Students' perceptions of themselves

Even now, at the end of the school year, my READ180 students tell me that their friends think they are in the "dumb" class. I spend a lot of time trying to convince my kids that they are wonderful and that they aren't "dumb" at all. I tell them that I only accept smart kids in my classes and remind them of all the fun we have that their friends aren't having in their classes. But I get discouraged when they continue to feel "different" from students who are not in READ180. Does anyone else have this problem and, if so, what do you do to overcome the problem?

Posted on: April 27 2010
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  • We have this to some degree at my school.  It was worse at the beginning of the year.  Fortunately for us we more offten than not hear "Can I be in your class?"  What a great change. My students enjoy being in the class!  I know it has something to do with the progress they've made.  Kids who walk by the room see their friends on computers everyday.  They want to be part of that! We are not perfect and we have improvement that needs to be made, but for a first year program I have watched the attitude change and LOVE what I see!   

    I've noticed the importance of the READ 180 class being recognized as rigorous by other staff and administrators. Students pick up on how other teachers speak about a class or program. This year, I've been working on changing my colleagues' perceptions of the class along with the students'. There's nothing worse than hearing another teacher say that students are in my READ 180 class because "they cannot read." It shows such a lack of understanding about reading proficiency and the READ 180 program. I've been explaining that students in the program are not the lowest in their class (so actually the readers at the lowest proficiency level are in the mainstream classes). That got some teachers to think... We've had this conversation recently on our building leadership team as we try to decide which classes constitutue core or required classes. Since reading is a core class in our state, I believe READ 180 should be too. Some teachers disagree because "it is a modified curriculum." Again, lack of information about the program. I am going to defend the proposal to classify READ 180 as a core class and educate my colleagues about the program.


    I like the idea of inviting the non READ180 kids into the classroom to observe! Thanks for the advice.

    We have to be advocates for READ 180 and for our students.  Spread the good things about the program as much as you can.  Newsletters, staff lounges' bulletin boards, PTSA meetings and staff meetings are only a few ways to do this.


    These are all great ideas.  I've really enjoyed reading all of the responses.  I agree that we need to present our programs as state-of-the-art, something for the "regular" classrooms to aspire to!  I think the problem in our school is that the reading classes have had a bad reputation for so long.  Teachers have seen them as dumping grounds for behavior problems and for kids who couldn't cut it in a foreign language class.  It's tough to overcome those long-held beliefs, but I'm working on it!!

    Provide lots of positive incentives and rewards for your students' good deeds.  I invited a few non-READ 180 students to my class to watch my students work.  The non-READ 180 students liked the program, especially the computer software, and they asked how they could join the class.  Continue sharing information about your students' successes throughout the school so other students can see the rewards.  Those positive rewards will help build students' self-esteem. 


    in my district, Read 180 in an intervention for those not progressing in SFA. My students rebelled, at first, repeating what they, like others have heard, "the dumb class". I made charts [almost overnight lol] to show the level of comparison between my students lexile scores and SFA student lexile scores. The charts must have helped because they haven't really said they were in "the d__b class"! Each year I have a couple of my most successful students from the previous year, come to class to "crow" alittle about the reading level they have achieved in SFA. It sets a goal for the new students.

    What an awesome posting!  It is wonderful to hear about success stories from our kids.  They work hard and achieve great results.  Moments like that are so good for the PR of READ 180.  Congratulations to both you and your student.


    I've experienced that too when Sharon Draper visited our school this year. My kids were the only English classes that had read Copper Sun and they were the stars of the assembly after we gave Ms. Draper a leather pouch like the one in the book. I love it when my kids are stars!

    I teach special education, so many of my kids are coming from resource or self contained "small classrooms"; I was lucky and my read 180 room is big; also when others go by and see the bright reading station chairs/rockers, and all of the computers they say "wow" and "cool" as they go by. My kids feel lucky to be in this class. My read 180 counts as a resource room language arts class. I have trouble with general ed. teachers understanding that this program is not a cake walk for the kids, they work hard; but also it is not a magic bullet - I was thrown aback some teachers expect me to change these kids overnight!

    I had a READ 180 high school student who had a 4.0 GPA average and had read close to 200,000 words by January and had made significant gains on the December SRI administration.  She's new to the country and wants to be a medical doctor so she can return to her homeland.  She is the third highest achieving ninth grader in the school.  No doubt we have some great kids who just need a little exact time, patience, and understanding from caring adults.  READ 180 teachers are some of those caring adults.

    I must share this with you guys. Today one of my students told me that she was the only student in her Social Studies class who knew an answer to one of the teacher's questions about the Harlem Renaissance. And guess how she knew? That's right! She learned it in her READ 180 class on the computer software "Heart of Harlem" story. See what great things our students are learning!!!! I'm so elated to see students boasting and bragging about their learning in my class and understanding how what they are learning can be transferred and applied in their other classes. That made my day!!!


    I saw this just yesterday.  In one of the buildings I visit, the READ 180 students performed better on the written portion of the state test because of their practice from READ 180.  They had been working with sentence starters all year, repeating the question in their academic language complete sentence reponses.  That practice carried over to their test-taking skills.  Another strategy that they used that the teachers noticed was marking the text as they read it.  They were underlining and circling key items in the text.  Those non-READ 180 teachers were impressed.  We are hopeful that they will now think more highly of READ 180. Dee


    Thanks, Dee.  I took the professional development session about students answering questions with those prompts and I plan to try it next year.  Actually, my kids did well on their SRI's and OAA tests.  Two-thirds of them passed the achievement tests and the rest just missed by a few points.  I'm planning on some activities for next year to continue to boost morale.  

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