Tuesday, January 8, 2013

AR Success

My school uses the AR (Accelerated Reader) program as a tool to get kids reading. It doesn't count as a grade, but I try to promote it as much as possible to ensure my students are actually reading. Students take what is called a STAR test at the beginning of each grading period, to assess their current reading level. Using those results, there is a scale I use to set a point goal for each student. Students have 9 weeks to read books (on their instructional reading level), take quizzes online, and ultimately reach their point goal, with an accuracy of 85% or higher.

As most things go, I tend to get busy (with life in general) and not print out a roster telling me how many points my students have earned for weeks at a time. I find it being the 7th week in and some kids still haven't taken one single AR test. No bueno! I came up with a very simple solution for this:

How it works:

Each student has their own clip and begins at the bottom of the chart every Monday. (The 2 red clips are the same as the others, only I ran out!) They get to move their clip everytime they score an 85% or higher on an AR test, for each book they read. Yesterday was the first day I used the clip system, and already today 4 students told me, "Mrs. Lopez! I have taken 4 quizzes! Where do I put my clip?" To which I responded, "Um... tomorrow we'll add another section for 4 or more quizzes!" They definitely surpassed my expectations! This is a very simple, yet VISUAL way for me to see who has and has not taken a test. It's a quick way to look at the students at the bottom of the chart and throw some encouragement their way, or ship them off to the library!


I created (slash  stole borrowed from my wonderful teammate!) a notebook for students to record their testing data. Yes, I could technically sit down on the computer, log in to AR, and print these results, but again--the time thing! Using this notebook, each student has their own page where they track their own results. There is a space at the top of each page for students to record their 9-week goal and which grading period we are in. Also, students meet with me to discuss weekly goals in order to meet their final goals.

Let's celebrate!

At the end of each grading period we have grade level celebrations for those students who did meet their goals. Usually it's a half-day celebration including some sort of craft or movie--just something special as a reward. I'm very hopeful more of students will meet their goals for the 3rd 9-week grading period. After all, they won't get better at reading uless they actually read!

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