Many Little Elm ISD students will be gearing up to take either End of Course exams or the STAAR test after they return from Spring Break, during the last week in March. But for more than 100 eighth graders from Lakeside Middle School, they will have a new-found confidence as they take their state assessment test.
"For the last five years, we have held a Saturday STAAR Camp before the STAAR test," said LaCoya Bagley, facilitator and chair for eighth grade English Language Arts and Reading Department at LMS. "STAAR Camp is something we do outside a normal week because the students' minds are fresh. We take our readiness standards and teach them in a fun and hands-on way," said Bagley. STAAR Camp is divided into two areas, eighth grade Reading and eighth grade Math.
Kelly Carlson, in her first year with LEISD, teaches eighth grade Math and Algebra at LMS. She played a vital role in the creation of math activities that would help students gain necessary knowledge for the STAAR test. "After looking over the benchmark data, I looked at areas that we needed to improve and tried to create activities that would allow students to have practice with those targeted concepts," said Carlson.
The Reading portion of STAAR Camp was made up of five stations with a 10-minute break between each rotation. "We taught main idea/supporting details with tree maps and contests, context clues with matching and shaving cream on the desks, an inference game, bowling with dictionary skills, and a compare/contrast station," said Bagley. "They learned, and several kids talked about how much fun they had. They felt like they could pass the STAAR test."
LMS Principal Clint Miller volunteered his time to support the teacher-driven initiative. He was in charge of cooking the pancakes and sausage in the morning and motivating students. "My job was to communicate to our parents about STAAR Camp. Everything else, the teachers created on their own. It was fun to watch the students enjoy learning," said Miller. "We also had a pizza lunch and before they could get their pizza, they had to tell me something they learned, and they did!"
Bagley said they are seeing success and growth in eighth grade ELAR scores. "We are consistently doing as good or better than the state in our passing percentage for eighth grade reading scores. We are working on ways to get our commended percentage up, but we are meeting our growth indexes in almost all areas," Bagley explained.
Special thanks go to the following 12 teachers who helped with the STAAR Camp: Lacoya Bagley, Jerriel Berry, Temesa Bradley, Kelly Carlson, Kyra Engelman, Tim Hoffman, Ben Jameson, Meaghan Matthews, Alicia McCaffrey, Connie Mikla, Bryan Roderick, and Kay Thomas.
Big thanks also to the administrators who helped: Principal Clint Miller, Assistant Principal Marcia Torres, and District ELAR Coordinator Nadine Raybourn