“I attached a document I found online that was free… and it’s my theme!! I love the reading strategies mixed with the fun superheroes. I think my students will love them. I simply mounted them on colorful construction paper, laminated them, and now they make an awesome and functional room decoration!”
Bethany, Hilfiker Elementary School
The Reading Mentoring Program at Hilfiker Elementary is a place where students and mentors are inspired to read. Before the mentoring program begins, Bethany brings in the K-3 students to walk around the classroom, to explain the motivating activities, and to answer their questions.
Bethany’s new idea to improve mentoring is to have a “Two Week Focus Goal” for the mentors. Every 2 weeks she will give each mentor a paper explaining the Focus Goal. Bethany will explain the goal to each group of mentors (and students if it applies to them) before their session that week. By focusing on one task at a time, it will remind past mentors of things they may have forgotten to do, and it will give the new mentors one special thing to focus on for the two weeks. “For example: next week our “Two Week Focus Goal” will be stickers on the pages of the books. I’ve noticed a lot of people forget to do this. This is a skill the students can help with, so I will go over the goal with students and mentors before each session. I will explain how the students earn a sticker on each page (for reading it with 0 or 1 self-corrected mistake). If the mentors forget, I’m thinking the students will remind them! Another week we will focus on timed readings (discussing colors to use and how to record errors, etc.)– this one will not be done with the students. I think 2 weeks focusing on each skill— that way they’ll have it mastered!”
Update: The new idea of a TWO WEEK FOCUS started this week. We’re kicking off with an easier one… stickers. I printed the focus on the bottom 1/2 of card stock and folded it in half so it sets on the desks. Before each session I explained to the students and mentors we will be focusing on one aspect of mentoring for 2 weeks. Then I explained what the first focus was and how they use the stickers. I encouraged the students to remind their mentors to put stickers on the page. It was a success. After Christmas break we will tackle timed readings and using the correct colors on each day! Yikes!
January: Two Week Focus is going great. When I’m explaining the focus, so many mentors are saying, “Oh, that is me, I didn’t do that” or “Oh, I forgot that.” Currently our focus is timed readings and using the right colors. This is a big one. Most use the correct colors on the graphs, but not on the fluency passages. I’ve seen a big difference on both the fluency passages and the graphs, and we’re only one week in on this focus!!
Recruiting ideas—Check the high school FTA organization, National Honor Society students and church youth groups– any group that requires kids to have community service hours. Juniors who went to HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation program for high school sophomores) are required to have 100 hours in their junior year of community service. (Usually 2 from every school go.) I ask employees who work in our community when I shop at their stores…. Networking, networking, networking!!!
January: With all the being said weather-wise, we do have some good things happening, too. For example, I have some high school students who are starting their second semester classes, and they don’t have a study hall this semester. They went to their teachers to ask if they can miss class once a week so they can continue mentoring (several did this). They have to make up the work on their own time! I also had one high school student who is taking college classes as well, and she intentionally scheduled her college classes around her mentoring time! That’s good stuff!!
Success Stories—Bethany was walking second graders back to class. She saw a little guy who had been mentored in first grade, stopped, and asked his teacher how he was doing. The teacher said he was doing very well. Excellent grades and a great student. He is now in third grade and he continues to excel. His mentoring in first grade was the boost he needed to read better and gain self-confidence. An Intervention Specialist told Bethany that she had 3 SLD students that needed more time in reading, while she worked with fifth graders. Could they be mentored those 30 minutes? In the spring, all 3 of those students passed the OAA. Bethany has a lot of support from the third grade teachers and the Intervention Specialist.
I had a lot of one on one time with my students and I was able to figure out where some of them are struggling. One example was a 2nd grade girl who has great comprehension, but her fluency is very poor. I figured out she knows her phonic skills, but for some reason is not able to blend sounds together to make the connection of the sounds into a word. I spent that day and the following day teaching her how to do it. Then she came back to me and said she was working on it at home!! So fun!
Mentors helping- Lastly, my mentors have been finding out about how candy and books are great incentives to get the students to read at home, so they’ve been bringing in donations. I have stacks of books, boxes of candy my mother-in-law got from a store who donated it in Fremont, and someone who’s going shopping for small toys from the Dollar Tree!
“Minions” of Books… So Little Time! 2015-16 Bethany credits her awesome room’s theme to movie theaters, pinterest, ideas from her daughter… Before the mentoring begins, Bethany brings in the K-3 students to walk around the classroom, to explain the motivating activities, and to answer their questions. What a great place to be to improve your reading! “Reading is Awesome”: LEGO Themed Mentoring/Reading Room 2014-15 Thank you Bethany! Bethany has the mentoring room decorated with a LEGO theme. The LEGO movie’s theme song is “Everything is Awesome” which Bethany turned into “Reading is Awesome”. Some of these ideas came from Pinterest, with her creating this enjoyable learning atmosphere! Bethany shared that returned Parent Signatures greatly improved when students received a small reward for every signature. Mentors can choose a Leveled Book to read with their students when time permits. The last photo shows her “best time saver”. This envelope is placed into the folder with the “Master Copy”. Then the master is copied, book made, cards cut… and placed into the brown envelope. The brown envelope has everything in it to refill the student’s folder when needed. The sticky note on the brown envelope tells her whose folder it goes into next.