Never in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined that at the age of 52, after 29 years of teaching reading, that I would have to figure out how to teach a lesson online. In December I was presented with somewhat of a challenge: A ninth-grade student with an individualized plan was facing some specific academic issues. I was asked to take a look at his academic profile. Using the SIPPS placement assessment, it came to light that this student did not have consistent phonological awareness skills or phonics knowledge, especially regarding vowel sounds. We then began our SIPPS journey, which I thought was going to come to a halt with the closing of schools. To measure progress, I looked at his fluency. My student was reading 42 words per minute at an intermediate level in December; he was now reading 170 words per minute. I cried when I thought about losing that progress.
On the first day of remote learning, a colleague asked me if I would have a virtual meeting with him. Throughout the entire meeting, all I could think of was how I could make this work with my student. I contacted his mom right away and she was on board with trying whatever was necessary to make it work.
After trial and error, I settled on these steps:
Here is how I conduct the online lesson:
I was over the moon after the first day. We both signed off with big smiles, because it worked! The first week of lessons has now passed and we have settled into a comfortable routine. Just as importantly, we also have an everyday connection; it gives us both a purpose to get up and start our day with a meaningful lesson.
I am in the process of working with our interventionists in grades K–5 to get SIPPS lessons happening remotely with their students.
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