You are in the middle of administering STAAR Alternate 2 test this month. All your hard work is coming together. As you are assessing, you are also being mindful of the ways your students are participating in the assessment. How is the format of the test for them? How well did you prepare them? How long are they able to go before a break is needed? In the back of your mind, be thinking of what you need to do better/different for next year and you need to record these thoughts in a safe place so that after the testing is over, you do not forget.
Plan for Next Year
Start a Planning Sheet
This is a good time to start a planning sheet for next year. You can place it on a clipboard and record ideas yourself or ask classroom staff to jot them down for you. From now till the end, you are evaluating yourself and your routines. What can you make even better next year?
Review/Update Student Portfolios
Gather work samples similar to those that you filed at the beginning of the year (see August guide) which demonstrate the progress your students have made.
Finding, Producing, and Organizing Activities
Look for New Activities
This is the month to look for new activities for your students. You may not even use them this year, but next year, when you’re busy for months on end, you’ll appreciate your foresight in making yourself better prepared. You don’t necessarily need to turn your classroom into a factory. Just begin to review this year and begin to consider:
- What are the needs of the students who will be returning next year? What will they need to hit the ground running in August?
- Review the essence statements. Do you need to develop activities for new pre-requisite skills?
- How well did individual student schedules work? Are they worn out? Now might be a good time to create new schedules in anticipation of the coming year?
- Are there skills the students will be working on in an extended school year program or at home over the summer? You might consider putting together materials and instructions for those types of tasks.
- Were there things that you wanted to do but never got around to, for example, a word wall of instructional terms? Now might be a good time to plan and create those. See the STAAR Alternate 2 Instructional Term Sample Word Wall below. Could you create an appropriate version for your student? This tool would also help you to remember to use the correct terminology for consistency from instruction to assessment.
Your students have made progress, and you have made progress. Now is the time to acknowledge that success. Share with your students and their parents how far they have come. Give yourself a pat on the back. Leave your paraprofessionals thank you notes. It is time to begin winding down a bit. Continue instruction, remembering to build in activities that are functional and fun, but know that time begins to fly once you hit April!