Ok so I know I didn't blog last week! My bad! What we did last week was that my fifth graders were given third grade TEKS (our state standards) by a 3rd grade teacher that the 3rd graders were low in. My fifth graders created games, presentations, whatever for those TEKS, and then on Thursday of last week each group of fifth graders got a group of 4-5 third graders for 45 minutes that they had to re-teach that TEK too. The kids had a blast and were so professional!
This week was amazing, because we got our results from our STAAR (state) Test that we took about 2 weeks ago. If you have been following my blog you know that I have been Flipping my classroom this year. Then in October I made the decision to move to completely Project Based Learning and not to teach even ONE test formatted question. I had a thought that my students could preform well on a test without ever being "taught the test". And what's even better is my principal totally supported this endeavor.
Now that's not to say I quit flipping. All the lessons were flipped (done at home) and class time has been spent completely on project based learning with no test formatted questions and no worksheets. Now before I continue I must admit, that two weeks before the test I was asked by my district to teach some test formatted questions. We are a recognized district, and it understandably made them nervous that I hadn't taught any test formatted questions. So for about 5 school days we worked on Test Formatted Qs and it was PAINFUL (you can read about it in one of my previous posts).
But 95% of my instruction was not test formatted. I focused on making sure that my students were mastering our state standards through hands on learning and inquiry based activities, never even talking about or considering a state test.
So to say I was nervous about our scores is an understatement. I was terrified. I had a LOT riding on our state scores. In Texas, assessment scores are tremendously valued and looked at. So I knew we were being watched closely by our district and other 4 elementary schools.
Well we got scores back this week.....out of my 75 students, 72 passed! That equates to a 96% pass rate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was elated. I have NEVER scored that high, even was I was "teaching a test". I also had 22% commended (and one perfect score!)! To say I was excited is an extreme understatement. And I was finally able to tell my students yesterday how they did (had to wait until after we took Science STAAR this week). They were jumping up and down, screaming, everything! And they were also pumped because for the first time we were the top scoring school in our district too!! Now our district did awesome with STAAR scores this year, but my kids wanted to be at the top of the heap (because only one exam, out of about 8 exams, have we actually been on top). So when we found out we had the highest scores we were thrilled!! We even scored above the district average!
Now I have two weeks before 5th grade has re-takes, and then those three students of mine will get to re-take their exam and if they all pass we'll be at 100% passing!
I am just so thrilled to finally have DATA PROOF that the Flipped Classroom and Project Based Learning WORK if done correctly! You don't have to teach a test, or teach test formatted Questions to get your students to be successful. I've been preaching that all year, and now I finally have data to back me up!
My students are learning deeper, gaining more knowledge, and making memories more than they ever would have had I taught them a test all year. I focused on our standards and worked from there! So now, it's time for us to celebrate :)
*** If you would like to learn more about my Flipped Classroom or Project Based Learning I have a Webinar coming up with Sophia.org on May 7th at 6pm CST and you can register for it here http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6037667827