• May 29, 2020

Teach to One helping students catch up on math skills - Odessa American: ECISD

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Teach to One helping students catch up on math skills

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Posted: Friday, May 1, 2020 12:08 pm

Helping middle school students catch up with skills they didn’t get in elementary school is something teachers always knew they needed to do, but they never had the tools or resources. Now Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School math department head Cinda Brown says that mechanism has arrived.

It’s Teach to One and it started at Bowie, Bonham and Wilson & Young this fall. Brown, who is the math director under Teach to One, said at the beginning of the year, students take a test and based on that, the computer program puts them at the level they need to be so they can be successful later on. At her middle school, Brown said it was used for about 420 sixth-graders.

The program is designed to catch students up on skills they never mastered in elementary school. “It’s totally individualized. The program allows them to go down three grade levels. For example, we had students. The whole district did that. (They) never learned how to really divide from third grade. It was just a skill they never understood how to do and they never mastered it and so this program backs them down and it reinforces that skill,” Brown said.

Brown said it’s something teachers have always known they needed to do, but they never had the tools or resources. With Teach to One, there are two different rounds. Students may go to one round where the teacher is teaching a live lesson. Then they may go to their second round and it’s virtual instruction on the computer.

“Then they return to their math teacher and they take what’s called an exit slip and how they do on that exit slip determines what they are taught the next day. If they’re still struggling with a concept, they get a chance to have it repeated but it’s taught in a different way,” Brown said. “If they’ve mastered it, they may get a chance to practice it and then it moves them on, so you’ve got the kids that are lower that need that reinforcement from third and fourth grade concepts. But then we had other students that were doing seventh grade math work by Christmas. So it was really neat.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and they found out they weren’t going back to the school buildings, Brown said the district reached out to Teach to One and asked them if they could change the program to virtual instruction.

“With the virtual, they’re given a bunch of different websites that they may go into. Then at home, the kids already knew how to log in to Teach to One,” Brown said.

Brown said parents may also help their children because these are sixth-grade concepts.

“They’re not necessarily easy, so we’ve had to let our parents know it is OK to help them. It’s OK to explain it. That’s what the teachers would do if they were in our classrooms,” she said.

At the end of the day, the students take an exit slip. They can get a green sparkly slip, which means they got all the material right; a green slip which means they may have missed one; a yellow, which means they are close to passing; and red, which means they were not successful.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth,” Brown said.

The students took a MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test in August, which is a norm referenced test, and they took it again in December and they had “the largest growth.”

“We were really proud of our kids, and when we transitioned to distance learning, we’ve had consistent over 50 to 60 percent of our kids on an average daily basis are logging in and doing their exit slips. We have noticed we have some that are logging into the program, but they’re not doing their exit slip. But we figured out what’s going on,” Brown said.

With Teach to One you can only take the exit slips between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. because the program needs to get everything ready for the next day. Some students were trying to do the exit slips in the wee hours of the morning.

“We’ve had a lot of success and we are very excited about that. Our teachers have done a really good job of reaching out to kids and being very diligent and making sure that they’re checking in on Google Classroom …,” Brown said.

Brown added that the students were instilled with a desire to do their best.

“So even at home, they’re getting upset if they’re not getting it, or if they don’t understand a concept, or if they’re getting a yellow; then they’re upset. They’re working to get greens and green sparklies,” she said.

Everyone has their own binder with their logins and their own Chromebooks.

Since this is a pilot program, Brown has told students that the whole state is looking at them.

“… I’m very proud of our campus. We work together daily. We sit down every morning and look at what we’re teaching for that day. If somebody doesn’t understand a concept, or we’re trying to figure out the best way to get it across to the kids then we’re working together, collaborating, coming up with resources. We also have an instructional support …,” Brown said.

The program will follow students through middle school.

If students have questions, teachers have office hours on Google Classroom, which Principal Anthony Garcia required.

Some teachers were even live all day.

“We’ve had positive feedback from all of our kids and all of our parents about Teach to One because the kids, they know how to do it themselves so there was little that the parents had to help them with. They didn’t need to navigate these weird sites and … they knew the program. They knew how to get in and that was all they needed to do,” Brown said. “We’re anxious to see how the kids do, even when they come back in August because they’ll take their MAP test …”

Lynn Arnett, whose son Tavor is a sixth grader at Wilson & Young, said math has been the least stressful subject since they did it every day at school.

At first, Arnett said she felt kind of dumb, but she has adjusted to Teach to One and online learning. The first week, she said they were all pulling their hair out, but now Tavor has gotten into a rhythm.

“It’s real important that he’s learned, now you do need to go along and watch all the videos that they have for you to watch and the practices that they have for you to watch. You can’t just jump right into your exit slip and think OK I did this. I answered these three questions right. I’m good to go. You need to go back and watch everything you have available before you think you’re smart enough to for the exit slip,” Arnett said.

Arnett said Tavor would like to see his friends and he could go along with online learning.

“But he said he’d probably like to go back to school,” she said, only if it’s safe.  

ECISD Blended Learning Coordinator Lauren Tavarez said she’s excited about the Teach to One program because it’s personalized. Tavarez said she wasn’t on board in her current position when the three middle schools started using Teach to One, but she had seen the data.

“… A lot of our sixth grade students were showing gaps and performing at a third, fourth grade math level and so they took the assessment again in the middle of the year and so many of the kids had grown a grade level, a grade level and a half. What I also appreciate about it is that the high (performing) students are no longer having to wait. In a traditional learning environment, the teacher is delivering the lesson; students are listening; and you can make that as engaging as you want, but everyone’s still doing things at the same level. With blended learning and with Teach to One, the students are able to go on and work (and move on if they’re ready). We’ve got some students who are learning at a 10th and 11th grade level,” Tavarez said.

She added that Teach to One has the right combination of digital tools and face-to-face interaction that students need with their teacher and each other.

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