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Introducing ELA Skills Practice!

Posted by Hannah Alvarez on February 21, 2018 at 9:04 AM

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We're excited to share something big and brand-new in Front Row: adaptive ELA Skills Practice!

ELA Skills Practice is a new way for teachers to help 3rd-8th grade students practice reading comprehension, master anchor skills, and grow faster than ever.

Why ELA Skills Practice?

At Front Row, we're all about empowering teachers to differentiate instruction and reach students at their level. 

That's why so many teachers love our Article Library, where students read at their level. But, we heard that teachers wanted more.

Not only did they want their students to read at their own level, but they also wanted them to practice foundational ELA skills at their level so they could grow faster.

So today, we're excited to share ELA Skills Practice with you!

ELA Skills Practice will make it easier for teachers to reach every student at their own level. Teachers can sharpen their students' individual reading comprehension skills, without the need to assign lengthier articles that can take a longer time to read. This rapid practice is perfect for filling knowledge gaps and honing anchor skills. Plus, the short reading passages keep students engaged and excited to make progress! 

How does it work?

In this practice mode, 3rd-8th grade students work on reading anchor skills through a series of short, nonfiction reading passages and comprehension questions. 

To get started, students can access Skills Practice from the ELA section of their student dashboard. (It's not currently assignable from the teacher dashboard, but we're working on making this possible. School Edition teachers will have more options for creating assignments than Free Edition teachers.)

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Just like in Front Row's Adaptive Math Practice, the reading level of the passage and the challenge level of the questions continuously adjusts to match each student's skill level. 

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When students struggle to answer questions correctly, they'll get the opportunity to review a skill. In the review, students view a brief, instructional video about the skill. Then, they're presented with scaffolded questions that start off easy and get progressively more challenging.

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As students answer questions correctly in each skill area, they can see their progress represented by a building that's under construction.

For example, here's what students see when they first start to practice a skill:

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And here's the progress they'll see after a few practice sessions:

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What skills are included?

There are six anchor skills represented as separate areas of practice:

  1. Making Connections
  2. Inferences
  3. Main Ideas
  4. Word Choice
  5. Text Structure
  6. Point of View 

How are teachers using it in the classroom?

At Front Row, many of our team members are former teachers, and it's very important to us to get lots of teacher feedback on new features! We had a small group of teachers test out ELA Skills Practice and let us know how they used it with their students.

Our early users loved ELA Skills Practice! They most commonly used it in centers or as extra practice for early finishers. Many teachers also used it as a full class activity or a warm-up. A handful of teachers had students do it as homework.

One teacher said:

"It allows students to practice at their own pace and gives me information to guide my teaching. I can reteach whole class or in small groups depending on the need of the students."

Other teachers raved about how much their students loved reading a lot of short passages and watching their buildings grow.

As a teacher, you can motivate your students by letting them know that this is a brand-new practice mode, which means any one of them can be the first student in the world to finish building their Front Row castle or barn!

Enjoy ELA Skills Practice with your students!

The basic features of ELA Skills Practice are available to all teachers and students. School Edition teachers will have access to even more content and features! (You can upgrade to School Edition here.)

We hope ELA Skills Practice makes it a breeze for you to help students grow! We're excited to hear how you use it in the classroom—and how your students like reading the passages and building their buildings! 

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