Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Redefining teaching and learning

We use the SAMR model to gauge how technology has
enhanced learning.  I visited a co-teaching middle school language arts classroom
today along with visitors from another school district learning how to
begin co-teaching.  As it happened, we stumbled upon a great
example of redefinition.
The co-teachers had asked teachers from their feeder elementary schools to consider recording book trailers that could be used in class
to inspire the middle school students to want to read.  Mrs. K, from an elementary school appeared on the SmartBoard of this LA classroom and began to talk about Star Girl.  She read an excerpt from the bookand told about her own feelings of awkwardness as a middle school girl.  The students, who have been recording titles of books that they may want to read after hearing the book trailer, were hastily recording the title, Star Girl. 
Great use of "duet teaching" with technology
redefining the learning.  Book trailers, prepared
by the students' elementary teachers, brought the
level of student engagement up immeasurably. Here's
a little snipet


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Interventions and SPED label

I am often asked about providing the services of reading specialists to our students with identified special needs.  It seems to be a long-held belief that once a student has an IEP, the student shouldn't get services from a reading specialist.

Reading Recovery is a tier 3 intervention.  It's a 1:1, 30 minute per day, 5 days a week program that can last from 12-20 weeks.  The goal is to get the first grade student to grade level within that period of time.  It is an incredible program, I believe,  because of the professional development that the reading specialist receives.  The PD is job-embedded, data driven, responsive to the student and teacher's needs, and the teacher gets rich feedback.  Students are chosen for Reading Recovery through a selection process that hides the identity of the students, with the first grade team looking at the testing results of the lowest performing first graders at the start of the year, and then again, at mid-year.

This year's identification at my school resulted in including two students with IEP's and 6 students without IEPs. Both boys with SPED needs come from homes where Spanish is the primary language spoken. The boy in this video, Gilbert has been at our school for 3 years.  He was in pre-k for 2 years, a co-taught kindergarten, and now he's in a co-taught first grade.  He was quite a handful in pre-k with limited language skills and was very disruptive and aggressive.  With a great deal of support in the classroom and to his family, he was receptive to learning in kindergarten and finished with his reading readiness skills only several months delayed.

Reading Recovery is the only reading intervention that has proven research behind it.  We are going to give our little guys our very best!  Here's Gilbert reading after only a week of RR.