Joppa Elementary Implements New Reading Curriculum
JES Implements New Reading Curriculum
Teachers began planning for the new ELA curriculum in July. The added component of the COVID-19 pandemic and students learning in-person as well as on-line made learning a new curriculum even more daunting. “The challenging thing with the new curriculum is that it creates many opportunities for students to work together, but with COVID-19 we are struggling to utilize these great opportunities”, says third grade teacher Jennifer Stout. However, teachers have found ways to allow students to continue to work together while also social distancing. Fifth grade teacher Jennifer Gowan uses a computer app that lets students collaborate by typing their thoughts and replying to each other by virtual “sticky notes”. Sixth grade teacher Sara Hodge has her students reflect on the day’s lesson and briefly share one thing they learned with a fellow student while wearing their masks being mindful of their distancing.
The variety of interesting books that students read has motivated students to engage more with the text. One book was Shark Attack for third graders. “The excitement for this book is contagious,” says Jennifer Stout. “One student chose to read the book during breakfast, and before the bell rang, the whole class had their copy out reading. Students can’t wait to read the books.” Fifth grade teacher Jennifer Gowan adds that, “The new curriculum is a challenging reading and writing program that has piqued the interest of my students and enabled them to think about their community and the world around them in new and interesting ways.” Sara Hodge agrees that the texts really grab the students’ attention. “As soon as students first get their books, they begin to notice and wonder things about it and make predictions. This improves their understanding of the book and keeps them involved throughout lessons.” Principal Pam Roach also notes how much students are enjoying reading stories from actual books versus from a traditional textbook. “With the addition of trade books, students are more engaged in the curriculum.” Mrs. Roach is very appreciative of the time and effort teachers have put into learning a new curriculum. “As always, teachers are rising to the challenge of implementing the new ELA series with a high level of rigor, even with the added COVID concerns of this school year."