Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Accelerated Reader Upgrade

Thanks to the research and rich conversation from our school improvement council (SIC) and the collaboration with our parent teacher organization (PTO), we have been able to upgrade our Accelerated Reader (AR) program.  The upgrade has given our students access to 150,000 AR tests.  It also gives teachers and parents better reports and monitoring capabilities.  I am very proud of our parent representatives for their persistence and efforts to make this happen. THANKS!

Accelerated reader is a tool that allows us to manage and monitor independent student reading.  Just like anything else in education AR requires a teacher, student, and parent/guardian commitment.  Our goal is to get students reading regularly on their reading level and increasing their love for reading through monitoring, conferencing, and recognition/incentives.

I am a proponent of independent reading management programs (AR or Reading Counts) because in the right hands they motivate students to read and they provide teachers, students, and parents helpful reports that can be monitored.  As a classroom teacher, I utilized AR to motivate my students as well as myself to be the top reading class in my school.  I believe that this was one of the reasons for my success and recognition as a successful classroom teacher.

You can access the AR by going to the following links:

Student or Teacher Log-In  

AR Book Finder

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Manatee Trip 2014

Rest stop at FL boarder
 for Lunch
I had the opportunity this weekend to go with some of our fifth grade students, parents, and teachers to Crystal River, Florida to swim with manatee, snorkel down Rainbow River and see other wildlife, and visit the Homosassa Wildlife Refuge where we saw a number of animals native to the area. All of these animals have been rescued and are either permanent residents or waiting to be released back into the wild.

Overall, the trip was amazing. We had to work around Mother Nature during this trip, but the hands-on experiences in the water were very interesting and exciting. We were able to see a number of manatee in the wild at King's Bay. There were two right beside the boat when Captain Larry lowered me into the water. It was a great experience. Other manatee were so playful and friendly they were face to face with several of our crew.

Capt. Larry taking us
out to King's Bay
The trip down Rainbow River was the highlight of the trip for me.  We were taken about 3/4 of a mile up river by boat and dropped off. We snorkeled down the clear river for about 45 minutes. It was a beautiful experience. We saw a lot of different kind of fish and a number of hot springs bubbling out of the bottom of the river. The temperature in these springs is 72 degrees year round. Of course the temperature outside was in the upper 40's and lower 50's most of the trip.  Check out the brief video on YouTube.