After a year of practicing resiliency, building technology and self-management skills, and navigating emotional turmoil, students are preparing to return to a rigorous school experience without some of the skills they would have built in a normal school year. A recent study from Stanford University (https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/changing-patterns-growth-oral-reading-fluency-during-covid-19-pandemic) illustrated the flattened growth of Oral Reading Fluency during the pandemic. In a broad sample of school districts, second and third graders performed about 30 percent behind expectations, with the most severe impact concentrated in already struggling schools. In an environment of continued disruption and uncertainty, Microsoft is introducing Reading Progress as a resource to help build opportunities for students and educators to get back on track in a non-stigmatizing and highly customizable way.
Reading Progress in Teams supports students in building fluency through independent reading practice, educator review via video, and educator insights. Teachers can upload a single reading fluency assignment or differentiate for their class’ many levels. Students read their passages out loud, creating an audio/video recording that a teacher can access and review at their convenience. Traditionally, tracking students’ fluency is irregular and time consuming because it requires one on one close listening, while somehow still managing the remainder of the class. Creating recordings allows educators to check students’ progress more regularly while also freeing up time for active instruction. By empowering students to complete their reading fluency assignments regularly and independently, Reading Progress keeps the focus on practice and growth, not performing under pressure. Now reading fluency practice can happen anywhere!
Educators can use the Auto-detect feature for quick review, or manually code any errors; either way, valuable data is collected in Insights. Teams Education Insights dashboards help visualize class and individual progress. Insights also provides a holistic view of trends and data including accuracy rate, correct words per minute, mispronunciations, omissions and insertions.
Some newer components to Reading Progress include:
Reading Progress inside of Microsoft Teams is rolling out right now and can be accessed via the “Create Assignment” selection, then clicking “Add Resource”, where a new choice for Reading Progress will show. Educators can then upload a Word or PDF document with the passage of their choice, set the “pickiness” level for the AI software, and then assign to the class. Teachers can access all the students’ recordings from a single locale and watch back the video while seeing the students’ mispronunciations, omissions, self-corrections, insertions and repetitions.
By: Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Professional Development
Summer. A time to relax by the pool, take vacation and . . . Summer School. Yes, Summer School.
The 2021 version of CA BOCES Regional Academic Summer School (BRASS) was fully virtual with educators and learners utilizing Zoom for class sessions and Apex for course curriculum. BRASS is in the Student Programs CoSer which is led by Mary Morris in conjunction with the Distance Learning CoSer. This year was much like last year except for one significant difference. This year there were 483 student registrations from 17 districts! Last year, we had 198 students registered in BRASS.
Our five teachers rose to the challenge. They built courses in Apex that met the New York State requirement of 20 hours of content/learning activities and then engaged with students in groups of as many as 45 at one time. The educators conducted social emotional check ins, provided content support and were champions for the learners daily. The learners realized much success over the course of the five-week session. 90% of the learners passed with an average of 65%+; 10% failed (includes late drops), final grade class averages ranged from 73.5 - 88.25. Congratulations to the learners and educators!
In addition to the success of the BRASS program, we also offered for the first time a blended New York State Certified Driver's Education class. Our Educator for Online Learning, Lisa Scott (also a New York State certified Driver's Education Instructor), built the course in Moodle based on the New York State provided content. The educators and learners connected via Zoom for fifteen 90-minute sessions, per New York State Driver's Education course requirements. 368 learners were led by 3 educators during 12 different sessions. So far, 166 MV-285 Driver Education certificates have been issued to learners after receiving their parent supervision certification and driving log.
These two examples of innovation and risk have helped make the summer of 2021 memorable for educators and learners in our region. I am proud and humbled to have been a part of both components of BRASS. Congratulations to all!
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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