Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Timed Tests, Favorite Books, and Strategy Posters

This is going to be a post of randomness, but if you can make it all the way to the end, I would really love your opinion on something I read :)

First, I'll start with my favorite topic - picture books! The Teacher Wife is hosting a linky for must have picture books. It's pretty hard to narrow it down to five - especially when I am not in my classroom - but I will try! Be sure to stop by her party to get some great titles!!

1. I love all books by Chris van Allsburg - I read so many of his books to my kids every year and they are so great for questioning, inferring, and predicting!

2. I also love William Steig. His books are great for vocabulary as well as strategy instruction. 

3. You all know Fancy Nancy. My students and I just love her stories! I use these books to teach vocabulary strategies and have a bulletin board in my classroom for Fancy Words.

4. This is one of my favorite books to pull out during our writing unit on poetry. The CD that comes with it is AWESOME!!! It really helps kids hear the rhythm and music in poetry.

5. Another author I love is Steve Jenkins. His books are informational - and one of my favorite attributes of his books is that he uses comparison to convey information. The pictures are fab as well.

Just writing this makes me excited about books :)

Ok - on to the next topic...strategy posters!

I have finished making 9 addition strategy posters that are on my tpt store. Thanks to Amy for helping me edit them!! I hope they came out ok. Here is a preview:

Last but not least, timed (math) tests. Do you do them??? I do....and I did as a student as well. I am currently reading this book:

and this is what is says, "Teachers who use timed tests believe that the tests help children learn basic facts. This makes no instructional sense. Children who perform well under time pressure display their skills. Children who have difficulty with skills, or who work more slowly, run the risk of reinforcing wrong learning under pressure. In addition, children can become fearful and negative toward their math learning."

It went on to say, "If there is any defensible purpose for a timed test of basic facts it may be for diagnosis -- to determine which combinations are mastered and which remain to be learned. Even for diagnostic purposes there is little reason for a timed test more than every couple months."

I would LOOOOVE to know your thoughts on this! It is making me reconsider doing timed tests once a week (basic addition and subtraction facts - where kids move on to the next one once they pass). 


Unknown said...

When I taught first, I wrestled with addition time tests and now that I teach third, multiplicaton time tests. I've read the van de walle books and....have to agree!

I want my students to have a level of automaticity, not speed. I believe that comes with time spent on developing solid number sense, not random memorization. When I taught first I used a lot of Math Their Way and activities from theschoolbell.com

With the new Common Core, my third graders are expected to have their multiplication facts memorized, but I don't believe it mentions SPEED.

Plus, time tests rely on a student's fine motor skills, which is not fair, if our goal is to assess MATH.

On my blog, I posted a video using Laura Candler's strategy for fact fluency. You could do something similar for addition or subtraction. I see it as a "happy medium" and more like accountability for fact knowledge. Basically, they are given 10 problems and I think 2-3 minutes. So, the time pressure isn't unreasonable. Traditional time tests make you answer the same problem 5 times. That's kind of silly. If you know it, you know it! Plus, her method is genius! Say good-bye to tons of photocopying!

I have set aside a daily multiplication "period" modeled after Daily 5. Multiply with a partner, alone, listen (to a youtube video that chants the facts), computer time, and hands-on activities where they can all work at their level. I am planning on assessing them like the Laura Candler method mentioned above.

Good luck with your decision!

Grade Three is the Place for Me

Amanda said...

Okay I really need to get this book! I too did timed test last year for addition and subtraction... a coworker and I were also thinking of doing it again this year. I know as a child I LOVED them, but that was also because I was good at them. I'm not sure what I'm thinking now... hopefully some others will have some insight!

Reaching for the TOP!

Tammy said...

It's a great book. It really makes you think about things in a different way, huh? I haven't done any timed tests in a few years.
❀ Tammy
Forever in First

Lindsey (The Teacher Wife) said...

Thanks for linking up! :)

Unknown said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing! I am glad I found your blog...I am your newest follower! If you have time check out my blog and follow! Thanks again for sharing!
Brigid's Daily Lesson Log

Courtney said...

Oh Fancy Nancy! If I was a book character, I'm pretty sure I would be her! :)

Make sure to stop by and enter my giveaway

Krista Happ said...

So nice meeting you tonight at dinner Abby! Looking forward to sharing ideas and getting to know you better!

The Second Grade Superkids

Unknown said...

Love Steve Jenkins books!
I am your newest follower.
Stop by soon.

Room 214-Ms. Wenzel's Blog said...

Fancy Nancy-I love that title! It is on my list!
Thanks for your picks! Stop by and visit anytime! I'd love to have you follow me back.

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