New Tecumseh Middle School reading model presented to school board

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All-Conference Athletes for the fall season were recognized at the December 9 Tecumseh School Board meeting. Tecumseh High School Athletic Director Greg Lewis introduced the young men and women, who then were congratulated by board members and Supt. Kelly Coffin. Photo by Deb Wuethrich

Three Tecumseh Public Schools teachers made a presentation to the school board on Monday, Dec. 9, outlining the Daily 5 Reading Model, a student driven management structure that the district has adopted. Tecumseh Middle School teacher Jennifer Gentry, who teaches sixth grade, Katie Frank, Tecumseh Acres fourth grade teacher, and Tricia Tidswell, a Sutton Elementary kindergarten teacher, shared highlights of the program and its impact on students and teachers.

“It’s not a reading program, but reading is built into the program using a structure that kids enjoy,” said Frank. “They are reading and writing ninety total minutes a day, in smaller chunks of time. I’m really pleased with our switch to the Daily 5.”

She said students choose activities and then work in small groups or individually.

Daily 5 is a student driven management structure designed to fully engage students in activities that support reading and writing. It creates routines and procedures that foster independent literacy routines that become habit.

Gentry said given the middle school’s structure with Encore classes and teaming, the students don’t get three choices per day, but two.

“But they have options to choose from,” she said. “The biggest thing for me is as a veteran teacher of reading, I’ve struggled trying to find a way to manage students to allow them to work independently on reading more at their level while I work with students in all groups or individually.”

Gentry said she’d read widely on the topic and tried different approaches, but with the Daily 5, things seem to come together.

“It’s really nothing new but it took the best ideas of many of the models with which I have worked and put them into one simple plan,” she said. “It keeps the students engaged. She added that something she’s also been able to do in the sixth grade is to incorporate student response to what they are reading through reading journals.

“And one of the best things about it is the one-on-one individual time,” she said. “I really know my students.”

Tidswell said the Daily 5 structure gives her the opportunity to differentiate instruction.
“With this, I see myself as a facilitator instead of just an imparter of knowledge,” Tidswell said. If students aren’t making an appropriate selection from their options, Tidswell said teachers may play a role. “Sometimes it’s a managed choice to help get them on the right track.”

Each school in the district now has a Level Library with books available for teachers to utilize with students at the reading level that is appropriate for them at the time. The five components the students may choose from include: reading to themselves, working on writing, word work using educational aides such as white boards or magnetic letters, listening to reading, or reading to someone else.

Tecumseh Middle School Principal Rick Hilderley said one of the things he likes about the Daily 5 structure is that it blends well with regular language arts instruction for fifth and sixth graders, with teachers all delivering instruction in a similar manner.

In other business, the school board members:

• Passed a resolution to recommend that Tecumseh Public School utilize legal counsel to take appropriate action, including litigation to recover overpayments made to a former employee. Board members declined to discuss details on the issue, with Board President Dr. Edward Tritt stating, “This is all we need to say” on the personnel issue.

• Recognized All-Conference athletes for the fall season during the Good News segment of the agenda, with Athletic Director Greg Lewis asking coaches to introduce team members who were present.

• Announced that the board’s annual organizational meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 13, where officers will be selected and committee assignments made.

• Approved leave requests for staff members Carrie Northrup and Andrea Young; and the hiring of Christina Brown and Michelle Davidge as HOPE coordinators.




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