The NYS test in ELA is fast approaching (cringe) and raising my students’ reading levels and improving writing skills has become a priority in my classroom. I’ve taught AIS in the past, but wasn’t given the ability to have flexible grouping based on skills or any control over who was or wasn’t in my class. It essentially turned into another English class where
a) Students don’t receive a real grade….. you can imagine what a motivator that is.
b) AIS students are students are, by default, struggling writers and readers.
So they just love English, obviously. And since they struggle- this causes them to be on their best behavior and be very respectful of me and what I ask them to do, again, for no affect on an actual grade or GPA.
Are you getting my drift? Sounds like great fun, doesn’t it!?!?
This year, I have the ability to hand pick students by skill sets and group them according to how I want them grouped (taking into account behavior as well). The fact of how blessed I am because of this is not lost on me.
I wanted to design a way to motivate students, make sure they are working on individual skills, and actually make some REAL progress in AIS this year. Not just design worksheet after worksheet that students know have no affect on their grade and just give me a hard time about.
I designed two ‘skill sheets’, one for reading and one for writing AIS. The students’ job is to display the given skill a certain number of times before being *considered* to be taken out of AIS (which again, miraculously I have control over).
I picked skills for writing based on midterm and benchmark assessments. I picked skills for reading based on the common core standards AND results from a reading achievement test that my district had our students take. I made a chart and place each skill at the bottom of each column.
For writing, students have to display the skill a certain number of times during activities that we do in AIS as well as English. It makes it really helpful that I have ALL of the 8th graders in English so I know exactly what skills all of them need help with and also can carry over whatever we are doing in ELA into AIS. Again, a HUGE benefit. Before when I had AIS, the students all had different English teachers so they could all be doing different things at different times.
Then, they have to receive a 90% on a writing based assignment in English more than 5 times to be removed from AIS writing. This has them working furiously without me even DOING ANYTHING (Well, I walk around and provide them individual support). It makes it easy on me because I didn’t even design new lessons yet- I just gave them back the midterm and benchmark and asked them to rewrite the writing items they scored poorly on. Then they can work on other stuff from English class. I laminated the sheets and then check them off with dry erase marker when the students come to me with a completed writing piece. I can then reuse the sheets when I get new AIS students. *Patting myself on back*
Stay tuned for a different post on the reading AIS charts. It is a little more complicated and I this post was really word heavy. Plus I haven’t finished totally with my reading program yet, so I’ll keep you posted. If you read my blog for the healthy living content, I thank you graciously for actually reading to the end of this post!
If you’re a teacher- what have your experiences- good and bad- been with AIS?