Welcome to Justin Lim's Read 180 High School Class!

By Justin Lim on July 27, 2009

Greetings and welcome to my 9th grade English Class at Rosemead High School in the Los Angeles County. This year I will be focusing on a program called Read 180, where I will be addressing the needs of students who are reading two or more grades below grade level. The majority of my students are English Learners and because of this, I’ve come to adapt my teaching strategies to fit their wide range of needs. 

This year I’ll be exploring strategies that have helped me to engage even the shyest students. We’ll discuss techniques on how to scaffold lessons, differentiate instruction, and develop the type of academic language that our students will need to be successful. 

Of course, I also know the value of good classroom management. I hope to share with you some of the techniques that I use to create professional and meaningful relationships with my students every year.  Come back and visit often! I know that this year’s going to be another great one and that we can help each other to grow as educators! 

Warmest Regards,

Justin Lim

Comments

I use an incentive chart to motivate my students to do more independent reading. It's basically a simple chart with stamps. When students complete a book they turn in a worksheet and a take a short quiz. If they pass, I award them stamps during silent reading time. I intentionally use a punch stamp that makes a little bit of noise so that the whole class can see me adding the stamps. I also apply the stamps as soon as I get a chance. I use the chart to apply a grade at the end of each grading period, but I think that the actual stamps are a motivator as well. It thought that it would be trivial, but I've actually had a few students tell me that they wanted a lot of stamps by their names.
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Read 180 is a terrible system.just terrible. a waste of district and federal money. the gains are not worth the cost. one hundred lexiles per year has no effect on a student's future achievement.

I feel happy by reading this post. I like your pattern of teaching, that’s really easy and effective way of teaching.

Hello! I really enjoyed your video, and like others, love your color coded papers. My school will be implementing the Read 180 program at semester (in Jan). One thing we are a little perplexed with (and hope you can shed some light): how do you count this program for credit? I'm a special education teacher, and many of our kids are in regular ENG classes with support. Do your students also attend regular ENG classes in addition to Read 180? Hope I'm making sense. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

[Edit: Response]

Hi Natalie,

I completely understand what you mean.

Currently, we cannot give English credit to Read 180 students because it has not been approved by for the UC A-G credit (California). At Rosemead, our Read 180 students take English in the Summer proceeding their Read 180 year. Other sites have students take English concurrently, but most of the students end up failing.

I have a class with Read 180 and System 44 that is special education. The SDC students, who can take sheltered English, end up getting their English credit that way.

This is actually an issue that my district is still currently working through. I do know though, that there is a "Read 180 English 1 Intensive" course that was approved for English 1 credit. It is currently being used in Westminister, CA.

Warm regards,

Justin

Hello Justin~ I enjoyed your video. I'm so glad to see high school teachers stepping out of the box! I look forward to watching your class throughout the year. Have a great school year! Jill

[Edit: Response]

Thanks for the encouragement!

Warm regards,

Justin

I totally enjoyed your video. You are a super organized teacher and I intend to utilize some of your methods when I become certified next month. You are a breath of fresh air to the students. It really shows you care!

Hi Justin! I LOVE your video! I was a 9-12 grade Scholastic teacher advisor last year- it was quite an experience; one that I wish I had the opportunity to "do over" now knowing what I know :-) I can tell that you will be a TREMENDOUS resource to the Scholastic teaching community- I am already stealing your color coding idea! I look forward to hearing your ideas for teaching Read180- this is my 5th year teaching it and I still love the program as much as the first year I taught it. Colleen raves about you, by the way! Have a blast this year! 'Hope to meet you one day!

Best Wishes, Patty Blome San Ysidro High School Sweetwater Union High School District

Hi Justin, Can you describe more in detail how you color coded the notebooks for the students? Do you already give them number pages of the activities? Is this similar to a syllabus? Lina

Hi Lina,

Do you teach Read 180 or is this something that you are planning on doing for a different class?

