B2S Prep: Tracking AR Points

Does your school participate in Accelerated Reader?  Ours does, but let me tell you a little bit about how we handle/manage it...
- Students are NOT forced to take AR tests
- Grades are NOT taken on AR tests
- Students take AR tests on their own time (when they are finished working, during independent reading time, or if they find random slots of open time!)

Now let me tell you how we reward AR points...
- Our Librarian and PTO give small prizes for different point levels (they manage all of this)
- At the end of the year students can shop with the points that they have earned throughout the current school year.  This is done school-wide (not something the teachers have to manage or track)
- We also reward students for AR points at our grade level awards assembly at the end of the year

Since students get to shop with their points and are given prizes throughout the year I do try to hold them accountable for keeping up with their AR tests.  If I just ignore it, then the end of the year comes and they have no points to shop with!!  I definitely don't want them to be sad at the end of the year, but it is their responsibility to earn those points :)  I'm not going to cram it down their throat... but I do give reminders and help them along the way!  So, here's how we are going to track AR points next year...

Each year I make something new to display their AR points.  Typically I make something to go along with our school-wide theme.  This year I wanted to do it differently.  I pulled out my collection of punch-out numbers and decided to go with my Chalkboard Brights numbers from Teacher Created.  How did I determine the different goal levels??  Well, I punched out all of the numbers I had and made random arrangements, ha!  That's why you see goals of 6, 18, 27, etc, ha!  I just used what I had without trying to recreate the wheel or buying something new!  I glued those numbers onto white paper, then glued the white paper onto black paper.  Afterwards I laminated the sheet!
Each Friday I look up AR points.  Students sign their name with a permanent marker once they have reached that point goal.  Super simple... not teacher intensive at all!  This gives them a little incentive to take those tests {and actually read the books before taking the tests, ha!}

If your class takes AR tests you know how difficult it can be to search for those pesky titles once they are logged on.  So, I try to help my students out in a couple of different ways.  First of all, I keep the the books that we are reading aloud (or the books that match the theme of the week) at the front of the room.  You can see a glimpse of that HERE.  Next, I am trying to label all of my books with the AR testing numbers, but this girl has a lot of books and very little patience for tasks that aren't pretty, ha!  Last, I keep up a bulletin board for the books that we read aloud/together.  I write the title and AR number on a notecard and put those on the board under Fiction/Non Fiction.  
This past year my board looked like this...
I pretty much changed everything out but kept the same concept for next year.  I wanted to use a pocket chart rather than push pins because I can simply slip the card into the pocket chart rather than hunt down push pins!

So, that's that!  How do you keep track of points?  Do you have any tips?  Leave them below, I'd love to read all about it!

14 comments:

Lori said...

Writing the AR test code down on all my read-alouds and then posting them on the wall this year was a total life saver! Kids moved through tests a lot faster. Thanks for the great idea!

Lori
Live, Laugh, Love Second

cindy hart said...

Amy, this has nothing to do with AR points. Our principal discourages AR books because she says they only ask basic questions and don't probe deeply enough. However, I could not figure any other way to ask you a question. Do you have any favorite beginning of the year activities that you could post about? So many times you have ordered something special from Amazon and I want to have time to plan the activity and order anything I might need! Thanks, Cindy Hart
ckhart@suddenlink.net

Kerry M said...

There is an app you can use on your phone to scan the books. I have not used it (I labeled my books long before I had a cell phone!). You can also use ARBookfind.com and label them at home. If I get new books, I take them home to do it. I also have older students help...I have the level of the book, number of points and the quiz number in the front. It's much easier to type in the number rather than the title when you are 8! We have kids look up the number at home to help. To set our points, our students take the Star Reading test in the same program. It then uses the information along with how many minutes we expect them to read daily and it produces a goal. It's reasonable. BTW, the questions for AR are not all easy! I read books with my own kids and then watch them take the quiz. I would miss some for sure! LOL! Thanks for sharing your ideas...I absolutely love your blog and feel like I know you!!

Lauren Duris said...

I didn't know that AR even existed this year until March when our librarian did March Madness, and it was a disaster. I love how you have a plan to implement, and then hold the kids accountable to take their time and complete the tests. I know I want to have students start doing AR sooner in the year, and would love to have them keep track of their own progress. I do have about 5 iPads, so this would be a great addition to the "iPad" station! Thanks for the idea!
FlippingintoFirst

Erin0513 said...

