I’ve been juggling teaching, blogging, motherhood and being a good wife for months now. I feeling a little down in the dumps about how my reading program was going at the end of last trimester. I met with my principal to ask her why she thought so many of my students weren’t meeting their reading goals. She thought maybe it wasn’t them, it was me. Now I’m not going to lie and say that I liked hearing that, but she did have a point. So I decided to radically change how I’ve been running the Accelerated Reader (AR) program in my classroom.
The first thing I did was print off an actual photograph of each of my students. They love seeing their faces around the classroom and I knew that this would be a great way to start the buy in. I mounted them on solid colored card stock all over the back wall of cabinets in my classroom. That alone was so exciting for them. They couldn’t stop talking about how cool it was to see their faces all over the walls. The next thing I did was make a list of all the students who DID meet their reading goal from the first trimester. I used my SuperStar machine and the bookmark die to create some gold glitter bookmarks. I tied some maroon ribbon through the top and then printed off labels that said congratulations for meeting their goal.
Then I used some of the remaining card stock and I cut out a bazillion of the speech bubbles using my SuperStar machine again. I just loaded up the die and the paper and rolled it through. I was able to do two pieces of paper at a time so cutting out all the shapes, bookmarks and mounting the photos took less than one planning period. Total.
Then we had an awards ceremony. I called each of my students who met their goal up to the front of the room and presented them with the “Golden Bookmark” award. They then posed for photos and got a cookie. Then I talked about our new system. I explained to my students that their goal for second trimester wasn’t changing. However, the way we track points was. I told them that for every 25% of their goal they met, I would award them a speech bubble that they could stick up on the wall next to their face. Once they hit 100% every 25% over that that they earn gets them not only an additional speech bubble, but also a small piece of candy. Hey, I’m not above that. I also told them that meeting their goals gives them special privledges and that there will be times where those students who have 100%, 75%, or 50% will be allowed to line up first or get an extra 5 minutes of free time. Cha ching! We are only one week into our new trimester and already I have seen such a jump in reading excitement. At the end of every other day I award any new % goals in front of the whole class. We clap and celebrate each other and the kids get really excited to see their progress grow!
Now I am sure you are wondering where you can get your hands on this awesome machine, and I have some good news for you. I am giving one away! One lucky reader will win the exact same machine and die cuts that I have. And best of all, I got two other dies that I haven’t shown you yet (leaves and the most awesome card you have ever seen), it will blow your mind. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the rafflecopter below!