Written by Tara Duerre, DMS Special Education Teacher
It’s 2015. I’ve been using the internet for over 15 years and yet here I sit, writing my very first BLOG. When I heard about this new blog for DMS, I felt excited to have this additional tool where we can share ideas, celebrations, goals, professional growth, and ah-ha moments.
I’m working with Mr. Peterson and Mr. Kelley this year specifically targeting reading fluency with a group of 13 students. High class numbers, wide range of students’ individual strengths and needs, and simply taking longer than usual to teach class procedures has made the beginning of this year seem more challenging than most, but on a positive note, I see growth and progress, maturity, and collaboration already with our students after the first quarter. Working with these two talented teachers is quite rewarding for me as well. Finally, the people holding TLC grant positions have provided us with additional support and learning that helps us grow professionally as well as provide our students with an additional breadth of ideas and strategies.
As a special education teacher, my main focus is often reading comprehension, but over the years have had specific students with fluency as their #1 need. A few years ago I piloted a series of interventions (FAA - functional academic assessment for fluency) with the help of Chami from the AEA and saw huge results. Three of the four students ended up exiting from special education services within 1.5 years of receiving the intervention. I’ve used it sporadically over the past few years with specific kids whose targeted need was fluency and it has still proved to show surprisingly drastic growth.
This year, there is a group of 13 students who require direct fluency instruction. Yep...13. I’ve done this with groups of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, but 13. YIKES! A few days were spent getting the program set up with audio passages shared with each student, class computers set up, and the checklists made. Students go through a series of centers and practice fluency. Centers include:
The first day I think I had 15 grey hairs grow in, but gradually over the past weeks only 1 or 2 is popping up after our intervention class. The students are now working almost entirely independent throughout the centers and even ask me when they see me in the hall “Are we coming up for fluency today?” So I do believe they see the benefit, confidence, and growth in themselves and their reading. We have only graphed a baseline, but over the next 6 weeks will be watching closely to see the results.
How about you? Have you had a successful fluency intervention? Would you like to get an up-close look at FAA? Let's talk!
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