Wow, I love the idea of posting the title and quiz number of read alouds! I feel like we do AR a little differently since I'm in a low income district and we really need the kids to be reading as much as possible. After taking the STAR test I have a meeting with each child and together we look at what types/titles of books are in their assigned level and then set a point goal together. We do this quarterly. We also require them to be above a 75-80% accuracy rate. I can see how some people might not like AR because it isn't "deep" but I think I our curriculum covers that elsewhere. AR is really aimed at improving fluency and some comprehension.

SM K said...

I have never heard of this and am quite intrigued! You have my "teacher gears" going in my head right now!

Jennifer Hiers said...

Amy...I love both ideas and I'm trying to figure out where to display both of those in my classroom. Where did you find your "READ" banner and the black pocket chart? Thanks so much for sharing your amazing ideas!!!

Mrs. Hurst said...

AR is a huge part of our literacy program. I have a baseball theme, so I have a big dugout as my reading station and I painted a diamond on the wall to keep up with AR. Each base shows the percentage of the goal for each nine weeks, and each child has a clip they move to the bases as they take tests and earn points toward their goal. I do not show "points" because each child has a different point goal. By showing percentages they compete with themselves instead of each other. The library gives a small reward at the end of each nine weeks, but the biggest incentive is our pod party. Each nine weeks the children who make their point goal and have 90% or higher as their average percent correct get invited to the party. It changes each nine weeks and is a secret until the day of the party. The first one is pizza and Looney Tunes cartoons, the second one is a bingo party with peppermint sticks and hot chocolate, the 3rd one is a dodge ball party and Popsicles (with teachers playing!), and the 4th one is a free time playground party with coke floats. (I would love some more ideas for parties!) Then at the end of the year we give awards for total points earned. It is time consuming to keep up with the logs because the children fill them out and I have to sign after each test, but it is so worth it! It motivates high, low, and in between readers. Love, love your blog! Thank you!

Shannon Henderson said...

Thank you so much for the idea of putting the titles on index cards with the quiz number...brilliant! We love AR at our school, it helps improve fluency and motivates the kids to read. Students are acknowledged every nine weeks for reaching a certain number of points, we have used AR stores as well as AR trips to reward them for reading.

Tina said...

Hi Amy,
I love reading your blog. Our school just started AR this year, and it worked out well. I appreciate you sharing your ideas for AR. I enlisted the help of a wonderful parent volunteer to help with the labeling of the books. He would come in once or twice a week to do this. If you don't have many parent volunteers, you could contact your local high school. In our area the students have to earn volunteer hours, if they want to be part of certain clubs at school. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Mrs. Labrum said...

I also write the book level and quiz number on the book so students can easily find the titles. It is easy to keep track of the points and comprehension percent when you print out a TOPS report for each quiz, which I send home for parents to view, sign and return. Students should be averaging between 84-92% on quizzes. If higher. Challenge to a higher level, if lower, discuss why and adjust accordingly. Did they read too quickly or not at all, did their mind wander too much? Where they just looking at words or pictures? Was it to long to keep their attentions? Was it a too hard book for them? Adjust. Also, for those who want "deeper"questions,you can take the literature skills quizzes on some of the books. These are deeper level questions and you can learn a lot from the data. There are also vocabulary quizzes using words from the books.mmi am impressed with the new information given in reports. With the new up-dates of the program. AR is really growing along with expectations. It oats to look at the teacher dashboard and see what data is available. Sorry for all the typos but I am sleepy, just wanted to get my points in. I don't know if a student really comprehension as when they read independently without AR,

Adventures with Miss A said...

I love the idea of them writing their names themselves on the point posters, as opposed to you always writing the names (gives them more responsibility and ownership). I have a posters point club with a ribbon ribbon attached to it and then I post a clip with the student's name on it when they reach a certain level. I love the idea of giving them the reins more though, so I may let them do the writing and clipping this year! I've never thought about posting the books we read, but I may add that to my AR system this year. Thanks for the great ideas!

Barbara Johnson said...

How do you get your students to READ in 5th grade? We allow points for end of year rewards. Still students seem more interested in their new technology games rather than reading.

Kattreena said...

This is a really great idea! I was wondering if the marker wipes off! Can you use this year to year or would it better to use a dry erase marker? Thanks!!!