Thursday, November 29, 2012

6 Ways to the Super Improvers Team

It's been a month since I've posted! Such a LONG month. but too many things to do! I need a whole closet to store all of the different hats that I wear in a regular day... wife, mom of three, union president, PBIS internal coach, science department leader, AND of course...a teacher! Add Santa Clause on top of that,and it's no wonder I'm so exhausted!

But...I didn't want to go another day without posting. There's been SO much going on in my classroom this past month. My students are now experts in the basics of whole brain teaching, and have even started mastering several brain toys and critical thinking strategies.  I am so proud of them! It has truly revolutionized my teaching.

This revolution could not have happened without the use of the Super Improvers Team. My students have come to LOVE the days that I add "SIT Day" to our class agenda. I've chosen to have designated SIT days which helps me do two things: 1. make sure I don't forget to use the SIT wall, and 2. generate excitement and suspense for the using the wall.

Here are some ways in which I use the SIT:
1. Crazy Professor Reading game: We do a variation of the crazy professor reading game in which pairs compete to be the craziest professor. A student reads one paragraph with great inflection, animation, and huge gestures to compliment that he/she is reading. Their partner mirrors their gestures.  Then they switch roles.After each student has had a turn, the pair decide who was the best crazy professor (best gestures, most animated voice, best inflection,etc.) The "winning" student earns one point. This continues until time is up. I usually try to allow both students to read twice. When time is up, the student with the most points earns a sticker on their card on the wall.

2. Journal Writing: I started the year doing journals more than once a week, but have reduced them to once a week. We did it more often at the start of the year as students were learning how the red-green marker writing system works,but now that they understand that, only doing it once a week fits better with the flow of our classroom. Each student has their own rubric and has an assigned focus which is differentiated according to their ability. As a student shows mastery of one focus, they graduate to the next focus on the rubric and earn a sticker for their card on the SIT. For example, once a student masters focus #1 neatness, they earn a sticker and graduate to focus #2 capital letters.

3. SuperSpeed Science: Once a week we play SuperSpeed science, modeled after the SuperSpeed language arts and math games. The idea is to review core concepts in a quick,fun, and repetitive way. I create a sheet with several questions or definitions grouped into small sections of 12-15: questions/definitions on the front, answers/vocab words on the back. Student play one group at a time. One student sees how many they can get though on the front in one minute while their partner checks their answers by looking at the back. Then the same player repeats, trying to improve their score. An improvement of one or more earns a sticker on the wall. I have their partner come get their sticker; the partner has to give them the sticker and congratulate them on improving.

4. Nominations: On Friday's I read the nomination forms from the envelop by my door. Students nominate each other. On a scrap piece of paper they have to write one person's name, what they have improved in,and their own name. If they want to stay anonymous they can write that too, and I will tear off their name before I hand out nominations. As I draw nominations the class gives them a 10 finger woo and they get a sticker for the wall.

5. Universal Homework Model: For four days before a test, students complete Star Homework, which is our version of the universal homework model. Each day students have a choice of three activities to complete that will help them review for a test. The activities each can earn stars; the harder activities earn more stars. For example, for one star a student could quiz themselves using their study guide for 15 minutes. For two stars a student could make flashcards for 15 vocabulary words and use them to review for 15 minutes. For three stars a student could teach someone else about a specific concept from the study guide, and create a five question quiz to give them after they are done. Total stars earned by a class earn minutes for a review game the day before the test. I keep track of stars earned by each student. I compare stars earned by each student eachtime. Any improvement in stars earned, earns a sticker!

6. Test grade: I keep track of test grades for each student (obviously!). Any improvement of test percentage earns a sticker.

What works for me is to have specific things I I do to give stickers for. That way I remember to use it, and the student remain motivated by it. It works!


  1. I know we get so busy with life it's hard to continue posting...thanks for this page! Do you have a list of the focus items you use for your students journals!?! Thanks!

  2. Love the info....Thanks so much!