mrs. Serafin actually came by before the meeting to discuss this with our class in Spanish. After we came to the following agreement: In private, tell an adult if your friend is being bullied. The adult will not tell the bully that you told. The minutes of our meeting are available here.
Fourth period had a very brief meeting this week. We discussed the problem of people not completing the required number of topics and segments in System 44 and Read 180. Our class came up with the following solution: If a teacher notices that we are not completing our topics/segments in System 44/Read 180, we agree to move our desks so the adults can see our screens, allow an adult to sit by us, and allow an adult to check our tabs at any time by using Control +H. The minutes of our meeting are available here.
Sixth period also held a very brief meeting this week. We discussed the problem of our class taking too long to complete the daily plans. In response, we made the following agreement: To solve the problem of transitions taking too long, we agree to make our transitions in silence. If we talk during passing period, Ms. Priester will give us reminders and/or talk to us outside. The minutes of our meeting are available here.
As we begin learning how to write summary paragraphs as part of Step Up to Writing, we are also working on building abilities to read informational texts. During the past two weeks, we read two news articles from NewsELA.
First, we read “Famous Speeches: Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream". After, we created Frayer Model vocabulary cards based on one or two unknown words. This was our first time creating the cards, so most students followed along as Ms. Priester created a sample.
Next, we read “There is a new White House family as Donald Trump becomes president.” This time, we had the options of create a vocabulary card of an unknown word:
The cards we created for the article about the presidential inauguration were graded. Last week, cards were returned so students could correct mistakes and announcements were made to remind students to submit late cares. Even with this support, quite a few students still need to practice creating vocabulary cards, as shown in the table below. Many students struggled with the synonym, antonym, and sentence sections. We will continue to review these elements in upcoming lessons.
As always, students can re-submit and redo the vocabulary cards for full credit. Also, as we create vocabulary cards for new articles, students can ask to have them graded to replace previous low scores.
Next, we will learn to identify and write the main ideas of an article as we work toward our goal:
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Pinacate Middle School
Perris Union HS District