Teaching by example

Students and teachers from Ocean View School District are sharing a new teaching method with schools throughout the country.

College View, Sun View and Westmont elementary schools, as well as a team of teachers from Mesa View and Vista View middle schools, recently began using differentiated instruction, which allows teacher to do less lecturing and more hands-on teaching.

Textbook publisher McGraw-Hill Education decided to feature College View and Mesa View students and the teachers in their classrooms in an online professional development program that will provide teachers with the tools to implement the program.

Mesa View sixth-grader Ynreni Rodriguez said her grades went from a C to a B since her teacher began using the new program.

"This helped me learn more because the teacher spends more time with me," she said. "My teachers and teammates help me."

In differentiated instruction, teachers place students into groups based on their level and needs, said Anne Silavs, director of curriculum and instructions at Ocean View.

"Basically, it's a structure for meeting individual students' needs," she said.

The structure lets students sit together, gives them a to-do list and provides individual time with their teacher, said Vicki Gibson, an author on education programs who co-wrote "Differentiated Instruction: Grouping for Success."

In turn, the method eliminates behavioral problems and allows students to absorb their lessons, Gibson said.

"It doesn't matter how good of a teacher you are, if you're talking to 30 kids at one time, you don't have 30 kids listening all the time," said Terry Coville, a sixth-grade language art and social science teacher at Mesa View.

Gibson, who works with McGraw-Hill, said she wanted the Ocean View schools to be featured in the online video because of the progress they made with the program.

"They made more progress in implementation than I have ever seen in other schools, and it's a credit to the administration," she said.

Ocean View plans to train more schools to use the program this year, Silavs said.

The results of the program are anecdotal, and it will not be clear whether the program has made a difference for Ocean View's students until the results of their upcoming state testing are revealed, Silavs said.

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