Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When should you start over with S-Cubed?

Do I start over on S-Cubed when I get new students?  Do I start over each school year?   If I get some new students in January, should I begin again?

Lots of people ask me these questions, so I wanted to share a couple of ideas.

Here is some information to help you as you make that decision.

Here are my circumstances:

1)  6th graders come to me as beginners.  I usually have about 100-120 total.  They've had good elementary training, for sure, but this is their first experience with such rigorous reading expectations.
2)  In 7th grade, my program grows a bit as I get about 15-20 new children in August who didn't take it the previous year.
3)  In 8th grade, I have only an advanced choir.  The maximum I can have is 84.  I very rarely allow any new children into chorus because my students are so fluent at reading.  I am not able to have a beginning choir due to scheduling issues beyond my control.  If I could, I would, and if I did, I would have a beginning Mixed Choir and an Advanced Mixed Choir. I would start from Lesson 1 with the beginners.
4)  I have all of my students all year.
5)  My classes are 50 minutes long, and I see them daily.

With my 6th graders, I start with Lesson 1 and plow through to Lesson 27 in 27 weeks.

With my 7th graders, I almost always start over.  The reason I do this is because the "old" kids need review, and the new kids need to build the skill sets to catch up in their reading ability.  I usually go faster in 7th grade.  I usually do more advanced "Follow the Hand" activities to give them better ability to find skips.

In gymnastics, they use the "level" system.  To advance from Level 1 to Level 2, for example, you must master certain skills.  The best coaches in the sport do not allow their children to advance to Level 2 until they have thoroughly, consistently and cleanly shown that they can master the skills required.  They must be "masters". This helps tremendously because they learn solid form and technique before they try to learn more difficult skills.  Coaches who allow them to move on to the next level before they are truly ready end up with frustrated athletes with bad technique.

This is the same way I approach S-Cubed.

I haven't shared with other teachers what I do with my 8th graders, but it is much more advanced.  We put all of the skills to work at a very high level, and we do it as soon as the school year begins.

I suppose if you were gaining only a few new children in January or some other midpoint during the year, you may not want to start over.  The majority of your students would carry the weight of the skill execution, and the new students would strive to catch up.

You have to consider your circumstances and make the decision that is best for you and your students!

Thank you for using S-Cubed!





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