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Fostering Success

Whew!

What an emotional week!!!

There were highs, and there were lows.

I’ve already shared some of my lows.

I thought I’d share one of the high moments.

It began last Friday.  I’d been working on identifying main ideas and details with my students.  This is a very difficult reading skill to master.

I decided to give my students a quiz.  The plan was to review the quiz results on Monday and test them on Tuesday.

Oh my word, but my heart fell when I discovered that most of my students had bombed the quiz!!!

When I reflected over the weekend, I realized that I had not scaffolded instruction properly.

So, on Monday, I apologized to my students, and we got down to the nitty gritty.  I delayed the test until Friday, scoring four more days of instructional time.

We worked.

Hard.

I spent an entire class period helping them understand how to selectively highlight text.  Kids tend to highlight entire sentences and paragraphs.  It can be difficult to discern what’s important and what is not.

We also reviewed strategies I’d never gone over before.

On Wednesday, I separated my students into three groups.  I’d selected the four students who I knew needed the most assistance to work with at my guided reading table.

I pulled the students who had scored the highest and placed them in one corner of the room.  After explaining to my students that research shows that students score highest on exams when they peer coach one another, I asked the group in the corner of the room to select one person to work with (they couldn’t select a person from my guided reading table).

Then, I gave my students their quizzes from the previous week and asked them to determine the correct answers.

I took things one step further and asked students to write brief explanations of WHY each incorrect answer was not the right choice.  To do this, they had to go back to the text multiple times.

To sweeten the deal, I told my students that I would regrade their quizzes and adjust those grades in the computer.  My thinking was that mastery was more important than what they made “in the moment.”  They were doing work that was tied to curriculum, and explaining their answers took them from critical thinking to metacognition.  That’s where the real learning happens, folks!

While working with my small groups at my table, I discovered a very interesting thing.

They admitted that they had never read the text the first time!!!!

Oh my!

That freaked me out a bit.

Once we worked together, and they saw how integral it was to look at the text for answers, their eyes were opened.

Yesterday, I administered a second quiz to check on their progress.

My heart sang with joy when I reviewed my first class period’s results.

They had nearly doubled their scores!!!!

Oh my gosh!!!

The pattern continued as each class took their quizzes.

Before the classes took their quizzes, I pulled aside the students who had been absent on Wednesday and worked with them (while the others were reading silently).  I didn’t want them to miss the one-on-one instruction that the others had received.

I’ve gotta admit something to you.

I grew up in a time when if you didn’t get a concept, you were SOL, so to speak.

The teacher moved on, and you had to scramble to pull up your grade without fully comprehending the material you’d failed at.

Times are different, and we cannot teach that way any longer.

It’s a lot more work, and it means adjusting your lesson plans.

But oh my.

As I learned, it’s one of the BIGGEST keys to help foster success.

Our poor children give up because they never get the chance to succeed!!!

They have no confidence, and they wind up compensating by acting up in class or even dropping out of school.

This week’s teaching experience is huge for me.

I think it marks a turning point in the way I will structure my lesson plans.

I’m excited at what lies ahead for my students!

Oh, and a little funny for you.

Before I closed my door yesterday afternoon, I randomly took a look at the sign-in sheet that students must complete when they are tardy to class.

I think you’ll get a chuckle, as I did, when you read the gentleman’s reason…

Yes, folks, apparently he thinks that Gummies are also integral to fostering success.

😀

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