Third-grade teacher Enolar Callands used to spend hours tracking down quality stories to support the ELA standards. “It could take forever,” she explains. The selections she found were “mundane” and drained students’ enthusiasm for reading. Her fellow teachers at Beecher Hills Elementary in Atlanta faced similar issues. After searching for a schoolwide solution for 2016–2017, the school chose Total Motivation ELA from Mentoring Minds because of its close standards alignment, rigor, and critical thinking emphasis.
A Week in the Classroom
Callands began each week by introducing the lesson to the classroom and projects the content onto a whiteboard. Together, they read the selection and identify vocabulary. Callands enjoyed how “they can see me model and do it along with me.” Higher-level learners moved on to a journal activity to practice writing skills and answer questions about the selection in the Student Edition (SE). “They already know what they need to do,” she explains of the easy-to-use format.
To help less-independent learners, Callands relied on the suggested interventions outlined in the Teacher Edition (TE). On Thursdays, she evaluated student progress by using the unit’s assessment. The online Standards Mastery Report and its data let her quickly see “who has mastered the standards and who is struggling.”
Impact on Learning
By the year’s end, Callands was seeing results in her classroom. In August, 80% of her students had been “below pathway.” By April, after using Total Motivation ELA for three hours each week, their scores spiked 99 points on Atlanta PSD’s Benchmark, and 86% were reading above grade level.
In addition to the quantitative improvements, Callands also noticed the quality of learning improve. “I don’t have to spoon-feed them anymore,” she explains, noting that because her students were increasingly independent and confident, she could give more time to slower learners.
Beecher Hill’s academic coach, Neal Christian, relies on Total Motivation ELA to provide “all students access to quality curriculum.” He notes, for example, how the TE provides a flexible grid of Lexile levels and passages from which to choose. “Teachers can start there and teach main ideas and supporting details to specific levels of students,” he says.
The impact on lesson planning was significant as well. It reduced prep time because of the variety of activities and close standards alignment. Callands explains, “Having all that information on the standard takes out all of that legwork for me. I’ve come to rely on it.”
Learn more about Total Motivation ELA at mentoringminds.com/total-motivation.