Critique my AR plan please?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by sue35, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2008

    So I have read all the posts on AR and was wondering if you guys could critique how I plan to do it.

    I am going to test everyone the first week. I can't test them using the AR test but am going to do an oral reading test. Once I have their levels and their past points I am going to come up with an individual point value for each student.

    On the board will be something that says when each student has achieved 25, 50, 70, and 100% of their goal. No one will know how many points each student will have to get.

    I figured this way the students would have the chance to read longer books and it is still individualized so they all can push themselves at their own level.

    Thoughts? I can change this so it's ok if you don't like it. Thank you so much:)
     
  2.  
  3. LoVe 2 TcH

    LoVe 2 TcH Companion

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2008

    I think you have a great plan... The only hyitng that I am wondering is if you will set their goals for the year or per quarter?

    Maybe you can start out setting a long term goal, but only have the board with short term, reachable goals.
     
  4. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,340
    Likes Received:
    788

    Aug 13, 2008

    Are you going to do AR by points, by their percentages, or by a mixture of both? I mean, a student can earn all of their points, but if they are getting 60's on most of their tests, are they really benefiting from the program? Something to think about.
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Aug 13, 2008

    Do you not have access to Star Reading? That is how I assess my kids and give them a level. Star and AR are from the same company.

    Once you assess them, there are AR Goal Setting Charts to help you determine how many points they need. Here is a link to a copy.

    As for keeping track, I have seen it done a variety of ways. What I don't like about your's is that the interval is not consistant. I do an AR BB that coordinates with my schools' theme. This year it is a detective theme. I am going to have 10 footprints on the board labeled 10%, 20%, 30%, etc... all the way to 100%. Each child will have a magnifying glass with their name on it. When they score 10% of their point goal (regardless of what their goal is- it could be 16 points, it could be 42 points- it all depends on their level), they get to put their magnifying glass at the 10% footprint. I reset the board and all goals every marking period. They also take the STAR test every MP. At the end of the MP, every child who reached their point goal and had maintained 85% correct or better got to attend a party. Those students who did not achieve this had an assignment.

    If you do use a method like STAR to assess, make sure the range is accurate for the student. I had one last year who would purposely get the questions wrong so he'd have a low point goal.

    I hope this helps!
     
  6. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2008

    They have to score an 80% or above on the tests for the points to count. I don't have access to star but I am going to talk to the reading coach about possibly testing all my kids. Maybe she will do it (hopefully)

    I can switch it to 10,20,30%...it would probably look better on the bb anyway:)

    Thank you all and keep them coming, this is VERY helpful
     
  7. daizie75

    daizie75 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2008

    My school requires that our display have 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of goal. I prefer to have it in 10% increments. I think the readers will be more motivated if they get a sticker or their piece moves more often.
     
  8. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 13, 2008

    Do your kids take achievement tests? Ours take the Stanford and I usually check those scores. I have found them to be pretty accurate. Sometimes I have to adjust a bit.

    I am assuming your goals are by quarter?

    http://www.renlearn.com/Profdevel/teachertips/
     
  9. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 13, 2008

    I love this post. Last year was my first year teaching and I just made a chart and they got a sticker for every five points, but I didn't really consider setting goals for individual students. Thanks!!
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,340
    Likes Received:
    788

    Aug 13, 2008

    This is what I'm confused about. AR will count the points earned on tests at 60% and 70%. So any time you print out their points report, the points earned at 60% and 70% will be included. Are you going to keep track of it manually? That would be a nightmare!

    Has Renaissance added some new feature that I'm not aware of that will let you filter out the points from 60% and 70% tests?
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Aug 14, 2008

    Not that I know of Rain.

    (hang on a sec while I climb on my soapbox)

    Please consider not basing your AR program solely on points alone sue35. Kids, especially the older they get, are very clever at learning how to fix the system. There are so many other aspects of AR that need to be analyzed-points just happen to be the easiest and what a lot of people get caught up in.

