We do A LOT of baking at my house in December. Just today we had our cookie-baking marathon for our annual Christmas Cookie gift boxes. A few years ago my husband and I started putting these together for our closest friends and family as a way to share something warm with everyone on a modest budget. The time and love that goes into these boxes far exceeds their cash value! Our three year old loves to cook, and wanted to help as much as possible. He also understands, as every clever little preschooler does, that the longer you hang around the treats the more likely you are to get samples!
Does this look like a developmentally appropriate play area? It’s what I like to call an “organic” play area; it happens when kids are allowed to play freely without adult intervention (a.k.a. they have been inside for days and mom’s busy). Yes, I have a degree in Child Development, a Teacher Certificate, and twelve plus years of experience teaching but my kids don’t know that; and they don’t seem to be impressed with my credentials. In theory, I know how to deal with kids and things should go pretty smoothly most of the time, right? This idea gave me a lot of anxiety my first years teaching and even at home, but I have since learned that life doesn’t care about your credentials either.
First of all, Thank you for the feedback! If you follow my work on Teacherspayteachers.com, or have personally contacted me about my work, then you already know that I take your suggestions seriously! I try to make revisions or meet requests as often as possible. Based on some feedback I have made some revisions to all of the Marzano Scales Posters for Math and ELA. If you’ve already purchased them, then be sure to download the revised .pdf file from your “My Purchases” page on TpT. If you haven’t purchased them yet, then here’s what you can expect…
Each set of Posters contains a complete set of scales aligned to all of the Common Core standards for each subject. That means every domain of Math for that grade level, as well as every domain of English Language Arts including Reading Literature (RL), Reading Informational Text (RI), Reading Foundational Skills (RF), Writing (W), Speaking and Listening (SL), and Language (L) all bundled together. The ELA sets also include the 6-Traits +1 of Writing (W) because my district as well as many others assess student work in this way. You may find it helpful to have. Most States’ Standards are aligned to Common Core even if they are named something else, such as “College and Career Readiness..etc. “. If you’re not sure if your State’s standard’s align to the original Common Core document, check this website, Standards in Your State. The U.S. map will give you a quick visual.
Every set of posters comes with a color version and a black and white copy for easier and cheaper printing. The resolution of the posters are best printed at a standard 8.5 x 11 inch size, but can be shrunk or enlarged for classroom presentations, parent newsletters, or student hand-outs.
If you’re anything like me, you like to revise things to suit your own classroom. While the text I wrote is protected under copyright, the poster graphics are included in a blank text form with editable form fields so you can write your own and have them formatted in a smilier way to the other posters in the set. Every domain has it’s own color and black and white editable poster pages in the pdf file.
This is the time of year that I LOVE doing projects!! It can be a nice break from the constant demands of academic thinking, but it is also hard for me to justify the classroom time unless I can connect it to some other learning. I loved the classic Thanksgiving projects that are so popular and easy! Just write a few things you’re thankful for on some colored leaves and tack them on the wall in a tree-formation. This project lost some steam with me over the years because I realized that we never really looked at it after we put the leaves up. I didn’t really see any changes in my students’ attitudes either. This year I wanted to do something different- something that would help kids to increase their emotional IQ – Thinking Thankfully!
When I taught first grade I used to have a “positive-thinking train” and a “negative-thinking train” posted on a wall or bulletin board. The positive-thinking train cars had positive thoughts to counter every negative thought on the negative-thinking train. The positive-thinking train went uphill while the negative thinking train went downhill in the opposite direction. I liked the visual analogy of positive thinking taking you higher and negative thinking bringing you down. I applied this idea to a thanksgiving project which you could do a couple of different ways. Just modify it to your liking!
You will need colored paper, scissors, pencils; and possibly glue, a hole punch, pipe-cleaners, binder rings, fasteners or paper clips. Die cut several leaves for each student or have them cut their own (older kids). There are tons of free leaf outlines online that you can either print on colored paper or have students decorate themselves.
The project basically consists of writing opposite thoughts (positive and negative) on opposite sides of each leaf so that students can learn to change negative thoughts into a positive association. Some common examples are below.
