Programs allow students to learn at their own pace
By Louise Pitts | Jemison Elementary School
Jemison Elementary School has several wonderful, research-based computer programs. When teachers are instructing small groups, other students are allowed to work with these computer programs to increase student achievement.
Students are excited about having the opportunity to work independently to improve skills being taught and about being allowed to progress ahead of their peers if they have already mastered a skill.
Jemison has the Accelerated Reading computer program, where students will read a book and then take an exam on the computer that tests the student’s comprehension of the book read.
Once a student successfully scores an 80-100 on five tests, the student is allowed to move up a book level. The AR program calculates points for each book read. A small book may only be worth half a point while larger chapter books are worth 10 or more points.
Students gain points based on how well they answer the questions on the book. We have a 100-point club where students are recognized in an assembly program and receive a T-shirt. Students who earn 250 points are also recognized in an assembly program and get a $10 gift card to Wal-mart. Students who hit the 500-point mark are recognized in an assembly program and get to be Principal of the Day, receiving a Starbucks coffee mug and a $20 gift card.
Students loved this program so much that many students, after reaching the 500-point mark, continued to read. Therefore, a 750-point mark was developed, which allowed students to be the Librarian for the Day and received a $25 gift card.
Jemison also has an Accelerated Math program, which allows students to work at their own pace for grade level objectives. As soon as a student masters an objective, he or she is able to work on another skill.
Last year, several students completed the objectives for their grade and moved on to the next grade’s objectives. In fact, our school had to purchase the fifth grade objectives even though we are a K-4 school. Students love this program and are so pleased with themselves when they do well on the AM tests.
Jemison also has purchased a Study Island Reading and Math program. This research-based computer program is aligned with the Alabama Reading and Math Test objectives. This program allows students to move at their own pace instead of waiting on others. When a student masters an objective, the student earns blue ribbons on the computer, which thrills the students and the teachers.
All our students love these computer programs because they are not bored waiting on others, they can practice skills with which they struggle, and they receive instant rewards, since the computer immediately provides them with their scores. Further, they receive recognition for their successes in assembly programs, on their weekly newsletters, and over the intercom system during morning announcements.
– Louise Pitts is the principal of Jemison Elementary School.