What's happening in the TLC program at WSR
Our elementary teachers are always working hard on helping give students the best literacy experience. They are balancing between fostering a love of literacy and meeting benchmarks.
Over the past few years, we have kept our WSR Core Literacy Values and Beliefs in the forefront of our minds. Our classrooms help kids love reading and give them time to engage in reading. Teachers have engaging conversations with students about what they are reading. Students receive opportunities and time to write. Teachers use authentic assessments to make instructional decisions. Our teachers give our students these amazing literacy experiences. Our school district has provided a curriculum that supports these values.
Elementary students also take a universal screening assessment for reading three times a year. Our elementary teachers use this data to help make instructional decisions about students that may need additional support for reading. Our understanding of how to best support students continues to grow. We continue to develop our understanding of effective, systematic research-based interventions and Multi-Tiered System of Supports. Teachers are constantly making decisions about which students need to receive which level of support. We progress monitor students weekly to collect data to modify interventions as needed. All our elementary staff is working closely together to support our students, including reading associates, special education associates, special education teachers, Title I teachers, classroom teachers, and principals.
When teaching literacy, we know that we do not have all the answers, but we know that each teacher and each student is working to get better every day!
Ways WSR Mentors and Mentees Create Relationships with Parents
- I feel that the relationships that I have with parents have grown stronger the longer that I have been teaching in my building. It has been fun to have siblings/cousins of prior students. I try to make sure that I communicate with parents frequently so that they can hear both the positive and maybe not so positive, things that are going on with their child in the classroom.
- I send out a weekly newsletter and utilize Class Dojo to communicate with parents regarding student behaviors. I also upload pictures onto the class portion and that way the teachers can see what their students are doing as well.
- I call and/or email parents to let them know when we are having rough days. This helps keep them in the loop of things here a school and gives me a chance to find out about changes at home as well. However, I also do the same when he have had good days as well. I don’t want the parents to see who is calling and not want to answer. ;)
- I always feel that I can do better with relationship building. It is so easy to get swamped with the day to day and group as a whole, but taking the time to email or call gets lost. What I have really appreciated is the number of my former students who live in Waverly; I am now having their children as students. It is great getting to know them as adults and have found it strengthens my relationship with the entire family.
I feel like I did better last year at keeping parents informed and talking with them. I had a monthly newsletter, and I emailed them with positive and sometimes negative notes. However, I bubbled up with my students this year, so half of them are the same kids I had last year, and I feel like I already built a good relationship with the parents, so it carried over into this year. We use SeeSaw, and I try to update it with what we are doing, but I know I need to be better about being consistent.
Secure your own oxygen mask first before assisting children.
"We can't be there in our fullest capacity to teach kids if we're not in our fullest capacity ourselves," she said. "No matter how strong your lesson is, ... it could all be perfect, but I personally cannot deliver a lesson to the best of my ability if I don’t get a full night's rest, if I don't eat on my lunch break." Danna Thomas, a kindergarten teacher in Baltimore who founded a teacher-support group called Happy Teacher Revolution. (Ed Week 6/7/17 https://goo.gl/MD8yXW)
So, what have you done for YOU lately? Here are a few things to try:
As universal screening, progress monitoring, and a system of interventions developed for fifth and sixth grades, the question became how and when do we deliver the interventions and enrichment opportunities students need?
The fifth and sixth-grade teams started to implement a W.I.N (What I Need) time into their daily schedule. Both teams found a thirty minute time period across the entire grade level dedicated to W.I.N each day. During this time frame, all teachers are “on deck” to provide students with instruction based on individualized needs in reading or math. Students are shuffled among the entire grade level based on their unique needs, therefore, students are no longer in their homeroom classrooms.
How are student needs determined?
If a student has a literacy designation of persistently at risk, he/she must be in a reading intervention group. A reading intervention decision tree is utilized to determine which reading intervention a student should be placed in. Reading interventions include: SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phoneme Awareness, Phonics and Sight Words) and Second Chance Reading (Research-Based Comprehension). The second component analyzed is math data. This year the fifth and sixth-grade math teams utilize STAR Math as a universal screener and progress monitoring tool. If students fall below benchmark in math, he/she will be placed within a math intervention group. If students are not placed in one of the above groups, students are either receiving talented and gifted services or enrichment in either math or literacy.
W.I.N. time has been a “Win-Win” for all stakeholders. Teachers have quality time dedicated to individualized needs and students are receiving the additional instruction they need most.
Every student, every day, getting what they NEED.
“WIN time is a great opportunity to work with students on areas in which they may need remediation or acceleration. In some cases, teachers get to work with a small group to dive into intense literacy or math instruction. Students with gaps in their learning benefit from this time in a more intimate setting. In other instances, teachers work with a group the size of their regular classrooms, but students have time to work collaboratively to improve their learning or extend their knowledge on one or more topics or concepts. While our WIN time and organizational strategies continue to evolve, it is a great way to differentiate instruction for all students.” ~ Angie Wessel, Lead Teacher