Sunday, July 14, 2013

WBT Book Club Chapters 17-18: Practice Cards

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We hope this team letter finds you and your scholar enjoying a wonderful sixth grade year.  It is hard to believe we have finished the first semester and a much needed winter break.  As you might well remember, we introduced our team’s classroom management system during our back to school open house.  We briefly discussed we would be practicing how to follow team rules, routines, and procedures.  You may also remember us mentioning after we have had adequate time to practice our rules there might be some students who still need more practice.  We would like to briefly introduce how our “Practice Cards” will be used.  

As you may recall, Team Canterbury Castle has five rules that govern our classrooms.  We practice these rules often, and they help keep our kingdom on track and running smoothly!  However, occasionally, students may need extra rule practice.  Practice Cards are just that--Practice!  They are not punishment.  Cards come in three colors: white, purple, and green.

White:  If your child requires more practice following a classroom rule, they will be given a white card.  Students will not receive more than two white cards per day.  At the end of seventh period (M-Th) and at the beginning of Fun Friday (F), he/she will spend 2 minutes practicing the rule.  They will also bring a note home to inform you which rule was practiced.  We respectfully request your child spend time practicing at home, too.  Please sign and return the note.  

Purple:  Purple cards cancel out white cards.  If a child receives a white card for not following a rule, and then, later during class, they demonstrate following the rule, they would get a purple card.  Practicing the rule and a note home would not be necessary.  In fact, the team might send home a “Knight Note” praising him/her for following the rule.

Green Cards:  Sometimes, a student might be given time to practice a rule during class.  If so, a green card will be given.  The rule needing practice will be written on the green card, and each time your scholar follows the rule, they will place a tally mark on the card.  With enough tally marks, students can be rewarded with a purple practice card and even a “Knight Note” home.     

We are the FMS Knights of Canterbury Castle and dedicated to learning.  We value your parental support and understand that one key to student success is your involvement.  None of us is stronger than all of us!  Please help us help your scholar be true to the spirit of the rules.

Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions.

Respectfully yours,
Team Canterbury Castle

WBT Book Club Chapter 16: Improving State Test Scores with the Super Improvers Team

As an educator, I am always looking for ways to improve my standardized test scores. I found several strengths in Chapter 16 that I can use with my history students. Practice is key! Students need daily practice questions, and this chapter outlined a way to help students practice the most basic to more complex strategies as the year progresses. The strategies are connected to the Super Improvers Team, which is definitely a strength. Stars can and should be awarded to students for getting questions correct and for proving their work. This is, most certainly, a plus in my book because I am always looking for opportunities to award stars. WBT test taking strategies are focused around the ‘fun factor.’ Just saying the words, “Doofus, Trickster, and Smarty” make learning fun. Finally, these strategies are specific and visible. Prove It, double underlining, and labeling provide detailed directions and expectations to students and a quick way for the teacher to assess student comprehension. On the flip side, I am concerned my middle school students will get bored with the Prove It strategy. My middle school and its feeder schools implemented a similar version of Prove It years ago. I know students as young as second grade using this strategy. I fear my students will become bored by the repetition. Plus, if my whole team uses these strategies, will students become uninterested because of frequent exposure? Hmmm? This is definitely a concern and a possible weakness. I did enjoy the chapter and definitely plan on putting ‘Doofus, Trickster, and Smarty’ into daily student practice.