Who is doing this well?  I am an English teacher for Grade 10 and 11.  Remedial students struggle with making connections between writing, research, and literature study and their own lives/experiences.  Lack of motivation, support, and empathy are my biggest adversaries. 

Tags: connections, english, level, literature, lower, real, remedial, remediation, research, world, More…writing

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There are such students in every school. At my site, we offer special classes to help those kids. The teachers who run those classes are very non-traditional (hence the reason they were picked). They employ creative approaches to address student weaknesses. One approach is using Google Docs for daily journal writing. Students see even the dullest assignment differently when a computer is involved. Students get points for everything they do AND those points go on progress charts (math comes in here) so kids can see progress. With reading skills (speed and accuracy), their reading speed (words per minute) is recorded and charted. Kids love seeing their chart results moving upwards. Snacks, prizes when least expected and not just for high performers, words of encouragement and praise, not giving F's (instead "See me" or "almost there" or "making progress, but this area needs more work", etc.). Pulling common errors from writing and making that the "grammar" lesson. Building a supportive classroom environment that encourages risk-taking is a must.



I think a big part of teaching remedial high school students is to present information and school work differently. Most of them have already experienced traditional teaching environments, and they've failed. So we need to try something new. I've found that giving students a different way to express their learning can often motivate them to learn, especially if they're able to express themselves to the world, rather than just their teacher.

For example, when struggling writers publish a weekly blog that can be read by anyone in the world, they're motivated to write (because actual people -- friends, family, etc. -- and not just teachers will hear what they have to say). Other students might be very good at verbal expression or really into movies -- give them a chance to show their learning through podcasts or movie-making. For example, perhaps they could make a movie trailer for "Huckleberry Finn" after they finish reading the book. You can create a rubric for the trailer that would be similar to a rubric for a report -- it would have to highlight major themes, etc.

When they publish these projects on their blogs, they're interacting with the real world in a more meaningful manner. Here are some good, FREE sites that might help motivate them:

- Text-to-Video (students type up a script and choose cartoon characters to read the parts)
- Voicethread (students can narrate a photo or slideshow)
- Pixton (students can create their own comic strips)
- Go Animate (students can make their own cartoons)
- Blabberize (students can make picture talk)

Good luck!
To Denise and Katy,
These are great suggestions/thoughts. Thanks for your input.



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