2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Ensuring Excellent Teaching (excerpts) - Page 10

took that led them to an incorrect answer. In addition to helping s tudents respond to constructed response questions, the practice helps students build other skills such as vocabulary, critical thinking, and self-expression. Understanding each child’s academic growth. Rose Park’s relatively veteran staff is committed to learning how to recognize—and best maximize— each student’s abilities. They continually assess and reassess student knowledge, routinely “spiraling” information delivery to evaluate which students have mastered what information. If specific students have not learned something, they review it again in class or through intervention. “Mastery is the goal at our school,” numeracy coach Shepherd said. “If students do not do well on a test, they can work to learn the material and improve their scores,” she added. “We believe students should see what they mastered, not how poorly they did on a test two months ago.” Rose Park’s teachers use project-based learning activities that push students to strive for the next levels of complexity in their understanding. For instance, math courses use “scavenger hunt” style activities as instructional methods to teach the Common Core standards. In these activities, students find different math problems posted in the classroom that they must solve and then explain how they arrived at their solution to the teacher. Reading classes also incorporate language “stations” dedicated to parts of speech, descriptive writing, and vocabulary games where students rotate to encourage engagement. Students in science classes build model race cars to bring Newton’s Laws of Physics to life. “Engagement is important because it keeps kids interested,” Principal Blankenship said. “We know that at this age their attention span is very, very short. So you have to actively get them engaged by thinking, by doing, by hearing, seeing, smelling – whatever it takes, that’s what we want to do here at Rose Park.” Video: “Engaging Students in the Classroom” (1:11) to fellow students. Teachers also allow students to complete alternative assignments in which students complete and present reports using PowerPoint presentations and slide shows. They structure their classes around the online service Edmodo to build technology into their classroom teaching. Shepherd explained, “Teachers are using Edmodo for assignments, videos, and to encourage student interaction. Many teachers are using it and the kids are responding well. They are also learning that going online can be more than just to play.” Rewarding academic progress. The school celebrates academic growth with reward programs such as Give Me Five, which is based on the Discovery Education Assessment (DEA) administered three times a year. DEA lets students, faculty members, and administrators build a trajectory of a student’s p erformance over time. Students receive scores at t he beginning and twice in the middle of the year to see where they have improved. Students who perform five points better on subsequent tests receive a reward, regardless of their baseline scores in the fall. http://tnscore.org/scoreprize/ lessons-schools_mid2012.php Teachers at Rose Park routinely incorporate active learning techniques and technology into their instruction. They use devices such as projection technology that allow students to show their work Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize School Winners 30