Thursday, March 31, 2011


What is a Rubric?

Heidi Goodrich, a rubrics expert, defines a rubric as "a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work or 'what counts.'" So a rubric for a multimedia project will list the things the student must have included to receive a certain score or rating. Rubrics help the student figure out how their project will be evaluated. Goodrich quotes a student who said he didn't much care for rubrics because "if you get something wrong, your teacher can prove you knew what you were supposed to do."

Generally rubrics specify the level of performance expected for several levels of quality. These levels of quality may be written as different ratings (e.g., Excellent, Good, Needs Improvement) or as numerical scores (e.g., 4, 3, 2, 1) which are then added up to form a total score which then is associated with a grade (e.g., A, B, C, etc).

Many rubrics also specify the level of assistance (e.g., Independently, With Minimal Adult Help; With Extensive Adult Help) for each quality rating.

Rubrics can help students and teachers define "quality". Rubrics can also help students judge and revise their own work before handing in their assignments.

You will find a free tool and ideas for rubrics at
Rubistar. You will find rubrics for reading, math, science, etc. Some are interactive! I know that you will love this free resource!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Left-Handed Writers

Teaching left-handed children to write takes thoughtful procedure on the part of educators. Penmanship is a dying art, but until we live in a completely digital world, we need to teach handwriting to our elementary students. Left-handed students need early identification and help with their writing. Here are a few points to remember:

Pencil Grip
The Handedness Research Institute, which contains a wealth of information on how to deal with left-handed students recommends having the student hold the pencil two and a half centimeters back. The correct pencil grip look like this:

If a child is holding the pencil incorrectly, I prefer the use of a Stetro.  These are designed to position the fingers correctly. The arrow is pointed to the floor and the pencil is inserted. A left-handed child places the index finger on the star. (Right-handed a thumb)


Paper Positioning
For a left-handed child, the paper should be positioned left of the child's midline, and tilted so that the top right corner of the paper is closer to the child than the top left corner. The paper is placed so that the child's hand is to the left of, and away from, the body at the start of the writing line, and ends the line with the hand closer and in front of the body or slightly to the left of midline.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Link for OWLY Lesson Plans

You will find a 30 page lesson plan for OWLY here!  This is Andy Runton's OWLY Website.  See the previous day's post for the video!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Friendship Loyalty and Love

OWLY has been warming hearts and charming readers of all ages since creator Andy Runton published the first adventures of this gentle “bird of play” in 2004.  Sprite Animation Studios has teamed up with Top Shelf Productions to bring OWLY to life. 

Check out the fantastic video and links available at Owly's First Ever Animated Adventure.

Thanks to Mr. Shu and his blog for the idea! (Found at Choice Literacy)

Friday, March 4, 2011

NAEP 2009 Snapshot-Where to find information for S.C.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history.
Since NAEP assessments are administered uniformly using the same sets of test booklets across the nation, NAEP results serve as a common metric for all states and selected urban districts. The assessment stays essentially the same from year to year, with only carefully documented changes. This permits NAEP to provide a clear picture of student academic progress over time.
South Carolina Reading Snapshot: 33% Below Basic, 34% Basic, 24% Proficient, and 7% Advanced.  
The average score for students in South Carolina in 2009 (216) was not significantly different from their average score in 2007. 
South Carolina Mathematics Snapshot: 22% Below Basic, 44% Basic, 29% Proficient, and 5% Advanced. 
The average score for students in South Carolina in 2009 (236) was not significantly different from their average score in 2007.
You can find sample test items for the grades/subjects tested on the Website.