    What should be of more importance is the average percent correct, which tells you how much of what they are reading is being comprehended, average book level, and interest level. A lot of kids get conditioned to focus on points so much, that they will forgo reading quality literature that is within their level-and they will find a way to do it, no matter how well you are watching them! They are sneaky! They quickly realize that reading a more challenging book takes longer, and they aren't moving up the scale like other students might be doing. When they see their friends moving to 25, 50, 75%, they want to choose shorter, less challenging books just to earn points. For some kids, the shorter picture-type books are necessary (this is where interest level is important), but not for all.

    In fact, I find my best readers are actually almost punished by AR, because they are the ones who might not make their point goal (which I do set, by the way, only because of parental and librarian pressure) until just before the end of the quarter. Imagine seeing your name on the board at 0% or 25% all quarter long when you know you've been reading in every spare minute and at home? Not much of a motivator-even though the high kids will pull it out usually, reading has become a chore. And what I catch some high kids doing is reading two books-one for points, and one that they like.

    Now, some will argue that reading is reading, and having kids reading 2 books at a time isn't necessarily bad, but I just don't think that is the goal of the program. My goal is for them to self-select appropriate materials and comprehend it.

    AR can be a very effective program that enables kids to choose books they like and be rewarded for good reading habits. And maybe you've thought of this stuff also, I just wanted to point out that points are great to some extent.

    (ok, i'm climbing off again!)
     
  12. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    Kcjo13 how would you do AR if you could choose your way? I am worried that kids will pick shorter books but can't seem to find a way around that. Last year when we had them have to pass 3 books a quarter they did that also. I think that I have the comprehension part covered with requiring them to have an 80 on the test.

    I feel like AR is good but I can't seem to find the best way to use it.
     
  13. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    Also, I am going to have the kids keep track and then at the end of the semester I am going to check manually to weed out the 60s and 70s.
     
  14. Mrs. Mom

    Mrs. Mom Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    735
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    Our kids have to meet 3 goals every quarter....points, percent correct (this is 85% for all grades) and Book Level. I also learned the hard way to go into the AR program and block the kids from testing on books too far below their grade level. This prevents cheaters from reading books way below grade level for easy points, or to get the percent correct up. It only hurts them in the long run, anyway, because it lowers their book level. I find it's just a time waster, and prevents them from sharpening their reading skills, so I just block them and then I don't have to monitor that aspect too much. We do a big prize for the kids who meet their AR goals 3 out of 4 quarters.
     
  15. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 14, 2008

    I taught 5 and 6 last year. (This year just 6th). I took the training about 20 years ago.

    They each receives individual goals at the beginning of each quarter. I adjust the ZPD at any point(s) during the quarter if necessary, although I do not change the point goal unless the original goal is too high because I misjudged how well they could read. When I set the goals, I base it on the amount of time I give them in class to read plus one hour a week at home. (I am in a school where the parents are supportive of homework).

    1/4 to 1/5 of their goal is non-fiction. That area is very much neglected. It is a very different type of reading skill. BUt unless I assign it, it does not get read with the exception of biographies which generally "read" like non-fiction.

    I give them a grade in AR. It is 20% of their Lit grade because I give them 20% of their Lit class to read.

    1/4 grade is number of Fiction points earned from getting an 80% or higher

    1/4 of grade is number of Non-Fiction points earned from getting an 80% or higher

    1/4 of grade is total % grade for fiction (including those tests below an 80%)

    1/4 of grade is % grade for non-fiction (including those tests below an 80%)

    (Note: if the book is too difficult for them because I misjudged their ability, I do not count that book)

    I monitor their choices carefully and make sure they alternate fiction with non-fiction books. If they do poorly on a book - especially non-fiction, I help them choose another one with a lower ZPD. (Remember that you need to assign a ZPD 6 mo to a year below the Fiction ZPD)

    I took the training about 20 years ago and things could have changed, but at the time, giving them a grade was not part of the program. Unfortunately, too many will not read unless there is a grade attached to it. However, going through the training was invaluable because I did learn how to set ZPDs even without the STAR test. I am not a fan of the test anyway because all it tests is VOCAB. One of the things I also learned was that the ZPD is NOT written in stone. It is a guideline. ALWAYS use your professional judgment as well.

