I am so excited to have Mrs. Sullenger in our class as a student teacher! I've never had one before, and feel so privileged to have her. She is from our city and was already familiar with some of the children and our school. She will be with us for the next three months, learning how to be a teacher. In a few weeks she will be the full time teacher - planning and executing lessons all on her own. Student teaching is always such an exciting time, and I hope our class can help prepare her even more for the real world of teaching!
I've never really been a fan of Accelerated Reader (AR) in first grade, but we are encouraged to use it. So, if any of you great teachers out there have some ideas or ways you incorporate AR in your young classroom, please let me know! I typically start setting goals and explaining it to our class in January. Some of the high children do it sooner for enrichment, but now our whole class has their own goals to work on for the rest of first grade. Each child set their own goal of how many points they thought they could get by the end of the year. I tried to simplify it for them by asking them how many books they thought they could read/test on each week. A few set really high goals, and after the first week we decided to change them. I tried to explain to them that we want to have goals that are achievable. We reward students based on the percent of their goal achieved, not just by high amounts of points.
I try to schedule about two 20-minute sessions each week of strictly AR time. During this time, the children are to read books and take tests. I spend this time reading with some of the lower children and helping them with their tests. In first grade, I feel like it is important for them to look back in the story to find the answers to the questions. In older grades, however, they are typically not able to use their books.
Mrs. Sullenger made this bulletin board as a way of displaying our class' AR progress.
At the end of each week or so, we will move the fish to the child's current percent of goal. For example, once they have reached 10% of their goal, they will be moved to the bubble with the 10 in it. This will be a fun, visual way for the children to monitor their progress.
I have also noticed that most children need more practice working with Math Facts. There is a great program on the district website to help children master these facts. The directions for it, as well as taking AR tests at home are found below.
Parents, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about any of these changes. Thank you for all your support!
Directions for accessing Accelerated Reader (AR) or Math Facts in a Flash:
1. Go to the district website and then click on Renaissance Place on the left under Family Resources Links.
2. Once you are there you need to click on Student. Your child will either need to remember his/her number, or you can contact me to get their student number. This number you use for their User ID, and then the password is their initials.
3. From this point, you can enter AR or Math Facts. Your child should know what to do from here.