Archive for August, 2008
All grades took their STAR tests the 2nd week of school, 1st week in the lab. We moved our STAR and AR testing to the web-based Renaissance Place. This meant new user names for the students, but their password remained the same. I created a desktop shortcut directly to the website for them. I demonstrated the log-in process on the SMARTboard by using an actual student log-in. I also printed out the icon enlarged so they would know exactly what to look for.
2nd-5th graders were able to browse to the site, log in, and get started with very few problems. However, first graders proved to be quite a challenge. It normally takes me 2 weeks in order to see all 1st graders since each class comes every other week. In order for everyone to begin on the same page next week, I decided to cram the Week 1 classes in with Week 2. For the classes who came the first part of the week, I explained the site to them, did an example question with them, and showed them which keys to use on the keyboard (I recommended the number pad), and went over their passwords (their initials). Then I had everyone move to a computer where I had them pull up the site, enter in their password, and wait on me to come type in their username. Some of the first grade teachers stayed to help. Next year I will ask that they all stay the entire time to assist and to also explain the testing procedure before they come to the lab to save on time. I only have first grade for 30 minutes, so it was all very rushed. Toward the end of the week, I realized that getting the students logged in before their arrival to the lab sped up the process, and I will definitely take this route next year.
Once they finished their test, I let 2nd-5th grade either come back to the carpet and watch The Magic School Bus Gets Programmed from United Streaming or play on Tux Paint.
Today was the first day back for teachers. We started out with meetings geared more toward classroom teachers, along with administrative information. This was my first “first day” so I wasn’t sure exactly what would be going on. I heard a lot of “Welcome Back!”s from the teachers who hadn’t seen me since last year. After the meetings, 3-5 came into the lab for a training session on Renaissance Place which is the web-based program taking the place of Accelerated Reader. The training started out so slow with the presenter beginning the presentation as if we were totally new to Accelerated Reader when in fact the teachers have been using it for years. Once we got going the session was very informative for the teachers. Friday K-2 will train so it should go much smoother now that the kinks were worked out today.
After the training (2.5 hrs!), we went to lunch in the cafeteria to eat a wonderful lunch prepared by our PTA. They had it decorated in a newspaper theme which was really cute, and we had hotdogs (they had a cute little hot dog machine, too). Then it was back to another 1 hour meeting and then dismissal. Tomorrow should be more calm.
The lab has taken shape and I plan to put my final pictures on my class blog this weekend. I’ve been so busy the last week getting things made and done. I still have to do outside my front door and a few odds and ends things. Next week the students will start back. I will be conducting STAR testing on Tuesday and Wednesday for all grades. It should be quite hectic seeing so many students in a 2 day period, but hopefully it won’t take longer than 20 minutes per class.
So, more later.