Mrs. Maria Coronel and Mrs. Marisela Islas are 6th grade teachers at Stevenson Middle School in Boyle Heights. Between Mrs. Coronel and Mrs. Islas, they have 27 years of teaching experience in Math & Science, and English & History, respectively. They sat down with one of our AmeriCorps members, Jett Bohanan, to share their thoughts on a new blended learning program at their school.
Jett: How have you been utilizing the Chromebooks in your classes so far?
Mrs. Coronel: I use Chromebooks in my class to target independent math growth levels. I use a program called “ST Math” to support independent growth based on their mathematical skills and I’m also starting to use a new program called “Xtramath” that actually targets students individual math fluency levels to help them with mathematical practice based on precision.
Jett: My City Year team loves the ease and accuracy of information sharing inherent in these programs. If a student is working in class, they can bring their Chromebook to our Extended Learning Time space, open their laptop back up, and continue immediately. Plus our intervention session plans can be perfectly tailored and in sync with what students are learning in the classroom.
Mrs. Islas: In English, we use “Achieve 3000” and the students have the opportunity to work on their independent lexile level, and are able to work at their own rate. So I feel it is very helpful for them, and independently, it gives them enough extra time to work on their assignments, and those assignments are geared towards their individual reading level. Overall, these programs are very practical because the student has the opportunity to complete their assignment and see their test results or assignment results within seconds.
Jett: I find the instant feedback provided by these programs so helpful in guiding our academic coaching. To sit next to a student who may be struggling, read carefully through every line of text, or show every step of a math problem, then see a “good job” pop onto their screen, provides those moments of “This is why I serve.”So what advice would you give schools that are just starting this program?
Mrs. Coronel: Just go with it. It's going to be difficult in the beginning, but it's something worth trying out. It does very much help students and prepare students with skills they will need in the future, because everything is so technology-based now. Just go with it.
Mrs. Islas: I feel it is challenging in the beginning, but at the end you see great results. I feel it is a great program and would be a great asset to the school.