    Once the ZPD is assigned, I suggest they start at the lower end and work their way up. The ZPD has a VERY generous spread, and they have a tendency to jump back to the lower end toward the end of the quarter to reach their goal if I don't. I am constantly raising that lower end as they get 90s and 100s on their tests at that end.

    I also am "mean" and do not let them read more than one book in a series per quarter until they reach their goal for the quarter. Otherwise I will have some kids read nothing but Nancy Drew all quarter. Once they reach their goal, I don't care how many Nancy Drew books they read. For some it is a real incentive. The only exception I make is when I have a student who just won't read. If he she gets excited about a series, I will allow more books in that series during the quarter, but then I wean them off. Since it is part of my reading program, it is important that they are exposed to different genres. So another requirement is that they read a minimum of two different genres per quarter - 8 different ones a year. I have a year long BB up with the different genres on it. As they successfully read a genre they get a book with their name on it stapled by that genre. They also get a large star on the wall with their name on it when they reach their quarter goal. That star stays up all year, so at the end of the year I have a starry room. They get to decorate their star and place it just about anywhere they want to in the room.

    Each student has a personal AR folder with a personal chart inside. I help them chart their progress in their folders.

    RE: top readers. I have students that read 2+ years above their grade level. Be careful when assigning ZPDs to them because if they are too high they can't find books they are interested in. I assign a low end, but not a top end. Truthfully, they don't need the program to become better readers. However, those are the students I encourage to read the classics, more non-fiction, thicker books, etc.
     
  16. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Aug 14, 2008

    In my class, having a top reader sit at 0% was not an issue for my kids. They LOVED being able to jump from 0-100% in one leap. I had several reading Harry Potter that would do this. They enjoyed "skipping" all of the levels. And te rest of the class knew it would happen.
    My kids are also required to reach a certain book level goal. If they begin to read inappropriate books, they receive a warning from me and are not allowed to test on it. I tell them that if they do it again, I will chose their next book (empty threat here, but it worked).

    AR definitely has its faults, and the older the kids are, the better they are at "cheating" the program. I like somethings and dislike others. But, we use it and I make the best of it.
     
  17. daizie75

    daizie75 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    I use AR's 6 week goal suggestion instead of the 9 week goal even though they have 9 weeks to reach their goal. I defended this to by principal by saying that I want kids to read books even if they are not AR. Now he insists that everyone set their goals this way. I try to write quizzes for our basal stories and any books we read in reader's workshop. Then of course they can take quizzes on books they read independently.

    I also block students from taking quizzes outside of their range but only if it becomes a problem for a particular student. It is time consuming and most of my students don't do this more than once. Once they know that I check it and they will have to answer to me they take quizzes in their level.

    I use the suggested ZPD and 6 week goal as a starting point but I tweak it for individual students. If my high readers cannot make the goals as easily as other readers maybe the goals are not appropriate. A 3rd grader may be able to read on a 5th grade level but if they can't reach the point goal maybe they need more time than a typical 5th grader. If I know a child is a slow processor, I may lower the goal for them. If a child is making their goal very quickly, the next quarter I will raise their goal. We know our students better than a computer program does!:)
     
  18. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,340
    Likes Received:
    788

    Aug 14, 2008

    Sue,
    Don't take the criticism personally -- because posting AR goals is a hot topic. Many schools want teachers to post AR goals and chart them. Many teachers feel very, very strongly that it shouldn't be done.

    Yes, there is the advantage that some students will "perform" and "be motivated" by seeing their success on a chart. Yes, this is true for some students.

    But there are also the students who will always be at the bottom. They will be embarrassed by their lack of "keeping up with the *smart* kids" and they will shut down and hate reading. They will come to the conclusion that they are just no good at reading. This is an unintended result of some of the "charting craze." Unless you make the goal so easy that everyone can easily meet it, some students will fall short of the goal. Not all students are motivated by seeing their chart increase. For some students, it has the opposite effect.

