June 1, 2016

What Worked: Fluency and Goals AND a Birthday Giveaway!

Happy first day of June! And a very happy birthday to my buddy, Celeste over at The Education Highway! <3 There's a birthday giveaway going on over at her blog (I have it linked at the bottom of this post as well), so check it out and good luck!

It's Wednesday, so you know what that means!! What Worked! What Worked is a blogging series intended for reflection on this past year. I changed grade levels this year and had to make a lot of changes to my instruction to reach a different age group. This series is all about "what worked" in my classroom this year. Here's the schedule: (bloggers, feel free to link up your own reflections at the bottom of the post).

This week is all about Fluency and Goals. Second grade is a BIG year for reading fluency and because it was the first time I taught it, I needed to figure out a way to make it successful. If you do not concern yourself so much with fluency, this post is still beneficial to take a look at as it also discusses student-centered goal setting which can be used in any subject for any child.

Let's begin with Reading Fluency!

My district sets a words per minute (wpm) goal for each 9 weeks for Second Grade. The benefit of that is that students understand that once they hit that number, they've hit their goal. In order for it to be easy for the students to track themselves and to see easily every day was to make some sort of visual tracker. This was something that the other Second Grade teachers were on board with and we all made something visual for the kids to be able to monitor their own progress.

I made a "Fluency Flower."

Each student had a laminated bumblebee (clipart courtesy of Creative Clips, of course). By laminating them, they became dry erase. I did not put student names on the bumblebees. Students were in charge of knowing which number was their's. I felt like having names on them would broadcast the names of students to each other that were not making their goals. The way it worked was the wpm goal was in the center of the flower like a target. After fluency checks, we would update their bumblebee's number. If it exceeded the number in the middle of the flower, their bumblebee could be moved to the petals. If not, we kept the bumblebee off the flower but certainly noted that we got a lot closer. 

1) The visual target was in an easy to see spot in the classroom and students were very excited to work on their fluency goals to get their bee on the flower!
2) It helped with number sense, which was a surprising benefit. Students could easily see that if they got 70 wpm on an 80 wpm goal that they only needed 10 more words per minute. 10 more words per minute sounds a LOT better than saying, I need to get to 80.
3) Students did not feel ashamed or embarrassed about their fluency. Because there were no names on the bumblebees, students were internalizing their goal and keeping it with them to work on, which became far more engaging and inspiring to work on than impressing their friends.
4) I just used looped Scotch tape on each bumblebee and they lasted all year long! Any time a student needed to be moved, we just peeled him off the wall and plopped him on the flower!

Any time you have to track something, it always raises the question of how to organize the data. Organization has never been a strength of mine, but the little system I came up with WORKED wonders throughout the entire year. I snagged some of these number tabs from an office supply store and each student's fluency checks were in there (more on where I got the fluency checks from next).

1) It was all in one place (huge for me or I will lose it...)
2) The students knew their number and when they came up to my table to check their fluency, they knew where to tell me to go. Teamwork makes the dream work, people!
3) I kept these right with their goal folders (more on that later) and it made everything so easy to access.

There are many places to get fluency passages. TpT is a great resources as is Readworks.org. However, the reading curriculum (Reading Wonders) that is used by my district, has a fluency passage each week that goes along with the content we are reading about each week. The way I scheduled this is as follows. We had a "Fluency Check" once at the beginning of each month and once at the end with the same passage. I always chose the last week's passage because they got a little tougher as they went on and the students loved the challenge. The other passages I would send home as homework to track fluency each week. I also had an extra in a plastic sleeve in the Reading center that students could practice with a friend. I changed it out every week and kept the "Fluency Check" passages up with me.

1) These were free and already provided to me for the entire year. If you do not have a reading curriculum that offers these passages, check out Readworks.org. 
2) They were predictable. Students knew that the last week's passage goes to me (so that they don't memorize them when they practice) and each week they would get a new one to practice with.

Okay, let's talk about goal setting. I made an amazing purchase on TpT this past year on goal setting and it totally changed how my students worked to achieve them. 

It was created by What I Have Learned. I set it up a bit differently than she has it in her product and these were not sent home. I did a mini-lesson on goal setting and put it into practice as students worked at their own pace on their chosen goal. Each page to print in her product is for a different standard, but she has editable pages as well. Because of the way I structured it in my classroom, I simply printed out a blank goal sheet and we wrote in what each child wanted to work on. It was important to me that students choose their goals with guidance from me. I learned that students are more likely to achieve a goal they want to achieve than if I were to assign a goal to them. 

Because our one on one meetings needed to be short and because I wanted students to focus more on what the goal was and the things they could do to reach it, I did the writing. This particular student really wanted to read his first chapter book. A friend told him about the book but he was a little scared to read it because it was harder than anything he'd read before, even though it was on his reading level. We discussed why this was important to him, what he could do to help him, and we came up with a measurable outcome. That is very important to remember. Students will say "I want to get better at _____," but without a way to measure it, students won't know if they have gotten better or not. This specific measurable outcome was a score on an AR test for the book he wanted to read.

1) The arrow in the product page was very easy to see and understand.
2) Each blank allowed us to analyze why we wanted a goal and what the specifics of the goal were. There was no confusion!
3) This product page was completely editable and I was able to customize the bottom part to fit my class.

If you look at the bottom of the page above, you can see that there's a date area for "Next goal check." I did not get a picture of this because I ran out of pages for it! I had one of those giant desk calendars on my table where we did goal checks. After we met a goal, the students set another one and signed up for a date on the calendar. This took a lot of practice and guidance. Some students wanted to meet their goal in just and day and others didn't want to see me for another 2 months! So the guideline was that even if they didn't meet their goal, we needed to meet and talk about it at least every 2 weeks so that they don't forget what to do!

1) It kept me on a schedule. The kids were picking dates to come see me during centers and I knew ahead of time which folders to pull and get ready.
2) Students were able to keep track of how much time they had to try to achieve their goal. I usually had kids during centers and in the morning when they came in to class go to the calendar and check what day it was.
3) Kids loved using the colored pens to write their names in. It's the little things, sometimes.

I was SO pleased with the way this system worked for my class this year. My students became far more driven to achieve these goals that they set on their own than they were before I introduced it. Fluency scores spiked by the end of the year (a LOT of students put fluency as their goal for their folders and it helped tremendously). They REALLY wanted their bumblebee on that flower!!

Stop by next week for "What Worked" during the Math Block in my classroom!

If you'd like to link up your blog posts on today's topic (or any of the previous ones), here's what you need!

1) Must include the What Worked Schedule in each post that links back to Daisy Designs.
2) Links MUST be to BLOG POSTS relating to the topic of each week. NO PRODUCT LINKS. Product links and photos are totally okay within your blog post, but not as a link in the linky.
3) Check out the other bloggers' posts and comment on the one posted before yours.

And here are the images you'll need to get started!

And now! Onto the fun birthday giveaway! Happy birthday Celeste!

The product I donated to her giveaway is GREAT for the summer!

You can win this product in addition to a TON of others in Prize Pack #1 by entering below or by checking out her blog HERE. There are a total of FOUR Prize Packs, so head to her blog and enter them all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway