Thumbs Up, I Get This!
I make sure that my students have heard the directions I've given using this simple but effective check for understanding strategy. Having students repeat directions or an expectation provides them with an opportunity to re-state or clarify their understanding. For example, if a student responds incorrectly, I don't just move on to another student all the time. I ask the same question in a different way so that my student who initially responded incorrectly, unclearly, or incompletely has another opportunity to answer with more clarity. Thumbs Up, I Get This! is another way to hold students accountable during their independent time.
Flash Fluency is a strategy I use during guided reading sessions to make immediate adjustments to my instruction, based on my students' needs. To gather the information I need, I give a reading fluency check to one student from the group using a current or cold read text. The student reads for one minute while I keep track of miscues and make observations. It is followed by a quick comprehension check. Once this is completed, I address the student's needs immediately with the entire small group. Since my reading groups are homogenous, one student's needs are generally reflective of the needs of the other students in the group.
The model we have today is designed to increase the quality of small group instruction. We focus our instruction for core subjects with smaller groups so we are better able to individualize learning to meet their needs. For the first grade, we use a rotational model in both math and ELA, which provides students about 90 minutes of individual computer time daily. During teacher-led instruction we encourage students to sit in pairs or small groups and use think-pair-share strategies to lead their own conversations and engage with the material being presented.
Number of Students: 26 students
Number of Adults: one teacher; various other adults support during specific times (e.g., Blended Learning Coordinator, Special Education Teachers, etc.)
Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 90 minutes (Reading and Writing Block)
Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: MyOn; i-Ready
Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: Lenovo ThinkPads (1:2 ratio); SMARTboard; Document Camera; iPad (for teacher)
Key Features: station rotation; student agency
I teach students how to read by focusing on the use of phonics rules to decode words of all types. Phonics Word-Coaching is a strategy where students refer back to the various strategies they've learned. Through the use of diacritical marks to label specific sounds in words, students take apart words and reblend them in order to read the words. The idea behind it is that eventually students will recognize these strategies without having to actually write the diacritical marks and are able to do it by sight. It's fact fluency for the reader.