08/26/11 Lincoln Junior High officially kicked off a new program to some 270 7th graders on Thursday that is designed to help improve their reading, writing, comprehension, and vocabulary skills. Using the Achieve 3000 materials, students will receive and reply to an email that will direct them to an appropriately leveled nonfiction current events article using real-world topics.
According to Assistant Principal Reid Gault, the program will be used in the science, language arts, and social studies classes two times per week for a total of 70 minutes. Since all students were given a laptop to use both at school and home for the entire school year, students can also use the Achieve 3000, TeenBiz program at home any time they wish.
Gault created some enthusiasm for the project by announcing that the top 10- 7th graders will be rewarded. The competition portion will run from August 26-September 12. According to Gault, teachers will post the names of the leaders each week and the “mystery” rewards will be announced on Family Night, September 12. During Family Night, students will be able to show parents and others how to use the program and their individual success levels.
Rewards are being made possible through the generosity of a community partner. TCU will be providing daily imitation “dollars” to those leading that can be redeemed in the Achieve 3000 store for prizes.
Gault said that on a monthly basis, there will also be rewards for the outstanding achievements. Gault said, “Teachers will choose the Achieve 3000 students of the month.”
Each quarter or every nine weeks, there will be a drawing from the “students of the month” in which two Kindles will be awarded.
One of the most unique parts of Achieve 3000 is the assessment tool that allows students to answer questions pertaining to the articles at their own reading level. As a part of the overall program, students will be assessed continuously to measure their progress and reading/comprehension levels.
After reading an article, the students complete a short, formative assessment in which each question is aligned to the state standards. The program also allows teachers to monitor comprehension and vocabulary mastery. To reinforce the learning, students build critical cognitive skills by writing responses to open-ended questions and writing responses.
Heading up the program for the Plymouth Schools is Carrie Cannon. Cannon is an intern for the school corporation completing her PHD requirements. She said, “Teachers from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade levels have been trained and collaborated how they will incorporate this program within several subject areas. The Plymouth Community Schools are also participating in the research aspects of the program.” She added,” We are working with Achieve 3000 to track and monitor our students’ academic progress as well as strengthen our instructional processes regarding usage of this educational tool.”
By Carol Anders