Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Peek at the Week Ahead!

Today, I'm linking up with Jennifer @ Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to give you a peek at my week!  I figure if I write about what I'll be doing for the week, it will help to give a framework when I go back and explain a lesson more in depth :) This is in contrast with how I *have* been doing it lately...and I want to make that better.

Tomorrow, we are heading into Day 3 of NWEA MAP testing.  Several years ago, when we were still in our blocked schedule/8 period day model with 80 minutes every other day with our classes, we only needed one day for MAP testing.  This is our third year with a 6 period/50 mn per class model, and we have been running testing on two class days.  Last year, our testing coordinator had a massive amount of kids for who had either been absent or who were very thorough test she planned three class days for us this year.  We started on Thursday and are finishing tomorrow.  I will have kids working on it tomorrow, because I had each class meet in my room instead of the computer lab, and I collected an assignment and kind of dawdled on Thursday knowing we had lots of time.  I most definitely could do it in two (and have done so in the past two years) & I usually didn't have anyone on the "still testing list" except for kids who had been absent.

This is an aside from what we are doing this week, but I'm wondering what y'all think of MAP testing (if you give it) vs your state tests.  I prefer the NWEA MAP test to our MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) mainly because it shows the students' growth over a number of years regardless of whether they struggle or excel.  They don't just learn how they are doing vs their peers; they learn how they are doing vs themselves.  

And I give them kudos for sitting so patiently and diligently and completing the MAP test.  Those passages look long and tenuous (I don't read them...just when I am doing the laps to see how far they are!) and I rarely have students complain about it.  I very clearly send them the message that I want them to try their hardest, etc...that they should see this as an opportunity to see how they are doing in reading comprehension vs as something that they "have to do." 

The hard thing now is that we don't do spring testing anymore, so this is the last time students in our district take the MAP test unless they are in Strategic Reading.  When MCAs for Math went online, the MAP got ousted from the computer lab.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you all think of MAP testing...

On to Tuesday.  Tuesday, I'm prepping students on Socratic Seminars for the first time this year!  We had an awesome time with these last year (and I fully thank my colleagues bc without them I totally wouldn't have made the leap into this kind of activity.)  Last week on Monday and Tuesday we did a close reading of Salvador, Late or Early by Sandra Cisneros. I'll explain that a different time, though.  Then Wednesday I was at the district office for co-teaching, but my lovely sub Kathryn facilitated a reading of Children Raising Children from She Knows Parenting.  They did some coding and thinking about the pros and cons.  We will pick it back up Tuesday!  Our Socratic Seminar discussion will focus on both Salvador and the article.

First, I'll go over what a Socratic Seminar is (ppt), what sentence starters are helpful, and how we run them. Carly made a Socratic Sem prep sheet for this story with food for thought like whether or not siblings should get paid for babysitting siblings or if it is just family duty. The kids will have time to fill in their thoughts as well as textual evidence, and then well have our first try at the discussion. I'll post photos from the prep sheets, etc. later in the week.

Wednesday, I'll introduce the culminating project/assignment for the past five weeks (learning skills and routines of 7th grade English through literature.)  It's a picture book project that Carly and I cooked up this summer. They will be in groups of three or four, and they have a choice of 10 different picture books. Depending on they one they choose, they have a particular skill to focus on and a particular routine to focus on.  Again, I'll post photos and explain more as the week moves forward.

That's all for now.  Next week at this time, I'll be heading into Elements of Fiction, which will be like returning to an old friend after these long (but fulfilling) weeks with new and repurposed curriculum!!  

Whew!  Have a great week everyone!  Michelle

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