Do you get a bit frazzled preparing for conferences? Parents have a million questions and you have 10-15 minutes to explain 10-20 weeks of progress. I used to stress about where to begin the conversation. Then I figured out how to make it visual so I had less explaining to do. Read more to see how I organized my student portfolios to show growth and mastery of Learning Goals and Scales. If you’re evaluated using iObservations or the Marzano Framework, this will support your Domain 1 requirement.
This bit of feedback from Tonya who is using the 4th Grade Common Core Math Assessment with Learning Goals and Scales, just reminded of those days when I sat through 30 plus conferences trying to explain in 10-15 minutes what we’d been working on for the last 5 months, and how their child was doing. Until I started using my Student Portfolios I didn’t have a simple tool to help you communicate student progress with students, parents, administrators, and other teachers.
Six years ago I was working at a Title I elementary school as a gifted resource teacher 75% of the time, and a reading interventionist 25% of the time. Talk about different spectrums! Luckily for me I worked with small groups, but since my students came from five different grade levels, and there were at least 3 teachers for every grade level, communication meant a lot of data and meetings! Ugh. I’m one of those weird teachers that found staff meetings to be fun because I got to talk to other teachers! But, data meetings – definitely not fun. Lots of numbers next to each name, but no examples of student work to help understand the fine details that could shed light on why each child was performing at their own level. It seems that with all of the inclusion, clustering, interventions, and enrichment programs being implemented, most classroom teachers have a whole team of co-workers to share students with. This means that communicating about student progress doesn’t just happen a few times a year, but possibly every week!
How nice would it be to have one organized place to display student performance data that explains itself! The Math Assessments with Learning Goals and Scales plus the free Student Portfolio Pages that go with each grade level, were created to be a visual tracking aid for documenting student progress in a really simple and consistent way. Click on the video link below to flip through the 4th Grade Portfolio Sample that Tonya used for parent-teacher conferences. Visit my FREEBIES page to try them out for yourself first. Grades 3-8 are available now. Check out the work samples below!
Tracking Marzano scales is not as hard if you have a simple visual system for documenting student progress! Student Portfolios make it easy! Tracking student progress used to be the teacher’s job. Research has shown that students make more progress and can take ownership of their learning when they track their own progress. How does that work and who has time to fit one more routine into the classroom?
When I taught a multi-age class, it seemed daunting to have to track progress from pre-assessment to post-assessment. Where was I going to put all of these papers, how was I going to keep track of them, and how could I give my students access to them as well? Well, I like to keep things simple and visual or I will never remember to follow through with it! So I created a simple form where my students could color in boxes to show their pre- and post-assessment mastery for each scale.
The pages work as binder dividers. The front side has the coloring pages that we do as soon as I pre-assess the kids. The pre-assessment scores are not “grades” that count towards their average, but just starting places.
The kids can then write goals on the back side. Goal-writing is hard at first, so I give my students prompts. You can find these FREE pages for elementary and middle school students at my TpT store. Each document includes prompts to get the kids started. Early elementary students can start by writing one goal per cluster.
After you teach your units and give the kids their post-assessments, then the grades count! I like to color code things, so I have them color the post assessment results differently so their progress stands out. Yes! Sometimes kid’s learning is not linear and they will not have mastered the levels in order. The important thing is to document their starting and ending places honestly and provide instruction where necessary to get everyone to at least a level 3 by the end of the year. After the post-tests are scored, the grades go into my grade book, and the pages are returned to the students so they can see how they did. They use their graded test to color their final box, write their reflection, then file their paper away in the binder. If your students struggle with written reflections, they can simple circle one statement to indicate their progress. “I…reached my goal!” “I…made progress.” “I’m still working on this.” Easy!
For examples of Assessments that make the scoring process easier, visit Mrs. L’s Leveled Learning FREEBIES or TpT Store.
I kept their binders along a counter top in the back of the room. All of the graded quizzes, tests, and math projects would be filed behind each page for that math cluster. I liked that the binders were organized, private for each student, and accessible whenever students wanted to review the expectations or see where they were. The binders were really helpful for parent conferences, and showing student progress for those teacher evaluations! 🙂
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