The Slump(s)

Getting over the slump was a great read for me! I teach in the inner city with much diversity and could really relate to both educational gaps that were being discussed. I am very familiar with the 4th grade slump and even more so familiar with the Third Grade Promise which is hoping to help prevent the 4th grade slump. The cause of this slump was stated to be because of the lack of vocabulary. Today, learning in school is centered around academic vocabulary. As students move up in grades the academic vocabulary becomes harder and students fall farther and farther behind.

Something that was discussed in the article was that children in more poverty striken areas have a harder time with this academic language because they do not always have that “early home-based preparation”. I see this a lot in my own classroom. As part of the Third Grade Promise committee our goal is to engage parents more in the learning that happens in school and have it translate at home. We plan monthly projects to send home that parents can do with their children that are related to what we are practicing in school.

The second slump that was discussed was one I had never heard before but am very aware of. The “21st century slump” or technology slump. The thing I found interesting is that the two slumps are connected. Students who are having trouble reading and going to have trouble navigating through technology. As said in the article “Our old reading gap and our new digital one interact with each other. The old reading gap can only worsen as the high-tech digital world makes larger and more complex demands on literacy and content learning.” But teachers also need to be educated in how to teach using technology so that our students are properly prepared to be living and working in the 21st century.

I think this reading gave a lot of good suggestions on how to get us there but I don’t think that it is known by many people and/or educators.

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3 thoughts on “The Slump(s)

  1. Christina

    Ally, your work on the Third Grade Promise Committee sounds just like the kind of solution needed while we work on fixing the main problem. I just wonder if maybe this kind of program, one that I assume provides parents with the kind of language children need, should start even earlier in school. Planning monthly projects to send home, even as young as kindergarten, could help increase the amount of academic language families are using.

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  2. Dayeshell

    Ally we have very similar views on these gaps. I do like what you’re doing with the parent engagement. We often times find it challenging to engage with parents and to get them to see the benefits that a variety of skills and services have to offer. Christina, I am wondering if we should introduce these programs early as well. I think the earliest we can form a team approach, the better the children will be.

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    1. The Third Grade Promise program goes from Pre-K to 3rd grade at our school. We all do similar activities each month to send home based on what we are doing in the classroom. We also get adults from the district to come in and read to the kids once a month. It really is a great program!

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