Here's how I organized the notebooks for my Read 180 class:

1) White pages - TWPS (think-write-pair-shares) 2) Blue pages - Scaffolded writing 3) Green Pages - Vocabulary 4) Yellow Pages - Quickwrites 5) Pink Pages - Reading Logs

Most of these items are original documents that I wrote for my purposes. The colors really don't matter so long as they are different and you can make sure that none of the students are lost with a glance.

If you do teach Read 180 and want a copy of the files so that you can have them for you class you can email me at JLim@emuhsd.k12.ca.us

Warm regards,

Justin Lim

I would like to know how to help students concentrate on their individual reading books. I have a hard time with students becoming distracted by small group discussion or other students reading aloud on the computers.

[EDIT: RESPONSE]

Hi Paula,

I have a really small classroom and this used to be a huge struggle for me. Here are a combination of strategies that I use:

1) Use a podium when teaching small group. I used to sit down during small group, but as soon as I started standing with a podium (I use a music stand) I realized that the kids were a lot better at staying on task. After my students settled down, I started sitting on an elevated stool.

2) For specific students who are having a hard time finding good SRC books, personally help them choose a book. I intentionally try to have them pick short books in the beginning, because once they get those first few books done they feel confident.

3) Use an incentive chart. I have charts that I stamp. I award points for completing books. The number of stamps vary with the difficulty and length of each book. I've read student reflections that said that the incentive chart were what got the students to read in the beginning.

4) Make sure that students know their SRC procedures. Sometimes in the beginning of the year, if my students cannot do SRC and Read 180 on their own, I'll only have two rotations and I'll troubleshoot until the students have everything down. Students who do not know what to do become distractions.

5) Point out to students doing Read 180 to record using a low speaking tone and to keep the volume down. Even with headphones, if the videos are turned all the way up, it can get very distracting.

6) Patrol the class when your small group is writing. When my small group is brainstorming or writing before a pair-share I'll take a quick 20 second stroll around the class.

7) Segregate students if they are talking in their SRC rotation. Because my class is so small, I don't have room for a separate reading area. Instead I have students read in their whole group instruction seats and they are spread throughout the class. This has the added benefit of keeping the SRC rotation students from talking to each other.

These are some of the things that I do to keep students on task. My classroom is one of the smallest in the entire school, but once the kids have the procedures down and see that I'm on top of them, they get their work done.

Warm regards,

Justin

Great video. Very inspiring!

Justin, I enjoyed your video. I noticed near the end of the vidoe you mentioned incentives. Could you tell me more about/explain your incentives for the students. Thanks

[edit: Response]

Hi Ana!

Thanks for commenting!

I use an incentive chart to motivate my students to do more independent reading. It's basically a simple chart with stamps. When students complete a book they turn in a worksheet and a take a short quiz. If they pass, I award them stamps during silent reading time. I intentionally use a punch stamp that makes a little bit of noise so that the whole class can see me adding the stamps. I also apply the stamps as soon as I get a chance. I use the chart to apply a grade at the end of each grading period, but I think that the actual stamps are a motivator as well. It thought that it would be trivial, but I've actually had a few students tell me that they wanted a lot of stamps by their names.

When using any sort of incentive, it's always good to consider what you want your end goal to be. I use this chart specifically so that students will feel proud of reading a lot of books. To be honest, I don't use too many gimmicks when it comes to incentives.

I've found that the best incentive is (I know this sounds trite) positive reinforcement. However, let me qualify. I'm not talking about the proverbial "good job" that teachers always tell their students, because let's be honest, students totally know when teachers are just saying "good job" for the sake of it. I'm talking about very SPECIFIC and targeted positive reinforcement.

Let me give you a real example from my class:

Micheal answers a question using a complete sentence. I immediately respond by saying "Thank you Micheal. I appreciate how Micheal responded in a complete sentence and how he used the word affluent, because affluent was one of our vocabulary words. I can tell that Micheal was really paying attention..." after that I go on to comment on the actual content of the comment. I actually praise the PROCEDURE BEFORE THE CONTENT.

