This chapter helped me see that as a district, we are on the right path. I see a lot of this chapter in what we are already trying to do in our district. I see that we are in fact being proactive in our supports, not only for the staff ( Lead Teachers, PLC's, afterschool workshops) but also for students ( intervention services, basic skills, tutoring, Fundations). I see that we are trying to involve both students and staff in decision making and we are also learning to gradually release responsibility of learning. We are looking at improving supprots for at risk students AND we are revamping the GT program. We are also trying to involve parents (Reading Nights, parent workshops, progress monitoring).

What can we do more? Are our expectations high enough? Too low? Is there such a thing as just right? How can we know for sure that we are in fact making progress? Will test scores be suffice?

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I do think we are making progress. The afterschool workshops have helped me with my teaching. The intervention plans set in place are making a difference with our students. I have seen improvement in my students who are in the Fundations program and applying the skills they learned to their reading.
I liked what Jackson said when she discussed setting up an intervention plan before the students need it. Is it possible to do this? Can we have plans set in place to use when we see a student starting to slip? It seems almost impossible to meet with each student we see struggling (the red flag), set up an intervention plan for that specific area, and monitor their progress to see if the intervention is successful. How can this be done?
I think everything is a process, and we are definitely headed in the right direction. Jackson's idea about setting up interventions as a safety net for students is an excellent idea, and makes such sense. Yet, Nicole has a point about the amount of thought, time and preparation this would take. to incorporate into your curriculum. Maybe planting the seed for this idea is enough right now to get us thinking for the future. Just like the benchmark tests, first the idea was planted and from there we began to envision how we would implement it into our school. The feedback I am hearing,from teachers, is that for the most part the benchmark tests are very helpful in assessing our students strengths and needs.Aren't we giving students the support they need by matching conditions on the practice test to those on the ASK test and then gradually releasing these supports in anticipation of the standardize test.
I think Jackson is right on target when she saids we need to be more transparent in our teaching. We need to break things down for out students, and never to assume what they should know. Her idea about giving a true/false quiz as a method of ascertaining what students know about a subject before teaching it makes sense.
I think she has some good ideas in the Try This section
I liked this chapter a lot, and I agree that we're on the right path as a district. Jackson's suggestion about anticipating confusion and planning accordingly is something I have seen many teachers do over the years. Her example of showing a poorly written paper and modeling how to make it better made a lot of sense. I used to be concerned that if I modeled too frequently, particularly when teaching writing, that students would just copy me. Now I'm beginning to see that most students use the model as a guide to help them when they become confused. Modeling, then, is a way to anticipate confusion and to circumvent it.

Cris asks some thought-provoking questions. We can always do more, and since we teacher-types tend to be demanding of ourselves, I think we will always try to do more. I don't know if our expectations are just right, but I don't think we could get up and come to work each day if we didn't have high expectations of our students and ourselves. I never think test scores suffice to indicate progress, because as I have said many times before, we can't quantify all our students' successes. We don't just teach skills and content; we teach people. For some children, coming to school on time or staying awake all day may be progress. Our expectations about each child's growth will be different. What all our expectations should have in common is that all our students are progressing, and that's why it's helpful to recognize where individuals are starting from.
Progress to me is realizing a child gets it. Tests are some proof, but working in class and knowing the student understands a new concept is satisfying and maybe some part of our grades could be more subjective.
Veteran teachers, especially those who have taught the same grade or subject for years already know what works and what doesn't. Experience will teach you, so seek a colleague who has "been there" for guidance. The pre-assessment idea sounds good as it will indicate what they don't understand.
Jackson's premise about intervention happening when a child's GPA falls below 76% sounds a lot better than waiting for failure to remediate.
The shared accountability she mentions sounds difficult to enforce unless you get the student "on board."
Asking students to summarize what they've learned so far sounds revealing, IF they can put thoughts into words or on paper.
Concrete explanations for mastery that will lead to abstract thinking seems logical too.
Good chapter!
Another thought on Chapter 4...I think our district is doing a very good job in keeping our learning expectations high and creating ways for our staff and families to achieve our goals. In the classroom, we are all challenged daily to be proactive about developng interventions before our students fail. I feel that this chapter clarified some guidelines on how to anticipate areas of student difficulties before the lesson is taught. Making a plan, using student organizers, having students create visual representations , and good modeling, are all excellent strategies to use in class. Just as we are being provided with the opportunites to strengthen our teahing skills through workshops and discussion groups, we must be ready to focus that same energy into the lessons we prepare for our students. We are always in the process of looking forward...finding ways to improve, change, and grow in reaching our learning goals with our students.



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