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[School Spotlight] A Team Approach to Using Study Island in 5th Grade

[School Spotlight] A Team Approach to Using Study Island in 5th Grade

We love to hear from teachers, so when we chatted with Ohio educator Valerie Irwin and her 5th grade co-teachers, we were excited to land on an exciting plan to share about how they use Study Island in a team approach. 

The city where I teach in Ohio is located along the Ohio River, on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, just west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Teaching in a community affected by economic difficulty has provided me and the rest of my team of 5th grade educators with a unique set of circumstances in our classrooms. We have to teach over 175 students who come from a variety of backgrounds and levels of understanding, all with limited funding from our district. Study Island has been a tool to help us succeed, despite the challenges we face.

We incorporate Study Island into our curriculum in all four core subject areas (math, English language arts, science, and social studies) and work together in our teacher-based team (TBT) meetings once a week to make sure that we are coordinating our use of the program to provide individual instruction and remediation.

For each content area, we use Study Island in a specific way:

Math: Using Group Sessions to break apart a question and clear up misconceptions

English Language Arts: Individualizing instruction for a level of students  

Science: Reviewing areas from 3rd and 4th grade science that build the foundation for mastering the  5th grade science standards  

Social Studies: Providing remediation for students who are struggling with the content and a way for students who were absent to review what they missed

Study Island provides us with easy-to-access, practical data that we use to inform instruction within our individual subject areas and discuss student performance as a team. Within our classrooms, we utilize the Trend Report, Assignment Report, and Gradebook Report to view subject and student-level performance data that we can use to drive our instruction in the specific subjects we teach.

As a team, we review data in our weekly TBT meetings utilizing the Blue Ribbon Report, Time Spent Report, and Class Comparison Report. Using the data from these reports, along with what we’ve observed in the classroom, we talk about the levels of students and determine which groups are gaining and which are not. This discussion is really helpful in understanding students who fall into the “grey area,” including those who may need additional support, for example. We also like to look at the Statewide Comparison Report, which allows us to see how our students’ performance compares with that of other Ohio 5th grade students. Overall, Study Island is a very useful, fun, and engaging tool.

For more information about Study Island and the ways that you can use it to drive student outcomes, check out our website, and find out why 8,000 districts in the nation partner with us! 

valerie.irwin's picture

Valerie Irwin has 33 years experience in the teaching field. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education specializing in Special Education from West Virginia University and a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Franciscan University. She has taught various content and grade levels throughout the years. She has spent the past 16 years teaching fifth grade, with the last 10 only teaching fifth grade math. She has been using Study Island faithfully since 2006. She has used all areas of Study Island and is a true believer that it improves test scores if used appropriately, especially when examining next-level data to drive instruction. 

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