Every Child is Gifted, They Just Unwrap their gifts at different times. -Unknown

Saturday, March 22, 2014


It is spring break!! I have time to look around on Pinterest and find different blogs to follow. I found Confessions of a Teacher Warrior. She had a picture from my classroom on her blog, I was so excited. She had posted about AR and I wanted to comment.  The comment was so long that I decided to blog about it. Seeing that I have time to blog because it is SPRING BREAK! Did I mention this week is SPRING BREAK?

Spring break last year.  We visited the cave in the town where I grew up.

I have been in a school that has used AR for years.  I teach second grade.  At first I did not care for it. However this year, I have really enjoyed using it. I realize that higher grade levels are much different than second.  One reason is my kids were only introduced to it at the end of first grade. Another is they are just beginning to read.  A big one is the reward they earn.

This year, I have used it a little different than in the past.

How I changed there reading range:
I set their range based on their STAR reading test and how they read in reading group. I am allowing them to read books that start a little below their reading level to a little outside of it.  I talked to them about how they could read books above as long as they read it with someone or listened to it.  I believe that even my students with a high reading range still need to read 2nd grade books or they will miss out on some really great books.

The books:
I allow them to visit the library every day if they need to but must be back to my room within less than 10 min.  I also have tons of books in my room that are also AR books.  If I introduce a book to them that is not an AR book, I have created a teacher made test for them to test over.  I realize we do not have time to do this on every book that is not AR.  I also have made library cards, that have their reading level range, for them to take with them to the library so they can find books on their level.  I ask them to check out two AR books and one fun book.

At the end of the month, they receive a reading dog tag that our school purchased. They each have sayings on them that have to do with reading.  The fire hydrant has "I am a red hot reader." You can find some at Postive Promtions , but this is not where we purchased ours from. I also give them Pizza Hut Book It coupons.   When my daughter was in 4th grade last year, they were awarded with parties if they met their AR goal.  They had a field trip to the movies, one to the bowling ally, and an electronic day. If they did not met their goal they stayed at school and worked with one of the teachers.  This was across the grade level so they could do this.
 I loved going to Pizza Hut with my big purple button to get my free pizza.  Does anyone else remember that? I really think I need this t-shirt!! 

I set their reading goal based on how much they read in the classroom.  Some students do not finish their work as quickly as others.  Some are not great readers so their goal is really low. I have other students that read long chapter books that take longer to finish so they read less books.  The first month I did not talk to them about reading goals, I just let them read and take test to see how many points they earned, what books they liked to read, and what level the books were that they were comfortable reading.  They have improved AR and the reports they have are great and easy to use.  It also allows you to change their goal as they go along.  If they are not meeting their goal, I can chat with them and change it very easy. I also showed one to parents at PT conferences last week.

We have been very blessed with I Pads in our classroom.  This year we have four, I also have two Net books, a PC, and my laptop in my classroom.  Their I Pad app is so easy for the kids to use.  The app allows them to see their bookshelf (all the books they have read and what they scored on them), and their progress (what their goal is and how close they are to meeting it and their goal for testing average). We are also blessed to have intervention time with our students and they are allowed to go to the computer lab each day for 30min.  I have it set up to wear a different group of student's attend each day and they can AR test then play Reflex Math (an awesome fact fluency program) or other programs that our school has for intervention or enrichment.  Our Lab teacher is amazing!!

Pictures from the i-pad app.  This one is an example of their progress.
This is what their bookshelf looks like.
The kids and I love it.  I have had one student that was a reluctant reader and he is loving reading and showing off his progress and bookshelf to other kids in the class. Another parent told me last week at PT conferences that her son for the first time has gotten into books that he would typically abandon. 

Wow I had much more to say about this than I thought.  

Happy SPRING Break,

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