Saturday, April 14, 2012

Letters to the Reading DCAS(Our State Test)):My Students Write How They Feel!

When my kids were finished their DCAS Reading  test last month, I had them pretend to write letters to the test. I am posting some of the letters they wrote.

Dear Reading DCAS,
Why do you have to be  hard?  I know I do your tests in the beginning, middle, and end of the year.  But doing 55 questions in 3 days is a lot.  We have to take our time to get a good score, otherwise we might get a 1 and that’s not good.  Can we see what questions we got right and what questions we got wrong at the end of the test?  So that way we can understand why we got whatever we got wrong was wrong.  I think that could help us a lot.  How about that idea for next year?  It really could help.  Otherwise DCAS has to be THE WORST THING EVER!!! 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Sincerely Z
Dear Reading DCAS,
I am taking you right now and you are being very harsh. You are being harsh because you make the questions hard. So can you please make the questions easier so I can get a 4? Also, do you think you can make less questions so there are only 36 instead of 54. So it don't take 2 entire days to finish it. Finally, instead of 4 being the highest point to score make it 10. So it is like the scale of 10. Well anyway Thanks!
Your Friend,

Dear Reading DCAS,
You  just stress me out every min I take you. Why do you have to be so hard? Can you  have at least 10 questions instead 54. When I take you, you  make me wanna throw the laptop. Across the floor and rip every single of my hair out. Then I'l be bald. See what you do to me? I just can't stand you DCAS. I never wanna take you again. No hard feelings DCAS. It was just my opinion. So please don't give me a bad grade for telling the truth. But I need you to ease up on me.
Dear DCAS,
I really can't stand you!
You make me so nervous every time I have to take you.
You make me stressed out then I forget everything when you're in front of me.
When I'm done taking you it all comes back to me.
Maybe one day I  will beat you.
 I would be a lot more happy without you in my life. The only good thing about you is on Math Dcas
you have a calculator to help me.

 Dear Reading DCAS Test,
   I don't understand why the company created you. You make life harder than it needs to be in school. Now all our field trips are moved to the end of the school year and we only have one field trip. I am so mad and frustrated because of your pointless questions. Some of them don't even make any sense. The only good thing about you is when we have extra recess. It's so tragic!!! Also we usually don't have to learn anything. It is in the way of school even though that doesn't really bother me. If we already do regular tests, whats the point of having a DCAS test? It takes too long to even remember what you learn before the DCAS. It's just confusing. I don't get the whole concept of taking the longest test that I have ever taken. The whole process is crazy. You make me freak out with anxiety about my score.

Dear DCAS,
 Thanks for giving me a good score. All the hard work paid off. My mom and my dad was really proud of me. I took my time, highlighted the answers and  got a good score.I never felt better about myself for getting a good score on the type of subject. I hate reading but I still got a good score and I’m proud of it.   
From J

Friday, April 6, 2012

GoAnimate Grabs Their Attention:Bringing a Math Problem to Life!

What would you rather do to grab your students' attention? Write a word problem on the board or create a short video of the same word problem, using GoAnimate?  I choose GoAnimate!

More and more, I have geared my Math lessons toward problem solving, and away from numbers on a page or a worksheet. I want my students to problem solve. When I watch them work to solve a "real world" problem, it makes me proud. So, how did I get to match GoAnimate with problem solving?

I was trying to think of a way to start a unit with a Math problem that introduced the unit, and grabbed their attention. I thought of GoAnimate, which I was familiar with, but hadn't used in a while. It is very simple to use. They have tons of characters and templates that you can use. You can use your own voice or type in the words. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

 You can use the FREE version, GoPlus, or GoAnimate4schools. I have a GoPlus account and a GoAnimate4schools account. I love the fact that GoAnimate works with social media. You can embed, tweet, Facebook,  upload to Youtube, or download. Of course, some of these privileges only come with GoPlus. There is also a FREE and premium account when you are using Gonimate4schools. The premium account allows you to create accounts for your students, and moderate the accounts.

I'm going to plead with my principal to pay for that for my classroom. :) I will definitely have my students create their own videos, which will be very interesting, not to mention educational, and lots of fun! Give GoAnimate a try, and see if you can't grab their attention!