Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

Home » Common Core » Reading specialist Wendy Mahoney talks about how the new standards work at Barka Elementary School in Derry

Reading specialist Wendy Mahoney talks about how the new standards work at Barka Elementary School in Derry

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

The New Hampshire Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – the folks who lead curriculum development in each school district – organized a visit to innovative Derry schools yesterday.  The first stop was Ernest P. Barka Elementary School.

Before the classroom visits, reading specialist and former 3rd grade teacher Wendy Mahoney told visitors about the success Barka has already seen in its new Common Core-based reading programs.

When I followed up with Wendy, she describe their experience this way:

“We are using a new reading strategy to teach the Common Core standards at each student’s level, so children stay focused, understand new concepts and can follow the lessons.  We are seeing already that they are progressing much faster.

"the standards allow us to 
personalize education"

“We’d been working with Allison to improve her reading since first grade and were not making much progress.  But this year, as part of our new “readers’ workshops”* based on the Common Core, Alison and I were reading a book called, Treasure from the Sea.

"This year Allison has become 
an enthusiastic non-fiction reader 
and gone up five reading levels."

“She said, ‘My mom has a jar of sea glass. I felt the pieces over and over again, but I never understood how they were made. I’ve never seen the sea. The diagram in this book helps me understand. Can I take this book home and show my mom? Can I keep this book to read? Oh, can I bring my sea glass in to show you?’

“(The Common Core requires students to understand diagrams of increasing complexity starting in the 2nd grade because elaborate diagrams and data will likely be part of their college and work reading for the rest of their lives.)

“This year Allison has become an enthusiastic non-fiction reader and gone up five reading levels.  Her outlook towards reading and school has changed; she wants to learn and is excited about initiating her own learning.

"The standards have rejuvenated us 
to teach at a higher level."
    - 5th grade teacher Julie Hall

“Allison is just one example of how the standards allow us to personalize education. The Common Core is allowing us to do what we all wanted to do when we became teachers – help children learn and love to learn.  As my colleague, 5th grade teacher Julie Hall, said the other day, ‘The standards have rejuvenated us to teach at a higher level.’

“Our students now have more ownership for their learning. They choose their books, read the material, and then they share learning with their classmates.  Parents are telling us that for holidays and birthdays their children have been asking for books.

"I have never seen results like this."

“Our new reading programs at Barka have shown clearly how well the standards are working to improve children’s lives.  I have never seen results like this.”

*Barka is piloting a program called, “Leveled Literacy Intervention”

 

 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s