STEM High School* has 500 students. Many struggle with reading and writing but are good with math and science.
The English department needs to find a way to help a large number of students improve grammar and paragraphing skills.
Last year the department did not have a good diagnostic in this area. They tried to teach writing skills in the context of the curriculum but that strategy wasn’t helpful.
Grammar instruction trails off in the district after sixth grade. STEM High School students are familiar with grammar concepts, but they haven’t practiced them enough to master them. The faculty feels the students need a program devoted to grammar and writing mastery.
Most STEM High School students plan to go to college. The SAT Writing test is primarily grammar, according to the English department head. Improving grammar skills should have the added benefit of improving SAT scores.
*STEM High School is not the real name of the school. It represents an accurate description of how the school’s administrators view its mission and goals.Merit’s Online Teaching Portfolio
First, we looked at Grammar Fitness. A few aspects of the program impressed webinar participants.
- They were pleased with the broad range of content.
- They were thrilled with the ability to track entire classes through the heat-map.
- Participants were also impressed with the program’s ability to drill down and see the areas where students needed help. They also liked that they could have students redo exercises if necessary.
Next we looked at Paragraph Punch.
- The teachers liked that they could see where students were in the stages of the writing process.
- They also liked that they could show students their own work at different stages of the writing process.
- They liked that the program helped students brainstorm ideas.