Summer School Review

Ayyyyoooo!! I am sad to say that we have returned from our cruise. While there are oodles of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks, it was just so lovely to be away... just the hubster and myself. One of my favorite things about cruising is that there is no technological temptation. It takes me a few hours to get used to not checking my phone every 4.5 seconds, but it ends up being such a blessing to just cut ourselves off from the rest of the world and be totally immersed in paradise.
Now that I am over a week removed from the end of Summer School Programs 1 & 2, and set to start Summer School Program 3, I thought it would be a good time to debrief the first two programs. You can CLICK HERE to check out how each program was set up in terms of student demographics, etc... but here is where I divulge the process... the ups and downs... the ins and outs... and give my ultimate evaluation of each program.
Program #1 District Summer School

Training: 2 hour session in mid-June. Supplies were handed out and a packet including a list of Dolch and Fry words was given. This packet also included recommendations for activities to teach sight words.

Supplies given: 
  • 25 pencils
  • 15 boxes of crayons (8 crayons per box)
  • 1 package of sentence strips
  • 1 box of chalk

Sight Word Activities:
  • Sight Word BINGO
  • See and Spell word
  • Cheer and Chant
  • Blast Off
Week 1: 5 students attended. I assessed all students using my own sight word assessment -- available in my TpT Store HERE. I found that of my 5 students, only 1 students knew more than 10 of the 50 words. I knew that I had to jump right on the sight word wagon , ESPECIALLY considering the students with whom I was working were in grades 2 and 3. Based on their DRA2 scores, even though my students were in 2nd and 3rd grade, the highest student was barely at an end-of-Kindergarten reading level as our district requires students to be on a level 4 entering 1st grade.
Sight Words for the Week:
  • the
  • like
  • got
  • of
  • from
Read-Alouds for the Week:
  • Huck Runs Amuck (Monday-Tuesday)
  • The Relatives Came (Wednesday-Thursday-Friday)
Poem of the Week: Down By the Bay
Skills for the Week:
  • CVC words
  • Word families

Week 2: 11 students attended. We continued with our schedule and the kids got right into the swing of things!

Sight Words for the Week:
Read-Alouds for the Week:
Poem of the Week: 
Skills for the Week:

Week 3: 15 students attended.

Week 4: DRA testing ALL. WEEK. LONG. By this point, I had 17 students. Sadly, 2 of them began attending this week so it made it a little difficult. I tested them last, but they demonstrated no growth.
Each morning we followed the same schedule...
  • 8:30 am: Arrival/Breakfast/Attendance
  • 9:00 am: Morning Meeting
    • Greeting
    • Question of the Day
    • Poem of the Week
    • Skills practice (i.e. short vowels, blends, magic e, etc...)
  • 9:30 am: Read-aloud
  • 10:00 am: Literacy Centers
    • Roll-Write-Stamp-Build
    • Computers -- Lexia
    • Fluency Practice
    • Teacher Group
    • Sight Word games with my Paraprofessional
  • 11:00 am: Writing Activity
    • Usually a quick-write followed by skills practice
  • 11:30 am: Share-Out
  • 11:45 am: Sight Word Song or Game
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch
  • 12:30 pm: Dismissal
Being that only 15 students attended on our busiest day, no group was larger than 3 students at any time and on many days, students were able to work independently. On these days, I was at first concerned that the kiddos would get distracted wanting to work with a friend, but each student really took ownership of their work and ended up being incredibly focused! I was so surprised! This also allowed me plenty of time to get through assessing each student when the program began to wrap up.

When all was said and done, of the students who consistently attended the program, 4 students improved their DRA2 score of at least 1 level.

Program #2 Principal-Funded Cusp Program
Training: None -- My Principal handpicked members of our staff based on our various skills.

Weekly breakdown: Each week ran in the same manner. All students were present from Day 1. We followed a Balanced Literacy approach -- Short, targeted mini-lessons in the areas of phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension followed by workstations and small group teacher stations to better enhance skills taught. Student to teacher ratio was 4:1 which was phenomenal and I had the opportunity to co-teach with one of my closest friends!

Assessment: We used the DRA2 as well as the assessment from my Sight Word Assessment Pack (find it HERE) to monitor student progress. At the end of the month-long program, the students averaged a growth of 11 sight words and a DRA2 growth of 1 level.

Final Determinations

Of the two programs, which would I be the most likely to participate in again? Honestly, each had it's Pros and Cons. The first is a tried and true program that runs every year and therefore, a number of elements have been in place and the department running the program is incredibly organized.

The 2nd program was a pilot through a grant that my Principal acquired. She relied heavily on our Assistant Principal who is transitioning to Principal of her own school (Yay! Congrats, Ms. M! You totally deserve it!) and there were times when we all felt uneasy with the organizational level. But honestly, any pilot is shaky.... and when it comes down to it, our kids really showed growth. It was wonderful to spend so much time with our Tier 2 students and really work to push them over that hump.

I am incredibly proud of the work that I did this summer. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to do something similar next year.

But, for now... let's get back into that classroom of mine and get it set up! I've got 24 little faces to prepare for!
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