Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Little Good News

Nine more students can now reach the 7th grade fluency benchmark of 180 words per minute on grade level text. The class average has increased by 15 wpm over the last two months.

Saturday Academy went well. This time I targeted my 12 best writers, brought em and hit em up with the ol' response to literature. The 12 best writers are, surprise, intensely focused students and working with them in isolation was like getting behind the wheel of a BMW after put-putting around in a Yugo. They're going to be my response to literature captains over the next few weeks. I'm going to give them three kids each to lead, while I take the rest. Eleven instructional days until the writing exam. Oh man.

Before brunch I gave my 3-4-5 kids their final High Point exams back with "promotion to High Point C" certificates attached. All but one made it, even E., who is going to win come-back player of the year, a kid who has gone from "I ain't doing it; you can't make me," to "Is this good?" and "Look! I did my reading log." A certain amount of craziness ensued with the "promotion," kids fist-pounding, and woo-hooing, and hugging, and when brunch came running up to their math teacher, social studies teacher, and POY to share the good news. "I'm going to High Point C!"

I watch the whole thing a little bemused, partly because I had no idea I had instilled/they had developed such a level of engagement into the prospect of succeeding at High Point, but also because I don't really like this program, and feel a little bummed that so much emotional-academic capital has been committed in that direction. Like the kid who knows exactly what his CST-proficiency levels are, there's this lurking sense that we should be motivating toward something bigger, grander, longer-lasting. But until I can figure out what that is, I'll certainly take this.


Blogger Ms. M said...

What specifically have you been doing to increase reading fluency. I have also been working on this with my students so it would be nice to hear some other ideas for working on fluency.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Journal Freak said...

I hope you don't mind, but I put a link to your blog on my blog. If you want me to remove it, please let me know, and I will (right away). Thanks.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Johanna said...

You are freakin' amazing. Period.

6:52 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Link away, journal freak, link away.

Thanks Johanna. I'm not sure how right you are about all that, but thanks.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel your pleasure/pain. In Nashville, the program is called "Language!", but it's basically the same thing. Writing assessment scores, TCAP scores and ORF scores must converge in an almost mathematically impossible way to exit them, these children who do NOT need this program. I hate to teach to the tests, but it certainly is motivating for them. The only consolation is that they ARE learning, even if they don't recognize it yet.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Since I'm not a teacher, the sentence below from "anonymous" is incomprehensible to me, but it sure is a perfect example of the way today's educational climate leads us to think:
Writing assessment scores, TCAP scores and ORF scores must converge in an almost mathematically impossible way to exit them, these children who do NOT need this program

11:41 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Ms. M,

I want to post on this in a few days...

8:04 PM  

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