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Half-time high school?

Back in March, when schools closed their doors and began aggressive distance learning, there was a belief that life would return to normal in just a few months. But now it’s mid-May, and our risks to coronavirus have hardly improved. Educators are now brainstorming on how they can approach learning in the 2020-2021 school. Districts are considering delaying the start of the school, modifying attendance policies, reducing class size, and staggering schedules.

However, Michael Petrilli recently penned an opinion piece for Bloomberg that highlighted what he considered a silver lining to the COVID crisis.

Petrilli raises an obvious question: Why can’t our high schools look more like college? Does every high school course really need to meet in person every day, given the technology available to us? What if kids could choose an every-other-day schedule, where they attend class in person on even days and stay home (or work from the school library or computer lab or do an apprenticeship) on odd days? Or they select a morning or afternoon schedule rather than attending all day long?

Does Petrilli have a point? Is the high school model out of date and due for a change? We discuss on Episode 150 of the Class Dismissed Podcast.

Bright Idea Segment – Understanding Texts and Readers

Best selling author Jennifer Serravallo is already a rock star in the education community. Her previous books, “The Writing Strategies Book” and “The Reading Strategies Book,”  have helped thousands of educators offer strategies for reading and writing.  Now, Serravallo is out with a new guide designed to help teachers make sense of reading comprehension.

“Understanding Texts & Readers” offers the tools for an educator to identify if a student is comprehending a book, even if an educator is not familiar with the book the student is reading.

Are They “Getting It”?

Serravallo says her goal is to make sense of something that is sometimes hard to make sense of. There are many different viewpoints on what it even means to understand comprehension. Ranging from the Rosenblatt Reader-Response Theory to a Proficient Reader Research, it can get murky for educators.


Jennifer Serravallo

Serravallo says, “Sometimes the classroom teacher is left thinking, what am I really looking for? What does comprehension look like? What does it look like when a kid really gets it?”

With stories, charts, and examples, “Understanding Texts & Readers” quickly helps educators determine if their students are “getting it.”

In the book, Serravallo offers a quality of response mechanism, so teachers can look at a student’s response and identify if the student needs some support.

“If we know that a plot in a “level R” text is likely to have a flashback, then if a child is reading a “level R” text then we ask them to retell. If they’re only telling us in sequence, we can know that they might be missing something in the text,” says Serravallo.

The ultimate goal is to make reading fun and create lifelong readers.

“If you are not comprehending, then what fun is reading? And I think a lot of disengagement with reading is rooted in a lack of understanding,” says Serravallo.

To hear our full discussion with Serravallo and get ideas for doing something similar in your school, listen to Episode 150 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.

If you have a great idea about learning during coronavirus, please contact us

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