Curriculum Newsletter

Benton School District

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Benton High School National Merit Finalists

Benton High School has three students named as semi-finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Semi-finalists represent less than one percent of United States High School seniors who has the highest scores in each state on the PSAT exams. Finalists will be notified in February. Congratulations to Caleb Webb, Bryant Neal, and Jeremiah Bowling.

Elementary Literacy K-2

This summer all of our kindergarten, first & second grade general education teachers, as well as ESL, special education, speech, para-professionals, and instructional facilitators were trained in a new research-based, multi-sensory phonics program. Orton-Gillingham/Recipe for Reading was implemented in all k-2 classrooms as our core instruction for phonics. It is also differentiated for small group and intervention instruction in other classrooms throughout the district, including some secondary classes.

Students are learning decoding and encoding strategies that will make them better readers and writers. One area that we have begun to see growth is spelling. Spelling test are now an assessment of a specific skill that has been taught, not just a random list of words students have to memorize. Students are taught to pound out syllables and fingertap phonemes (sounds) as they spell a word. This will be a strategy they can transfer into their everyday spelling and writing, which is a lifelong benefit. First grade teacher, Kim Hathcote commented about Friday’s spelling test, “There’s a whole lot of fingertapping going on in here”.

One aspect of The 3 Part Drill is a kinesthetic/tactile component of the program where students write in sand to reinforce letter sound fluency. Classroom teacher Mary Grace Kinder gave a testimonial as she and Speech Pathologist Trena Slaughter had been working with a particular student who was having difficulty with spelling. After repetition of The 3 Part Drill in small group, he did very well on a spelling test. “He was so proud of himself. It really made me feel good about our new phonics program.”

This is year one of our program, and we are beginning to see positive results. I am excited to see where our students will be in 3 years. Our goal is to teach whole group, then remediate specific reading deficits, until all students are reading at their full capacity.

Benton Middle School Social Studies

Collaboration and innovation are the buzz words for 7th grade Social Studies this year! Students are engaged in hands-on project based learning creating a rich learning environment for students of all learning styles. Daily use of Chromebooks, the integration of Google Classroom, and the use of an online textbook allow us to actively engage students living in a digital world.

Our Celebrate Freedom Week included students analyzing some basic American values and the roles those played in the development of our government. The ENTIRE seventh grade recently created a parody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” demonstrating the meaning behind the Bill of Rights.

Currently, students are studying consumption patterns of the United States. Using GIS technology, students have been able to analyze the global impact of those patterns. This unit will culminate with students creating an action plan and implementing a civic action project. Within these projects, students will identify a problem created by our consumer patterns and propose a solution. They will then actively seek to bring awareness to the problem or inspire others to action.

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Read 180 Next Generation

I am excited to announce that Benton School District has upgraded to READ 180 Next Generation, an innovative reading intervention program by Scholastics.

READ 180 is a research-based program with proven results in raising student reading achievement. READ 180 used cutting-edge technology to deliver individualized reading instruction, provide valuable skills practice, and motivate students to become confident readers.

In READ 180 classes, our students will build essential literacy skills for college and career readiness, and bring his or her reading proficiency up to grade level. They will also develop multi-paragraph writing skills, as well as, applying reading and writing strategies to other subjects such as social studies, science, and math.

With the growth and success we have seen in the past with the implementation of READ 180 Enterprise Edition, we are anxious to see what the future holds with the implementation of the upgraded version and the components that have been added.

Jodi Quinn

3-5 Literacy Instructional Facilitator

Andrea Adcock, 4th Grade Teacher at Ringgold Elementary, works with a small group during READ 180 while other students work independently.

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