Student Tools for Leading Their Learning

How does this look? I mean, how does it look when a student is using tools to lead their own learning. It happens regularly throughout the days of school. But, an example is when the elementary-grade teacher, leans in and listens intently as her student reads aloud. The teacher is listening for greater fluency in student’s oral reading, a skill they have been working on for several weeks. As she listens, she hears greater rhythm, ease, and confidence in the child’s voice. The teacher keeps a record and carefully notes hesitation, miscues, errors, and the length of time it takes the student to read the passage. During the daily five time the student and teacher can have a follow-up discussion by reviewing the student’s previous goals and successes and reviewing a chart that shows the growth in her reading level. The student and teacher have an opportunity to focus in on fluency and the word substitutions in addition to other phonetic or comprehension goals. The teacher has the opportunity to engage in a conversation about vocabulary. Statements such as,”Let’s take a look at this word,” can be heard throughout the language arts instruction time. “Read it back to me.” The student struggles at first, but calls out the word. The coaching from the teacher and the student use of the feedback has enabled the child to correctly read the word or passage that was troublesome before. The teacher is likely to share with the student while she reads it aloud. The teacher shares the word that was read in place of the actual written text. Then she shares with the student, “we call that a substitution. Meaning, you substituted a more familiar word in the place of another word. Sometimes that works; but, often it does not. Do you think you know what happened as you were reading?” This provides the student the opportunity to share and explain the thought process.

This dialogue is essential in a healthy classroom. And it is even more healthier when the students need to use the information and learn from it. Salem Christian School has been incorporating processes like this into our program. That is why we have adopted the Daily Five Method among other advancements that we have made over the past few years. We look forward to using this data to help students and teachers take teaching and learning to the next level.


Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment,” by Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, and Libby Woodfin.

Head of School Blog


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