Analyzing Data and Driving Instruction & Student Engagement

Data-Analysis-Model_Complete_large2nd Qtr assessments are in and there’s some data to go through. What I’m looking for here are trends in student performance and item analysis. Conversations with teachers are centered on What instructional strategies were being used and what do we need to do differently to get better results. The district is pushing the research-based strategy of Summarizing to improve literacy. Our 4th grade teachers have been trained, and I am monitoring it’s implementation. There’s also information about focusing on the “Tested 7”. Seven Reading Comprehension Strategies?
1. Activating background knowledge to make connections between new and known information. In many classrooms, this instruction is divided into three categories of connection as defined by Colleen Buddy – text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world (Buddy quoted in Keene and Zimmerman, 2007).

2. Questioning the text. Proficient readers are always asking questions while they read. Sticky notes (post-its) have become ubiquitous in classrooms in part because they are such a useful tool for teaching students to stop, mark text, and note questions as they read.

3. Drawing inferences. Proficient readers use their prior knowledge about a topic and the information they have gleaned in the text thus far to make predictions about what might happen next. When teachers demonstrate or model their reading processes for students through think-alouds, they often stop and predict what will happen next to show how inferring is essential for comprehending text.

4. Determining importance. In the sea of words that is any text, readers must continually sort through and prioritize information. Teachers often assist readers in analyzing everything from text features in nonfiction text like bullets and headings, to verbal cues in novels like strong verbs. Looking for these clues can help readers sift through the relative value of different bits of information in texts.

5. Creating mental images. Readers are constantly creating mind pictures as they read, visualizing action, characters, or themes. Teachers are using picture books with students of all ages, not necessarily because they are easy to read, but because the lush and sophisticated art in these books can be a great bridge for helping students see how words and images connect in meaning-making.

6. Repairing understanding when meaning breaks down. Proficient readers don’t just plow ahead through text when it doesn’t make sense – they stop and use “fix-up” strategies to restore their understanding. One of the most important fix-up tools is rereading, with teachers demonstrating to students a variety of ways to reread text in order to repair meaning.

7. Synthesizing information. Synthesis is the most sophisticated of the comprehension strategies, combining elements of connecting, questioning, and inferring. With this strategy, students move from making meaning of the text, to integrating their new understanding into their lives and world view.

Goal Achieved 80+ % Proficiency!

Our 4th qtr end of grading testing results indicate 80+ % of our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are proficient. That may not be a big deal to some school leaders, but it is to us. We are a urban magnet school with 80+ percent of our student receiving free or reduced lunch. What we just accomplished kills the notion that poor students cannot learn. What it took was innovative teaching & learning combined with focused leadership, dedication and high expectations for all. Now we begin a new quest, The Common Core. I am excited as this will include more rigor and relevance. We will also implement a heavy dose of tech integration, to promote and demonstrate those higher order thinking skills. Sorry for the delay in post, but I will try to update more frequently. A lot going on, you know I’m sure. Feel free to leave a comment!

Still Winning!

Leadership Excellence Award to R.N. Harris administrative team that achieved the highest percentage of Scorecard Growth Goals for 2010-11. The school received a check from the Business Advisory Council for $2,500 for leadership development.
Pictured:R.N Harris Elementary Integrated Arts and Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School, with Principal Carolyn Pugh and Assistant Principal Adriese Williams.
Harris surpassed all but one of their growth goals in reading and math, made High Growth on the ABCs and met 100% of their AYP goals. RN Harris’s overall percentage of goals met was 70.8 percent. Read more here

Week 5, Molding & Shaping…

School is in full swing, and teachers and students are settling into routines. Our district is using the AFL framework (Assessment for Learning) which helps helps teachers and administrators monitor & track student achievement. PLC‘s are a big part of AFL, so I decided to share two PLC meetings conducted this week to give some insight and gather some feedback. You will hear our Instructional Facilitator, Catherine Long, our 4th, 3rd Grade Teachers ,EC Teacher and myself. Ms.Pugh is our Principal at RN Harris.

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4th Qtr Push…

Our last benchmark scores were encouraging, rumor has it our school is leading the district in proficiency! Our remediation plans are in place and we start today. 5 weeks left before testing, the race is on. Our goal is 80% or higher. We have regrouped students, issued double doses of curriculum where our students have shown weaknesses. Study Island, Accelerated Reader, Google docs and plain old fashion teaching with practice and repetition should do the trick. We have several observations to do to finish out the year, in addition to a core knowledge fair next month. Will keep you posted!