Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Children’s Principles of Learning - Title 1

Community Building:

1.      Welcoming:  One of the most important principles is being welcoming and inviting to the students.  When kids come to Title 1, they are often nervous because they have to leave their rooms.  Greeting them with a big smile, friendly voice, and fun attitude will help them feel comfortable and safe in the group.  They also are students who struggle more than their classmates.  If they feel welcomed into the small group, they will forget about their struggles and enjoy learning in a different way.

2.      Relationships:  Tied very closely to welcoming is building relationships.  When attempting to build a bond with children, being welcoming, inviting, and friendly will immediately connect teacher and student together.  Kids are very trusting and vulnerable.  By showing them care, taking an interest in their lives, and giving them love, they will thrive both emotionally and academically.

3.      Communication:  Communicating with students is extremely important so they see that they have a hand in their academic journey.  By setting goals, they can choose their outcome.  It is the teacher’s job to move them through the process.  Throughout the process progress monitoring must be done so the students can see the results of their efforts.  Monitoring also guides the teacher in what and how they will assist the student in reaching their goals.

4.      Small Group Safety:  Unlike the classroom setting, students who work in small groups need an elevated level of safety.  They need to know that they are safe to make mistakes.  The best way to grow as a learner is by learning from mistakes. 
Educational Practices:

5.      Identification/Ongoing Progress monitoring:  Before servicing students in K-4 in Title 1, there must first be a through identification process.  Throughout September, January, and April month two assessments are given.  NWEA-MAPS and FAST CBM’s are given to every student to find out where they are at academically and how fluent they can read.  A teacher’s needs assessment is also given out to find out how the students are doing in the classroom.

6.      Content: Throughout kindergarten through second grade, Title 1 reading focuses on the same content areas as the classroom but in a remedial way.  The skills most important to focus on are letter names, sounds with manipulation, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  If these areas are taught in a small group setting, students will see improvement in their learning with the goal to reach grade level performance.

7.      Small Group Instruction:  Struggling students may fly under the radar in the classroom.  Some students master the art of coping.  Thus, it is not always clear whether have the skills needed for reading or comprehending.  By participating in a small group, the needs of each student can be clearly met and they can grow and learn from one another as well as the teacher.
The above principles are the most important practices that I honor on a daily bases when coordinating a high functioning Title 1 Reading Intervention program.  The principles are essential to put into place when starting from the beginning of servicing students (community building and identification), to the daily servicing over long periods of time (safety, communication, content, and instruction).  These principles can be used in the general education setting as well, but are primarily geared for special services. 

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