In 2010, Everyday Mathematics was adopted for our mathematics courses for those students working at the PreK-6 th levels in mathematics. Two outside consultants, Dr. Claudia Pagliaro and Ellen Ansell, were hired when making our selection for a mathematics curriculum. A final report was submitted, including a recommendation of adopting Everyday Mathematics. An excerpt from the report reads:
"Everyday Mathematics is a research-supported curriculum designed by the University of Chicago School Math Project that includes both teacher-based and student-based lessons and that allows for individualized attention within multilevel classes. The curriculum spirals in its presentation of key concepts and skills where mastery is achieved through consistent reinforcement and practice, and provides planning and instructional guidance for teachers of diverse learners including students with special needs and ELL students. This type of guidance will assist ISD teachers with heterogeneous groupings of students, i.e., multiple mathematics levels within a grade/class. In addition, there is an emphasis within the curriculum on communication and explanation of thinking which will allow teachers to assess conceptual understanding, will encourage students to learn multiple ways of solving problems, and will enhance language instruction."
Everyday Mathematics also provides lists of selected literature to accompany mathematics instruction. This will assist in integrating language/literacy with mathematics and address the issue of time constraints. Everyday Mathematics provides a clear and consistent lesson design for conceptual learning that will assist teachers in their planning, instruction, and assessment, including providing lists of needed materials, related vocabulary, and enhanced learning activities. In this way, while not being “scripted,” Everyday Mathematics provides extensive support to teachers in moving away from the observed traditional lesson structure.
Everyday Mathematics also offers with the curriculum many activities, materials, and resources that will assist ISD teachers in making mathematics visual for their students and further address diverse learners, including materials that can link school with home/dorm. It has motivational appeal with many games and activities that allow children to have fun in, and with, mathematics. These games are developmental across grade levels, meaning that the game itself might be played again and again, but with the addition of different parameters and levels of difficulty, allowing teachers to track student progress.
The Accelerated Math program is also used as supplementary curricula to the core math programs. This program is provided through Renaissance Learning. All students are given STAR Enterprise assessments in math three times per year to assess their levels of performance and specific learning needs in this subject.
In mathematics, Accelerated Math is used as a supplement to the core math curriculum. The Accelerated Math program provides individualized practice assignments at each student’s level, allowing for differentiated instruction. Immediate feedback is also provided when practice assignments are scored, allowing teachers to interpret the data and guide instruction. Much of the information gleaned from Accelerated Math is used to help determine areas of need in mathematics for individual students and to develop appropriate IEP goals/objectives.
Direct Instruction/Reading Mastery
In 2006, Direct Instruction curriculum was adopted schoolwide for all students for reading and language instruction. This scripted curriculum is phonics based and provides consistent instruction for students in reading and language as they progress through their academic years at ISD.
Direct Instruction is a series of research-based programs published by SRA, which includes scripted teacher presentation manuals. The teaching scripts have been extensively field tested and revised to ensure that teachers can convey the intended information to students in a clear, concise and effective manner. Furthermore, the teacher scripts provide consistency of instruction from lesson to lesson and teacher to teacher. In addition to its unique curricular design, the Direct Instruction programs employ specific teaching strategies such as achievement-based grouping, small group instruction, fast-paced lessons, frequent unison responding and careful monitoring of individual progress.
In order to implement the curriculum with students, Visual Phonics was employed. Visual Phonics is the abbreviated title for See-the-Sound/Visual Phonics (STS/VP), a multisensory system of hand cues and corresponding written symbols that represent aspects of the phonemes of English and the letter-sound relationships. When using Visual Phonics, the speaker holds his or her hand near the mouth, speaking or providing mouth movements while simultaneously producing a hand cue. The hand cues mirror the articulatory features of the sound and the written symbols reflect the gestures used in the cues. This system is multisensory because it incorporates speechreading (visual information) articulatory feedback (tactile information) and hand motions (kinesthetic).
Throughout implementation, educators have found some limitations with the use of Visual Phonics to fully implement the Direct Instruction curriculum. Visual Phonics is limited to the word level, thus not allowing for full use of English while teaching the program. For that reason, over the last three years, ISD has begun a pilot program to incorporate the use of Cued English to implement the Direct Instruction program with greater fidelity. Cued English was incorporated into a single classroom in the high school program in the 2010-2011 school year. During the 2011-2012 school year, phase 2 of the pilot program was implemented and Cued English was expanded to be utilized in all reading classes in the high school program. For the current school year, we are in phase 3 of the pilot program, and Cued English is now being used in all reading classes across grades K-12, as well as language classes and other subject areas in the high school.
All educators have been trained in the use of Cued American English and two educators are certified trainers who are available to provide additional training and assistance as needed. The Reading Mastery program addresses all five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. It was designed to develop decoding, word recognition, and comprehension skills that transfer to other subject areas. There are six levels in the program—Grades K-5.
Grade K and Grade 1 focus on learning to read. Skills addressed include explicitly and systematically teaching letter-sound correspondence and how to apply this strategy to decode words. To facilitate early decoding skills, a special font is used. Students also learn to attend to important story details and directions and deductive reasoning skills are explicitly taught.
Grade 2 and Grade 3 focus on reading to learn. Working from a solid base of decoding skills, students begin using these skills to learn from written material. Students also learn about diverse places, different eras, and important historical events through the stories and factual articles serving as a bridge to content-area reading.
Grade 4 and Grade 5 teach analysis and interpretation of literature. Reading of abridged versions of classic novels, as well as full-length short stories, poems, myths, folktales, biographies, and factual articles, introduces students to new styles of writing, new sentence forms, and new vocabulary. Students complete activities that teach analysis of elements of literature and comprehension skills and strategies.
The Corrective Reading-Decoding program was created for students in 3rd grade and higher who are reading below grade level. It was designed to help students who have difficulty identifying words, do not understand how the arrangement of letters in a word relates to mouth movements and meaning and whose reading rate impedes comprehension. There are four levels in the program; A, B1, B2 and C.
Decoding A explicitly and systematically teaches sound-spelling relationships and how to apply this strategy to decode words. Students are first taught and practice using regularly spelled words and then irregular words are introduced. Later, sentence and story reading activities are used to teach students to apply their newly learned skills in the context of reading selections.
In Decoding B1 and B2, word-attack skills are refined and applied to more soundspelling patterns and multisyllabic words. Students practice word-attack skills by reading stories of increasing length and with more complex syntax. Story comprehension is practiced both orally and in writing. The stories in B1 are specifically designed to correct mistakes that struggling readers typically make. Decoding C is designed to bridge the gap between advanced word-attack skills and the ability to read textbooks and other informational material. Students are introduced to the meaning of 600 new vocabulary words and read a variety of passages from narrative to expository with fairly sophisticated vocabulary. To prepare students to read in the content areas, this program introduces sentence types and conventions that are typical of textbook materials.
The Accelerated Reading program is also used as supplementary curricula to the core reading and language programs. This program is provided through Renaissance Learning. All students are given the STAR Enterprise assessments in reading three times per year to assess their levels of performance and specific learning needs in this subject. For reading, students participate in our school-wide Accelerated Reading Program. Individual goals are set based on each student’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The program is designed to encourage students to develop their independent reading skills and their desire to participate in pleasure reading activities and be lifelong learners. Acknowledgement systems are in place in each school program to recognize those students who successfully meet their individual reading goals. Students read books within their ZPD then take a corresponding quiz on the computer to check for understanding and earn points toward their goal. Personal goals are set quarterly for each student by their teacher. Accelerated Reading is designed to serve as the practice component of a comprehensive reading program.