Many teachers spend a portion of the summer in professional development courses to help them return for the new school year with exciting ideas.
Ward Stewart teacher Jennifer Virden is just one teacher who did such, and is seeing a difference in her classroom.
Over the summer months, Virden attended the SSILTT workshop at Mississippi State University.
SSILTT stands for Science and Social Studies Integration with Literacy and Technology for Teachers.
Teachers learned how to increase the volume of reading in subject areas, like science and social studies, that they may have not considered to incorporate as much reading.
In a science lesson about the human body, Virden was about to incorporate her Smart Board, as well as reading and writing, when she may have not previously.
“This lesson integrated a lot of reading, writing, and technology that I learned in SSILTT,” Virden said. “The video and the Inquiry chart were things I did not have access to before.”
Virden had her children come up with a hypothesis for questions pertaining to the human body. The children wrote their thoughts, then watched a video, and finally determined whether their hypothesis was correct.
“In the past I probably would not have used as much writing in science as I am now,” Virden said.
“I learned this summer that one of the best ways to differentiate instruction is through writing because students can only write on their level... Writing also gives me a better understanding of what my students really know and don’t know because with multiple choice they can guess and get lucky, but when they write all they can do is tell me what they know,” she added
Virden also has realized the integration of technology has been a big contributor in the classroom. She is noticing the students interacting more in class, and their attention levels have risen.
“Attending the SSILTT workshop has made my instruction so much better. I have been able to differentiate more successfully with all the writing and different levels of text,” Virden said. “I have also been able to grab and hold my students’ attention through the use of technology.”