If one walked into the fifth-grade English Language Arts classroom of Washington Middle School teachers Amy Anderson and Priscilla Menzies recently, one would see students learning with an innovative technology tool LanguageLive!, a program that isn't even available nationally.
The interactive computer program links with the Language! program that the teachers are currently using in their classroom. Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Menzies were chosen from teachers across the country to field test the new LanguageLive! program in their classroom at no cost to the district.
"Based on their student data, an observation of their instructional strategies and their current use of the Language! program, Voyager Learning asked the teachers to incorporate the new, LanguageLive! program into their classroom," said Annette Miller, JPS ELA coordinator. "They will use Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Menzies as models for other teachers across the nation. It is a real feather in JPS' cap to have our teachers chosen and recognized for their accomplishments."
A Washington Middle School student looks at student feedback during the LanguageLive! program to help monitor his own accuracy and progress.
The teachers have used the current Language! literacy program for four years. The program provides intensive intervention for challenged readers by integrating reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and spoken English. Each lesson includes six steps that are sequential to effectively build upon each other to teach students the required content. Multi-sensory and explicit teacher-led instruction helps keep lesson pace moving and interesting for students. The online LanguageLive! program supplements the current Language! program. The online component is designed to support the teacher's instruction in reading comprehension and writing proficiency.
"The Language! program is an intensive way to help challenged readers catch up," said Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Menzies. "The current program is very interactive, and we have seen definite growth in our students. We were approached to try the LanguageLive! component. It is a great opportunity to incorporate technology, which the students love, and helps motivates them. But more importantly, students record into the new program, so we can listen to individual students and see where they are succeeding and where they may need more help. The program also gives us a tremendous amount of data that we can use to plan our instruction. It is exciting to be part of this potential new program, but our commitment is open-ended. We, as always, are student-centered. As teachers, we need to see concrete, positive results to continue with the field test. But this is an exciting opportunity for our students, and we are thrilled to be a part of the program."
The LanguageLive! program helps students become a "master" of words. Students are given online tools, delivered by students, which allow students to learn at their own pace but still have teacher instruction. Each lesson has three components: a quick review of the prior lesson, a new tutorial, and an opportunity to practice and record what they have learned. During word training, students learn to manipulate sounds to create words and use tools that will help them become proficient readers. There is also a peer component where a student can choose to interact with their classmates to listen to their reading and help their friends.