    I can see that you have tried really hard to take this into account with your system, by not posting the actually points for each child's goals, but by using a percentage, so children won't be embarrassed because their goal is so much lower than someone else's.

    I think it all goes back to the same thing -- AR, as describe by its creator, Renaissance, is not intended to be used for a grade. It is not intended to be charted for the world to see. (They recommend students keep an individual chart, which you can print off from the AR program) in a private notebook -- not posted for the world to see.) The program only works effectively when students are actually reading in their ZPD, maintaining an 85% or higher percentage, and reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Many schools, in an attempt to "quantify" things, set huge points goals, and actually end up decreasing a child's love of reading, and instead teach them to read easy, quick books, and take huge numbers of tests, whether they fully comprehended (or even enjoyed) the book at all.

    It is a lot to come up with any one system that can represent all of these conditions. If it were easy to do, it would already be done in a simple kit -- but the truth is, schools have been struggling with this for years.

    There is no one "right answer" here. The "ideal" is to include all three (points, percentage, variety -- all on zpd level) and there is no way to record all three simultaneously on a motivational chart.

    Choose what you think will best accomplish your goal. There will be neigh-sayers, no matter what way you choose to do it, so go with what works best for you.

    I personally hate AR charts. I think it sends kids the wrong message. But my school requires that we use one. I do it, but I post it behind the door! I've found that it motivates the good readers to read even more. I've found that it encourages children who used to love reading to learn to read "quick points" books. Hmmmm, they were already getting an A in reading. They already love reading. They already enjoy reading. Hmmm do they really need a motivational chart?

    I've found I have to use other methods to get my lower readers involved and excited about AR. They always feel overshadowed by those students who effortlessly meet their goals quickly.

    But that is just me...
     
  19. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,340
    Likes Received:
    788

    Aug 14, 2008

    Oh yeah, I don't know if you all have read this -- it really hasn't filtered down to many schools yet. Renaissance has actually started recommending that students NOT be STARs tested 5 times per year, and their ZPD re-leveled!!!! This is how they have always done it, but they are now recommending that students only be STARs tested twice per year!!! Once at the beginning and once at the end. I was shocked when I read this on their website. Our district mandates that we STARs once at the beginning of the year, and at the end of each quarter.

    I wonder how long it will be before we all see this start to change in schools? :down:
     
  20. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Aug 14, 2008

    I don't like that. We do 5 tests per year. I'd be OK with 3- beginning, beginning of 3rd MP and end. But, some kids show SOOOO much growth, it is unfair! Plus, they are stuck reading too low for a whole year! :eek:
     
  21. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2008

    I am not offended at all:) I want all the criticism because I have been fighting this all summer. I also agree about the whole chart thing. I know that it will make the slower readers feel worse if they are still low and everyone is passing them. I might do it the first quarter and see how it goes and maybe take it down. Or I might just not post it.

    Ideally I would not want AR to be part of their grades. I want the kids just to love to read and I feel that AR can defeat that. Ugh, just so confusing.
     
  22. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 14, 2008

    I think it just depends on your kids. I don't think there is a right or wrong to it. I would not encourage or discourage it.

    However, in my 35+ years of teaching ALL grades through 8th grade, at least 20 of them with AR, I can assure you it won't cause someone who enjoys reading to suddenly hate it. However a child who hates to read is less likely to read and sometimes giving grades is the only way they will read. Hopefully at least a few of them will then discover the joy of reading. But even if they don't, they will at least be reading. The purpose of AR is to make them better readers and that won't happen unless they read.

    I have never cared for Science. Given a choice I never would have read Science or have anything to do with Science. If I was not required to do it, it never would have happened. In the process I did learn to like Life Sciences. Still don't like the rest. :haha:
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 169 (members: 1, guests: 151, robots: 17)
test