Submitted by Anita Swigart, English Teacher from Ohio
For a long time I have tried to come up with a way to help my students who are struggling. I teach language arts 10, but find that many of my students do not know information that I was taught in elementary school: parts of speech, parts of a sentence, punctuation, capitalization, etc. Either they were taught and then forgot due to lack of review, or not taught at all - I have no idea. There may be many reasons why these skills haven't "stuck," but my job is to make sure that they have learned them before June. But when to do it?
I finally decided to use Fridays for make-up work, silent reading, and intervention. I do not feel that it is wasting a class period. Students who score less than 75% on a quiz over whichever skill we are working on, work with me. Others get the chance to make up quizzes and tests they have missed, while the rest can read either their monthly independent novel, an extra credit novel, or just a novel of their choice.
All of this goes on in one classroom and can be a bit hectic, so I have just put into place a new system: the students with whom I am working sit at the computers. (I am lucky to have 4 student computers in my room.) I open a "room" in TodaysMeet and start teaching. We can learn silently while others are silently reading and the students don't have to endlessly fill out work sheets for intervention. In TodaysMeet I can ask questions to students and they can answer. I can hand out work sheets first and then just ask questions regarding them. ("What part of speech is the first word in sentence #3? Why can you say that?) This way the students who are really struggling can learn by watching others answer questions and my giving constant feedback. When there are about 10 minutes left I end with an online game that reinforces the information I have been teaching. This week my students a played a game at: http://ictmagic.visibli.com/share/vL7Olp and seemed to enjoy it.
For those of my students who have the internet at home, I can do this intervention from my home in the evening. Unfortunately, many of my students don't and they are often the students with whom I need to work, but I try to use whatever resources I can find during the school day. Also, for those who cannot work at home, I offer a worksheet for them to do as an "extra." If they fill out the work sheet and get more than 75% correct, I add points to their low quiz grade; however, these must be done in a timely manner.
I also use screencast-o-matic to make videos for my students to watch. These are on my class blog at: Anita Swigart's Classroom Blog