Starting with PS: After teaching for 25 years, I have realized we must jump through the hoops of assessments, and yes I was one that has fought most of them along the way. But the energy I spent on complaining I turned around this year and used it to gather key information about my students. It feels better to accept the assessment and learn how to use the information to build stronger teaching practices based on students fall data. Thanks to Gretchen Taylor @Learning with Joy for helping me shift my thinking about required assessments through our summer conversations.
Our district uses the DRA for our reading assessment. On a side note, the DRA is not one that I had a problem giving, but this year I focused on how to use the information better that I gathered. We also gave the MAP Reading test for the first time this year. I need to learn more about this assessment through PD this year. There are 3 parts in the DRA, which include: Reading Engagement, Fluency, and Comprehension.
A) READING ENGAGMENT: I will meet with 5 different groups of students to help them write their own reading goals based on their survey. Students need help with finding time to read, changing genres, keeping track of their reading, understanding vocabulary, and finally writing about their JR reading. The authenticity of students choosing their goals as well as letting the students know that I am part of their team in helping them grow as readers is an important message that I want to send to all my students early in the school year.
B) FLUENCY: This is an area of the DRA that I enjoy because I am able to read with each student. We discuss previewing a book as well as having them read the first few pages as I do a running record. Often it is the first time I hear students read aloud. Typically students who do not like reading aloud often do not volunteer the first few weeks of school. I now will have a small group of students who will be doing fluency checks with me. Monday we will meet and discuss a text, students will practice with a Wed. check in and finally a Friday comparison to Monday’s data.
C) COMPREHENSION: This is an area on the DRA that is clear-cut for small groups. It is broken into 5-7 different skills, and I used the check off list to know which students are instructional, independent etc. in these areas. I already know that I have 4-6 students reading above grade level and will need to be challenged early in the school year with choice of text as well as lifting their lessons to a higher level of thinking at the inferential and evaluative level.
As I reflect on the information I have gained from this one piece of evidence, I realize that I now know my students better as readers and I even learned about their writing. (Several students have forgotten the rules of capitalization and checking spelling which is the text). The most exciting time can now start in our classroom this week. Time to begin sharing wonderful mentor texts, building anchor charts that support our learning community, allowing students time to read and read some more. Bring on workshop I am ready!! How do you gather information on your students as readers the first several weeks of school? Leave me a comment-were you in the similar boat as I was?