Monday, February 26, 2007

Need Help

I recently found out that I might be moving to Anchorage Alaska next august. The Anchorage school district has a pretty good school choice program, and one of the choices they have is Eagle Academy Charter School.

The school supposedly uses Direct Instruction, specifically the Spalding curriculum in english language arts, and Saxon math. They also have grade leveling (pc term for ability grouping), in which students are grouped for their core subjects.

I know we have lots of experience with Saxon math here, but does anyone know anything about Spalding?

I have until March 14th to submit my applications for my kids. I want as much information as possible.

I already know that they kick ass in their test scores, though the school has only been open since 2005. I think a large part of the score difference might be due to the students who enroll there. Alaska's profile of performance does show that they have pretty good scale score growth from year to year though.

The good news is that if I get the assignment, and my kids get in, I will have loads of things to blog about.

ms_teacher: A REACH/Decoding Lesson - What it looks like.

ms_teacher: A REACH/Decoding Lesson - What it looks like.

Ms Teacher has a post up describing a "di" lesson in her remedial classroom.

I was pretty impressed with how comprehensive the lessons are. One of the key points she made was how important it was to have proper ability group placement.

However, what I have found is that with the three or four students who were misplaced, they are struggling with words that all the other students have already learned. The dilemma then becomes do I "punish" the whole class by not awarding them their points, which is where their grade comes from?
One of the things I noticed about her lesson compared to the reading lessons my 1st grader gets, is how much less wasted time there is. In the lessons I witnessed, my daughters teacher seems to be winging everything. Also she has poor time management, because the lesson inevitably ends early with no planned activity or it runs late and has to be cut off.