How do I want to improve teaching and learning in my classroom? How can collaborating with others support my teaching and learning goals?

In my classroom I want to improve fluency in reading and at the same time improve Galileo and AIMS scores for the school. Our third grade unit has an average reading level of first grade. They are not able to read third grade texts fluently, or comprehend what they are reading. I think implementing the Six-Minute Fluency program would help improve reading in the grade level and improve test scores from the Fall to Spring benchmarks. According to Gail Adams and Sheron Brown “The Six-Minute Solution is based on the premise that six minutes worth of concentrated practice on targeted literacy skills such as phonetic elements, automatic word recognition, and passage reading, can increase reading achievement” (Adams & Brown, 2007). I believe my students and the students of my peers deserve any angle we can use to help them improve their reading ability.

Collaboration with my peers is one of the most useful tools I have in my arsenal. We all discussed this problem and brainstormed several ideas. We feel this is worth implementing at the beginning of Daily 5 before we do read to someone, or listening to reading. Emily Lai states “Collaborative or cooperative learning structures are argued to trigger strong critical thinking skills and dispositions” (Lai, 2011). This is what makes collaboration a useful tool in the classroom as well as the professional learning group. All teachers should want the best for their children, and a strong reinforcing group allows them to just that, and in my case, four brains are better than one! Collaborating with my peers allows me to make mistakes without being judged. It allows me to test ideas and theories before jumping blindly into something that could waste time and learning. Collaboration allows me to become a better teacher by allowing me to learn and be part of something bigger than my own classroom.

Adams, Gail N. & Brown, Sheron M. (2007). The Six-Minute Solution: A Reading Fluency Program (Primary Level). Longmont, Colorado: Sopris West educational Services

Lai, Emily R. (2011). Collaboration: A Literature Review. Research Report. Retrieved from http://images.pearsonassessments.com/images/tmrs/Collaboration-Review.pdf

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8 comments

  1. ahayden2007 · January 23, 2015

    Thanks for the reference. It sounds like it might be helpful for my project on peer collaboration with comprehension strategies. I’m thinking that research supporting ‘explicit teaching of reading skills’ would be helpful. I’ll let you know if I come across any that might assist your in the coming week. I did just read one article that supported the importance of explicit teaching, but it wasn’t a research study per se. Anything written by Vygotsky would attest to the importance of collaboration with peers, but it’s really hard to get your hands on his original works. Mostly just others’ works that quote him.

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    • jnyboy1131 · January 24, 2015

      Thanks for the input!! If I find anything else I will shoot it your way!!

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  2. burns12 · January 24, 2015

    Wow, what a great post! I really like how you ended your post commenting on the statement about how it makes you feel like something bigger than your own classroom. I had never thought if it that way before, what a powerful statement! Have all the 3rd grade teachers at your schools decided to start using 6 minute solutions? Has it been implemented yet? I use it with my 4th graders and I think it is a great use of only 6 minutes per day.

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    • jnyboy1131 · January 24, 2015

      We have, as a group we are willing to try anything to get a win for our kids. As a group we love the 6 minute solution, we found a coach at the middle school who had a ton of old material from another school. She gave us boxes of stuff and said do what you want with it, no one wanted it because they couldnt fit it into the schedule, it was a gold mine! We have implemented it and love it, and the kids love it. we are still working out the reading levels so i is beneficial and challenging a the same time. Thanks for the comment!!

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  3. alaskanjam · January 25, 2015

    Our school was having the same problem with low reading scores. We finally decided to implement a program called Lexia Reading Core 5. Our students have made tremendous progress. The program is very easy to use and the kids love it! It is self motivating and kids WANT to work to get to the next level.

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  4. Stephanie · January 25, 2015

    Collaboration works! I had to look up the Six Minute Fluency Program and Galileo. I just learned about two new things! Thank you. Actually, I have seen teachers use the Six Minute Fluency, with success, in the classroom. I just never knew there was an official name for it. The students like tracking their own progress, and it was a great intrinsic motivator to keep them moving forward.
    I noticed on the Six Minute Fluency website, that the passages are non-fiction. I know non-fiction reading is being pushed, but sometimes I wonder if this is beneficial to struggling readers who might have better fluency with an adventurous fictional tale.

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