IT IS FCAT TIME AND THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DOING IN MATH TO ROCK THE FCAT!
We have taken two FCAT practice tests- one last Friday, March 30 and one Thursday, April 5th. Most students did score much better on the second test than they did on the first test. After taking each test we went through every question and solved each problem so students could take notes and have support for the problems that they missed. Part of their homework was to correct the problems that they missed by re-working the problem and showing their work (which we actually did in class, as well). We had three weeks of review and practice and will continue reviewing until the FCAT!
Students are encouraged to use their IXL accounts to practice their math skills at home! This is a subscription-based math website that is directly tied to Florida State standards. It is an excellent resource for students to use on their own to practice their grade-level math skills.
· I We are reviewing how to answer the questions by looking back in the actual problem and using our five techniques which are : (1) read the question first (2) underline the clues (3) cross out bad choices (4) take a good guess (5) stay calm. We are going through problems together on the Mimio and the students are working hard to answer the questions. We are also working in small groups with those students who need extra help on particular concepts.
· Please be sure that your child receives restful nights of sleep and eats breakfast each morning of the week of testing. I also give peppermints or other hard candy to help students concentrate. If you do not want your child having candy because of cavities or any other reason, let me know.
Here is some of the information that I feel you need to know about the test. I have shared all of this with the students:
· Although it is important that students perform to the best of their abilities in reading and math, the reading portion is that part they must pass in order to pass 3rd grade.
· For those families with a child who took the FCAT last year, the scores are very different from last year and it will be more difficult for your child to receive a passing score. For example, to obtain a score of 2, a student was required to earn a 56% on the test last year. They are now required to score 14% higher(70%) to receive the same score of a 2 to pass. Please do not be discouraged if your child has dropped a level- keep the score change in mind. Look at the overall score to look for growth.
· The passing score on the FCAT this year (level 2) is approximately 70%. To be considered on level (level 3), the score is approximately 76%. The scores are about the same for reading and math. Knowing that they have to get a C on the test has helped calm many of the students. I sent home the combined practice tests that we took and the average grade for both test scores combined. I wrote it on a sticky note with the average score so that you can see how they performed on the practice tests. There were some students that performed significantly below their level and were upset by their score. I sent home both practice tests, the answer sheets, and students have re-worked each problem that they missed both in class and for homework. I also provided skill-specific work sheets for practice to be done over Easter weekend, for extra practice, though it was not mandatory. PLEASE GO OVER THE PRACTICE TESTS AGAIN! Also, please encourage your child to do their best on this test. If students did not pass this specific assessment, it does not necessarily mean they will not pass the FCAT- it is a diagnostic tool for me to guide review, support, and remediation.
RE REMEMBER: THESE CHANGES ARE STATE WIDE AND NOT JUST MANATEE COUNTY SCHOOLS OR IMAGINE CHARTER. ALL STUDENTS ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME CHANGES AND ARE AFFECTED BY THESE CHANGES.
· · Encourage your student to go back through the test and check all of their answers! If students are not sure how to solve a problem, skip that problem and go back at the end of the test. FCAT is a timed test and you can not take too much time on any one problem. Any answer that is not completed will be marked wrong, so pacing is very important. We have talked about this in class, but please have this conversation with your student, as well.
· Please let me know if you have any questions. I am here to help support your child.
NUT DAY NEWS! I know that there was confusion on the entire NUT day change, so here is an explanation of what NUT day is. NUT day will be on Fridays this year and will be EVERY Friday, rather than one Wednesday a month. EVERYONE is able to wear their spirit shirt on Fridays, regardless of whether or not they paid for NUT DAY. Students who pay for NUT day and have a pass- that they gave to their teacher- will be able to wear jeans. Those students who do not have a pass will need to wear uniform bottoms. We will also make some Fridays special dress up spirit days- like dress up like your favorite book character-etc. Those students who have passes will be able to participate on those days. The others who do not will be required to wear their spirit shirt/uniform shirt and uniform bottoms.
RECESS: We have just added recess to the schedule, as PE is now a special. We are asking for donations of playground balls, soccer balls, footballs and jump ropes for the kids to play with during recess. Please send them in to your child's homeroom teacher if you send anything in and as always donations and anything sent into the classroom are ALWAYS appreciated and enjoyed by everyone!