Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Reason

I have had a wonderful week in 3rd grade.  The students' reading is really starting to take off!  I have to share some of my students' growth. The levels are Fountas and Pinnell.

Student JM: September Level E, November Level H
Student TL: September Level F, November Level I
Student JJ: September non-reader...below a Level A, November Level D

Student JJ asked me today if he could read to the class! He said,"come on boys and girls. Sit at the meeting area." The students all looked at me and I motioned for them to go ahead. He sat in my rocking chair and had 3 books with him. He asked the students after they sat down,"are you in your meeting place? Are you ready?" Then he held up each book and told them to raise their hands for the book they wanted him to read. He read all 3 books to the students.  He even asked them questions during the book. When some of the students yelled out to show the pictures he just kept on reading--just like I do!  It always makes my heart warm when students imitate me when they read.

I am so proud of Student JJ because balanced literacy has helped him become a reader. He always has books with him and he always knows when it is his shopping day. He loves getting new books and sharing them with his partner. I am looking forward to finishing my progress monitoring with my other students.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Can You Assess Jottings?

My school district uses a percentage value to determine grades.  My literacy teammate and I had to spend some time at the end of the Lucy Calkins Unit 2: Following Characters Into Meaning deciding how we would assess our students.  In the past we would give a common assessment comprised of a few passages with some comprehension questions at the end. They would receive a grade based on how many questions they got right. But within a balanced literacy framework our assessments would need to change. We had to ask, "how do we assess the students at their own levels using jottings we have been using throughout this unit?"

This is what we came up with as our Jottings Assessment:

We chose fiction passages that had strong characters.  We chose a 1st grade passage, 2nd grade passage, 3rd grade passage, and 4th grade passage to reflect our students' reading levels. The passages are from (next time though we plan to use the leveled passages from The Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project which we learned about after the assessment). Reading A to Z is also another good site to get leveled passages.

On the back of each passage was a sticky note labeled with the four strategies and skills the students had been using in their jottings during their fiction reading--envision, empathy, predicting, character traits. Each student read two passages and responded by writing their jottings on the sticky note templates.

Even my 3rd grade student who is at a Guided Reading Level A was able to be assessed. He dictated his responses to a scribe. My nonverbal student with cerebral palsey listened to her passage and pointed to picture responses that were recorded.

We created a rubric using Rubistar to score the students' jottings with a point value giving us our required percentage grade. Click here to download the rubric. We saved the entire assessment into student folders so that we could use them as talking points during parent conferences. The students really enjoyed the assessment. Afterwards they said it didn't seem like a test because they were just reading and jotting like always!