Mrs. McDaniel's Memo
Friday, August 21st
Friday Behavior Sheets
Nut Free Classroom
This week in reading we began a class novel titled Sarah, Plain and Tall. This is a historical fiction book that will set up our Zionsville History lessons nicely. Students are reading together in partners and then working on different skills for each chapter. Some of the skills include; vocabulary, character traits, and comprehension. We will finish the book next week. After I get students' fall NWEA scores I will place students in small groups for guided reading.
Students will spend at least 20 minutes a day in silent reading. Students get to pick a book of their choosing and read quietly alone. We will soon being a response notebook where students write about what they have read.
Every Friday we focus on nonfiction. We will investigate the text structure and characteristics. Students will only read nonfiction during read to self. Research shows that a student's home library should be 50% nonfiction text. What does your child's book collection look like?
We are working on coming up with idea to write about. Students have made a list of ideas to write about and a life map using pictures. Students are building stamina with their writing. The goal for writer's workshop is to write a page a day. Soon we will begin a narrative writing unit.
Words Their Way
Why Do We Give the NWEA Assessment?
We often get questions from our families about the NWEA assessments which we give in the fall and spring of each year to our students in grades 1-8. NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) is a non-profit organization that has developed brief (40-50 question) assessments in math, reading, and language arts which teachers can give to assess their students’ knowledge/skills. At ZCS, we have chosen these standardized assessments to supplement our state-required spring ISTEP+ test for several reasons. First, NWEA gives us instant results that we can use to adjust instruction and group students for learning. The tests are computer-based and yield a score which the teacher can see in a report as soon as the student finishes. Second, unlike the ISTEP tests which assess only grade-level standards, NWEA has a bank of thousands of questions that ranging far beyond grade level. The test is “adaptive”—meaning that as a student takes it, the test adjusts the level of questions he/she is presented with based on correct/incorrect answers, so that a student is always working on questions at his/her most appropriate level of difficulty—rather than “one size fits all” questions. Also, as a high-performing school district, we have many students learning and working far beyond their grade level standards. NWEA assessments allow us to see their level of performance and compare it (and their growth from fall to spring) to that of similarly-abled peers nationally. Finally, NWEA is based on one large bank of questions (not different tests divided by grade levels). Thus, the score a student receives each time he/she takes the test can be compared from fall to spring and year to year—producing a graph of a student’s growth over time (a lot like the way we mark a child’s height on a door in our home as he/she grows taller). Even when a student has a one-time drop in a test score, we are still able to see the whole pattern of his/her emerging growth as a learner. Although we typically give the tests in fall, spring and optionally in the middle of the school year, NWEA can be given as often as a teacher wants in order to monitor progress in a goal area. For all these reasons, we are glad to be able to gather this data (and the more specific information it gives us about strengths and areas of challenge) to help us plan learning experiences for our students. Please know that your child’s NWEA scores are available in MISI/PEP (our online data storage program) for you to see any time you desire. Scores for most recent tests will typically be added to your child’s data when our testing window closes. The dates for all district assessment windows are available on our ZCS website at this link: http://www.zcs.k12.in.us/sites/default/files/Documents/Testing_Schedule.pdf
Our class schedule for NWEA is below:
Reading- Thursday the 27th at 10:25
Math- Friday the 28th at 10:25
Language- Monday the 31st at 10:25
Parent Cirriculum Night
Don't forget to turn in your child's field trip permission form for our September 10th trip to the zoo.
Also, you will want to mark your calendars for a very important parent/student meeting that will kick-off our specialty animal project. This meeting will be held right after we return from our zoo trip. Our hope is to begin right at 2:00. If you have never been through the third grade specialty project, I highly recommend you attend.