New resources have been developed to support the use of the WordGen Elementary program, particularly for English learners and their families. WordGen Elementary is an academic literacy program for 4th and 5th grades comprised of thematic units that incorporate reading, writing, vocabulary development, and debate activities. The topics create a perfect opportunity to engage family members with students. SERP has produced newsletters for each unit in four languages that introduce the unit topic, define focus words, provide the contrasting positions on the debate question, and encourage families to discuss the issue with their child at home. They are available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Arabic.
At the request of many teachers, SERP has also developed vocabulary cards in Spanish and has adapted the Spanish newsletters to be student-friendly, so newcomers and bilingual students are able to read about the unit topic, focus words, and debate in both languages.
WordGen Elementary was introduced into schools in six urban districts scattered across the country in the 2017-18 school year through a national study initiated by the Institute of Education Sciences and led by MDRC. While MDRC has not yet completed analyses or released results, principals and teachers are drawing their own conclusions. Schools in all six school districts are continuing the program, and several districts have requested professional development to expand the program.
Here’s what we heard from two teachers:
“My students grew so much in so many different ways, both writing and speaking, but also just socially, having a discussion and knowing that it’s not a disagreement.”
“It was really powerful, to give students the opportunity to have a voice and express their opinions.”
The Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) is a Tier II program for students in grades 6–9 who are reading below grade level. The New York City Department of Education’s Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) has been using the program in many of its schools, and SERP was interested in capturing the experience to share with others. SERP partnered with video producer Jim Hoppin and MSQI network leaders, teachers, and students to produce this video.
You spoke, we listened! We’ve heard about the photocopying woes of generating a year’s worth of materials for a classroom, school or district. To make it easier, we’ve partnered with Goetz—a print-on-demand company—to print and ship curriculum materials directly to your schools. Goetz will print student and teacher versions of WordGen Weekly, WordGen Elementary, AlgebraByExample, and STARI, plus vocabulary cards for the full WordGen suite of programs, Focus 5, and The 5x8 Card. All billing is handled by Goetz. Purchase orders are accepted. Processing time (7-10 days) required. (NYC schools: Goetz has already been approved as a sole vendor by the NYC DOE.)
Go to Goetz Storefront.
If you are looking for a high-impact, low-cost approach to improving student achievement and narrowing the achievement gap, this AIR study may be of high interest. Prior research has demonstrated that when 7th grade students wrote four brief essays during the school year about the things they value most, minority students’ achievement rose and the achievement gap was closed by 50%. The benefits persisted through high school. Now, researchers at AIR have funding to conduct a similar study on a larger scale.
A SERP collaborator from U.C. Berkeley is inviting 11th and 12th grade math teachers to participate in a unique proof-of-concept project to define and measure college readiness in mathematics for students who become non-math majors. They are looking for teachers who can administer an online assessment in Algebraic Thinking and/or Statistical Thinking between now and March 2018. The assessment will take about 40-45 minutes to complete. Teachers will receive score reports within 1 month of administration for FREE.
If this is something that you or others at your school/district would be interested in, please contact Jerred Jolin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or complete a short intake form. This work is led by Prof. Mark Wilson at UC Berkeley in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).