Sunday Catch-up...a little of everything!

Yes...I am still a week behind blogging with The Applicious Teacher!  Here is a quick catch up on Data Collection and Intervention.  I think they go hand in hand so this is PERFECT!
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 I am all about the data in my classroom.  We use DIBELS for reading and GALILEO for math as district assessments.  Honestly....if I asked myself if my kiddos scores were the most important thing I would say NO!  In my classroom we read to love reading and we explore to learn new exciting things.  That's what keeps us going!  HOWEVER....I am pretty competitive so if you give me a goal you know I am going to shoot for it...big time!

My first year teaching first grade I had NO IDEA how difficult it would be to reach our end of the year goals.  My kiddos were so good (seriously...soooo good) I thought they were perfect at everything.  Don't get me wrong, they were!  However, we could have done so much better if I had known how to read my data at the beginning of the year! 

My second year in first grade I poured over my beginning of the year data and I knew what to look for.  Surprise, surprise!  It made all the difference!  I use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of my kids and I progress monitor EVERY week.  The norm is to do this every 2 weeks, but I insist it should be done weekly. 

But HOW do you do this?  It's difficult to have that one on one time in a class full of 24 1st graders.  My secret is FUN FRIDAY CENTERS!  To be totally truthful, I started these because a parent told me her daughter was "bored" at school because we never did anything fun.  Challenge. accepted.  I whipped out the best centers I could dream up for Friday so we could finally have some fun.  The kids loved it.  I realized they were so engaged I could call them up one at a time and read with them.  It works like a charm!  Here are some examples of what I use for FUN FRIDAY CENTERS (aka, get my testing in time).

1.  Watercolor (every week...they love it!)


I use these little beauties from Lakeshore to keep the mess under control.  

2.  Math Manipulatives.  One of my tables is always math manipulatives.  Do you have any idea how much our kiddos want to just "play" with these?  My kids beg to make pictures with the pattern blocks.  I also add in math skills we've been working on for the week, but it has to be fun!

3.  Starfall....oh how I love thee.  We do not get a lot of computer time (sad face) because we don't have a computer lab and we only have 2 computers in our room.  I'm a lucky duck and have a neighbor that will share with me.  So with my laptop and her 2 I can put 5 kids through a center at a time.  This is a day they can explore and do whatever they want within Starfall and they love it.  I thought I was the smartest teacher in the world when I discovered Starfall when I taught Kindergarten 7 years ago, but I think everyone knows about it now!  If you have never used this website, go check it out!

4.  Mimio.  Instead of a Smartboard, I have a Mimio that makes my board just like a Smartboard.  I use this to have kids write sight words, draw a group picture, or play a math game on Turtle Diary. It's a great team building activity.  

So these are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling.  I add in things as needed to keep them excited but most importantly they are always independent centers.  They rely on me for NOTHING.  That way I can spend quality time with each one of them and keep track of their progress.  I use this information to plan intervention during our Daily 5 time or in after school tutoring. 

Ok, that's how I handle my Data Collection and Intervention.  Well, not really, but I wanted to share my strategy for how I get to test them each week.  I think it's that important! 

I also have a little more catching up to do....  

I am happy to be helping out the Sassy Classroom in her Blog Grand Opening.  You can enter to win lots of back to school goodies by visiting The Sassy Classroom and entering!
You can win my Back to School Nametags.   Here is a little shameless promotion....I created these little goodies at the end of the year last year after a lot of thought.  I was really trying to make a resource friendly nametag that put high frequency words, numbers, and concepts at their fingertips.  If their tables were bigger I would have included more!  Here is a little sneak peek!
Funky robots....
Seriously, they look so good printed out and laminated!

I also included cute kids....
 And some sassy chevron....
In each style there are 5 different nametags.  As your kiddos become experts with the listed sight words you can switch them out for more difficult sight words.  I am hoping sure this will help us become better readers and writers!  If you want to take a better look you can check them out in my store by clicking here!

I think I'm all caught up now.  I have been meeting with my parents today/tomorrow and teacher's report back on Thursday.  My kiddos will be here next Tuesday!  I'm kind of excited :) Ok, really excited.  Until my next catch up session..
Happy Teaching! Heather