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Mascenic School District

Teachers find new ways to optimize their class time

District uses technology, new block to accelerate learning

Emily Gannon, a teacher at Highbridge Hill Elementary School, explains the use of instructional videos she and other teachers are implementing at a School Board meeting on June 2.

Emily Gannon, a teacher at Highbridge Hill Elementary School, explains the use of instructional videos she and other teachers are implementing at a School Board meeting on June 2. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

GREENVILLE — The teachers at Highbridge Hill Elementary School and Boynton Middle School are planning new ways of teaching their students that best use the class time available.

In two separate presentations given to the School Board on June 2, teachers from both schools spoke to the board about groundwork they have laid this year that will set the stage for work to continue next year.

Teachers from the first through fourth grades at Highbridge Hill told board members about a program known as “Flip,” which allows teachers to videotape themselves explaining basic concepts. The students watch the video as part of their nightly homework, which allows teachers to spend more time practicing the concepts during classroom time, and less time explaining.

Highbridge teachers implemented several weeks of “flipped” lessons this year, and conducted a survey of the results among teachers, students and parents, as part of a grant process, teachers told the board on June 2. Their studies found that the fourth grade students performed the best and had the most positive reactions to the teaching structure, while the first grade had the most negative. Teachers theorized that the difference was due to the fourth graders having more training in the technology, as well as a better understanding of how to synthesise information and take notes from a video.

Teachers also discovered that some material lent itself more readily to a “flipped” model, particularly science classes, which freed up additional time in-class for practical experiments and lessons, while other subjects, such as grammar, were not as effective.

All teachers recommended implementing “flipped” lessons on some level for the coming year.

Boynton Middle School teachers also presented upcoming method changes which will be put into place at the middle school next year. In the coming year, Boynton will be implementing a solid 45-minute block in which students will be able to attend Response to Intervention, or RTI, classes. RTI is a form of special education classes can be used to help students struggling with remedial work, or conversely, as an enrichment time for more advanced students. The dedicated block is an important piece of the puzzle, teachers said, as it allows the students to receive help they may need without pulling them out of other classes, and then expecting them to catch up in that area later, which is what the process is now.

School Board members also felt this was a major plus in the changes to response to intervention learning.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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