Monday, Nov 24, 2014
Local News

Elementary students to use new computer-based instructional program


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Elementary students in all grades district wide will soon be working on something new in classrooms and computer labs.

Teachers and administrators received training recently on the district’s new computer-based reading and math instructional program called i-Ready, which will be available for students in the next two to three weeks.

Memorial Elementary Principal Laura Waldon said the district has used various computer instruction programs over the years, including CCC and Success Maker.

Now the district is preparing to use i-Ready from Curriculum Associates, she said.

The program adjusts the level of difficulty as students work on the computer, Waldon noted. If they get things right ,it may get a little more challenging, and if they get it wrong, it backs up a little so it is easier for them.

Then it helps identify where students had to struggle and groups them by their strengths and needs, which will help teachers when they do their remediation, she said. If students are doing particularly well in an area, then teachers can provide a more in-depth look at a topic.

i-Ready comes with pre-formulated lesson plans so if students are struggling, for example with non-fiction comprehension, it would provide the teacher with pre-made lessons that could be used with small groups of students, Waldon said.

The start date for the i-Ready program will likely be in early to mid September, she noted.

“It’s going to be very good,” Waldon said. “I am looking forward to it.”

The district will be paying $659,548 over four years to use the i-Ready instructional programming.

Memorial Elementary third-grade team leader and school day care manager Josh McGhee said he will probably use the program in the school’s after-school day care.

“Last year we had a program called SM6 and our students in the afterschool program used that and I think that attributed to our results for our school grade,” he said, referring to Memorial Elementary’s improvement from an “F” to a “B” accountability grade.

Students took turns on the computers and did 15 minutes each of reading and math and then played games, McGhee said.

Woodlawn Elementary fifth-grade teacher Jerry Wright said i-Ready was going to be an “amazing tool” that will ensure that teachers target their instruction and present material that will help each child succeed.

In addition to instruction targeted to help individualize instruction, there are diagnostic features that are going to help teachers create center groups, which will also help provide instruction in areas that groups of students may need, he said.

“As always, I never feel that a computer can replace the role of a teacher, but using it in addition to teacher instruction will help ensure every child is succeeding with the new Florida Standards,” Wright said.

Cracker Trail Elementary Principal Jeannie Inagawa said her students will start using i-Ready in a week or two.

“This program seems more user-friendly and more up-to-date than what we had in the past,” she said.

The Charlotte County schools are using this program and they have seen some success from it, Inagawa said. “The children that we spoke to enjoyed using the program.”

mvalero@highlandstoday.com

(863) 386-5826

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