This spring, Stratford High School students collaborated with Thornwood Elementary and Career and Technical Education teacher, Veronica Brittain, as part of a Principles of Education and Training class.
The class, an introductory teaching course, provides high school students an opportunity to explore what it's like to develop, deliver, and collaborate as instructional leaders in the classroom. Enrolled students have the unique opportunity to discover if teaching is their passion through real-world experiences.
Brittain worked with Virginia Meyer, SBISD assistive technology specialist, to identify a skill that would help grow achievement in the classroom for second-graders at Thornwood. Meyer identified Google’s Read and Write tools. Brittain's students were then tasked with developing a course to teach students how to use the tools.
The Read and Write toolbar is a Chrome extension provided to all students in SBISD, which includes a dictionary, a speech-to-text feature, a text-to-speech feature, a translating component and a vocabulary builder. Through the sessions, Stratford students taught students how to use the toolbar to advance their content understanding.
“It has been a win-win collaboration!” said Brittain. “The second graders learn how to use something new that will help with their learning and my students get to experience an authentic teaching experience.”
Stratford students planned a lesson surrounding the tools and implemented it through eight teaching sessions. Sixty-one second graders and 31 high school students participated in the collaboration.
Meyer notes that the lesson developed by the Stratford students will be ultimately shared with teachers across the district to teach them about the Read and Write toolbar.
“This has been a great experience for all our students,” said Meyer. “It helps our second graders gain confidence in their abilities and motivates them to use the tools. Our high school students are key in the motivation piece. The second graders look up to them and enjoy working with them.”
Stratford and Thornwood are excited to continue this collaboration next school year. They hope to begin earlier in the year and have students across other grade levels participate.
Literacy is a priority and SBISD’s goal is for all students to read on or above grade level by third grade. Through a variety of literacy initiatives, SBISD is dedicated to having Every Child enhance literacy skills and expand their vocabulary.
“This is a great tool that will help our second graders be successful,” said Sandra Houston, Thornwood principal. “However, it also helps our Stratford students experience the classroom as teachers and determine if this is the path they want to pursue post-graduation.”