The result: Micheal knows that I'm not patronizing him and he's going to use a complete sentence the next time he shares. He wants to share again. The other kids who want to share are now thinking of how to phrase their answers in complete sentences and thinking of ways to incorporate our vocabulary words.

The absolute best motivator is competence. Dr. Kate Kinsella and Dr. Kevin Feldman, two leading literacy researchers, always say "competence leads to confidence."

That was just an example of how I motivate students to participate and use academic language. Initially getting shy students to want to participate is another matter that I will address in a future post.

Ana, what specific outcome are you looking for with your incentives?

Hope this helped!

Warmest regards,

Justin Lim

Hey Justin!

Just wanted to say good luck this year. I enjoyed the "gig" last year, and I am sure you will too!

And I enjoyed watching your video, and chuckled as my six year old son walked by and said, "Woah. He looks like daddy." Then my husband walked by and said, "Woah. He looks like me...I like his hair." I'm not sure where the hair comment came from, but I am pretty sure you two have the same cut.

Anyway, please excuse me. I have a habit of telling random stories sometimes. Have a great weekend! Good luck this year!

Angela Bunyi

Your video was very motivating. I love learning from other teachers. This year I am planning on having stations/centers for older learners (8th grade level). It can be frustrating trying to find materials for that are suitable for that age group. Everything seems to be geered for elementary. Your ideas helped me to have a clearer focus for my approaching year. Thank you. Lisa

Justin, This is my first year teaching 6th-8th grades using technology while integrating reading and history. I couldn't get a good feel for how you keep all the student's work organized. Would you please elaborate on this? I will have 12 classes...one 6th, one 7th, and two 8th grade classes a day rotating on an A/B/C model. I don't think mailboxes for that many students would work considering I would incur the expense.Any classroom management ideas are welcome!!

Thanks.

[Edit: Response]

Hi Laura,

Wow, having 12 classes is intense! I had a colleague who used crates and dividers instead of mailboxes because of the cost issue. A personal space for each student is great, but it's not necessary. Do you usually have your students take their books home every day or do they keep them in the class?

Some things that I would definitely implement right away would be to:

1) Use your technology to give instructions. Specifically, if you have a projector and a digital camera, take pictures of desk setups that are commonly repeated and save them all to a Powerpoint. Insert text boxes that can be easily changed for page numbers. By projecting a picture of what you want your students' desks to look like you can deliver instructions verbally, in written form and visually. I know this sounds like a hassle at first, but it cuts down transitions dramatically. I'll be posting on this in the near future.

2) Have a designated spot for students to turn in assignments at the beginning of class so that they don't have to pass in homework during active class time.

3) If they do have to pass in work during class then have a procedure that is repeated the same way every time. I know a lot of teachers like to use student volunteer collectors, which is nice, but it's not the most efficient method.

4) Create a single "absent student drop-box" for each class where you drop off the day's lesson. This way, students who return will not have to ask you for the assignments.

Concerning how I keep my students' work organized, I actually plan out about 90% of the materials that I will teach throughout the year and comb bind them into color-coded notebooks that I give to each student. I hardly expect all teachers to do this because it takes a tremendous amount of preparation. However, if you can do something similar for future classes, it nearly eliminates the need to be forever making copies and passing out handouts.

Laura, I wish that I knew a little bit more about how your classroom works so that I can be more helpful. Hopefully, some of my future posts will apply to your class. For now, remember that the core of classroom management is to get students working as soon as possible and to keep them working as much as possible. Implement procedures for all commonly repeatable tasks.

I hope that his helped, even if it was just a little bit.

Warmest Regards,

Justin

Justin, Your video came out great! I really love how you have your students use the sentence starters to teach them academic language. I am going to adapt these down to the kindergarten level. I am looking forward to reading your blog! Megan Power

I'm so glad I found your classroom at the beginning of the school year. I look forward to seeing how you motivate your students to read more.

Best, Natalya

Justin, your room is so above and beyond the "typical" high school classroom, filled with engaging resources. Your classroom is conducive to learning and very organized. It is great to be working with you!

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