Monday, April 29, 2019

Raiders of the Lost STAAR

For many NISD teachers, Spring has been marked by the self-paced BINGO challenge. Cassie Brewton, a fifth grade teacher at Hughes elementary especially enjoyed the choice, self pacing, and excitement that came along with the challenge. Cassie soon began to think, “My students would enjoy a challenge like this, especially as they get ready for STAAR.” Using the format created by IT Coaches Jillian, Kelli, and Shelly, Cassie began creating tasks that would help students review for their upcoming STAAR test.

The tasks that Cassie created were an intentional hybrid of individual and group collaboration, digital and face to face work, and all levels of rigor. When walking into Cassie’s class during review, it was clear that each student was working at their own pace and that the tasks were differentiated for all of her learners.  It was also evident that the students were enjoying the challenge.

Ethan, Kellon, and Makena all agreed that the BINGO board was a fun way to prepare for STAAR. Not only was the challenge fun, but it pushed students to work through questions and problems that they may find difficult. Kellon points out, “My favorite part was the challenge in general.” Makena states, “B4 was really challenging. The picture was really hard to figure out. You have to figure out what’s happening and make observations and a claim. I skipped a few, but then made a note to go back.” Kellon added, “I don’t like skipping a challenge, so I kept trying until I figure it out.”

Each student was eager to share their favorite task on the board. For Makena, this was N3. “We made several STAAR questions and created a quiz on Google Forms for the class.” Ethan enjoyed I3 which prompted him to create a Tweet from a template in Google Classroom. The tweet would sum up the main idea and supporting details from the story "Library Lion." Ethan would have an authentic audience as the tweet was posted to the class Twitter Feed (AKA: Padlet Wall). What Ethan may not have realized, was that I3 provided scaffolding for him as he decided to complete G5 first. G5 helped students define main and supporting details to give them a better understanding of the concept.

Other tools integrated into the tasks include: Prism, Pear Deck, Epic, News ELA, and a variety of GSuite tools (Docs, Slides, Forms).

Differentiation was a key aspect of this challenge. Cassie points out, “I made changes to the board daily based on student responses. For example, After noticing kids struggling on I3, one student realized that another task on the board was a great scaffolding activity, so we created a few additions to the ‘task card’ to explain where they could go to practice the skill before completing that specific activity.”

While the Raiders of the Lost STAAR was a student centered and student paced challenge, it was the intentionality of Mrs. Brewton that made it a success. The articles that she choose for students to read were at the appropriate lexile level, the resources that students used to answer questions encompassed relevant information that they needed to know, and the independent reading time helped with literacy and comprehension.

Not only were students review key terms, concepts, and skills for STAAR, but they were also becoming problem solvers. Mrs. Brewton states, ”I think my favorite part about the Bingo board was seeing the students work so well with their self-management. They were great at managing their time, choosing tasks that fit their schedule, and taking time to stop and reflect on their work before coming to me for a code. They wanted to make sure it was their best before asking for a code because they knew the expectations were high, so the incentive to work hard was powerful!”

Twenty Five task challenges can be quite a bit to create, but the aspect of self-paced lessons and units, can be created on any scale using Hyperdocs. Check out this Basic Hyperdoc Lesson Plan Template (The HyperDoc Girls)

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