Setting exceptions for spring break, keeping students honest, and a close look at West Port High School. It’s the March edition of Reading Plus’s teacher newsletter!
Academic Edge, Inc., Kentucky’s leading provider of school-based reading solutions and support brings you this month’s edition of the Reading Plus Teacher Newsletter. Lots of new stuff, all in bite sized packages!
Spotlight on West Port High School: Home of the NASSP National 2015 Principal of the Year and FRA 2014 High School Reading Teacher of the Year
Reading Plus congratulates administrators, teachers, and students of West Port High School in Ocala, Florida. Principal Jayne Ellspermann has been named 2015 NASSP National Principal of the Year! In addition, 10th grade intensive reading teacher Natasha Murphy was named 2014 Florida Reading Association High School Reading Teacher of the Year. Ms. Ellspermann and Ms. Murphy are both avid supporters of Reading Plus program, and have been outspoken proponents of the program’s ability to help students develop themselves as capable readers and confident, independent learners.
West Port High School students in grades 9-12 who are not proficient in reading use Reading Plus during intensive reading classes or content classes. Students complete work during class as part of a rotational model, switching between small group instruction or content instruction and Reading Plus work. Students can also complete Reading Plus work during Power Hour, an hour set aside mid-day school wide for teachers and students to eat lunch, complete school work, and participate in extracurricular activities.
Instructional Coach Ginger Cruze shares that the teachers at West Port High have found many ways to keep students engaged with Reading Plus. Teachers encourage students to take ownership of their work by helping them track their progress. In one classroom students track SeeReader level progress on a poster board hung in the classroom. In another classroom, the students get recognition in the form of a sticker when they pass the reading portion of various standardized tests, or when they earn a specified number of Combos. Ms. Cruze also shares that all teachers, support facilitators, deans, and counselors at the school have the ability to look at students’ Reading Plus data in order to consistently communicate with students about their progress. This helps students understand the importance of Reading Plus and how the program can help them succeed in reaching their academic goals, whether the goal is to start attending college classes early or to be successful in an AP class. Read more about West Port High and check out the video from our previous Academic Edge post.
Keeping Students Honest
Online student-centered programs such as Reading Plus make rich, individualized learning possible. The full educational benefits of Reading Plus are experienced by students who are engaged and committed to their own growth as readers and learners. Educators are in a unique position to guide and support their students in making choices that fuel their growth. In the context of Reading Plus, this includes supporting students in completing their own work and operating with academic honesty when they are online.
However, research indicates that cheating has become prevalent for students in many schools, beginning in middle school and continuing through college. A recent article inEducation World, “What Can We Do to Curb Student Cheating?” explores the problem of cheating and provides teachers with actionable suggestions to combat it. A March 2013 article from T.H.E. Journal titled “From Texting to Plagiarism, How to Stop High-Tech Cheating” discusses specific aspects of high-tech cheating and ways to help students avoid plagiarism. Finally, Challenge Success’ 2012 white paper, “Cheat or Be Cheated? What We Know About Academic Integrity in Middle & High Schools & What We Can Do About It” provides an excellent overview of possible reasons why students cheat and what educators can do to reduce occurrences of cheating.In addition to some current research, we want to provide you with Reading Plus-specific suggestions to help you proactively support your students’ academic honesty as they complete their lessons in Reading Plus.
- Have a conversation with your students about academic honesty. Ensure they understand that you expect them to complete their work independently and with integrity.
- Require students to put away cell phones, iPods, and other mobile devices not necessary for completing Reading Plus work.
- Physically monitor your class during Reading Plus time.
- Ensure that you can see all students’ screens as they are working in the program.
- Make certain that students have only one Internet browser window open, and that they don’t have any other programs running.
- Review the document Engage in Daily Classroom Monitoring to Ensure Success With Reading Plus for guidelines that will help you monitor students while they complete SeeReader lessons.
Help Your Students Spring Forward Over Spring Break
Spring break provides a great opportunity for students to catch up on SeeReader lessons. Remember that students can access Reading Plus from home, the library, a family member’s house, community centers, or wherever they have Internet access.
Consider running a Spring Forward contest for a two-week period, the week of spring break and the following week. Challenge students to complete 15 SeeReader lessons during that time. A focused period of intensive SeeReader usage will ensure students move closer toward the goal of completing 100 or more SeeReader lessons by the end of the school year.
Click here for guidelines to run your own Spring Forward contest!
Integrate the Reading Plus Writing Component into Your Curriculum
The writing component helps prepare students for state testing by allowing them to respond to rigorous writing prompts electronically. The Reading Plus writing component prompts students to produce evidence-based arguments, expository essays, and narratives related to the selections they have read with 80% or higher comprehension. Teachers can adapt the writing component to fit the needs of their class.
Click here to learn more about how you can integrate the writing component into your curriculum.
Remember to Set a Weekly Assignment Exception for Spring Break
Weekly assignment exceptions can be set for any weeks that students are not expected to complete Reading Plus assignments. Students have access to all Reading Plus programs during exception weeks, but the system does not hold them accountable for completing lessons during that time.
Click here to review how to set a weekly assignment exception.
Bulletin Board: Make Reading a Slam Dunk During March Madness!
With spring break just around the corner and the end of the school year quickly approaching, it is a great time to get students energized to complete as many SeeReader lessons as possible and to continue earning Combos.
On the March Madness bulletin board, all students are represented by a basketball with their name. As students earn Combos, they move their basketball from basket to basket making slam dunks!
Have a bona fide basketball hoop nearby? Give students the opportunity to shoot a real basket every time they earn two Combos!
Your Reading Plus Team