My updated blog site should be up and running next week-until then, I am unable to post pictures and graphics. I am excited for it to be done soon!
“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering
Last year, I did a series on teaching the six syllable types. Teaching the six syllable types is a phonics-based approach to teaching decoding and encoding (reading and spelling). Research shows that a phonics-based approach is the best approach for most students, especially those with a specific learning disability in reading (aka dyslexia).
I made this sheet for easy reference. I plan to print and laminate, so my students can refer to it. I can give the cue, “It’s a closed syllable,” and students can refresh their memory. They need, of course, to be thoroughly taught first.
I like to recommend good and useful books, but this month I am recommending a video. The video is called “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” (available on Netflix and elsewhere).
Minimalism is basically a lifestyle approach where you minimize the excess things in your life, and try to be purposeful in your consumption. Winter break was a great time for me to go through my things, and give away many of the things I had accumulated. All together, I have given away over 500 things, and I am still going! (This is coming from someone who has little clutter and is organized by nature–as most teachers are.)
I did this by doing a minimalism challenge: give away one thing on day one, two things on day two, three things on day three, and so on. By the time you are done you will have given away close to 500 things.
People have asked me where I donate. My go-to places are: the Arc (benefits people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and a rescue mission that focuses on helping get people back on track from being homeless. I try to give high quality things and clothes that will be a blessing. I, in turn, feel happy and relieved to have less stuff in my life.
Even if you have no desire to become a minimalist, I think you will benefit from watching the video. The documentary approaches the topic from many different viewpoints. It also takes a look at advertising, and how we are constantly being bombarded through technology. It’s quite fascinating.
We have been looking at data tracking and student growth. In Part I, we looked at the importance of a good data tracking system, and in Part II, we discussed three reading assessments I recommend.
Today, we will be looking at recording data. There are many ways you can record data, but for me, a good old fashioned spreadsheet works best. If you are a teacher who collaborate with other teachers or shares students, I recommend using Google Sheets. This way, you will both have direct access to data.
Here is how I approach data collection:
Create a spreadsheet and make separate pages for each assessment.
On the first page you create, list student names along left column.
Copy and paste student list to each new assessment page.
Decide how you want to label columns. For example, for Dibels assessment (I talk about this in Part II), have columns for: Fall Words Per Minute, Fall Error Medium, and then do the same for winter and spring.
Enter score for each student.
This is a very basic description of data collection. Each teacher will discover what works best once they start a systematic data system. Some teachers prefer a paper chart in a binder; others learn to customize their charts, color code, and make graphs. There are many ways to approach data collection. The important thing is to have the data, and have it organized and readily accessible.