As we begin to close out the second nine weeks - the midterm - we are checking each child's progress so far in first grade. We once again do our county Math Diagnostic. We gave the assessment at the beginning of the year, are repeating the assessment now, and will give it once more at the end of the year. This helps us figure out exactly what the children have learned and helps us set up small groups to make sure that no skills fall through the cracks!
We are also giving each child a DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment). Although our new Superintendent has said that teachers do not have to give DRAs because they are so time consuming, it gives a reading teacher of young children so much information that is not as easily available from other assessments. You can not only find out a child's reading level but you can listen for fluency and watch for strategies that the child is or is not yet using to help decode words and comprehend the text. Each child will have a new DRA reading level in the next two weeks.
Children have also been given a list of the first semesters 120 high frequency words that they have been asked to recognize and spell each week. These words can often not be decoded using phonics rules but just have to be memorized. These are words that they see regularly in their reading and use often in their writing, so we want them to learn to recognize them easily and spell them correctly before they develop the habit of spelling them incorrectly. We have been practicing the words in class with partners and will begin giving this midterm assessment next week. Any child that can spell at least 80% of the words correctly will receive the "Super Speller Award" at the next Awards Ceremony!
This is an important time of year - the halfway point - so we have to make sure that each and every child is on course for meeting the first grade standards! It is also the time that we celebrate all that the children have learned! Woo hoo!