Sunday, February 7, 2016

Valentine's Day
We will celebrate on Friday morning, February 12.  Our treat committee is bringing healthy snacks and one sweet.  We are also visiting the Keystone Care Center that morning to deliver Valentine cards to the residents.  Because of lack of space in our classroom for storing them, I'm not having students bring a box to decorate.  Instead, we will decorate our bookboxes and collect our Valentines in them.  There is a 12:00 dismiss that our earlier than the usual 1:00 dismiss.

Goal Setting with Students
I met with almost all students last Thursday and Friday to set goals for the end of the year in the areas of reading, math, and writing (I still have 3 more to meet with).  I enjoy the opportunity of an uninterrupted visit alone with each student!  Research shows that students who set goals and receive feedback from the teacher make biggest gains in school.  We've started keeping data binder portfolios containing graphs of our assessments so each student can track their own progress.  I'll share these binders with parents at conferences in March.

After analyzing the data, my biggest concern is low fluency (rate of reading) for 14 of my 26 students. The good news is that every student's fluency rate has increased since the beginning of the year!  But some are still below the winter proficiency number of 87 words per minute.  By the end of the year, 2nd graders are expected to read 105 words per minute.  We are working hard with our instruction to help kids close the gap, but I'm afraid it won't happen without additional help from home.  Repeated reading of text at an easy level and practice reading in phrases instead of word-by-word are two things that can be done at home.  I sent home a white booklet containing fluency phrases with those students who need to practice.  If you're not using it yet, please begin!  Or let me know if you need another copy.  Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Below are the graphs I shared last week of our 2nd grade fluency (CBM) and aReading (comphrehension) scores.  If you haven't already, send me an email asking for your child's number if you'd like to see where they stand in comparison to others in their grade.

Reading Strategies & Skills
Each of the 10 units in our reading curriculum has strategies and skills that we learn, model, practice, and assess for the 3 week duration of the unit.  Tomorrow we begin the third week of Unit 6 strategies, which are Fix Up Monitoring and Summarizing Information.  

Your child should be able to tell you that Fix Up Monitoring is what a reader does when they know they've made a mistake, or come to an unknown word.  They "fix it up" by looking at word parts, using picture clues, read on or reread the sentence, and continue to monitor (think) until the reading makes sense.  Summarizing is a difficult skill to acquire!  We talk about being able to choose the most important details, then state them in a sentence or two, in your own words.  Ask your child about these terms and see if he/she is familiar with them!  You can also use these terms and descriptions when listening to your child read.

Dates on Deck
Friday, February 12  Valentine Party and 12:00 dismiss
Monday, February 15  No School - Professional Development
Wednesday, March 2  1:00 dismiss
Monday & Tuesday, March 14 & 15  Parent Teacher Conferences
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, March 16-18  Spring Break

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