Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Friday, June 30, 2017

Spanish Grammar Keepers 101 Chart

Noemi Leon-Garcia and I labored all day at Panera creating this Spanish Grammar Keepers 101 Chart. We made sure to include all of the TEKS from the Grade 4 Writing Assessment of Eligible Essential Knowledge and Skills Spanish Version that would fit on the 2 page document.
Hard at work at Panera
The document is very similar to Gretchen Bernabei's Grammar Keepers 101 Chart. We will be adding lessons to go along with this chart. What you will currently see is the teacher version. The student version will be on the menu the next time we meet at Panera. We actually have spent 8 hours here! Wow!
Noemi and I have been planning to do this for quite some time. We hope that you find it helpful.  More documents are on the way. Stay tuned. Please go to the link to view and download.

Spanish Grammar Keepers 101 Chart by M Ucles and N Leon-Garcia

Weighting of 7th Grade STAAR Writing Test

I attended the Trail of Breadcrumbs Trainer of Trainers Conference in New Braunfels recently. I shared some resources that I had created with my school in bilingual and mainstream classrooms. I also spoke about the break down of the 4th grade STAAR Writing Test. I mentioned that 75% of the test is based on the multiple choice section. There are two sections of the multiple choice portion of the test. The two sections are editing and revision. There are sixteen editing questions and eight revision questions. The composition portion of the test is counted as 8 points using the adjacent scoring model. The test is based on 32 items.  When we took a break, a seventh grade teacher asked me about the break down of the 7th grade test. She said that her school had never discussed the break down of the test. I told her that I knew it was a bit different. I also promised to look into it. In this post, I have the break down from a document from the Texas Education Agency's website.  You may access more of their resources by clicking on the TEA link provided. TEA Writing Resource Link  In addition, I am providing a screenshot of that information.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Writing Journeys with Trail of Breadcrumbs and Colleagues 2016-2017

I just got back from attending the Trail of Breadcrumbs Trainer of Trainers Conference in New Braunfels. Last year I attended this wonderful four day workshop. I left energized and renewed. I also left a little sad because I was going into a new job where I wouldn't necessarily be able to try out my new learning. That's when I decided to continue my journey of planning and living vicariously through a trusted colleague and 4th grade teacher. I started planning with Noemi Leon every Saturday at Egg and I. I shared with her the new strategies that I learned.  We decided to create a Writing plan. Noemi and I worked together as colleagues at Westwood Elementary the previous year so we tweaked what we did based on the data and new learnings. We constantly were planning and adjusting the whole year. We wanted to include more grammar day one and ideas from Trail of Breadcrumbs.  I am glad that I didn't just drop the learning and planning with Noemi.

During the 2016-2017 school  year, Noemi shared with me how the implementation was going. We spent hours debriefing on the phone and spending Saturday mornings  with waffles and kernel essays. We enjoyed our breakfast of Grammar Keepers and found ways to modify it in English and Spanish. We also relied on a steady diet Jeff Anderson's Mechanically Inclined and Gretchen Bernabei's Fun-Sized Academic Writing  along with Dead Giveaways, Coloring It Up, Indelible Moments, Pitchforks, and Renaming with a side of extra crispy bacon. We studied and analyzed the 2016 STAAR Released Writing Test in both languages. We noticed patterns and trends from previous years as well. By this time, I made the decision to return to Spring Branch. At Edgewood Elementary, I worked as a bilingual interventionist. I continued my writing journey with the teachers at Edgewood in the areas of Reading and Writing. I was able to share and tweak the Writing plan and staff develop teachers on the use of kernels, grammar, revision, and the new ideas that I learned and was currently implementing with Noemi and the Trail of Breadcrumbs Trainer of Trainer Conference. Many of the strategies that we implemented were very successful. I worked very closely with the bilingual classes as I modeled in classrooms, worked after school tutorials, and organized and taught five highly successful Saturday Writing Camps. The Edgewood students progressed in their thinking and understanding of the writing process, revision, grammar, and usage. I was able to help the teachers and students with activities and processes that would help the students in the composition of writing and relate it directly to the STAAR Writing Test. As a result, the Edgewood bilingual students performed the best in the district on the STAAR 4th Grade Writing Test. Edgewood had a 25 point increase from the previous year at 82% and 17% Academic Performance.  I am so glad that I didn't allow my love of teaching Writing and planning go to the wayside. I owe a debt of gratitude to Noemi, Vivian Pratts (the principal at Edgewood), my colleague and fellow interventionist Yvonne Rodriguez, and fourth grade teachers at Edgewood for perservering, trusting in process, and learning alongside me. We made a wonderful collaborative team.
Principal Vivian Pratts and Maureen Ucles

Wow! What a crazy school year 2016-2017 had been. It was a complete whirlwind. I am looking forward to organizing all the classroom lessons and Saturday Camp ideas to share with everyone. I have photos as well. I am also planning on writing more of the lesson in Spanish. Noemi and I would like to add more Spanish grammar, spelling, and punctuation lessons together. It will be Grammar Keepers in Spanish. We will make a 101 Grammar Keepers Chart in Spanish as well. I will share lessons to help with the revision part of the multiple choice portion of the STAAR Test as well. I plan on showing the lessons as well as videos throughout the year.

I didn't blog half as much as I did the previous year. I plan to change that this year. I will have my own class. Because of this, I will be able to provide more videos and photographic evidence of student learning. The sky is the limit. Vamos a ver lo que pasa!  We'll see what happens.  Knowing that I will be working with Noemi, Yvonne, Maria Sagredo (4th grade bilingual teacher as Edgewood) and anyone else that would like to join us, I feel that this year will be even more rewarding. I cannot wait to get my hands on the 2017 STAAR Writing Released Test. I heard that it will be released in August by TEA. I will be studying it over and over again. I have already begun to study our 2017 Writing Samples. We did really well as we had 55% of composition fall in the 5-8 range. As time allows, I will be posting more this summer. You might like to check back from time to time. Just write, baby...1, 2, 3.