How to Engage Underperforming Students

How to Engage Underperforming Students

November 29, 2019 9 By Stanley Isaacs


>>For about eight or nine years,
we were considered a failing school and we knew that we
had to restructure in order to keep our school open.>>My name is Shana Oliver and
I’m the academic facilitator here at Cochrane Collegiate Academy.>>The big part of what we do here is
the professional development piece.>>You know, the way we do
professional development and training is very specific
on enhancing their skill set.>>Shana: — the key learning
and the unit essential question. The concepts are going to change
because we’re going to look at so many different components of
professional development as we go. My job here is to provide
our teachers with professional development
strategies that they can learn in here, through modeling,
through experience, and take those out to our students
to help our students to be successful in the classroom.>>We have to have them say
and do from beginning to end. And that’s why we call
it interactive learning. It’s just not interactive
when it’s time to work on the independent practice.>>The non negotiables are,
I guess, like the rules that govern our classroom practices. Every day, every teacher in
every classroom must adhere to the non negotiables. These are the things that we
learn that we have to do in order for our students to be successful. The essential question is the big
question that the students have to be able to answer at
the end of the lesson. That’s the first of our
main non negotiables. That’s how we know whether our
students got it or didn’t get it.>>Angela: It says, how
do character motivations and character traits work together to help readers better
understand a character? Why does a character
behave in a particular way? Why does a character say
the things that they say?>>Shana: An activating
strategy is the thing that gets the students
motivated about the lesson. What are you going to do, as
the teacher in the classroom, to whet their appetite to want to
learn whatever you’re teaching them?>>Angela: All right, so
this is what we’re gonna do. We’re going to look
at some characters that you may be familiar with,
or you may not be familiar with, and gonna look at some
of their attributes.>>So for my classroom, you may see
a movie clip, or you may see a clip of the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’ I want them to interact and see
things that are relevant to them.>>Gimme some basic
characteristics of Urkel.>>Shana: One of our non
negotiables is limited lecture. Research says that students can
only maintain their attention span for their age plus
two or three minutes. So when that time has elapsed,
teachers must stop at that point and have students do something.>>Angela: I know my attention
span is pretty short, so I definitely know my
students’ attention span is short. So I probably talk for
maybe three or four minutes, and then I let them
have a conversation.>>I’ll tell your group the
character type and then you guys have to draw your representation
and your scenario. Any questions? Everybody understand
what they’re doing? Okay, I’m gonna allow you to choose
your own groups, groups of three. Let’s move.>>Shana: One of our most important
non negotiables is the use of graphic organizers.>>Rosalyn: I want us to go and walk through the graphic organizer
that you’re gonna make. It’s gonna be in the
form of a Frayer diagram.>>Shana: We know that it’s
important for our students to be able to conceptualize whatever
information we’re giving them, and that doesn’t happen
with pages and pages and lines of notes and copying.>>In the middle, you’re
gonna put FOIL.>>That graphic organizing frees
them up from taking notes, allows them to plug and play and
still be involved with the lesson.>>When I do the professional
development sessions with teachers, I set it up exactly the way that
it should look in a classroom.>>It should look similar
to this in your classroom, whether you’re working
it down or across. So for our classroom in here,
this is going to stay the same, the key learning and the
unit essential question.>>Rosalyn: The modeling that is done in our profession development
interactive learning has the teacher have to flip in their mind
from teacher to student, which is a very interesting mindset–>>Angela: Learning focus and those
non negotiables has been phenomenal for our school, because it allows
the students to collaborate and the teachers to not only involve
the students, but to engage them. I think that was the piece
that was missing before.>>In the 2006, 2007 school
year, we were listed as one of the 30 worst performing schools
in the state of North Carolina. We have more than doubled what
our percent on grade level is since that point in time. This is the success. This is what’s making a
difference in our students’ lives.