Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas

Today I am joining over 180 bloggers who are sharing their bright classroom ideas. Unfortunately, I did not participate last time but I found wonderful ideas that I am using already!

Do you do AR in your classroom? I do & I promote it heavily. My students are obsessed with taking AR tests. We currently only have two student computers in our classroom. This has caused major arguments when someone cuts in line. It drove me cray-cray. I used to have my students write their names on the board & erase it when they were finished taking a test. This was not working well at all.

There has to be a procedure in place for this to run smoothly. I get asked a lot how my class accumulates so many AR points. I truly believe having this system really helps! I DO NOT let my students take tests while I am teaching whole group. They take tests all day long. I do let them take tests if they are in "Read to Someone" or "Read to Self" during our Daily 5 rotations. They even take tests at recess although that is not required. My students are required to take at least one AR test daily. They have to have their test done by recess otherwise they lose it.

Here are the steps that I teach over & over until it is running smoothly.
 I have a small container that houses their class numbers. These are calendar numbers that I laminated. This is usually filled with numbers by the bell & throughout the day.
Each of my students have their own book bins. These stay in place unless we are in Daily 5 or silent reading time. All of my classroom books are AR. I teach them how to choose a "Just Right" book in order to successfully pass each AR test they take. I like them to have the books that they have read & plan on taking a test on to sit on their desk so they are ready.
It is truly amazing how fast they learn to take these tests independently. They type in everything themselves. Sometimes there are typo issues. I don't have time to help with these when they do come up. One of my classroom jobs is a "tech assistant" that helps with this. If the tech assistant can't help then they come get me which is rare.
After they are finished taking their test & successfully pass, they press the "easy" button from Staples. I have one on each computer & tell them that is my favorite thing to hear all day!
After they press the "easy" button then my AR Patrol student makes sure they put their number up & get the next person. If they forget to put their number up or get the next person they owe a big fuzzy. They don't forget.

This photo was my AR line in the beginning of the year. I switched to the circle numbers so we could fit more in each row. Until my students got to know everyone's student number, I placed a class list next to the AR line for them to refer to. They simply walk up to the person & tell them they are up for AR.
This is a big motivator to take AR tests. For every test they pass they get a BIG FUZZY! I have students that take 5-10 tests a day just to earn a big fuzzy for each one!
After they get their big fuzzy they have to return their book & grab another one. This is the only time they are in the library bins other than their book shopping day on Monday.

Even if you don't use AR in your classroom this system can work for many other things. I hope you are able to use some of my ideas.

Since this is a blog hop, you're not done yet!  There are over 180 bloggers with bright ideas posted and you can hop all the way through.  Next up on the hop is Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 . Head on over to her blog to check out her Bright Idea!


  1. I don't do AR tests in my classroom, but I love your chart with the numbers in it! I could use that for so many things with my students (conferences, presentations, etc)!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  2. I came up with the AR Quiz line a couple of years ago when I was looking for a way to stop the racing to be the next to get to the computer! I still use it today! I love how well it works.

  3. When you say book shopping on Monday, how does this go?? I have kids that get up and get new books ALL. DAY. LONG. and I want to stop it because they're doing it to get out of actually READING the book. I also have those few that take 239847 AR tests a day, but then some that haven't taken ANY this year - I'm going to start the take a test or owe me recess rule - seems like a good motivator to earn those puffs!

    Miss V's Busy Bees

  4. I LOVE this idea! The AR test line drives me nuts too. I have been writing down the names on the board but they always forget to erase their own name and I can never keep up with who is next. This is such an amazing yet simple idea! Thanks for sharing it!

    The Price of Teaching

  5. Love these ideas! Do the kids keep the fuzzies or do something with them?

  6. This is a great idea. I don't use AR but I do use Book Adventure. I like the idea of them keeping track of who is taking their test next instread of me. I am going to try this when we get back from Spring Break and see what happens. Thanks for sharing.

    Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis

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