One of the biggest challenges for teachers is finding tools that help differentiate content for students, particularly non-fiction in the science and math fields. This can be even harder to do with online or blended students. Without seeing your kiddos face to face, it can be more challenging to understand which texts they are really understanding and which are just written at a level that is too high for them (which is almost every high school science text).
In addition, Common Core has upped the text complexity necessary for college and career readiness. Enter the Lexile level. I have always been a fan of Lexile assessments that help determine the appropriate grade level on which a student reads. I used it in my class, indexed my classroom library with it, and had 20 minutes of silent, sustained reading everyday where students could read any book that was at or slightly above their reading level. This strategy worked well for my learners, most of whom were 5th or 6th grade level readers in a 9th grade course. All students improved their reading level over the course of the year by at least one grade, sometimes up to three. I was proud of my kiddos for their improvement and pretty proud of myself for helping them see that growth. Now I worry. Was that good enough? Would that be good enough today? There are hundreds of thousands of students reading below grade level. With the new Common Core Lexile levels, how are students who are entering high school reading at a 5th grade level supposed to leave prepared for college and career?
Read the complete post on Erica’s blog “My Blended Learning”